Pet food cookbook reviews

I’ve finished reading five different cookbooks for dogs and cats, in my quest to find the perfect pet food recipes.  I’ll give you a quick run-down of the titles I read, and maybe one or two of them will interest you.

  • Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs And Cats by Andi Brown:  This book was my favourite, and I just ordered a copy to send to my mother.  It’s an entire “lifestyle makeover” book for both dogs and cats, and each chapter represents a week in which a pet owner can introduce a new phase of the “makeover”.  One chapter is devoted to making a special vitamin and mineral supplement, one chapter is devoted to dietary change, etc.  Entertaining stories about dogs and cats who were transformed by the recipes in the book are interspersed throughout.  I enjoyed this book because it offers material for both dogs and cats, and because if you want to ignore the eight-week program plan, each chapter still stands on its own and is useful.  In other words, you don’t need to complete the tasks in chapter four to be able to follow the plans in chapter five.  I was thrilled when I realized the book was authored by the inventor of “Spot’s Stew”, because that’s one of my favourite pet foods, and the book contains the simple recipe so I can make my own.  There are a number of other recipes for entrees and treats, but the main Spot’s Stew recipe can form the basis of any dog or cat diet.  All the recipes in the book are for cooked food - the author doesn’t feel the benefits of feeding raw outweigh the risks.  While I haven’t reached any conclusions about whether cooked or raw is better, I currently feel more comfortable preparing cooked food than preparing raw food. 

  • Whole Health for Happy Cats: A Guide to Keeping Your Cat Naturally Healthy, Happy, and Well-Fed by Sandy Arora:  As you can tell by the title, this is a book exclusively for cats, and the author advocates a raw diet.  It’s more than a cookbook though, and is really a “total care” book for cat owners.  There’s lots of thorough information about homeopathic health care, behavioural issues, grooming tips, etc.  I’d definitely recommend it for anyone looking for an all-purpose cat care manual, and it’s full of great photos, too.  There are two chapters about food, including some recipes, and while the author recommends a raw diet, she still gives suggestions on how to choose a good commercial diet, and how to modify the raw diet recipes if you prefer to cook them.  This book is good addition to any pet owner’s library, regardless of what you decide to feed.

  • Real Food for Cats: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Feline Gastronome by Patti Delmonte and Anne Davis:  This is a very cute book, full of warm colours and incredible illustrations.  I’d say the illustrations are the star of the book, because they grace every page (here’s a link to the artist’s website).  The problem with the book is that the recipes are not meant to be a complete diet, and are only suggested as occasional treats.  I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t read the introduction to the book (written by a veterinarian), so please keep that in mind if you purchase this title.  You’ll find great recipes for entrees and treats, but since you can’t serve them every day, the book would have to be for someone who enjoys cooking as a hobby.  The section I enjoyed most was one which offered recipes for people, along with the same recipe modified for cats.  For example, you can make Chicken Cordon Bleu for both you and your cat, with the cat recipe containing just some slight modifications.  The book might make a nice gift for someone who enjoys cooking and likes to spoil their cat.  I could see a lot of cats refusing to eat some of these recipes, though - you’d have to give them to a cat who’s a good eater and not fussy about different tastes and textures.

  • Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome by Arden Moore and Anne Davis:  This is the companion guide to the book of recipes for cats, above, and it also features wonderful colours and illustrations.  It’s pretty much the same as the cat recipe book - a variety of recipes, plus some recipes for people, but not something you’re likely to want to cook from on a daily basis.  The book requires so many different ingredients that I consider it more of a novelty item than a feeding guide.  Both the cat and dog book feature a section of recipes for pets with various ailments, like digestive problems, and those recipes might be the most valuable thing (besides the pretty pictures).

  • Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann Martin:  This last book isn’t a cookbook.  I just realized I’ve been saying that I read five “cookbooks”, when I really just read four, plus this title.  This book is a must-read for pet owners - a look into the pet industry and into bags/cans of pet food.  Some of the information is outdated, but the book has an “update” section in the 2003 edition, so you’ll be able to see how the industry has changed since the book was first published in 1997.  Lots of the information in the book is disturbing (for example, you’ll find out the origin of those old rumours about euthanized dogs and cats being made into food), but it’s important for pet owners to understand the source of what they feed.  I think this book has been credited for influencing positive change in the pet food industry, and as we obviously need change again, this might be a good time for all of us to read up on the subject.  The book does contain some recipes for cooked food diets, as the author is opposed to feeding raw.  I’ve seen criticisms of the recipes, though - someone on Amazon suggested the the calcium/phosphorus ratio in one recipe was incorrect.  So, read the book for the pet food industry information, and consider the recipes a starting point in your research.

The only topic not covered by any of the books above is raw diets for dogs.  For that, I’ve got Carina’s book, Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy for You and Your Dog, as well as Richard Pitcairn’s book, Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.  I find parts of Dr. Pitcairn’s book to be a bit “over the top”, but it’s still a valuable reference, and will help foster critical thinking about topics like vaccinations.

Posted by Leigh-Ann on 04/02 at 10:15 PM

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  1. Thank you for researching these; I’ll have to check them out. Another excellent book you might want to take a look at is “The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Cats” by Martin Zucker. It’s subtitled “Safe and Effective Alternative Treatments and Healing Techniques from the Nation’s Top Holistic Veterinarians” and is a wealth of information.

    It includes a number of recipes for homemade cat food from different veterinarians that are all excellent. I’ve been feeding my 9 cats the “Easy Cat” recipe for over a year now, and I’ve noticed a definite difference in their overall health. My 17-year old kitty’s skin problems have cleared up and she has stopped losing her hair, and my asthmatic kitty no longer has asthma.

    I’ve posted the “Easy Cat” recipe on our blog if you’d like to see it.

    Artsy Catsy

    Posted by Artsy Catsy  on  04/03  at  10:16 PM
  2. I put both of Martin Zucker’s books into my Amazon shopping cart, but right now, they both seem to be out of stock.  I guess there’s been a run on these sorts of books lately.  Thanks for the suggestion, though… I can place my order now, even if the books won’t arrive for a few weeks.

    And, I’m going to look at that recipe on your blog right now!

    Posted by Leigh-Ann  on  04/08  at  06:54 AM
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