What's For Dinner, Dexter? The Back Story Learning how to home cook a healthy and balanced meal for your dog.

What’s For Dinner, Dexter? Home Cooking For Dogs | Learn About Dexter The Dog’s Backstory

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What’s For Dinner, Dexter? The Backstory

Learning how to home cook a healthy and balanced meal for your dog.

What's For Dinner, Dexter? Learn about Dexter The Dog's backstory. Learning how to home cook a healthy and balanced meal for your dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Today I was remembering how What’s For Dinner, Dexter? all began. Since I became an adult with dogs, I’ve wanted to home cook for them. I knew it would be the healthiest option, but I was so afraid I would do something wrong, and not provide them with the nutrients they needed, or not balance their diet properly. A very valid concern, as you shouldn’t home cook for your pets until you learn how. But learning how isn’t impossible!

As a puppy, Dexter always had “toppers” on his premium dog food (sorry, that’s a terrible word because all processed, dry food is pretty crappy). I added things like cooked turkey, beef, chicken, and salmon. Yum. Perfect for high-value dog training treats too!

September 2012, my life changed. Dexter was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia. Chiari Malformation is a skull malformation. Syringomyelia is a neurological disease that progresses and varies in severity caused by this skull malformation. There is no cure, only various treatments to aid in comfort and less painful episodes. Symptoms vary and include head scratching, face rubbing, general pain, weakness in limbs, lip licking, seeking cool places, excessive body rubbing, nerve damage, stiffness in limbs, and the body forming into a C shape. This condition is widespread in toy breed dogs like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Griffon Bruxellois, Chihuahuas and other breeds with a “doll-like” head shape. 

Videotaped for the neurologist before diagnosis.

That first year was really tough.  I had to figure out what medications would help Dexter, what he could and couldn’t do, and how best to treat him, and help him lead a happy, and pain-free life. It was very painful to see my playful (he was 2) pup, full of life, being in pain, and having “bad days” needing extra pain pills. Luckily, I had Deb, and a great support group for dogs with SM that helped me through the learning curve, stress, and pain.

Cooking for health
Dexter waiting for his MRI

We managed our first year, but Dexter certainly wasn’t thriving. Then I met her. The woman who would totally change my life and give me my spunky Dexter back! Dr. Judy Morgan was (and is) a member of a great group of Cavalier folks on Facebook. She selflessly provides the group with helpful tips on holistic pet health and answers questions members have. A truly giving woman. I had a sneaking suspicion she would be able to help me figure out the best care for Dexter, so I set up a phone consultation with her. Sure enough, she modified his medications and added supplements. Within a few weeks, he was doing much better. However, he still was having “bad days” about 3 times a week, give or take.

Then Dr. Morgan started her dog food webinars on how to home cook for your dog. But the dog food webinars were more than learning how to make a healthy, balanced diet for your dog. Dr. Morgan explained how the right foods can help treat disease, and the wrong foods can contribute to disease and discomfort. In July 2013, I made Dexter’s first slow cooker dog food! I was super excited and started to post Dexter’s home cooked dog food recipes to Dexter’s Facebook page. You can read one here.

Healthy home cooking for dogs
Real Food For Dogs

 

Over the next few months, Dexter started to feel better! I didn’t realize what was going on, until my family and I were talking about how good he was doing, and how I hadn’t been giving him as many “extra” pain pills. And he was starting to get back to his silly self, being more playful, athletic, and goofy. Wow. I continued to post recipes on his Facebook page, and on his dog blog. It wasn’t long before our friends were asking us to make a dog cookbook, and the idea was planted. Within a few weeks, I started writing what would become What’s For Dinner, Dexter? Luckily I photographed all of Dexter’s meals along the way and kept a database of his recipes. In a couple of weeks, Dr. Morgan agreed to join me to co-author the dog food cookbook.

