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Pepper’s Breakfast | Manolo's Food Blog

Pepper’s Breakfast

Once a week the Henry kitchen counter, cleared of extraneous cups and bowls, becomes the site of industrial production. It’s time to make Pepper’s food.pepper1.jpg

 

As faithful readers know, Pepper is the Henry’s noble hound, a 67-pound mystery mix of Labrador retriever and border collie. For years she ate Stella & Chewy’s raw chicken or raw lamb frozen burgers, a rather costly diet. Lately, however, Pepper’s stomach has resisted the raw Stella & Chewy’s, a surprising development in light of the pleasure she takes in snagging detritus off the Broadway sidewalk.

Wisdom du jour instructs dog owners to prepare raw food, in particular raw chicken, following the theory that a raw diet mimics what wild dogs ate. Since the dog had been domesticated for 30,000 years, give or take, Mr. Henry wonders just how much chicken they have been getting, historically speaking, and thus to what degree their digestion is genuinely accustomed to such fare. Sitting around the campfire of early man, domesticated dogs probably dined on charred tubers, rotten seeds, and scraps of gristle and sinew, as well as on bones too small for man to bother cracking with a hand ax.

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Mr. Henry’s personal theory is that the modern dog retains one eating habit left over from the Stone Age, however, a taste preference rather shocking to the urbane dog owner. The one reliable comestible around a human settlement, after all, season after season, was man scat.

Pepper’s list of favorite foods is topped by stinky cheese, followed by buttered toast, salmon skin, and apple peelings. Is there a pattern here?

What follows is Mrs. Henry’s personal recipe for a canine raw diet, ingredients deliberately chosen for ease of preparation. Mrs. Henry prefers boneless breast of chicken because she can throw them whole into the food processor right from the package. Lentils are the only cooked ingredient.

For even chopping, process each ingredient separately. Mix together, place in muffin tins (topped with wax paper for easy stacking), and freeze. Yield: 24 cupcake portions.

Each morning Pepper eats four cupcakes. At night she eats 1 ⅓ cups dry food, half Innova dog food and half Evo small bites (low carb), with a splash of buttermilk.

The one quibble Mr. Henry has with this recipe is the absence of added salt. Since he always shares a scrap from the table with his constant quadruped, however, he imagines she gets her allowance of salt thereby. And, of course, there are sticks to chew, grasses to munch, and treats to beg at Patagonia. The world is full of possibilities.

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Pepper’s Breakfast

3 lbs. boneless breast chicken
1 cup cooked lentils
½ bunch kale (or spinach) – leaves & small stems
1 sm. bag carrots, peeled baby
½ bag cranberries
2 apples
blueberries, a handful

15 Responses to “Pepper’s Breakfast”

  1. Hilary December 31, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    Interesting mixture. My grandparents and my parents raised Labrador retrievers, German shorthaired pointers and Welsh terriers, and they did at one point, purchase what looked to me (ages ago) like a raw meat mixture. Eventually the hassle factor outweighed the dogs’ need for meat, and they subsisted on dry food, without noticeable differences in their coat quality or temperament (food was food, after all). My mother’s prize-winning Maltese, however, were always fed by hand, and always fed the best of the best.

    I have to admit, for us to switch our 13 year-old Katie (an interesting mix of border collie and many other anxious breeds) to raw meat would probably do her in; the shock alone would kill her, never mind the sudden richness in her food.

    I am curious, does Pepper shed at all? Does it make a difference to feed her this diet versus one with no raw meat?

  2. Glinda January 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    That Pepper is a cutie!

    And why is it that he seems to have more variety in his diet than my five year old?

    Kidding, kidding…

  3. Mr. Henry January 7, 2008 at 8:29 am #

    In answer to Hilary, yes, Pepper sheds a good deal. Moreover, she seems to shed more now than before she began eating the raw diet. Do you have an explanation for this?

  4. Carolyn January 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    Pepper is gorgeous! Give her some raw bones. Chicken necks, chicken frames, whatever you can get – but they should be raw.

    Maybe her shedding is due to an allergy. Is she eating more lamb now? Maybe she can’t handle the lentils.

