All these things are good for people to eat too on a regular basis! Have a bite while you’re preparing your pet’s meal. A forkful of canned salmon a day will balance your Omega 3 Fatty Acids too!

DO NOT FEED:  Chocolate, Onions, Raisons or Grapes, Raw Salmon, Cooked Bones

What is a portion?  A portion is what makes sense for the size and activoty level of your pet.

Mountain Rose Herbs - This is my favorite place to buy dried herbs of all sorts. If I don't grow it, I buy it from this wonderful company. All herbs are certified organic, fresh, and are certified fair trade, etc.


Assistance Dog Resources


Emergency Planning for Pets


Shopping Green for Your Pet


Foster a Service Dog


Help with Vet Bills


VA Benefits for Service Dogs


Pet Proofing your Home and Yard

(Thank you Addison!)



More links and recommendations  to come! 

Recommended On-Line Resources

Grains or Not?

There's a lot of controversy as to whether grains should be in pet food. 


Cats and dogs have no real nutritional need for grains in their diets. Pet food manufacturers use grain because it is a cheap source of filler and adds protein and calories to the label on the bag. But these are empty numbers for most cats and dogs because they don’t absorb nutrients from grains in the same way we do. In fact, many animals have developed sensitivities or allergies to certain grains. Corn and soy also tend to have genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should be avoided unless certified organic or certified GMO free. 


Having said that, grains can be used in the diets of cats and dogs in moderation. Grains have many minerals and vitamins, many pets are able to effectively digest them,  and they can be a cost-effective way to bulk up your food and stick to a budget. Your pet will surely benefit from the food when you make it yourself whether you use grains or not, and you have to make this work for you. I often cook beets in water for my household, and when I look at the dark, antioxidant-rich purple beet water that remains, I am very happy to pour some rolled oats in and let them cook and soak up the nutrients to feed to my animals. You can make vegetable-enriched grains out of any leftover veggie cooking liquid; just add enough water to cook the grains fully. I then usually add a spoonful of these veggie oats to my ground-meat meals for a little variation and to make the food last longer.


Keep in mind that grains must all be cooked well. I prefer to use oats, barley, millet, corn/polenta, and brown rices in pet food. Cats will need their grains mixed well with meat — use about four parts meat to one part grain in cat food. For dogs, aim for about two parts meat to one part grain. Don’t get overly hung up on these ratios; variety is good and you will have to adjust according to your individual animal’s needs.

I have many grain-free and grain-full recipes in my Health Homemade Pet Food Cookbook!

Garlic versus Onions

Onions should never be fed to dogs. But why is garlic OK?


You should never feed onions to your dog. 

However I feed my dogs garlic all the time! Although in the onion family, garlic is safe when used in moderation. Do not overdo it, because in large amounts, garlic can act like onions and cause an anemic reaction. If your pet has exhibited sensitivities or has a preexisting anemic condition, do not feed garlic. Also, avoid feeding garlic to pets younger than 6 months old. I usually do not feed my cats much garlic as they really don't seem to like it. 

Garlic is a very healthy addition to a pet’s diet; it is an antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, immune system stimulant and general health tonic. I try to vary the way I use garlic because its phytochemicals differ when the garlic is fresh than when exposed to oxygen for varying amounts of time, and when it is cooked and/or dried. 
    
Dogs usually love garlic, but cats are not as into garlic as dogs. Some cats may get turned off from trying new foods if they smell garlic. Let them guide you—if they really don’t want to eat food with garlic, then just skip it. You’re already adding plenty of other super-healthy ingredients into your cat’s diet. 
    
My rule of thumb for serving garlic is to add about 1/8 teaspoon of powdered garlic per pound of meat, or one clove of fresh garlic for 5 to 7 pounds of meat.



Cooked versus Raw

Raw meat is what the wild counterparts to our cats and dogs eat and thrive on. The digestive systems of cats and dogs are designed for eating raw meat and absorbing all the nutrients they need from it. Once we start cooking and processing it, the meat becomes less nutritious. This doesn’t mean that a cat or dog won’t be able to get any nutrition from cooked meat, just not the most they could be getting. A wild puma or coyote might not do so well if fed cooked human food, but many domestic cats and dogs can actually be quite healthy on a cooked diet. Then again, many cats and dogs could do much better on a raw diet, and some may need a raw diet in order to thrive. For others, a raw diet may not work at all. Keep in mind that even if you cook all of your pet’s food, you are still providing a diet far above and beyond what your pet would get out of a bag of commercial kibble. The amount of raw meat you include in your pet’s food is completely up to you.