Dr. Morgan added a much-needed layer to the dog cookbook, not to mention the kick-butt title! She was able to go into great depth and detail about home cooking for dogs, food therapy, and treating disease with food. She truly is a food guru! The cookbook is now an in-depth manual for how to cook for your dog safely, and how to use the principals of Chinese Medicine Theory in your dog’s recipes. It’s pretty amazing stuff! Over the next year, she became quite an influence on me and has been a great mentor ever since. Without her and her expertise, What’s For Dinner, Dexter? would not be as fabulous as it is today. The book and the process of writing a cookbook was a truly amazing experience.

What’s For Dinner, Dexter? has been quite a success. One of my favorite parts is seeing readers posting their photos of the recipes they create, and their modifications to meet their dog’s needs. After all, it is a cookbook, and geared toward teaching the reader how to customize the recipes to meet their dog’s personal needs.

Thank you, to everyone in my life who has helped me with Dexter, and supported our journey. xo
Tonya and Dexter The Dog

Cooking for pets
Dexter Is Doing Great

Do you cook for your dogs?  Tell me in the comments.

What's For Dinner, Dexter? Learn about Dexter The Dog's backstory. Learning how to home cook a healthy and balanced meal for your dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Custom made pet foods

Paul’s Custom Pet Food Review

Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

Healthy Dog Food Reviews

Paul’s Custom Pet Food Review

Custom made pet foods
Healthy Pet Food Review:
Paul’s Custom Pet Food

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

It’s been awhile since Mom let me do a dog product review. I love doing pet product reviews, especially when they involve eating! And healthy dog food is always a big plus. What’s on the docket for today? Paul’s Custom Pet Food sent me a few samples to try.

Today I tried Paul’s Custom Pet Food’s-Spud’s Beef with Veggies (Grain Free). As you know, Mom is always about finding me the healthiest food and treats. She won’t allow me to eat anything that is questionable. For my readers who aren’t familiar with my feeding routine, I’d like to give a little history to get you up to speed.

Here’s Mom’s conversation and guidelines with our holistic veterinarian food therapist, Dr. Judy Morgan. I normally eat a home cooked primarily organic diet, so this is a bit of a change. Dr. Morgan believes the ingredients in Paul’s Custom Pet Food would be perfectly healthy for me to try. Dr. Morgan is actually helping Paul’s Custom Pet Food with their clients’ nutritional needs.

Healthy pet food reviews
Healthy Pet Food

I knew I was going to be in for a real treat when the oh-so-fragrant aroma filled the room. I started to get excited and ran over to “my spot” hoping Mom would hurry up. Then I saw it: The camera. Darn. I knew it would be a minute before I’d be able to sink my teeth into my healthy dog food.

After Mom’s photo shoot, she said, “OK” and I dove into my dog bowl! Wow! Just Wow! I just loved the taste, and it melted in my mouth. Organic beef heart, yum. I could taste that right away. After a few gulps, I could taste the organic sweet potato and organic apples. Yum. I really cleaned my bowl. I looked up at Mom for more, but she said that was all I got for lunch.

Healthy dog food reviews
Healthy and Tasty Dog Food

Spud’s Beef with Veggies is considered a supplemental food, so if your dog is lucky enough to get this as a regular meal, you will want to add dog probiotics and dog supplements to make the meal balanced. If not, you can use this in addition to a balanced diet.

It’s now time to check out what makes Paul’s Custom Pet Food– Spud’s Beef with Veggies (Grain Free) a healthy food choice for dogs. Paul’s Custom Pet Food is made in small batches from whole, healthful, sustainably raised or grown ingredients that are free of synthetic chemicals, added growth hormones, unnecessary antibiotics, genetically engineered ingredients, and preservatives. They also source as many items as possible from their local farmers and/or businesses. In addition, their supplemental food is gently cooked and immediately frozen to maintain nutritional value. All of the ingredients are the same as those you would use to prepare your own meals. Now that’s some well-cared for dog food!

Spud’s Beef with Veggies Ingredients: Gently cooked ground beef liver and heart, organic russet and sweet potato, organic carrots, organic apple, organic green beans, organic peas, organic ground eggshells

Paul’s Custom Pet Food–Spud’s Beef with Veggies heck yeah!!
Thank you so much, Paul’s Custom Pet Food for allowing me to try your great Spud’s formula!

