CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 2 . . . . September 14, 2007
It is indeed unfortunate that this book contains some dangerous, if not lethal, suggestions for dog owners, as there definitely is a market for cookbooks for dogs.
Originally published in Australia, this beautifully designed, lush book, full of stunning photographs, elegant fonts and colours, and simple, easy-to-follow recipes for food for dogs, will be a magnet for people who either breed or spoil dogs. Owners who have unlimited amounts of time and money to spend preparing a balanced diet for their pets, much as a parent would carefully and lovingly prepare food for a pre-school child, will also be attracted to the book.
Author Jamie Young is an Australian accountant for an international advertising agency. He has developed an online dog food cooking show and claims that the Australian vets on TV are all sponsored or employed by the processed pet food industry. Although he has no scientific or veterinarian training, he was determined to prepare fresh food for his dog, Frodo. And this book has been marketed well.
We're not talking table scraps here. Young prepares cooked food for his American Staffordshire terrier, Frodo, that you could easily serve to your human family: pasta bolognese, for example, or fried rice. Frodo also receives raw food such as whole raw chicken stuffed with risotto, or tasty health burgers composed of raw ground chicken and beef. Young also encourages readers to serve carcasses of raw animals and fish, and fresh offal (15 to 20 % of the dog's body weight per week). Six pages of vitamins, their uses and effects, are noted. A page of oils, one of vegetables and one of toxic foods precede a clear, useful index.
The first four chapters (cooked, raw, carnivore and treats) contain 23 recipes that any person who has done some basic household family cooking could easily prepare. Some of the ingredients (avocado oil, rabbit, ox tongue) would be difficult to find in your local supermarket. But for the most part, if you cook for humans, you would be able to find the ingredients or already have them on hand.
The question is: who on earth would ever treat their pet dog, or even their show dog, with such over-the-top attention? The answer, according to this reviewer's friends and acquaintances who are vets or who own/and or breed dogs, is -- lots of people. So this book will fill a niche need, look fabulous on the coffee table or kitchen counter, and encourage people to look more carefully at their dog's health.
Unfortunately, Young recommends feeding onion, raisins and grapes (and grapeseed oil) to dogs. All of these can lead to renal failure and should NEVER be fed to any dog. Although some vets are OK with feeding dogs raw bones, others are totally against it because of the possibility of punctured intestines. Raw chicken may contain salmonella; raw beef may be contaminated with e coli. Therefore, buyers of this book, beware, and always consult your own vet concerning food questions for your dog.
Recommended with reservations.
Joan Marshall is a Winnipeg, MB, bookseller who is happy to own a cat that cheerfully eats dry kibble.
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