Our dog, Sam, died when he was a little over 20 years old. He was a large breed – a flatcoated retriever. It surprised everybody, ourselves included, that Sam lived to such a ripe old age — and he enjoyed an active happy life almost right up to the end. We feel it was at least partly because he ate such a healthy homemade raw food diet.
I developed his diet based on asking questions of my sister, Dr. Moira Drosdovech, a holistic veterinarian in Kelowna, BC … plus my own research into the diet of species like dogs (wolves, fox) and observing what Sam seemed to crave and loved to eat. It worked out for us and we are feeding this same diet to our new companion, Charlie, who came to us as a 10 year old senior. Charlie is also a flatcoat (we think he is also part afghan hound.) He is very active and seems to be thriving on the raw food diet. I’ll keep you posted!
Scroll down for the recipe.
Sam’s Healthwise Raw Food Cakes
Makes approximately 26 cups*
- 2 cups rice (brown or white)
- 4 cups unsalted, no-onion chicken broth
- 2 large yams, steamed or baked (I use the microwave to make it quickly)
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (in season)
- 1 large bunch parsley
- 8 large carrots
- 1/4 head cabbage (optional — warning: ground up cabbage has a strong smell!)
- 1 broccoli head
- 6 celery stalks
- 1 large zucchini and/or yellow summer squash (in season)
- 4 large apples (more is good)
- 1 # cranberries (in season, sometimes more)
- 1 # blueberries (in season. These turn food gray. If it bothers you, skip blueberries)
- Other fruit: peaches, pears, plums are all okay for dogs and nutritious.
- 1# green beans (sometimes more.)
- 1# snap peas, or whatever peas in the pod you have around
- 12 eggshells or more (baked to dry, grind in small “coffee grinder”)**
- 9 eggs, poached lightly then cooled
- 1 c. peanut butter (more or less — I use this as a binder & for protein)
- 2/3 cup nutritional yeast (lots of vitamins) or 1/3 cup dog multiple vitamin powder
- 1 cup flax meal (if you just have the seed, finely grind it in food processor)
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or raw almonds (finelyd processor)
- 2 cups rolled oats, optional (1/2 ground in food processor, 1/2 whole)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup rosehips, dried and ground in coffee grinder ***
- Cook rice in broth til done (the way you usually cook rice — I use a rice cooker) Then, let cool
- Puree the yams in food processor, skin and all.
- Finely chop or grind the fruits and vegetables in a food processor (the finer the more digestible.) I do one thing at a time in my Cuisinart and save time by NOT washing it out between ingredients. It doesn’t matter anyway since all of the ingredients get mixed together.
- Put all of the ingredients into a very large bowl (I use a huge bread bowl my brother gave me over 20 years ago) Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. (I use my hands to mix it — there is aLOT here.)
- Mix with your hands or a spoon til all the ingredients have been incorporated into a squishy, moist glop.
- Put waxed paper or parchment paper on 2 large cookie sheets. Scoop out measured amounts**** of the mixture in “balls” or “cakes” and place on waxed paper. –close together. Freeze until hard. Put the cakes in airtight freezer baggies and thaw as needed. *****
* This recipe makes approximately 26 (1-cup) balls of raw food. You will end up with more or less depending on the size of your fruits and veggies like apples and cabbage.
** We save the shells from organic eggs for our dog. Bake them for a few minutes to make them brittle. Then grind in a clean coffee grinder or mini-food-processor until finely powdered. These provide a natural source of calcium for your pet. You can use calcium citrate instead, but I prefer using the eggshells.
*** I sometimes substitute a powdered, fortified Vitamin C product called “Emergen-C” for the rosehips. Emergen-C also contains many other vital nutrients such as folic acid, B Vitamins, Potassium, etc. If I add the Emergenc-C I make sure to use enough to provide at least 6000mg of C to the above amount of food.
*** The size of the “cakes” will depend on the size and appetite of your dog. Sam weighed 70 pounds and ate two (1-cup) cakes plus meat per day even at age 19, when he started to slow down. Charlie, who weighs about 58 to 60 pounds, eats 2 large cakes and more raw meat than we gave Sam, each day. For a medium to large dog, the amount of raw food from this recipe lasts about two weeks.
**** You will have to determine how much to feed your pets and what else to feed with this raw food meal. We give Charlie 12 ounces or more of raw meat with each meal — usually raw ground turkey, chicken, bison or rabbit. We have also fed him raw llama meat and venison. He gets bison or beef heart a few times a week, as well as raw turkey or chicken necks to chew on in the morning. A squirt of salmon oil on his food makes it yummy, and keeps him healthy. You might also want to add a spoonful of yogurt to your dog’s meals, to maintain a healthy digestive tract. When Sam was over 14 or so, he got an extra multiple canine vitamin and 250 mg glucosamine each day.