Pros: Local ingredients, no hormones, no antibiotics, lots of organic ingredients, sustainable ingredients, and manufactured in the US.
Cons: Would like more muscle meat

UPDATE 9/10/16 Paul’s Custom Pet Food improved their recipe to include more muscle meat. 🙂 Here’s their new label.

Healthy Dog Food Reviews
Paul’s Custom Dog Food

 

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Raw Dog Food Review

Sojos Turkey Complete Dog Food Review

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Healthy Raw Dog Food Review

Sojos Turkey Complete Dog Food Review

Raw Dog Food Reviews
Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

I have a big thank you going out to my friends at Sojos! They sent me some tasty delights this week to try out and review. Today it is all about Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix. Oh, I love me some turkey!

Raw Dog Food Review
Sojos Dog Food

Because this is a raw dog food, I want to recap Mom’s conversation about guidelines with our veterinarian food therapist, Dr. Judy Morgan. I normally eat a home-cooked primarily organic diet, so this is a bit of a change. Dr. Morgan believes the ingredients in Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix are along the same lines I’m used to getting, and she didn’t think the fact that it was a raw diet would bother me. She just wanted to confirm that Mom would continue to give me my regular probiotics and supplements. The other precaution Mom took (she can be a bit of a germaphobe) was that she made me eat my food on a towel and washed the towel when I was done eating. So there you have it.

Now back to my review. Mom mixed up the Sojos per the package instructions (just add water and wait 15 minutes). Yes, that’s it. Pretty easy to make a healthy dog food! After my 15 minutes of patient waiting, Mom gave me my first taste. As soon as my lips hit the bowl, I knew I was in for a delightful taste treat. Oh, wow! What a flavorful and healthy dog food. I am so glad to add this new raw dog food to my meal routine. It was wonderful.

Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix is a great freeze-dried raw dog food diet. Because I travel a lot with Mom, this will likely be something we pack for road trips. Not only can it be fed in a stainless steel or ceramic dog food dish, but you can also use it to stuff hollow treat toys! You can learn more about that by clicking Mom’s article-How to stuff a hollow treat toy.
Natural Dog Food Reviews
Healthy Dog Food

Now is the time in the dog food review to talk about all the health benefits of Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix. A wholesome grain- and gluten-free product that you simply combine with water to create your own fresh, homemade dog food. Uses fresh, raw food. Made with USDA FREEZE-DRIED raw turkey and other all-natural ingredients. The freeze-drying process is slow and low so that all natural enzymes are carefully protected. No GMOs, fillers, preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. No ingredients from China, this is made in their own factory in the USA.

Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix: Ingredients: turkey, sweet potato, whole egg, broccoli, celery, apples, flax meal, pecans, cranberries, tricalcium phosphate, basil, dried alfalfa, pumpkin, ginger root, dried kelp, zinc sulfate, vitamin E acetate, vitamin D3

Pros: Tasty, can be used to stuff hollow treat toys, USDA meats, nothing from China, made in their own US facility, healthy dog food, a variety of flavors/proteins to choose from, simple to make
Cons: Can’t think of any.

Sojos Complete Turkey Dog Food Mix is a big hit with me! I’m so glad Sojos sent me some to try. Thank you!


Is your dog or cat a turkey fan?  Tell me in the comments.

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Raw Dog Food Reviews

Primal Pet Food Freeze Dried Meal Review

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Healthy Dog Food Review: Raw Dog Food Review

Primal Pet Food Freeze Dried Meal Review

Raw Dog Food Reviews
Primal Raw Dog Food

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

Today was another great day of reviewing tasty dog food. I can get used to this! The generous people at Primal Pet Foods Inc. were kind enough to send me some samples of their Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried and Primal Munchies Pet TreatsClick here for the review. Right now I want to tell you about the Primal Pet Foods Freeze Dried-Chicken Formula they sent me.