  5. raincoaster January 12, 2008 at 9:45 pm #

    You might want to add a dollop of fat to that mixture. Lack of fat can contribute to shedding, although because of breakage, not because the hair is falling out from the roots. Alas, this I know from personal dietary experience.

    I used to work at Greenpeace, and it is, as you can imagine, full of vegans. Strangely, they all had dogs. Dogs, as you know, are carnivorous. This caused the vegans no end of trouble, as they could NOT understand why the dogs kept barfing up the expensive soymeal they were given. I told them to get cows as pets instead.

  6. Susanna January 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    Ah, that Pepper is a love child!

    We are owned by two Pugs, Mr. Nixon and Linus, and a very recent acquisition, Eloise (aka “Weezie”) the French Bulldog who all eat raw food. Hooray for the raw food.

    Have you considered adding a bit of fish oil to Pepper’s diet? Either in liquid or capsule form? Raincoaster is right about the fat matter. As well some bone meal for calcium will round out the diet nicely. Both of these will likely help with the shedding matter and can be found at the health food store.

    She will think the fish oil is tasty!

  7. frumpiefox January 13, 2008 at 12:15 pm #

    Pepper is completely adorable! Such a face–ahhhh!

    I have a 7 month old pomeranian (Louie) who’s on a pretty strict diet. For breakfast, he gets Iams puppy chow mixed with a small amount of Ceasar’s wet dog food. Dinner is puppy chow mixed with some plain yogurt (not low fat, and with active cultures, to help digestion.) He gets very few table scraps, as he has a personality that would quickly become unbearable if he were allowed to beg.

    I’ve been that yogurt is very good for their coats. In any case, his coat is incredibly shiny.

  8. Long Island January 13, 2008 at 12:52 pm #

    We own a Rhodesian Ridgeback. When we bought him from the breeder she recommended Abady Granulated dog food. We mix it with about a cup of green beans. The food is very high in protein and calories so you really do not need to feed them very much. Furthermore dogs only “go” usually once a day on this diet but since the food is high in protein “it” is rather odoriferous. A 40 lb box may seem expensive but it lasts a long time. He inhales this food. Being a Ridgeback he pretty much inhales all food. However he looks beautiful … his coat is like a seals. The vet and the kennel always comment on his shine. I have attached the link to Abady. The company does sound a little “cultish” but you may want to give it try. It sure beats cooking like crazy for a dog.

    http://therobertabadydogfoodcoltd.com/

  9. Mr. Henry January 13, 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    Yes, Long Island, cooking like crazy for a dog has been making Mr. Henry go just a little…..crazy. Since Pepper inhales everything with equal velocity, the opposite of a picky eater, there is always the temptation to simply reach for the dry food.

    Thanks, Susanna, for the fish oil suggestion. In fact, Pepper does get fish oil whenever Mr. Henry can remember to stop in at the health food store, a place he avoids because the employees look as though they carry plague. Clearly, fat is necessary in the diet of man and dog. It’s good for their coats.

  10. Susanna January 13, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    Yes, funny how those working in “health food” stores often look like they have rickets and severe malnourishing. I actually saw one of those people who had been poisoned by colloidal silver in there one time. TOO MUCH colloidal silver. Oops.

    heh heh heh

  11. raincoaster January 14, 2008 at 1:57 am #

    Tell me about it. My roomie is a raw vegan chef. He eats one meal a day: salad, with no dressing. Doesn’t want to pork up, you know!

    It’s not about health, 90% of the time: it’s about issues.

  12. megaera January 15, 2008 at 12:17 am #

    Actually, dogs in times past got the raw offal from kills, as well as scraps and such; many livestock guardian dogs supplemented their diets with small prey such as squirrels and the like in addition to any larger predators they killed to protect their herds. My Akita gets raw chicken drumsticks/thighs, turkey necks, and twice a week: cooked veggies (usually broccoli or green beans.) The bones help to keep her teeth clean, and honestly, she still supplements her diet with small critters she kills in the backyard. (One time all I could find were feathers scattered over two square meters of yard!) A lot of what and how much they eat depends on the dog breed/s and what they were designed to do.