Thank you for the excellent introduction to the joy of cooking for animals [“Kick the Can and Bag the Bag,” Food, May 11
]. My great-grandfather baked pans of cornbread for his Texas ranch dogs in a wood-fired stove, and even today my 90-year-old aunt in Hyde Park always has a pressure cooker of chicken and veggies bubbling on the stove top for her pack of chihuahuas.
I researched the pet-food business for my 1996 book, The Lost History of the Canine Race
, and I found it employed tactics perfected by the tobacco industry to keep federal monitoring of their products down to a minor nuisance. When I gave a reading at Texas A&M University, the vet students told me they had no required coursework on animal nutrition. But a sales rep from a prominent national pet-food company dropped into class and gave everybody an "educational" presentation. So while it may be prudent to run home-cooking ideas by your vet, don't be surprised if some of them are at a loss for what to tell you.
Kitchen-minded pet parents should check out the book Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Health for Dogs and Cats
, a timeless work on natural animal nutrition. Also there's the riveting chronicle of one woman's quest to make the pet-food industry come clean about its products after the sudden death of her dogs, titled Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food
by Ann N. Martin.