Q&A: My dog is bored with his dinner

Those eyes!

Those eyes!

Q & A With Helen Brandis and Jasper – My 11 year old Cavalier appears to have become heartily sick of his dinner of (human grade) meat, including lamb, chicken or beef, together with an holistic kibble, to which I add a spoonful of the Wellbeing mix.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for an excellent question Helen, and I understand it is so disappointing when we go to a lot of trouble to make good food and our little charges go – ‘ho hum’.

First thing I would suggest is to drop the kibble. I know holistic is better but it is never better than your real food. You see no matter how expensive it is still highly processed. And truly I don’t think they like it as much as your food. With Wellbeing Essentials added to real food you have the necessary balance of calcium, and the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from wholefoods that they need or may be missing.

Age means less calories and at 11 Jasper is getting on unfortunately, so the first things to check is if he is getting too much to eat. Dogs frequently become ‘fussy’ when they are in fact full as googs. Contrary to some opinion you might find on the internet, they need good quality protein at this age, not less protein. The idea of less protein comes from commercial pet food because the protein in dried food can be very hard on the kidneys and older dogs fed a lifetime of dry kibble often have kidney problems.

Also kibble is calorie dense, so dogs get full on a small amount and this also can lead to being overweight.

Another sign that they are getting too much food is eating the good bits and leaving the vegetables. You don’t say that this happens with Jasper, but I know it happens with my two. And if the vegetables aren’t cooked enough, they get left too. Read more about “Q&A: My dog is bored with his dinner” here.

Recipe – Cooking for the Fur Kids: Breakfast

Leftover cold lambI am often asked about breakfast, it’s one of those ‘tweeny’ meals, not vital but those eyes look at us when we are having our breakfast so something has to go into the bowl.

Breakfast for dogs is to me the easiest meal because it doesn’t need to be complicated, and lets face it who has time through the week to make breakfast for ourselves, much less the fur kids.

My way of thinking first of all is that this is a little meal, usually half or less of what they have for dinner, and I focus on a protein more than carbs or vegetables. Read more about “Recipe – Cooking for the Fur Kids: Breakfast” here.

Q&A: Why did my dog vomit up her dinner?

Ruby waiting for her dinnerCalie and her Maltese Cross dog Ruby: Hi Helen, I’m really enjoying learning to share what I cook with Ruby and so far it’s been super easy for me to do and I love the feeling I get seeing her excited about her meal now.
My question to you is I recently cooked salmon, cheese and bacon filo parcels with veges for dinner and I made a separate serve for Ruby (with less bacon, cheese and only small puff of canola on the filo) with Wellbeing Essentials on top.
I was really happy that Ruby ate some fish but then about an hour later she vomited the whole thing back up again on the floor. Ew! Sorry it’s a gross question but I’m wondering if perhaps was it too rich for her? What is your advice?

An excellent question thanks Calie, Ruby’s ‘chew and spew’ is a common problem, and not at all pretty. So what is going on?

Like most things it can be from multiple sources. First to realize is that a dogs stomach is quite small, and functions more as a ‘holding place’ before getting to the serious business of digestion in the intestines.

Dogs don’t ‘chew’ their food – teeth; for ‘crushing’ and saliva; for ‘lubricating’ – the system is designed more for ‘gulping’; ie getting the food down as quickly as possible (so someone else can’t get it!). The stomach then does the work of breaking it into smaller bits (with very strong acids).

Read more about “Q&A: Why did my dog vomit up her dinner?” here.

Recipe – Cooking For The Fur Kids: Polenta

Polenta in trayMy latest tryout is Polenta and to my surprise both human and poodles were delighted, with licked plates each time. (Yes humans too). And most importantly for me it fits with the ‘easy peasy’ philosophy for fast, delicious and nutritious dinners. In case you didn’t know, Polenta is from maize (which is dried corn) and I used the instant version; cooking from scratch would be better but I don’t take 45mins to stir something through the week. I will try it sometime though.  Polenta is a northern Italian staple, and used in place of pasta frequently.

There is much talk on the internet about corn being bad for dogs, and this stems from the Petfood industry relying on cheap calories. Read more about “Recipe – Cooking For The Fur Kids: Polenta” here.

Q&A: Can Dogs Eat Fruit? Which ones are good and bad for dogs?

I’ve just launched a new Question and Answer page where you can submit any burning questions you have about feeding and caring for your dog. I’ll then be sharing the answers to your questions on my blog so that everyone can benefit. Here’s our very first question and answer.

Bagel with a Twigglie

Bagel with a Twigglie


Liz Gravener and Her Beagle Bagel: My question for you would be around fruit. I know blueberries and strawberries are good for dogs, but my boy loves mandarin and banana too (I only give him very small portions)…. are these ok for dogs? Which other fruits are suitable / bad, and also recommended portions?

Lucky Liz to have Bagel who likes fruit because one of the best gifts we can give our dogs is variety and fruit added into the diet adds variety as much as any other benefit. Variety means the body has more access to different vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in foods. That is why we all need variety in our diet.

As to what not to eat, Grapes and anything from the grape family (fresh grapes, sultanas, raisins, grape juice etc). While toxic reaction is rare it does happen and to date no-one seems to know why, or what compound is causing the issue. So be safe with that one and just say no.

Read more about “Q&A: Can Dogs Eat Fruit? Which ones are good and bad for dogs?” here.

Twigglies: Delicious Healthy Dog Treats

treats-4I know and I am sure you do as well, how difficult it can be to find healthy dog treats.

I had a problem with Beanie. She is one of those dogs who doesn’t like to chew; chomp, swallow and bring it up is her style; she doesn’t like bones, gets sick from raw. So I needed something that she would have to crunch, be healthy, even good for her, and because she isn’t food motivated it had to be delicious.

Well Twigglies came out of that. About the only thing she would chew was twigs and sticks, and one caught in her back teeth, off to the vet who managed to remove it, but no more twigs.

Read more about “Twigglies: Delicious Healthy Dog Treats” here.

Overweight Dogs And Fats For Dogs


I hear cries of “he’s not fat, he’s fluffy! “. In fact I have used it myself. Overweight dogs and obesity in our beloved companions is one of the most heartbreaking things because only we are to blame.

Truly I can’t pretend to answer this in one post but I can start the thinking going. We live in a world surrounded by fat, fat is delicious. We are programmed to seek it out because in nature fat is a rarity. Ever seen a fat bunny? Well if you did that bunny would be breakfast.

Modern industrial farming though is all about fat, fat is flavour, and it is relatively cheap, certainly cheaper than protein. One of the sneakiest ways that fat ends up in our dogs system is via the bones we provide. There can be massive amounts of fat on a bone. So first and foremost – check the bone and remove any and all visible fat. And if you can, buy bones that have less fat to start with. Long leg bones for instance. Brisket is drenched in fat. Chicken wings have most of the fat in the skin, so take the skin off. Whenever and wherever you can, remove the fat.

Read more about “Overweight Dogs And Fats For Dogs” here.

The Homemade Dog Diet And Nutritional Deficiencies

Did you know that nutritional deficiency is the No. 1 concern of vets with a homemade dog diet? This isn’t a reason to feed your dog commercial pet food, but it is the reason that I developed Wellbeing Essentials for dogs.trio-packaging-small

Real food is a living thing and food that you make for your dog will always be better than a highly processed pet food.

The vet’s problem is the gap between what you make and what dogs’ need. I will be writing in the coming months with ideas, information for the kitchen and food for dogs but the simple wholesome way to bridge that gap is with the goodness of the Wellbeing Mix.

Read more about “The Homemade Dog Diet And Nutritional Deficiencies” here.