Canine Nutrition


 Articles - The Healthy Dog

 What's Really in Pet Food  ::  PDF format  /  MS Word document


Canine Nutrition:  Home Cooking by Sarah Jane Cuff

As a specialist in human fitness and nutrition, it naturally follows that I want to give my dogs the same benefits earned from eating clean, healthy food and getting proper exercise. But when dinner time came around I was unsure of what to feed my pups.

I began by consulting my vet who supplied me with recipes and vitamins for home cooked meals. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to Cat Lane (, a specialist in canine nutrition. After attending a day long seminar she gave, I had an idea of what I needed to do in order to correctly cook for my dogs. I rounded out my resources with Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, a book on canine nutrition that Cat recommended. There are two options you have when cooking for your furry kid. You can choose to prepare the meals from scratch or you can “cheat” and prepare them using meat, eggs, oil and a grain-free dietary base such as Urban Wolf ( Either way, the cooking can be done in batches, divided into serving sizes in containers, put in the freezer and then transfer the appropriate number of servings from freezer to fridge each evening so that you have thawed meals ready for the next day.

Dietary bases give you the list of ingredients you’ll need as well as complete directions for preparation, making them the easier option. From scratch, you must ensure there are multiple protein and carb sources, such as chicken, turkey, lamb, liver, sardines, ground beef, salmon, yams, brown rice, oatmeal, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, apples, and blueberries.

image:  SparkleIf you are not going to use a dietary base, it is important to consult with a professional before cooking for your dog because it is not as simple as just cooking up some meat and potatoes. You will need to add precise amounts of calcium and vitamins, and you will need to know the appropriate daily caloric intake for your dog. Of course, I do have a small 'emergency' bag of kibble in the cupboard for the days when, at the last minute, I realize there’s no dog food made! But for the most part, I ensure that my dogs continue to eat fresh, wholesome food each day. My dogs think, and I agree, there is just no comparison to the packaged processed kibble option. For me, the benefits far outweigh the ‘trouble’ of a few extra minutes in the kitchen!!


image:  Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane Cuff is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer and nutrition expert who enjoys helping her clients achieve their health and fitness goals. She is also a 5 time marathon runner and running clinic instructor. Sarah Jane first became interested in canine nutrition the day she brought home her Yorkshire Terrier, Sparkle, who now enjoys 2 home-cooked meals daily. Her husband Jeremy joins her in cooking for his Bernese mountain dog, Sunshine. You can contact Sarah Jane Cuff at 

image:  Sarah's Dogs




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