When Danny and I went for our morning walk yesterday (we get a break from running on Wednesdays), he seemed perfectly normal. Bouncy, happy, sniffy. Then he stopped to poo, and it was a liquid mess. Luckily, he stopped on a pile of dirt and leaves, which made cleaning it up easier. I hate to leave my dog’s mess behind. It was still a two-bag job, but I was excited. Here was my excuse to try a new recipe from Feed Your Best Friend Better!
Danny, luckily, was not very sick. He is a sidewalk snacker, which means I have to scan ahead for disgusting things every time we leave the house. We practice “leave it” a lot. And “drop it.” And “Goddammit, Danny, do not eat that!” I have pulled a slice of pizza, a rib bone, and a half a loaf of french bread out of my dog’s mouth. These are all things he has found on the ground. He never snags food off the table or counter at home, but he has a strong sense of “finders keepers” when it comes to unclaimed food. He has a tough gut, but sometimes he needs to hit the digestive reset button.
I usually mix some white rice with plain Greek yogurt and feed it to Danny for a couple of days in place of his commercial dry food. But I bought this awesome book over the summer by Rick Woodford, and I wanted to try his recipe for doggie congee. It’s super simple — just cook some white rice in a lot of water and chicken broth for half an hour, then add in chicken, beef, or cottage cheese if your dog’s stomach can handle it. Danny’s can. I don’t think he even realizes he’s not at 100 percent, but I do. This congee, which is tasty enough I might make a version for myself if I get sick this winter, was Danny’s dinner yesterday and breakfast today, and I’ll mix it in with his regular food this afternoon and tomorrow. His stool is already fine, but his gut could use a couple easy days.
Woodford was inspired to write the book when he started cooking for his own very ill dog. He applied serious research, care, and precision to figuring out calorie counts, nutritional needs, and feeding amounts for ailing and healthy dogs alike. My dog is probably healthier than I am on any given day, but buying the book was worth it if only for the section called “Determining Portion Size,” which I’ve never felt I was getting right. Gas-busting treats like the Toot Sweets and this digestion-soothing congee are helpful for any dog, and there are more elaborate and complete meals for dogs with specific ailments, such as diabetes.
Danny always recovers from his digestive woes (and all other woes, actually) pretty quickly, and this time was no different. But now that I’ve given congee a try, some cookies might be on the menu this weekend.