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Norwich Bulletin - 4/27/2008

Book Review

I have to admit that I feed my animals commercial dry and canned food. I do spend the money to buy high end food for all of my pets, and I feel fairly safe using them, but if you read Ann Martin's book, Protect Your Pet, there are a lot of scary things still going on.

I have some very good friends who lost their animal companions due to the tainted food, and I am well aware of the risk that we all take when we feed our cats and dogs food off of the pet store shelves. I am also aware that every time I eat certain meats and manufactured foods, that I, too, am taking a chance because we no longer know what is being put into our food either.

But since this is a pet column, I am going to outline some of the points this book makes to give us "food for thought" as well as some recipes for making your own dog and cat food, for those of you who have the energy or inclination. Some of the contents of this book are not for the faint of heart though. As for me, the jury is still out on this one, but it does give one pause to think.

Ever wonder what happens to the millions of pounds of meats that are recalled from the human food chain that is found to be contaminated with salmonella, listeria or ecoli? In 1999 there was an instance where tons of hot dogs, poultry and lunch meat were recalled due to a listeria scare.

The president of the company who had produced the product stated that although the meat could not be reconditioned for human consumption, they would cook the meat, which will kill the listeria (hopefully) and sell it as pet food. You see, U.S. Federal Law permits the sale of condemned meat as pet food.

Here is a scarier and much more repulsive thought. Pet food companies do not have to test the raw material that is sold to make their pet food products. There is strong evidence that shows some of the rendering plants have accepted euthanized pets, including dogs and cats, to become that raw material.

The product the plants render come from a variety of sources, including garbage from grocery stores, spoiled food from restaurants, sick farm animals, and even road kill! The material is then cooked somewhere between twenty minutes and an hour and then finally ground. This product is called meat meal.

Let's not forget all the antibiotics that are given to farm animals, not just to help stop disease, but as preventative measures. The result for humans is that we build up resistance to certain antibiotics and when we get sick, the drugs will have no effect on us. Some of the animals are given too many antibiotics and they are condemned for human consumption - well you know what that means, it makes it into our pet's food.

There are other products too - hormones, pesticides, assorted toxins, bacteria, diseased animals can all make their way into our pet foods. Ms. Martin's book is pretty shocking and convincing and does offer some alternatives which I will share with you.

Making High Protein Dry Food:
1 pounds chicken wings, necks, backs, and liver, cooked and ground; 1-15 ounce can of tuna; 1 cups of rye flour; 2 cups of whole wheat flour; 1 cups of brown rice flour; 1 cups of wheat germ; two teaspoons of garlic powder; 4 tablespoons powdered kelp; 1 cups of powdered milk, 2/3 cup brewer's yeast; 3 cups of beef or chicken broth; 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil and one egg.

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix ground chicken and fish together. Mix oil, egg and broth; then blend chicken and fish and mix into the dry ingredients. Roll to inch thickness on cookie sheet; bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and then break into pieces and store in air tight container in the refrigerator. You have now made a safe and healthy dry food for your pets!

Cat food - not dry:
2 cups of ground chicken or turkey, cooked; 1 cup of cooked brown rice; cup grated carrots; 4 teaspoons cottage cheese or plain yogurt and 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Combine all ingredients and serve at room temperature.

Doggie Pot Roast:
4 pounds of chuck roast, cut into pieces; two large potatoes with skin, cut into pieces; two carrots cut into pieces, 1 cup of green beans; teaspoon garlic powder and 1 cup of V-8 juice. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker for approximately five or six hours or until vegetables are tender. Cool and serve.

There are so many other recipes in this book: kitten formula, Tuna cookies for cats, Canine Stew, Doggie Chicken Feast, and special recipes for animals with urinary tract problems or pets in renal failure.

If you are at all interested in making some of your own pet food, if not all, spend $13.95 and invest in this excellent book. For more information on obtaining this book, log onto www.newsagepress.com.

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