The Dog’s Dinner: An Upgrade Whose Time Has Come


Yes, I do.

A couple of weeks ago, we took the little ankle-biter into the local vet’s to get his teeth cleaned.  He’s always had trouble eating, as he was injured by his previous owners as they abandoned him on the side the of the road.  When my son found him, he turned out to have a broken jaw, some missing teeth, and a lot of abandonment and abuse issues.

Something we’ve never been able to figure out since he’s such a people-lover and sweetheart.

But past is past.  Some people just don’t deserve a sweet pet/side-kick/friend like this guy.

So when they gave him something to relax him in prep of the teeth cleaning — he had a bad reaction to the drug and had a severe seizure.  So severe it totally freaked out 3 vets who were on-site and a vet-surgeon in the large animal building!  They called us in a slight panic to get permission to give him an I-V and medication to bring down his blood pressure — and we made a fast emergency visit to the office to see him and make sure he was going to survive!

In all the hullabaloo over the seizure and recovery, they also discovered a heart murmur.   And in taking film of his heart — which is enlarged — they also discovered some serious arthritis and deterioration in his lower spine.  Which evidently could also be a result of being thrown out of a moving car by his previous people.

When we got him, he weighed a little over 9 lbs — compared to his healthy present weight that is about 18.5 lbs.  He also got taller and longer in the first year we had him — so we’ve always assumed his birthday was about 6 months before we got him — 2008-ish — making him 6-7 yrs old, now.  The vet here said that he would have guessed the pup at more like 10-11 yrs because of his physical condition — but that those extra 4 yrs could all be accounted for by the trauma of the moving car scenario.

So we really don’t know how old he is — but we suspect he’s about 7 with a really tough past.  However old, he had a hard early life.

And now, he has potential for cardiac failure and painful arthritis in his spine.  And seizures.  He should be eligible for Medicare soon….

I started him on Blue Buffalo and Halo Spot’s Stew Kibble about 5 months ago because he was having such trouble chewing big pieces of kibble from the standard grocerystore brands of dog food.  It costs about double (or more), but instead of being made of mostly grain, and big hard chunks — it’s all made of mostly meat, veggies, fruit etc. with no by-products or artificial anything.  And certainly no melamine (thank you, China!)  The kibbles are about the size of my little finger-nail.

He munches on them with reckless abandon!  This is tail-wagable kibble.

Those brands are such a hit with him, I went looking for Senior Small-breed foods, and for arthritis formula dog foods they make.

Holy-crap on a cracker.


So then I started reading labels to see what those little pots of gold are made of.

The expensive-est part of their formulas is, of course, the glucosamine/ chondroitin/ MSM added for joint care.

I can find soft-chews, dog biscuits, and treats with the G/C/MSM for about 25% of the price of the canned food in matching dose.

As for the food in the canned dog-food — I can make my own Chauncey Stew for about 20% of the price of the cans WITH THE SAME INGREDIENTS.


Here for your consideration:


This recipe makes about 5 quarts (20 cups) — or, 40 servings of 1/2c each.

  • 16 oz ground pork
  • 16 oz chicken livers
  • 12 c low sodium, fat free chicken broth (organic if possible)
  • 1 3/4 c Bob’s Red Mill Vegetable Soup Mix (dried split peas, lentils, barley etc with no seasoning)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 12 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 12 oz frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c purée sweet potato
  • 1 lg banana, mashed
  • 1/2 c freeze-dried blueberries
  • 2 c buttermilk

Add all but buttermilk and bring to a boil — allow to simmer on low for 2 hrs.  Chop chicken livers and add buttermilk.  Serve slightly warm.

All totaled, a 1/2 c serving will have:

155-60 calories, 4g fiber, 10g protein, 59mg of cholesterol, less than 20mg sodium, and just look at all those vitamins and minerals!!!!  Iron, antioxidants, Vitamin C, beta-carotenes, calcium, potassium, immune system boosters, warming wood spices….


Of course he does — just look at what’s in it!

And instead of $4-$5 per 15 oz can, mine comes in at about $1 per 15 oz. (actually a little less)

I just bag it up in freezer-ziplocks or small freezer containers or butter tubs — and he gets fresh and good-for-him dinner that we can afford.

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