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In August of 1997 Howell Book House, a Simon and Schuster Macmillan Company and a publisher specializing in books related to dogs and veterinary care, released my book titled Natural Food Recipes for Healthy Dogs. This first edition was  a collection of recipes I used for years, and that I shared with our canine family member, a Great Pyrenees named Patou.

Patou lived a healthy 14 years and nine months. From the age of five he ate what some people call a "home prepared diet." Effectively, he ate what we ate. I cooked for my husband and myself, and shared these meals with Patou. I just made a larger meat loaf, a bigger roast chicken, or cooked more green beans, beets or spinach than if I were cooking for the two of us.

I tried not to discuss this "insanity" of mine with anyone. Everyone had an opinion on this matter, and it did not agree with mine. The dog food police were everywhere, telling me that "manufactured" overly processed chemically treated food was superior to what I was feeding my dog. Some actually told me that I was killing my dog on this diet. Most just told me I didn't know what damage I was doing.

So I just quietly went about my business .

Then, in 1994 a panel of experts at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas referred to antioxidants as the "missing link" in commercial dog food. They had determined that Vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene work the same way in canines as they do in humans. They defuse toxic molecules known as "free radicals." Free radicals are formed as a result of normal metabolism in the cells, as well as by exposure to environmental pollutants. If left unchecked, they can damage DNA, corrode cell membranes, and kill cells outright.

Free radicals have been implicated in some cancers, heart and lung disease, and cataracts. Their cumulative effects may be responsible for accelerating the aging process and altering the body's immune system.

The antioxidants are available in great abundance in many vegetables, particularly the bright orange and dark green ones. By including one of these vegetables in your dog's daily ration you are buying a small insurance policy for good health. Patou loved his vegetables.

The article I read on the Veterinary Conference was in a pet column in our local newspaper, the Star Ledger. The author was bemoaning the fact that it will take years, if ever, for the pet food industry to respond and include anti-oxidants in dog food.

I wrote to her and suggested that she take control over the food that her dog eats, and add those ingredients herself. We had a series of frequently unfriendly, and sometimes heated letters. At one point I offered to send her some of my "canine friendly" recipes. She extended my offer to her readership.

The response was over whelming. Hundreds of people wrote, many with individual questions which I tried to answer. These were normal, everyday people who just loved their dogs and wanted to do the best for them. People who, like I did ten years earlier, questioned the sanity of feeding our pets overly processed or canned foods which we, as thinking human adults tried to avoid eating ourselves.

This book was written for them.

My philosophy is very simple. You, as the primary care giver, are responsible for the welfare of your family, both human and canine. It is your responsibility to keep your family healthy. Providing balanced, nutritious food that is as natural, and additive and pesticide free as possible, is part of this program.

This book will empower you to do this.
Carol Boyle