Friday, May 6, 2011

Cooking for Ivan

We are so pleased with Ivan’s results since we visited the veterinary nutritionist and started cooking for him last fall. Eric and I take turns cooking for Ivan on alternate weekends and freezing the coming week’s supply. The main ingredients in Ivans’s diet are sweet potatoes, baked until they are nearly carmelized, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, baked until they are done but still moist and flavorful. These are mixed with salmon oil, and a few other supplements to make sure we’re providing all the necessary nutrients. This Chicken Sweet Potato Cuisine looks and smells appetizing until we add the salmon oil, which is a bit too pungent.

The difference this diet makes is amazing. It’s such a marked improvement from the prescription canned stuff he was eating right after his surgery. We didn’t think Ivan could gain much weight after his bowel surgery, but the new diet proved otherwise. We visited our regular vet and discovered Ivan gained a pound a month the first two months on the diet. So we implemented a more stringent portion control regimen to keep his target weight.

In addition to being a healthy weight, Ivan’s coat is shiny, and even his poop is much firmer. After Ivan’s surgery, we had to keep track of how his little digestive system was faring. We did this with a shorthand system; on this scale Ivan now has normal Grade A poop. This is another big improvement we didn’t think would ever happen.

With our vet’s blessing, Ivan no longer has to take Karafate or Prilosec. We’ve reduced the Tylan to once a day, and I believe we can stop that in June after our next vet visit. However, the munchkins still get three meals a day, which is what really matters to them.

My munchkins are not fussy about what they eat. OK, Dasa doesn’t like French cut green beans; regular green beans are acceptable if they are cut into smaller pieces and served warm with chicken broth. Sweet potato is also acceptable if it is served warm with chicken broth. Bite size pieces of chicken breast are enthusiastically received. But really they will eat almost anything, so we try to give them nutritious food that keeps their little bodies healthy and fit.

By the time we’ve prepared Ivan’s food for the week, we sometimes lack the motivation to cook for ourselves. Maybe we should just bake extra chicken and sweet potatoes—without the salmon oil, of course.


  1. This sounds so interesting. I'd like to try it for my basenji girl. Care to share the recipe?

  2. I saw the picture and blurted "They do it too! See, I'm not the only crazy dog lady." The only difference for us is we are preparing the raw food diet. But once a week we prepare the dinners. It makes a HUGE difference. The coats are velvety and shiny, the teeth are whiter and my 13 year old male started dancing again for me. And our poop quantity has halved at least. Time consuming but worth it. :D Crazy Basenji Ladies Unite!!!

  3. Sounds like a lot of work, but it's a labor of love and it REALLY pays off in the end!