Feed Your Best Friend Better is a book about dog food by Rick Woodford. Although it contains 85 recipes, it also explains the nutritional requirements of dogs, which foods are dangerous, and gives some advice on managing food-related behavioural issues.
The book is availabel as a paperback or in digital format (such as Kindle or Nook; other formats may also be available).
The book is structured in the following way.
The first chapter focuses on nutrition: which nutrients your dog should have, in what quantities and where they can be found. The second chapter looks at calorie intake, considering your dog’s activity level, weight and “ease” to burn calories.
The following chapters are mainly a list of recipes, and under which circumstances they mare by appropriate (or not) for your dog. The recipes are divided into chapters according to the following topics: foods to share (that is, foods that we humans would eat but can be shared with dogs with minor changes), treats, cookies and meals. If you’re looking for a book to completely feed you dog yourself, you should focus on the meals chapter. Otherwise, if your goal is to just home-cook a part of your dog meals or treats, the other chapters are probably more appropriate.
Each recipe comes with a list of ingredients, the series of steps to prepare the food, the average calorie intake per cup and how many cups result from the recipe. There is also a feeding guideline, showing the approximate number of daily cups for your dog’s weight. In this way it’s really easy to have an estimation of how many days worth of food result from the recipe. Also note that this is not a book for people who want to feed raw food to their dogs, as it does not include raw recipes.
Then there are two special chapters focusing on two specific topics: puppies and ill dogs (or recovering from surgery/illnesses). The chapter on feeding puppies includes a recipe to get them used to different vegetables and fruits, and gives an overview on their growth and evolution. The next one, dealing with ailing dogs, includes a few recipes for dogs suffering from allergies, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, renal disease, liver disease and gastrointestinal diseases. It also discusses and gives advice on achieving weight loss for overweight dogs.
The following chapter explains how to choose a commercial dry food for your dog: what ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid. It also teaches you how to read the ingredient labels in order to be able to judge for yourself the quality of the food.
The last chapter offers advice on how to feed your dog (instead of what to feed him). It also explains how to deal with certain food-related unwanted behaviours (aggression, counter-surfing, stealing food, eating too fast, reluctant eaters, etc).
My Review & Opinion
I have to begin this review by stating that I haven’t tried any of the recipes in the book. What is interesting, though, is that the purpose of this book goes further than being a recipe book. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it covers a very broad range of areas related to dog nutrition, including what nutrients dogs need and why, how to choose a commercial dry food and dealing with behavioural issues related to food.
For this reason, I believe that this book is an excellent starting point if you’re thinking about cooking for your dog or you wish to be more informed on the topic of dog nutrition. If the latter, I can also recommend Canine Nutrigenomics, which we reviewed here. Despite the fact that I’ve never tried any of the recipes in Feed Your Best Friend Better, I find it’s a very valuable book in my collection. And, if I ever decide to take the plunge and cook for Nix, I’ll know where to start.
Although the book can be found in digital or print form, I would recommend getting the print version unless you have a good reason not to. I went for the Kindle version and I don’t really like how it renders onscreen. There is nothing in it to make it unusable, but the format sometimes looks strange and the font is too bold.
Finally, as a last note, I’d like to mention that Amazon reviews of the book are very positive. At the time of writing (September 2018), it has 397 reviews on Amazon.com with an average rating of 4.4 stars.
If you browse any online bookstore, you will see that there are plenty of books on the topic of home-made foods for dogs. Unfortunately, this is the only book I own, so I cannot really compare it to others.
However, I should mention that there is another book written by the same author on the same topic, titled Chow: Simple Ways to Share the Foods You Love with the Dogs You Love. From what I’ve seen, I’d say that it’s very similar to Feed You Best Friend Better, only that it looks nicer and seems to put more emphasis on the recipes and not so much on other topics.
Woodford, Rick (2012). Feed Your Best Friend Better. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing.