Tim Chitwood

More pet food for thought

If music be the food of love, play on — it's Monday Mail.

Today we have responses to an April 8 column on making homemade pet food, either by habit or in reaction to the massive recall prompted by reports that cats and dogs were poisoned by a chemical in the wheat gluten used to make commercial pet food. The Associated Press last week reported that investigators suspect the chemical, melamine, may have been added intentionally to make the food appear more protein rich. First up is this:

I enjoyed your article. I found it online. Several weeks ago I started cooking for our two dogs as more and more reports were coming in about tainted food.I've kept checking back to see if others would list recipes. Yours looks good, but since you are only feeding one cup a day, you must have a small dog. We have two 60 pounders. What does your dog weigh? Thanks, Jean.

Dear Jean: My dog weighs enough to impede blood circulation to your lower extremities when he sits in your lap. Or about 75 pounds. That was half a month's recipe. My wife thought it might not be a good idea to give readers the fullrecipe because of this issue:

Thank you so much for the recipe for the homemade dog food, but I want to know how you mix that amount offood. Did you put it in the bathtub? I put it in a five-gallon bucket.

It took hours to make, a lot of energy, and my dogs sniffed at it a long time before they were brave enough to try it. They ate it very slowly for some reason.

Years ago, I boiled chicken necks and/or backs to a pulp and added rice and vegetables which was mucheasier. The bones are soft at that point and add calcium. A multi-vitamin from the veterinarian wouldprobably be a good idea too. Marsha.

Dear Marsha: Maybe the dogs hesitated because the five-gallon bucket freaked them out. We have a huge pot we mix the dog food in.

Here's an inquiry from another worried pet owner:

Hello, I was wondering what types of food are on recall. Please e-mail me back as soon as possible. I wouldreally appreciate it. Thank you, Christine.

Dear Christine: I've been wondering that myself lately, since the recall keeps expanding. Last week investigators found melamine in a rice protein concentrate that like the wheat gluten also was imported from China. According to an AP report, melamine was found in pig urine after salvaged pet food was fed to hogs on a California farm that sells pork to people who buy the whole hog. One way to track pet food recalls is through the FDA, www.fda.gov.