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Fortunately, I read an article from a reliable source stating that Lundgren's organic basmati white rice grown in California tests lower for arsenic than any other rices, significantly below the 'allowable' level, and I've since seen charts showing arsenic levels in rice products that substantiate that claim. Although I've switched almost exclusively to certified gluten-free oats for Puppy Girl's grain, I occasionally use the Lundren's organic basmati rice for variety.

Sometimes I add either cooked sweet potato or white potato to the mixture in place of oats. Why wouldn't dogs like some variety in their diet? Humans do, and dogs have evolved to be very like humans in many ways! I purchase organic, gluten-free oats, usually buying them online because there are only a few brands that are both organic and GF.

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Oats give the food a good texture, and the pumpkin holds the blended food together. I vary at least a couple of the veggies and fruits in the mixture from week to week to give my dog some variety. Again—I wouldn't want to eat the same veggies and fruits day in, day out. Variety is, as the old saw goes, the spice of life. This is where I become redundant, but I gave you advance warning and hope you'll read all of the following warning.

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Repetition aids memory, and I'll add to the list of foods that are toxic for dogs. Some common foods may be dangerous to dogs even in small amounts. Xylitol, which is an ingredient used in sugarless gums and toothpaste for humans should be kept away from dogs, as even a small amount of xylitol can be fatal to a dog.

The smaller the dog, the more likely one of these foods will several affect him or her. S mall amounts of garlic may not harm your pet and may, indeed, have some health benefits—some people swear it repels fleas—but garlic should be used with caution, preferably with the supervision of your vet, because a lot of it can cause organ damage. Since my dog has a compromised immune system because of a very serious reaction to a vaccination, I choose to be cautious about any ingredient with the slightest potential for harm.

I haven't been diagnosed with OCD, but there are family members who would swear I have it—especially where my Puppy Girl is concerned! Assemble all the ingredients, cooking pans and utensils. I cook the meat separately until tender. These are the healthiest oils, for dogs as well as humans, and are beneficial to their coats.

If you'd prefer to forego the oil and steam the meat in a very small amount of purified water, that will work just as well.

Daube of Beef, A Provencal Beef Stew

After breaking the meat apart into small bits with a heavy-duty steel spoon, I stir and brown it, and then cover the pan with a lid to let it finish cooking on a low heat setting. At that stage, it remains moist until I'm ready to mix it with other ingredients. When I use chicken breasts, they are simmered in water until done.

I remove them from the broth and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate while I cook the veggies and if used grain so the meat will be easier to dice before adding it.

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Chopped veggies are boiled or steamed together in a separate large cooking pot while the meat is cooking. I drain them in a colander and use a potato masher so they'll be in small bits before adding vegs to the meat. This mixture contains enough moisture and heat to "cook" the instant oats. Just be sure to stir all the way through the meat and again when veggies are added so oats are evenly distributed throughout the food mixture. The heat helps the pumpkin get mixed very well. The diced chicken goes in last.

You can add fruit raw after the other ingredients are cool. By the way, I eat only organic vegetables and fruits, and I feed my dog the same quality organic produce that I consume. Dogs are as vulnerable to cancer as humans. We all must establish our own priorities; however, I can't resist asking this question. Do you want your dog to be healthy and have a lifespan within the range hopefully, on the far side that is normal for her or his breed?

If you do, you may decide it's worthwhile to shop organic for your buddy, too. You can do without all those pricey drinks from Starbucks if the sacrifice will make you feel better about buying organic produce, especially since commercial coffee drinks are loaded with sugar YOU don't need.

Of dogs and their dinners

I consider the cost of organic foods a preventive that's much cheaper than medications or other medical treatments for disease. Viewed in that perspective, you may find organics less expensive in the long term, both for the human members of your family and your much-loved pet.

The nutrient-enriched water in which the veggies and grain were cooked makes her food moist. A good bit of a dog's water requirement is provided in the food. I mix the meat with all the other ingredients in a very large bowl that has enough room to thoroughly stir it until well mixed. I've had people walk through my kitchen while I'm doing this and say, "Mmmm You can imagine the reaction when I reply, "It's for the dog. I put enough food to last three days feeding twice per day into a glass bowl with cover and refrigerate it.

The remainder is frozen in daily amounts that can be easily defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. Just before serving her meal, I add 2 tablespoons of chopped organic parsley, possibly another leafy green. I also add the recommended amount of plant enzymes and probiotics for dogs to her food, as well as a natural seaweed calcium supplement you can use bonemeal if you prefer and stir. This supplement is a natural digestive aid, and she rarely has a tummy upset.

One of the enzymes, amylase, helps dogs properly digest starchy carbs such as starchy veggies and grains. I encourage anyone making dog food at home to add enzymes and probiotics. The very good brand I use Animal Essentials is shown in a photo below and is available online in two bottle sizes from Amazon. Once she's slurped it down that's the sound she makes , I tell her to "back up to your rug", and she does. She's so cute backing up and sitting until I give her the "okay" to eat another portion that I often laugh when I see her do it. This happens again until she's eaten the third portion.

She rarely drinks water just after eating, but usually returns a bit later to the water bowl. Healthy crunchy treats, including those formulated for doggy dental care, will give your dog something to chew that will help keep her teeth clean. Cruncherz dog biscuits formerly known as Barkwheats , actually contain no wheat, a grain to which some dogs—including my furry friend—are sensitive. These treats, which come in several flavors, contain antioxidants and have minimal calories.

Unfortunately, they also contain canola oil, which I've learned is not healthy--despite the hype. That's why I began making Puppy Girl's buckwheat treats myself, using organic buckwheat flour, organic ground ginger sprinkled into the dry flour and mixed, adding organic pumpkin puree and organic unsweetened applesauce. With the applesauce, there is no need to use any oil. I roll them out, use a small cookie cutter about the size of a quarter and twice-bake them slowly, like biscotti, so they will be hard and crunchy.

Love, Guilt & Putting Dogs Down

She also likes a couple with her morning apple pieces. A regime of daily tooth-brushing with toothpaste formulated for canines—never human toothpaste, which may contain ingredients harmful to dogs—is recommended for thorough doggy dental care—especially important when feeding your dog moist home-cooked food. Moist food will stick to the teeth and form tartar that hardens into plaque and causes gingivitis if not removed. Prevention is better than cure, since professional cleaning of a dog's teeth requires anesthesia and is costly.

As a dog grows older, the idea of anesthesia is worrisome, as well. Always read labels to ensure you never feed your dog anything containing either sugar or the very toxic-to-dogs artificial sweetener, xylitol. I avoid feeding my dog other artificial sweeteners as well, but xylitol is especially harmful to canines. It's an ingredient in some sugarless chewing gums, as well as some toothpaste formulas for humans. If you buy those products, please keep them where your pet can't reach them.

A multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may be in order once a day or every other day. The amount to feed depends on the size, age, activity level, and breed of the dog. I find it best to halve the daily allotment and feed two meals of the home-cooked food per day. This is in addition to her fruit-and-two-treats "breakfast. This is even easier for a dog to do with softer home-cooked meals than when eating commercial kibble. Now you see it, now you don't!

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  • Dividing her day's food into two meals keeps her from eating too much at one time, helped by three separately spooned "servings" at each meal. This is a good procedure to use when feeding dogs that customarily eat too fast. You wouldn't want to eat dinner off that dirty plate smeared with dried food you used at lunch, would you? You'd be surprised then again, maybe you wouldn't how many people never wash their dog's food and water dishes!

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    • It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are high in valuable nutrients, including omega oils and fiber; however, they are higher in omega-3s than omega-6s. You should get input from your vet about the proper ratio of these two omegas, especially since you're also adding fish oil.