The skinny dogs…the ones with spines that poke out, appetites that are poor for no health reason per se. They’re stressed out, scared, guarded, and many just got out of shelters. That’s what I’ve been working with lately, and it’s been rewarding because the dogs have done really well. There are three important things to keep in mind as you read this.
The first is that the recipes are for healthy dogs. If the dog has any kind of disease that contraindicates a high-fat diet, you’ll do far more harm than good. The second is that feeding four small meals per day is much better than two large ones. The dog can only eat so much at one time, and in fact may not be eager to eat in the first place. So, a lot of food at one meal is likely to be met with resistance, but even if eaten eagerly, risks an upset stomach and diarrhea.
A dog that hasn’t eaten well in a long time is more likely to feel sick (and show you the proof on your best carpet) if s/he is suddenly overfed. If four meals aren’t possible, aim for three meals. Lastly, switching the dog from a lower quality food to something you feel is healthier should be done slowly. Transition over a seven day period to give the gut time to adjust, but also because dogs who’ve been through the mill usually don’t handle too many changes at once very well. The better quality foods, and certainly most home-made diets are higher in dietary fat and while that might attract the dog, it can also upset the GI tract.
These are calorie boosters, and not meant to be a balanced diet.
Combination of Kibble and Fresh Food
1 cup kibble, crushed in food processor until very fine
1/2 pound browned ground beef, 15-20% fat
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 small package cream cheese
Place all ingredients in bowl. Knead to make a dough consistency, adding more crushed kibble as necessary. Place on wax paper, form into a log, and serve a few slices as treats between meals. Start with just 3-4 slices per day, and increase as you see tolerance (dog’s stool remains firm the next day)
Not-Quite Satin Balls
Satin balls are an old and fairly popular recipe that combines raw meat with gelatin, oatmeal and many other ingredients. It works well, but is fussier to make than these.
5 pounds ground beef, 15-20% fat
2 egg yolks
1 small can sardines with bones, drained and mashed
10 oz. oats
1/4 cup molasses
Mix all foods together in a large bowl. Add more egg yolks, or more oats as needed to produce the consistency for making small meatballs. Freeze these for future use. Feed between meals, or combined with meals.
Quick and Easy
Egg scrambled in butter (easily mixes into kibble)
Smooth peanut butter “sauce”: dilute 1 TBS peanut butter with warm water and pour into food
Jar of baby food (pureed meat only)
Crushed kibble mixed into an equal amount of macaroni and cheese