When I am making pet food, I usually focus on raw meals. But my pets also share many human meals. I also take advantage of a lot of cooked “super foods” such as canned salmon and sardines.

Just be aware that cats’ and dogs’ digestive systems probably won’t be able to absorb as much nutrition from cooked meat as they could from raw, so take this into consideration when preparing cooked food and consider including a multivitamin in your pet’s diet. Taurine is one example: It is an essential amino acid that cats need, yet it is virtually destroyed in cooked meats. So you must add it as a supplement to your cooked meal.

There is also more moisture content in raw meat, and cats, especially, tend to depend on their food for a great amount of their liquid needs. That’s one reason why feeding a cat a diet of dry kibble can lead to urinary tract problems. So be sure the cooked food you serve is adequately moist. 

Healthy Homemade Treats for Cats

Article with lots of Recipes!

Quick & Easy Healthy Additions
that Dogs and Cats like


Fabulous Super Foods you can add to your pets’ meals every day:

  • A portion of tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • A whole egg
  • A portion of canned pink Alaska salmon
  • A portion of sardines or canned jack mackerel
  • ¼ tsp – 2 tsp tumeric powder
  • A raw carrot (dogs only)
  • A steamed broccoli floret or two
  • Chopped fresh parsley or other green
  • A scoop of dried stinging nettle leaf
  • A portion of baked yam or winter squash
  • A scoop of natural yogurt
  • A scoop of sauerkraut
  • A sprinkle of ground walnuts
  • A sprinkle of ground sunflower or pumpkin (pepita) seeds
  • Berries – you may need to mash these up

Making Homemade Pet Food Demos and Dog and Cat Holistic Nutrition Talks

I am very active doing talks, demos, and book signings on how to make your own homemade pet food. It is a subject that I feel passionately about as I have been feeding my animals in this way since 1996 and have seen it work to bring back health and vitality to hundreds of other pet owners.

Consider taking our Making Homemade Pet Food Workshop here at Midsummer Farm. 

Or if you are looking for an interesting topic for your group or organization, please do not hesitate to let me know as I would be very happy to discuss scheduling such a talk with you and your group. 


Fee for most demos/talks is between $250-350 depending on length and breath of talk and driving time.

VARiety and Balancing the Homemade Pet Food Diet


Or, Why does everyone assume that dogs and cats need to eat the same exact food every single day of their lives? 


Variety Is the Spice of Health!  You are NOT going to feed your cat or dog the same meal every day. 

For many people, this is a huge, fundamental change in thinking. The idea that feeding the same meal each day is “normal” is a major part of the marketing plan for the commercial pet food industry. But the idea of feeding the same meal every day reminds me of those futuristic science fiction stories in which humans survive on nutrient pills that contain the daily allowance of nutrients in a single swallow. It can never work. Although the pet food industry has come up with a general guideline of necessary daily nutrients that may keep most cats and dogs alive, vibrant health just won’t be possible for most pets fed that way. Simply put, your pet cannot thrive on the same food every day. 

A Balancing Act
The pet food industry has made the question of how to balance your cat’s or dog’s meal into a dramatic — even traumatic — problem. But here’s the key: It is not the meal you need to balance; it’s the diet that needs to be balanced. By diet, I mean everything your pet eats, taking into account the daily food, the weekly food, the monthly food, and the food throughout your pet’s lifetime. It is silly to try to perfectly balance each meal according to an oversimplistic and very possibly wrong set of criteria. Instead, you should be providing a variety of meals using a wide range of whole, fresh ingredients that intrinsically provide your pet with balanced and vibrant health. 

Your recipes need to be mixed and matched. Don’t just pick a pet food recipe and make it every day for your pet. Your pet will not be getting a balanced diet that way. 

