I started cooking for my dog, Sherlock, shortly after we adopted him and he developed epilepsy. In an effort to help him, I researched what else I could do besides giving him the medicine from the vet. I learned that cooking for your dog is much healthier for them. Once I started, I immediately saw Sherlock’s seizures reduce from every few weeks to only 3-4 times per year. It was incredible and I’ve been cooking for the dogs ever since. Sherlock lived to the ripe old age of 14, even with his medical problems! Now, I cook for both of my dogs, Watson and Tuba and they love it!

In addition to the enormous health benefits, it’s also much cheaper! Depending on the ingredients that I buy, I spend between $25-35 per week for both of my dog’s dinners. If I were buying high end organic dog food instead, I would spend $69 per week. That is a huge savings!

The first step in making your gourmet dog food is to learn their weight and research the number of calories they need per day. I have one dog that weighs 110 pounds and the other weighs 40 pounds. The big horsedog, Tuba, needs double the amount of food per day than Watson.

I wrote a short fiction story from Tuba’s perspective. Tuba’s Tale is a heart-felt, funny, sad and happy walkthrough of this big dog’s life. Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend clearly never had a German Shepherd. That dog changed me and I will never forget my friendship with him.

Watson Tuba dog constrained gourmet

Watson and Tuba hanging with CG

The second step is to obtain ingredients. I like to make enough for the week at one time, so I make a stew for them and spread it out over the week. I call it MREs (meals ready to eat) because it’s easier for me when working. You can also make them food every day if you have the time.  You can use meat, fish, fresh or frozen vegetables, cheese, eggs – all good stuff that they will love! I’m giving you this starter recipe which is super easy if you are new to making your dog’s food. Please visit my blog for this detailed starter recipe.

Watson dog constrained gourmet

Watson is a football fan

Ensure that you are avoiding any ingredients that are toxic to dogs! Here is the list: onions and onion powder; chocolate; coffee and coffee products; chocolate covered espresso beans (especially toxic); tea; alcohol; macadamia nuts; hops; grapes, raisins, juice and wine; tomato foliage; green parts of potato; rhubarb leaves; avocados; pits and seeds from fruits of plum, apricot, peach, apple and some cherries; bitter almonds; and moldy or spoiled foods. You’d be surprised what makes dogs sick that you would not think of. Never give your dog something going bad or moldy – that can hurt them, too.

Think about your dog’s treats, too. Always read the package and the ingredients and buy treats made in the U.S. Treats from China or Brazil can contain formaldehyde and make your dog sick or even die. If you want to make your dog’s treats, that is even better! I save a lot of money making my dog’s jerky—it’s about 80% less than buying jerky in the store. I also buy locally made dog cookies from a bakery that is known for quality.

dog gourmet food

Snowman dog cookies

You should feed your dog twice per day and also make sure they have lots of clean water. Wash their dog bowls often, too, to keep bacteria at a minimum.

The woman who said that ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ never had a dog!