Cheryl May's Book Reviews

Real Food for Dogs 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome by Arden Moore, and Real Food for Cats 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Feline Gastronome by Patti Delmonte, both illustrated by Anne Davis. List Price: $12.95 U.S.; $10.36 at Amazon.com

One thing about cooking for your pets -- they never complain about the quality of the cuisine. Two handy little books make it easy, though, to make treats and dinners that your dog or cat would rave about if they could only talk.

These two little books both are illustrated with amusing drawings by Anne Davis. They would make a good gift for a dog or cat lover. Each has more than 100 pages in an entertaining format.

In the dog book, I particularly liked the recipes for special needs dogs: hypoallergenic diet, meals for senior dogs, and a diet for inactive canines. Author Moore lobbies in several spots for maintaining your dog at a healthy weight to increase quality and length of life.

Dog owners who feed raw diets will take issue with some statements in the book about the hazards of giving raw food and bones. If you can look past these comments, there are some fun recipes to try for treats or meals. For those who aren't aware of this issue, the "food wars" between those who feed raw and those who don't, are awesome in their intensity.

An easy recipe from "Real Food for Dogs":

3 small jars beef or chicken baby food
1/2 cup Cream of Wheat

1. In a glass bowl, mix the baby food and Cream of Wheat with a spoon.
2. Cover the bowl with a lid and place inside the microwave oven. Set to high for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Cool before spooning out.

The cat book has some information I hadn't known before. Author Delmonte cautions against serving your cat a bowl of milk as a daily treat because some cats -- like most dogs and some people -- can be lactose intolerant. She gives tips on how to introduce dairy products to your cat if you wish to do so.

A lot of the recipes are involved, but some are simple, like this one for "Tabby Tuna Popsicles" from "Real Food for Cats":

1 6-oz can of water-packed tuna
1 teaspoon organic catnip, crushed fine

1. Drain the liquid from the tuna into a cup with a pouring spout.
2. Fill each compartment of a plastic ice cube tray halfway with water.
3. Lightly sprinkle catnip into each compartment.
4. Fill the rest of the ice cube tray with the tuna water.
5. Place the tray in the freezer.
6. Serve one of these tuna popsicles in your cat's bowl.

Real Food for Dogs and Real Food for Cats are published by Storey Books.

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