I got Sweety in Denver twelve years ago at the Dumb Friends League, and all these years she has truly earned her name, gentle with even baby chicks, kittens, toddlers, dogs playing rough with her and more. Yet she is a great guard dog, especially on those many many three day road trips back and forth from Denver as she, the two cats and I would settle in exhausted at yet another motel room strange to us. Like her predecessor Sergeant, she also very rarely digs or enters a garden, and messes only in the house when it is my fault for leaving her indoors too long. So since she is now thirteen and suffering from hypothyroidism I was able to 98% reverse for over a year with iodine supplementation but am now using low dose thyroxine to control, I more than ever like "spoiling" her with simple pleasures.
One reason she has amazingly good white teeth and healthy gums is that I made it a point all these years to give her cooked bones, leather chewies and chewy biscuits, which I did not do with Sergeant, or Captain before him, hence their oral issues. Years ago in Denver I noticed she liked 'Meaty Bone' brand biscuits, and would get big boxes of them on sale for her. But she tired of them a little...so I finally read the ingredients...then tasted one. That "flavor coating" had VERY little taste and was mostly food coloring. I noticed that store brand biscuits for large dogs were made of virtually the same grains, etc. So for years now I've been making Sweety MUCH tastier healthier dog biscuits for a fraction of the cost of 'Meaty Bone'. Just as my spaghetti never comes out the same twice, the healthy broth I make t0 flavor her biscuits with varies a lot. Sometimes I put in a few drops of Lugol's Solution to provide iodine for her hyothyroidism, sometimes coconut oil for the lauric acid in it that is SO good for people and pets alike, sometimes roasted sesame oil for flavor and its anti-oxidant properties.
But each batch begins by boiling soup bones from Publix that I freeze individually for her....she is like Sergeant and when I start to get "altered" on cannabis and a few drinks she wants to party heartily too and wags her head big time until I give her either a frozen soup bone zapped in the micro, and/or a home made biscuit. Below is pretty much how I made her this new batch of homemade biscuits I put up for her today:
1.Boil soup bones in a large saucepan with seasalt and garlic powder and a spoon of food grade diatomaceous earth (for dietary silica for skin, bone heart and other tissues) a few splashes of 9 Crabs fish sauce, a few tablespoons of chopped kombu seaweed for minerals and natural iodine for her thyroid, then simmer for an hour. Remove the bones from the broth, cool and freeze
2. With the broth barely simmering, stir maybe 2 heaping tablespoons of cassava flour (MUCH better thickener than corn starch) in a cup of COLD water, then stir into the hot broth. Stir now and then until it thickens, turn off heat.
3. Dump store brand dog biscuits for large dogs into a LARGE soup pot, pour the broth over the biscuits evenly as possible, let cool. Then toss them by hand to coat them with the gravy at the bottom of the pot.
4. Arrange the wet biscuits closely on a cookie sheet or in large Pyrex dishes (I dumpster dived both so can make large batches of these biscuits)
5. Bake at 350 for half an hour, then turn off, open the door to release the steam, then close the door on a towel so the light stays on, and let the bulb continue to heat and dry the biscuits over night.
6. The next morning, reheat the biscuits at 250 for half an hour (I'd skip this were I still in Denver's dry air, but in humid Tampa I want them DESSICCATED when I store them to avoid mold.), then again leave the door propped open with a towel to allow the last of the moisture to escape.
7.Let cool, then pack in tightly sealed containers. If I have one, I will drop in a silica gel pack to keep them dry and fresh.
Attached is a pic of a few on a yellow plate of the ones I put up today, having baked this batch at 300 that second time to get them extra roasted and crunchy. Also attached is a photo or two of Sweety ten years ago on one of our first visits to this house then brand new in our lives. She has slowed down, has gray in her face, but is still a dear sweet gentle animal companion. She is leery of cameras, but I want to take a photo soon of her at thirteen here at my retirement home in Tampa where I am aiming for my grandpa's vigorous old age with no decline then boom, drop dead at ninety four. (He was shaving, I want to go in the middle of one my fabulous flying dreams). I am doing my best to insure that Sweety does not suffer a sad lingering old age, and am beyond thrilled what the iodine did for her after a $200 vet visit missed her hypothyroidism, called it "flea allergy" and put her on toxins.....until I wised up and Googled effectively.
Urban farmers could use chicken feet and heads to make the broth, or perhaps secure the bones of a cow raised collectively by folks in open air pastures.....I forget what that this called, but folks share the cost AND the meat of a cow to insure it has a good life vs. a bleak cruel factory farm life. I have also used turkey broth at Thanksgiving as the basis for a batch of biscuits broth. Please let me know what steps you take to give your animal companions a good diet and great life.