The Food You Feed Your Furry Family Members

I have owned Dobermans for the past 15 years, and just adopted a senior girl, Kota, from a Doberman rescue. My dogs have always been part of my family, just like the people. Through the years I’ve done extensive research on the best food for them and their respective life stages. I’ve monitored lots of discussion groups specific to Dobermans. I’ve talked with numerous vets about their recommendations on food. Lately I’ve started to also explore the whole food and holistic side of pet nutrition.

I picked up Kota today, and they gave me a huge bag of Hill’s Prescription Diet J/D for my senior girl. The rescue uses Hill’s J/D for all their senior dogs. They also feed Solid Gold, which is a pretty highly rated dog food. Hill’s Prescription…not so much. Here’s why.

I looked up the ingredient list for Hill’s Prescription J/D on their website:

Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Flaxseed, Soybean Mill Run, Brewers Rice, Soybean Meal, Pork Fat, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Liver Flavor, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), L-Threonine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, L-Tryptophan, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Chondroitin Sulfate, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene

Let’s take the first two ingredients, Whole Grain Corn and Chicken By-Product Meal. Whole Grain Corn is a cheap and controversial grain with little nutritional value for a dog, yet it’s the main ingredient in this food. Chicken By-Product Meal is a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed. In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except feathers.

The ingredients do not get better; many are low grade, low nutritional value, and fillers for the dog food. The glucosamine and chondroitin to help with joint mobility? Not from a natural source. This food is ‘enhanced’ with synthetic glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate.

Quite frankly, this food is crap. A lot of veterinarians push Hill’s Prescription Diet foods as great foods that are made for your dog’s specific condition. Luckily, my vet has never tried this with me, as I’ve filled him in on all the brands that we’ve tried that are much, much better for my family members than this. The more I read on this topic, the more it starts sounding like a doctor that is pushing meds because they are being paid by a specific pharmaceutical company.

For comparison, let’s take a look at the ingredient list for Orijen Senior on the Orijen website:

Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail flounder, whole eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole Atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver, whole green peas, whole navy beans, red lentils, chicken necks, chicken kidney, pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils, alfalfa, lentil fiber, natural chicken flavor, chicken cartilage, herring oil, ground chicken bone, chicken fat, turkey cartilage, dried kelp, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, apples, pears, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.

Notice anything different? It’s REAL FOOD. Interesting fact – the protein content in Hill’s is 19.2%; in Orijen Senior, it’s 38%. The glucosamine and chondroitin in Orijen comes from the fresh poultry, meat, and fish; naturally occurring and no synthetic additives to this food.

Another telling fact is the amount of food recommended per day. Hill’s Prescription J/D recommended 4-1/3 cups per day for an 80 lb dog. Orijen recommends 2-3/4 cups for an 88 lb dog. Why the huge difference? Hill’s is full of fillers and other things that are not beneficial to the dog. Orijen contains real food and that’s it.

Are better dog foods more expensive? Of course. This comparison is like eating fast food at McDonalds versus eating a good meal at a great steakhouse. Which one would you rather eat?

Please, please do your research for your family members!  🙂  They deserve it.

Orijen Senior:
Hill’s Prescription Diet J/D:
Dog Food Advisor (DFA) – Saving Good Dogs from Bad Food:
Orijen Dog Foods on DFA:
Hill’s Prescription Diet Dog Foods on DFA:

Chicken Enchilada Stew

Fall, how I love thee! The change of leaves; cool, brisk air; apples, cider, and pumpkins; and promise of Halloween in the air. The season for comfort food has begun. Although it’s not really cool in Charlotte yet, I was craving a stew. I was intrigued by a recipe posted in one of the essential oil Facebook groups I belong to, so I set out to create my own yumminess!

I’ve adjusted it to suit my personal taste, and it came out medium-spicy. If you prefer your stews mild, back off a little on the chili powder and the chilies. If you love it hot, try adding some Serrano chilies to the mix! It came out quite thick, which is exactly the way I like it. I recommend adding the vegetable broth to thin it just a bit, but not too much.

You can view the original recipe, which makes use of essential oils, on Robyn Mitchell’s Naturally Simple Solutions page. Robyn also has lots of great information on doTERRA essential oils, which I am just starting to learn about. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the specific oils on hand to try with this, but I will the next time. If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils with me, please let me know! 🙂


Chicken Enchilada Stew

2 lbs. organic chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 jalapenos chilies, seeded and chopped
2 poblano chilies, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin (or 2 drops Cumin essential oil)
2 tsp. dried oregano (or 1 drop Oregano essential oil)
Freshly ground pepper to taste (or 1 drop Black Pepper essential oil)
Salt to taste (optional)

1 14 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
8 oz. vegetable broth (optional)

Garnish: Avocado, Cilantro, Limes (or 1 drop Lime essential oil)

Mix the vegetables (except the beans), oil, sauce, and spices in a large bowl until just combined. Place the chicken in the slow cooker, and pour the vegetable mixture on top.

Cook the stew in the slow cooker on low for eight hours, or on high for six hours. Add the kidney and garbanzo beans to the stew. If it is too thick for your liking, add the vegetable broth. Set the slow cooker for another hour on low, or 30 minutes on high.

When the slow cooker is finished, remove and shred the chicken in a bowl. Add it back to the stew and stir to combine.

Serve topped with chopped avocado and cilantro, and lime wedges.

Enjoy! 🙂