Canadian pet owners looking to homemade meals for dogs, cats

Barry Glebe had tried everything to stem his dog Lila’s chronic stomach problems, but to no avail.

Tracy Martin feeds her dog Louis in Montreal. Following a series of melamine-laced pet food scares

MONTREAL — Barry Glebe had tried everything to stem his dog Lila’s chronic stomach problems, but to no avail.

His adopted West Highland white terrier had suffered terribly in the six months she’d lived with him and, despite trying every dog food possible, nothing seemed to work.

That was until Glebe discovered the wonders of home-cooked pet food.

“Within two weeks the dog had changed totally,” Glebe said.

“Besides her body being in shape, she was a much happier dog.”

Like Glebe, some Canadian pet owners are looking for ways to improve the health of their furry companions with a little home cooking.

Some pet owners have become more vigilant since several dozen cats and dogs died from melamine-laced pet food.

But the movement is also sparked partly by celebrities, some of whom post recipes online for pet food that can be made at home.

A belief that animal byproducts like bone and cartilage — a common pet food ingredient — are unhealthy, is also a factor considered when contemplating a switch in diet.

It’s an allegation that is denied by pet food producers.

“Animal byproducts are simply things that humans don’t eat but they’re perfectly nutritional and safe for pets, and in fact they provide an excellent source of protein and other nutrients,” said Martha Wilder, the executive director of the Pet Food Association of Canada.

Wilder added that the pet food recall of 2007 has led to widespread testing for melamine and more surveillance of pet food suppliers.

“Right now, we’re just trying to keep up with demand in Canada,” said Paul Quigley, who runs Pets4Life, a small family business in Owen Sound, Ont.

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