Healthy Raw Dog Foods Reviewed
Primal Raw Dog Food

Because this is an actual healthy raw dog food, Mom talked with my veterinarian food therapist, Dr. Judy Morgan prior to giving me this new food. I’m on a home-cooked, primarily organic diet, so Mom wanted to check to see how my belly would hold up to a food switch for a day. Dr. Morgan felt the ingredients were along the same lines I’m used to getting, and she didn’t think the fact that it was a raw diet would bother me. She just wanted to confirm that Mom would continue to give me my regular probiotics and supplements.

While Mom was outside taking photographs of my new Primal Pet Foods, I was watching her with eager anticipation through the dining room window. I’m not sure why she is so insistent about taking photos and making me wait. But I am a patient boy, so I waited. Finally, it was time to sink my teeth into Primal Pet Foods Freeze Dried-Chicken Formula…..well, after a few more photos.

 

Healthy Raw Dog Food Reviews
Primal Raw Nuggets

Mom first let me eat one of the Primal Chicken Nuggets just like a healthy treat. Oh, and it was good. So good! It was a very soft and easily chewed up piece of heaven. I couldn’t believe Mom was giving me the whole nugget to eat at once! As you know, Mom has a tendency to break up my treats into tiny pieces. But not this time! I got the whole chicken nugget. I’m not complaining, not one bit. I could get used to this.

 

Next, she decided to follow the directions on the bag and rehydrate a nugget. The directions were 1 tablespoon of water to one crumbled nugget, then stir. It looked good to me. Yup, tasted just as great! I kept looking at Mom for more, but she told me this was just a bonus since I’d already eaten dinner.

Healthy Raw Dog Food Brands
Primal Raw Soaking

Because I travel a lot with Mom and bringing my home-cooked dog meals or cooking on dog vacations can be challenging, Mom is thinking about using Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Formulas as part of my food ration. They have a lot of formulas and protein options. I really do like it, and it would make life a lot easier on the road.

It’s time to take a look at Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Formulas and see what makes it so good, healthy, and nutritious. Primal Freeze-Dried Formulas are produced using only the freshest, human-grade ingredients. Their poultry, meat,and game are antibiotic- and steroid-free without added hormones. Primal Formulas only contain meats, poultry, and game that come from 100% natural, vegetarian-fed protein sources that are processed and inspected under strict USDA guidelines for safety and sanitation. The also incorporate certified organic produce, certified organic minerals and unrefined vitamins to fortify their complete and balanced diets. All of the ingredients found in Primal Freeze-Dried Formulas are procured from ranches and farms throughout the United States and New Zealand that take pride in producing wholesome raw foods through natural, sustainable agriculture. That sounds good in my book!

Primal Pet Foods Freeze Dried-Chicken Formula Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Necks, Chicken Gizzards, Organic Kale, Organic Carrots, Organic Yams, Chicken Livers, Organic Broccoli, Organic Apples, Cranberries, Blueberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Copper Carbonate, Selenium), Organic Parsley, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Salmon Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Dried Organic Kelp, Alfalfa, Natural Vitamin E, Mixed Tocopherols (natural preservative).

Pros: Tasty, complete healthy raw diet, all ingredients sourced in the US or New Zealand, a variety of flavors/proteins to choose from, 20% organic foods used
Cons: Can’t think of any.

So what do I think of Primal Pet Foods Freeze Dried-Chicken Formula? Oh, my gosh, do you really have to ask? A WIN!!
Thank you so much, Primal Pet Foods Inc., for sending me this great food

Do you think your dog or cat would love a high-meat pet food?  Tell me in the comments.

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 Raw Dog Food   Raw Cat Food

 

Contact a dog trainer

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipes: Crab Harvest

Home Cooking for Dogs: Healthy Dog Food Recipes

Crab Harvest Dog Food Recipe

Where are the photos?

Seriously, Mom, where are the photos? I think Mom is slipping up here with saving my photos of all my meals. I guess she’ll just have to make them again for me! I need them for my cookbook. This was quite the tasty feast, so I’m okay with doing re-runs.

  • Crab Meat, Wild Caught
  • Wild Caught Alaskan Cod Loins
  • Pork Kidney
  • Organic Lentils
  • Organic Garlic
  • Organic Turnip
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • 100% Pure Blueberry Juice
  • Probiotics & Supplements


Do you cook for your dogs? Tell me in the comments.

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes

 

Healthy Crab Dog Food Recipe

Balanced and Healthy Dog Food Recipes: Crab Delight

Healthy Home Cooking for Dogs

Balanced and Healthy Dog Food Recipes: Crab Delight

Healthy Crab Dog Food Recipe
Healthy Crab Dog Food Recipe

That’s right, crab meat for little Dexter here! Yummo!

Crab Delight Home Cooked Dog Food

  • Crab Meat, Wild Caught
  • Organic Eggs
  • Baby Scallops
  • Beef Heart
  • Organic Radish
  • Organic Pears
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Spinach
  • 100% Pure Blueberry Juice
  • Probiotics & Supplements 
Don’t forget the pears Mom!


Do you cook for your dogs? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes

 

Dog Food Recipes: Apple Beef Stew Dog Food Recipe

Home Cooking Your Dog’s Food, Dog Food Recipes

Apple Beef Stew Dog Food Recipe

It doesn’t get better than this!

Oh, I am looking forward to chowing down on this gourmet dog food dish! I think Mom knew I have been craving some beef dog food. Yum! This home cooked dog meal has some of my favorites…..beef and tomatoes! Thanks, Mom!
Apple Beef Stew For Dogs

  • Organic Beef Tips
  • Beef Heart
  • Organic Apples
  • Organic and Locally Grown Tomatoes
  • Organic and Locally Grown Cucumbers
  • Organic Barley, Hulled
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements

Do you cook for your dogs?  Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Dog Food Recipes: Alligator Stew

Home Cooking Healthy Dog Food For A Dog

Dog Food Recipes: Alligator Stew

Alligator Dog Meals!

By now, you are probably aware that I really love to eat alligator meat! Yes, alligator dog food, yummy! It tastes so delicious, every time Mom has the dog crock pot, haha, crock pot, get it? Anyway, every time I have alligator cooking up, I run around trying to get Mom to feed me now! Feed me now, Mom!

Alligator Stew For Dogs

  • Florida Caught Alligator Meat
  • Wild Caught Alaskan Cod Loins
  • Pork Kidney
  • Organic Cucumber
  • Organic Spinach
  • Organic Tomatoes
  • Organic Cauliflower
  • Organic Eggs, Chicken
  • Organic Wild Rice
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Dog Supplements

Do you cook for your dogs?  Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Cooking healthy food for your dog

Healthy Home Made Dog Food Recipes: Leftovers

Cooking for Your Dog Nutritious Dog Food

Healthy Dog Food Recipes: Leftovers

Cooking healthy food for your dog
Naturally Healthy Dog Food Recipes

Leftovers may not sound so appetizing, but for me they are great! Mom made my next set of home-cooked dog meals with a little of this and a little of that! All still to have a well-balanced, almost all organic dog food dish suitable for a King….a King Charles Spaniel that is. Not sure when that phrase will get old….Woof!

Leftovers Dog Meal  

  • Organic 85% Lean Hamburger
  • Organic Beef Liver
  • Organic Carrots
  • Organic Oranges
  • Organic Tomatoes
  • Organic Wild Rice
  • 100% Pure Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Dog Supplements


Do you cook for your dogs? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes

Home Cooking for Dogs: Healthy Clams and Liver

Home Cooking for Dogs, Dog Food Recipes

Healthy Dog Food Recipe: Clams and Liver

Nom, Nom, Nom. Mom has been a busy bee with all her dog home cooked meals for me! I certainly can’t complain. Well, if I had one complaint, it’s that I can’t eat all day long! Yum, yum! Today’s slow-cooked dog meal is perfection…I mean Clamfection!

Clamfection Dog Food:Healthy Clams and Liver Dog Food Recipe

Do you cook for your dogs?  Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes