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
home made dog food recipes

Dog Food Recipe: Thanksgiving Feast

Healthy Dog Food Recipes

Dog Food Recipe: Thanksgiving Feast

home made dog food recipes
Healthy Dog Food Recipe

Next week is Thanksgiving! So Mom thought it would be a good idea to make me my own Thanksgiving Day dog food. Okay, 3 days’ worth! I think it looks pretty yummy and am eagerly waiting to try this new dog food dish!

Healthy dog food recipe
Natural Dog Food Recipe

Thanksgiving Day Feast for Dogs

  • No Antibiotics or Hormones Skinless Turkey Thighs
  • No Antibiotics or Hormones Chicken Hearts
  • Organic Spaghetti Squash
  • Organic Cranberries
  • Organic Steel Cut Oats
  • Organic Celery
  • Organic Carrots
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Probiotics and Supplements

Did your dog get an extra tasty Thanksgiving treat? Tell me in the comments.

 

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Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Pork, Veggies and Fruit Dish

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes

Pork, Veggies and Fruit Dish

Tasty Dog Food

A dish without alligator meat! This is pretty tasty too, I have to admit. So far Mom has tickled my taste buds with every meal. Thanks, Mom!
Pork, Veggies and Fruit Dish

  • Grass Fed, No Antibiotics or Hormones Pork Shoulder
  • Grass Fed, No Antibiotics or Hormones Beef Heart
  • Organic Mixed Fruit and Veggies
  • Organic Brown Rice
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements


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

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

 

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Alligator and Seafood

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Alligator and Seafood

FRESH!

I’m a fan of my meals from the sea. But Mom often says I have “fish breath” so she then brushes my choppers. Oooh, look! Do I see alligator meat!!!???? Yippee!

Dreaming Of Seafood Dog Food Dish

  • Florida Caught Alligator Meat
  • Wild Caught Alaskan Cod Loins
  • Baby Scallops
  • Pork Kidney
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Dates
  • Organic Lentils
  • Organic Kidney Beans
  • Organic Celery
  • Organic Eggplant
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements


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

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Buffalo Meatloaf For Dogs

Home Cooking For Dogs

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Buffalo Meatloaf For Dogs

All good stuff here!

I’m a big fan of the meatloaf! This dish has it all! Grass fed buffalo meat, organic wild rice, organic bananas, and a lot of other good foods to feed dogs. I think Mom out did herself on this dog dish!

Buffalo Meatloaf Dog Food Recipe

  • Free Range, grass fed, no antibiotic/hormone free buffalo meat
  • Beef Heart
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Eggs
  • Organic Bananas
  • Organic Wild Rice
  • Organic Celery
  • Organic Tomatoes
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements
Finished & oh so tasty!


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

 

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Alligator Oatmeal

Home Cooking Dog Food Recipes

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Alligator Oatmeal

This made the house smell so yummy!

Now, this is what I’m talking about! This smelled delicious even to my Mom! She did take a taste and wasn’t as thrilled with it as I was, but hey, she’s not a gator nut like I am!
Alligator Oatmeal for Dogs

  • Florida Caught Alligator Meat
  • Organic Strawberries
  • Organic Spinach
  • Organic Celery
  • Pork Kidney
  • Organic Apples
  • Organic Yellow Squash
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements


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

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

 

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Dehydrated Scallops and Tidbits

Home Cooking Dog Food Recipes

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Dehydrated Scallops and Tidbits

Nice & fresh, just like I like it!

Mom’s at it again! She is working hard at finding me treat alternatives to use on our adventures and for dog training treats. Since we’ve been home cooking, the “dry kibbles” that I normally used for snacks and treats aren’t the best option. So, here’s another trial at to-go dog snacks that will double as my meal. We did find that the sweet potatoes and red peppers didn’t digest as well this way. Dr. Judy said maybe a bit too fibrous and large since I just gobbled them and didn’t “chew, chew, chew” as Mom always says. So next time, we’ll try smaller pieces, maybe another veggie, and maybe tossing them in the oven to crunch up a bit. So, stay tuned!


Dehydrated Scallops and Tidbits Dog Food Recipe

  • Baby Scallops
  • Organic Strawberries
  • Organic Tomatoes
  • Beef Heart
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Carrots
  • Organic Red Peppers

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

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Home Made Dehydrated Alligator Dog Treat

Healthy Home Made Dog Treat Recipes

Home Made Dehydrated Alligator Dog Treat

Home Made Dog Treats
I think by now, you all know how much I love my gator! I just go bonkers over this meat, and I can’t control myself. So Mom made a meal that she can use as dog training treats when we are out and about. And I think this was a hit!
Dehydrated Alligator Dog Treat

  • Florida Caught Alligator Meat
  • Pork Kidney
  • Organic Sweet Potato
  • Organic Banana
  1. Cut food into 3/8″ thick slices.
  2. Place ingredients on dehydrator rack.
  3. Dehydrate until done, approximately 9 hours.
  4. Cool and enjoy!

Has your dog or cat eaten alligator meat?  Did they like it?  Tell me in the comments.

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

 

Dog Food Recipe: Beef Meatloaf For Dogs

Healthy Home Cooking Dog Food Recipes

Dog Food Recipe: Beef Meatloaf

Meatloaf Yum

I’m not sure who likes this home-cooked dog meals more, me or Mom! I think she is enjoying making new recipes and testing her cooking or crock-potting skills. Either way, I’m in!

This was really tasty!  Seconds please!

Beef Meatloaf Dog Food Recipe

  • Organic 90% Lean Hamburger
  • Beef Heart
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Green Peppers
  • Organic Lentils
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Organic Tomatoes
  • Organic Spinach
  • Organic Celery
  • Organic Egg Whites
  • 100% Pure Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements

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

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Seafood Medley

Healthy Home Cooked Dog Food Recipes: Seafood Medley

Seafood Dog Meals

I sure love my seafood dog food dishes! But don’t forget, you must brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis! Mom brushes my doggie teeth about every other day. But every day after my seafood dog food!

Seafood Medley Dog Food Recipe

  • Crab Meat, Wild Caught
  • Wild Caught Alaskan Cod Loins
  • Beef Heart
  • Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • Organic Mixed Fruit & Veggies
  • Organic Brown Rice
  • Canned Sardines
  • 100% Blueberry Juice
  • Dog Probiotics and Supplements


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

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Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes