The Trouble With High Needs Dogs: Part 2

Home cooking dog food has been quite the adventure. We read several books, researched online and eventually worked with a holistic vet to come up with a proper diet for our dogs. Well, the trouble with high needs dogs is they never seem to be okay for long on anything. While we lived in Orange County, Linus was doing very well on a diet of potatoes, beef and cooked veggies. (Charlotte we have discovered seems to be just fine with any sort of home cooked meal- of course- the French Bulldog with no skin allergies). When we moved to our current home in Ventura County, Linus had a terrible allergic reaction to something, broke out in itchy hives and doggy diarrhea (sorry if that was TMI) and has not recovered since. So now we are back to square one.  It could be environmental but our new vet thinks it also could be diet. We’ve tried switching him back to kibble which just made everything worse. Now we are working on a home cooked, no grain diet. (We had been switching back and forth between the cheaper, oats and beef and potatoes and beef).

potatoes galore

potato peels

cut up potatoes

dog food

We are using this book as a guide and now make both dogs potatoes and turkey. Here is our grain free/limited ingredient recipe:

10 lbs potatoes (washed, peeled and cut up into bite size pieces)

3 lbs ground turkey

bone meal powder

vitamin powder

extra virgin olive oil

bake the potatoes and cook the turkey and mix together. Add Bone meal and vitamin powder and mix together with 2 tblspoons of olive oil. Should last for about five days depending on the size and number of dogs. This recipe is for two dogs (one medium size and one large dog).

Anyone out there have high needs dogs? Dogs with allergies? What dog food have you had luck with?


The Trouble With High Needs Dogs: Part 1

high needs dogs

We have high needs dogs. Yes, you know how Dr. Sears talks about the high needs baby? We have dogs that fit that description to a tee. When my husband and I decided to get our first dog we put in a lot of research. We read all of the popular training books, Cesar Milan‘s show was tivoed every time it aired and the best leashes and beds and collars were purchased in anticipation.

prepping for char

We decided after meeting several and reading up on them that we would get a French Bulldog. We knew we may be in for some vet bills later on with this type of purebred but the pros outweighed the cons (French bulldogs are notorious for skin allergies and respiratory issues). When we found our little baby frenchie we were over the moon in love with her.


She became our baby. Our Charlotte. We still tried very hard to impart all the wisdom we had learned from Cesar and the books we had read. But, as things go in life, plans and preparations tend to fall by the way side when you have the real thing.

chars first night

hanging with jeff

cute char

plans fall by the waist side

I could literally write a novel on our funny, crazy, rascal Frenchie Charlotte, but that’s not quite what this post is about. So I will continue on and save the rest of her story for some time later. Our other dog, Linus came almost a year after we got Charlotte.

linus first night

We loved our purebred Frenchie dearly but were feeling guilty with the fact that we could have rescued instead. So that’s just what we did this time around. Linus was a scraggly puppy we got from a local rescue organization.

puppy boy

all grown up

We had seen all sorts of rescue dogs from all sorts of agencies and when we saw Linus (originally named Goofy) we just knew we had to have him. We thought we would have no trouble with skin issues or allergies with our mutt. Everyone told us how healthy their rescued mix breeds were and we were excited not to be spending a fortune at the vet like we already had been doing with Charlotte (pnemonia and mites being the big money contenders in the first year we had her). Well, we were totally wrong. Linus has been far worse medically than Charlotte. He has gotten injured several times, sores on his paw, an incident of ripping the pad skin right off his poor paw and the biggest issue has been allergies. This dog has crazy allergies! With allergies comes expensive dog food. But even with the expensive dog food, the allergies seemed to persist, the dogs seemed to get sick very often and they would often refuse to eat the kibble all together!  We read up on diet and decided to approach the allergies and gastrointestinal issues a little differently. We decided we would home cook their food.

linus and charlotte

When I tell people we home cook their meals, most people look at me like I’m nuts but it’s helped allergies and overall health immensly and it has cut our vet bills down as well.  We also feel better about knowing what exactly is going into their bodies, even if they’re just dogs.

*Since this post is VERY long, I will break this up into another post. Tomorrow I will talk about our home cooked routine and the problems we are now encountering with our wonderful, high needs dogs.