A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
When Jackson, Rick Woodford’s “best buddy”, an 8 year-old Belgian Malinois-Labrador mix, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Woodford was determined to help his friend enjoy the remaining days of his life.After feeding his dog home cooked meals for about 18 months, Jackson was given a clean bill of health from the oncologist. Convinced that his dog’s incredible recovery was due to his change in diet, Rick Woodford initially became committed to helping other sick dogs by starting his own dog feed company. “I was feeding dogs with ailments, dogs with kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and doing specific diets that were highly palpable because they were based off the things that dogs really wanted to eat but also nutritionally adjusted for those dogs”, says Woodford.
Although he closed the company after about a year and a half, Woodford began doing the research to write a cookbook for sick dogs, but soon expanded the concept into a cookbook for healthy dogs, as well.
“I try to make my recipes be more about a casserole or something that is cooked in a slow cooker. It’s not multi-pots, multi-frying pans—it’s one dish”, explains Woodford during our interview.
So how do you tell if a commercial dog food is a good choice for your healthy dog? A general tip on selecting a commercial dog food for healthy dogs, “The primary thing that I look for in a commercial dog food is how much real ingredients does it have, and how much of it is grain versus meat or vegetables” says Woodford. He went on to say, “I really look to make sure that they (the commercial dog food manufacturers) add most of their really high quality ingredients before the word ‘salt’ or ‘fat’ in the ingredient panel.” Check out tomorrow’s video where Woodford explains in more detail the foods that are especially good for dogs, and (in the written post) some of the bad ones to avoid.
For those who want to learn more about what foods to feed your dog, and easy recipes you can make at home, check out the following resources:
- The Dog Food Dude Blog
- The Dog Food Dude
- Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs by Rick Woodford
- Easy Homemade Dog Food Meal: (Cooking Up a Story)
- Homemade Dog Food Treat and Meal (Video and Recipe)
- Making a Homemade Dog Food Treat (video and recipe)
Correction: An earlier version of this post mis-identified Jackson as being a Golden Retriever, Jackson was a Belgian Malinois-Labrador mix.