Archive for the ‘Pet Nutrition’ Category

Thankful Doggy Treat Recipes for Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Is this all for me?!

You know on Thanksgiving your dog will be staring hard at that turkey.  He’s going to want some when everybody else is feasting.  But, to be honest, roast turkey can be a problematic meal for dogs.  The meat, as we prepare it in a roast, is rich and oily.  There are lots of small bones that hide as dark meat and are easy to miss.

Following are three doggy friendly, healthy and Raja approved Thanksgiving treat recipes that should keep the hound at bay.

Turkey Meatloaf for Doggies

Combine:  2 eggs, ½ cup oat bran, ¼ amaranth seed, ½ cup shredded carrots, ½ grated sweet potato, with one pound ground turkey and place in a greased 11” loaf pan.  Bake at 375 F for about an hour or until a meat thermometer reads 165 F internally.  Cool and serve cut into squares.

Turkey Leftover Hound Hash

Combine: ½ cup craisins (make sure the only ingredients on the bag are cranberries and cane sugar), ½ cup finely diced sweet potatoes, and ½ cup finely diced white potatoes and simmer gently in 1 ½ cup low sodium chicken broth until the potatoes are tender.

Combine with 2 cups diced white and dark meat (free of skin, small bones and cartilage), allow to marinate for a few minutes.  Serve in small, treat potions because this is a rich meal. *To cut up turkey meat, especially dark meat, for your dog, always cut small dice across the grain.  This method will help you detect the splintery leg bones in the thighs that look just like the meat itself.

Puppykin Muffin Treats

Combine ½ cup sugar (if you feel it’s OK to be a little bit bad sometimes- use raw sugar if it makes you feel better), ½ cup vegetable oil and mix well.  Add 3 eggs, mix well.  Add in 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (your own or canned, but if you make the puree yourself, use the roasting method so it’s thick and not watery) along with ½ cup low salt chicken broth.  Add in 1 ½ tsp aluminum-free baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ¼ cup ground flax, ¼ cup oat bran and 3 cups whole wheat baking flour

Bake in greased muffin tin for 375 for about 15 minutes.  Alternately, you could make these as mini muffins (shorter cooking time, so mind the oven) for bite size treats.                                                    ***

Remember, dog allergies are thought to start when a dog is fed the same food consistently and redundantly.  Variety is the spice of life.  Moderation in all things creates balance.  (You can probably buy amaranth and flax seed in the health food section of your grocery.)

Raja and I say “ Deepest Thanks,” for all our fabulous friends, blog readers, book buyers and people who are kind to animals far and wide!

Raja’s Doggy Dinner Cookbook: Sneak Preview for YOU!

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Carolyn's Originals aprons keep you neater in the test kitchen.

Paws covered in tomatoes and olive oil, Raja’s working on his next book… an international-theme doggy gourmet cookbook for pups who love to eat and people who love to cook.  He’s taking the best doggy friendly elements from cuisines around the world and creating tasty, healthy, well-balanced cook-at-home-meals.

One fall out from the Chinese export protein contamination scares of the last several years has been that home cooking for dogs, previously discredited by some vets, has gained tremendous respect.  While there are many safe, nutritious and reputable pet food brands, dog lovers aren’t scared to home cook for their pets any more.  Supplements suggested by your vet will tweak your high quality ingredients for your own dog’s physiology, so the worry is over.

As part of his pre-launch, Raja wants to share one of his favorite recipes with you.  Today he celebrates Italy, one of his favorite travel destinations with his pottage, a sneak preview recipe for “Almost Minestrone.”


2 tbsps. olive oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 stalk celery

1 medium tomato

1 medium carrot (all three cut in slices)

1 cup cooked canelli beans

2 dashes of dried basil or six leaves fresh basil shredded

10 oz peas

1 cup chicken broth (or more if needed)

1 ½ cup whole wheat acini di pepe pasta


In a large heavy bottom pot sauté the beef in the olive oil, breaking it into bite size pieces.  As it begins to cook, add the vegetables and the broth.  Cover the pot and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.  Add the pasta and continue to cook for a few minutes- acini de pepe cooks fast.  Add a little more broth if needed to cook the pasta.  You want a consistency of stew, not soup.  If the texture is too soupy, remove the lid and sauté to evaporate fluid.

This recipe will feed Raja for six days or a Great Dane for one meal.  Raja prefers the ingredients cut small.  The Great Dane might prefer larger bites.

If you try this, please comment in and tell us how it worked for you.  We would really appreciate your feedback.  The first ten people who comment in get a packet of Raja’s magic seeds, packed for 2011- this year it will be basil for your Italian cooking!

Raja Road Tests “By Nature Dog Food” and Shares with the Burbank Animal Shelter

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Officer McCullough and Raja in the Burbank Shelter's Lobby.

As part of a grass roots marketing strategy on the part of By Nature Dog Food, a division of the Kent Nutrition group, Raja was asked to weigh all of his 11.6 lbs in on taste and quality.  By Nature sent a humungous box of various flavors and products to his California address.  We explained that we never blog to push product, and By Nature said that was exactly what they liked about us. (We explained that Raja’s really, really not a chow hound, and By Nature accepted the challenge.)

Through research, we discovered that By Nature is a pretty good food overall, if one isn’t interested in or simply can’t do home cooking.  My vet’s office’s nutrition specialist endorses By Nature, so we felt confident to sample.  Raja prefers the Organic Turkey, Sweet Potato and Peas.  By Nature’s varieties address the current conversation about combating allergies through variety.

What we have to keep in mind with any dog food- whether a company makes it, whether you whip it up in your kitchen or whether the Puerto Rican soup stand in Luquillo makes a mild asopao just for your dog- every individual dog has his own physiology. Because of individual needs, your vet may recommend nutritional supplements, like Raja’s travel tummy probiotics.  No dog food can be expected to meet individual needs always and supplements can tweak the diet to make it more responsive-  which does not cast any negativity on By Nature or a home cooked pottage or Raja’s favorite Caribbean soup.

We had an enormous amount of By Nature for a small traveling pooch, so we loaded the remaining cans in the car and drove it to the Burbank Animal Shelter at 1150 North Victory Place in Burbank, CA. What a great place!  The staff is super dedicated.  A cadre of organized, educated and angelic volunteers assist with wonderful programs related to re-socialization, medical care and outreach.  This year, Warner Brothers Studios has made the Burbank Animal Shelter its targeted charity, so this year will be a very good year indeed for abandoned pets in the Verdugo Mountain and San Fernando Valley areas. If you live around Burbank or Glendale and have extra time, or even maybe an extra place in your home for another pet, you couldn’t go wrong checking this place out at