Mix It Up
How do you go about providing variety in your pet’s meals? You need to consider meat and protein sources, dairy, greens, and grains. You will also be able to provide variety by mixing up the way you pair different foods and prepare the meals.

When you focus on fresh, whole foods for your pet, you can buy seasonally and locally. This allows you to take advantage of sales and other buying opportunities, and it lets you be creative in the kitchen.

How you prepare your pet’s food also helps provide variety. You can serve some meals raw, others cooked, and others a combination of the two. You can also serve some meals with grains and others completely grainless. You’ll probably find yourself doing a lot of experimenting at first as you get used to preparing the diet and your pet shows you what he or she likes or dislikes. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get into a rut—keep up the creativity and stay open to variety.

Our Full Workshop on Making Homemade Pet Food will soon be available online - we're still working on it.  


For now, see our Step by Step Grinding Techique Page and see our current video on the Grinding Step of Making Your Own Pet Food.


How to Grind Chicken Necks for a great start to Making your own Pet Food,

Writing this book, The Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook, was fun. I had always created recipes for my dogs and cats based on what was growing and harvestable and what I had in my fridge, so focusing on creating actual recipes, and 75 of them, was a blast! 

My animals certainly enjoyed my efforts - they were my testers. My female cat, Millie, loved everything. My male cat, Booth, was suspicious of this testing. My Alaskan Malamutes were all up for anything. 

The humans in our household eat mostly organic, homemade food, and so we would feel weird if our dogs and cats ate processed commercial chow... I loved having the opportunity to write this book as I truly feel it is healthier emotionally to prepare your pets food in a homemade style. It is also healthier physically, but I think that is probably obvious. 

I hope that this book lets people feel empowered and confident to make homemade food for their pets. I've always said that if you can feed your human children healthily why can't you feed your animal children just as healthily? This book is perfect for people who are searching for alternative ways to feeding their pet/s. Common commercial, manufactured food is made up of just the bare bones in nutrition and is full of fillers, preservatives, sugar, additives, and very low nutrient value. The food you make yourself will be nutrient-dense, diverse, and beautiful.

The Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook was designed to make it simpler and easy to start switching to feeding your dog or cats homemade food in a safe and healthy way.

Natural Pet Rearing with a focus on using herbs as a way to naturally care for your cat or dog. We'll be discussing Herbs as Superfoods, Herbs for preventing parasites, Calming herbs, Anti-inflammatory herbs, Allergies and herbs, Skin problems and herbs, and more as well as an Herbal-based whole food supplement mix. Workshop takes place in the farm kitchen at Midsummer Farm.


Check Schedule for Availability | Cost: $36 | Please register in advance. ​​

Whole Dog Journal - is a monthly magazine that is dedicated to holistic dog rearing. No advertising so completely unbiased.



My Book:

 

Recommended Reading

Holistic Integrative Veterinarians


Meat and Supplies

  • The best meat to support is meat from small local farms where you can see the animals.
  • I also purchase meat, specifically 40 pound cartons of Chicken Necks, from Goffle Road Poultry Farm


Places that sell high quality commercial foods

Other Holistic and Naturally Minded Pet Resources


More links and recommendations  to come! 

Recommended Local Resources

Ticks
Get chickens! Chickens are super-effective at keeping tick populations down. However, if you can't get chickens, try spritzing your dog with diluted essential oils. I usually put about 40 drops of each oil into a regular size spritzer bottle of water. I use peppermint, eucalyptus, rose geranium, and thyme.


This is for dogs only - cats can be sensitive to essential oils. Or use a pre-made natural essential oil based product like No More Ticks.

Bugs

Fleas

 I keep dried lavender buds and eucalyptus powder on hand in case I think I see a flea on one of my animals. Fleas need to be caught immediately and addressed - as soon as you see anything questionable - clean and vacuum all surfaces your pet comes into contact with. Then sprinkle liberally with lavender and eucalyptus. There are other herbs that work just as well, but I find it much easier to live with the house smelling like lavender and eucalyptus. Repeat the cleaning and sprinkling at least two more times - 7 days apart even if you don't see any other signs of fleas.    


Mosquitoes

Feeding your dog garlic will not prevent mosquitoes from biting. The scent of garlic is emitted through the sweat. Dogs only sweat through their noses and pads. Using a spritzer bottle of water with a couple drops of geranium, mint, or lemon grass essential oils can help. Also avoid outdoor exposure at dusk or on cloudy days when mosquitoes are out and about and hungry,
 
 

Using Herbs with your Pets Workshop at Midsummer Farm 

QUICK TIPS


Important Disclaimer: This info is not meant to replace the advice of a veterinarian. Always consult your local veterinarian for advice about your pet's health.


Also, be aware that any dog or cat can be allergic to anything so keep aware and observant and stop feeding anything that your pet seems allergic to.
 

 


Never feed:
Cooked Bones, Chocolate, Onions, Raisons or Grapes

Meats: Should make up the bulk of the diet of cats and dogs. 
We like to use Chicken Necks, Chicken Backs, Frozen Whiting, Canned Alaskan Pink Salmon, Canned Sardines, Beef, Lamb, Turkey Necks, and Turkey Steaks. We believe is providing a variety of foods to make sure that you feed an overall balanced diet. Of course, if your animal is allergic to a particular ingredient, don't use it! 

Organ Meats: Not to be overlooked!

Organ meats are very important for adding the essential gamut of various amino acids, and other nutrients.

Don't forget Fats

Fats are very important as well. Low fat food is not for dogs and cats! If your animal is overweight, avoid feeding grains and work on getting him/her access to more exercise. 

Vegetables and Fruits

Favorites are broccoli, cabbage (green and red), beets of all colors, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, berries, and squash. Grinding raw vegetables and mashing cooked vegetables usually works well. 

Greens and Herbs

I put these in a category by themselves as they are very useful for adding nutrients and vitamins. A little goes a long way. I like to add a sprinkle of minced herbs like parsley, oregano, and basil, light greens like sorrel, spinach and chard, and heavy greens like kales, collards, and chicories to my pets' food regularly. Kelp and Alfalfa powder and dried Parsley and Sting Nettle can also be used.

Important Disclaimer: This info is not meant to replace the advice of a veterinarian. Always consult your local veterinarian for advice about your pet's health.

Copyright 2017 Midsummer Farm 

Featured in the NY Times! Check out the article here! And we were just featured in Orange Magazine! Check it out online here!

Healthier, Economical, Delicious. Either as a supplementary meal or as your pets' regular diet, homemade food is better, safer, and easy to make. We will mix up a batch of balanced food using raw chicken as a base. We'll go over tons of options in food bases - raw vs cooked, various nutritional additions, dogs vs cats, special needs pets, and discuss the wide range of commercial diets and brands.


You'll take home recipes, a clearer knowledge of the commercial pet food available, and resources for suppliers. We'll also make up a wonderful whole foods supplement that you can add to a commercial diet using higher quality ingredients and for a lot less money than the fancy brand names. Even if you're not ready to switch over completely to a homemade diet, you'll get a lot from this workshop.


Workshop takes place in the farm kitchen at Midsummer Farm. Check Schedule for Availability | Cost: $36 | Please register in advance. 

On-Line Making Homemade Pet Food Video-Workshop

Making Homemade Pet Food Workshop at Midsummer Farm 

My Book, The Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook

Natural Dog and Cat Rearing and Feeding

We believe in providing all our animals at Midsummer Farm with a natural healthy lifestyle. For our dogs and cats, who contribute so much to our farm, we work to provide them with natural good food. And we find that the most economical way to do this is with a homemade diet. There are some great brands of commercial diets available, but we like to know what is going into our food, and we like to use as many whole, fresh, and organic foods as we can. We also feel that the process and the intentions that go into cooking at home make the effort even more worthwhile. And our dogs and cats really appreciate it - they watch us as we prep their food and our own and anticipate and fully enjoy it! 


Consider buying grassfed (beef, lamb) or pastured (poultry) and organic meats from local sources for your pet. It may seem extravagant, but it is the right thing to do. It is the most ethical way of making a statement that high-production style factory farming is wrong. See my article, Do I buy Grassfed, or Organic, or Local?

We have been making homemade food for our dogs and cats since 1996, and the Whole Food Nutrition it provided has led to our animals enjoying optimal health and well-being! 

midsummer Farm

Other great books that inspired me over the years: