Pets and Food

November 4, 2003

The first time I met Thundertoes, I was aghast. What is a veterinarian supposed to say when faced with a 20-pound cat? I was a first-time cruiser trying to bolster our finances, and I wanted to make a good impression. So when the very nice owners of Thundertoes asked if his weight was O.K., all I could say was, “What kind of cat food are you giving him?”
Cruising cats lead a life of luxury: no neighborhood fights, little exposure to disease, and lots of fresh fish. What they don’t get is a lot of exercise. This can lead to extreme obesity and the diseases that go with it. Cruising dogs, on the other hand, usually get plenty of exercise when at anchor by begging for those twice-a-day walks. The most common dietary problem among dogs is an upset gastrointestinal system from changing food brands or from eating a low-quality brand. Unfortunately, in many countries, you’re lucky to find any pet food, let alone reduced-calorie or high-quality food. The answer? Homemade diets¿they’re easy to make and can be made in large batches. Fresh meat is usually easy to find, or you can use canned meat. Cooked fish, never raw, can be given occasionally as a treat but shouldn’t be the mainstay of any pet’s diet. Nutritional supplements are an important part of these diets. Make sure you include the proper amounts and types of vitamins and minerals. You can also use these diets intermittently with prepared diets, but whenever you switch your pet’s feed, always do it gradually over three or four days.
By making your own pet food, you can ensure that you’re serving your pet the food that’s appropriate for its lifestyle and its state of health. So, bon appétit, Thundertoes¿here’s to a new you!

Low-Fat Diet for Cats
1 1/4 lb. liver (beef, chicken, or pork only) cooked and ground
1 cup cooked white rice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams) calcium carbonate
1/4 teaspoon potassium chloride (salt substitute)
Yields 1 3/4 lb. of food; keep refrigerated.
Your cat’s optimal body weight is 7 to 10 pounds, so give 1/3 to 1/2 pounds of food per day. After achieving the desired weight, switch to a quality maintenance diet.
Important: Give 250 milligrams of taurine per day.
Snacking, scavenging, and hunting forbidden while on this diet!
Sensitive-Tummy Diet for Dogs
2 cups of cooked Cream of Wheat
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 large hard boiled egg
2 tablespoons inactive dried brewer’s yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon potassium chloride (salt substitute)
1 teaspoon dicalcium phosphate
1 teaspoon calcium carbonate
Yields 2.2 pounds of food. Keep refrigerated.
Feed animal a sufficient amount to maintain normal body weight.

Low-Fat Diet for Dogs
1/4 lb. lean cooked ground beef, chicken, or turkey, drained of fat
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 cups carrots, canned or cooked
2 cups green beans, canned or cooked
1 1/2 teaspoon dicalcium phosphate
Yields 3/4 pounds of food. Keep refrigerated.
Raw vegetables are OK for snacks; all other snacks are forbidden.
Feed your dog according to its optimal weight. If it’s 20 pounds, give 1 pound of food per day. If it’s 40 pounds, give 1 3/4 pounds of food per day. If it’s 60 pounds, give 2 1/2 pounds of food per day.
Once your dog has attained its desired weight, switch to a quality maintenance diet. Stephanie D. Shaw


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