The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough dog bisuits - and a dog food public announcement

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough dog bisuits - and a dog food public announcement


This is Ruby. Whenever people ask me what kind of dog he is (yes, he's a boy, with a girl's name, what? he is man enough to be OK with it! :P), my answer is "a yellow running dog". While we have no idea what breeds are mixed in his blood (probably a lot),  it doesn't take long for anyone to notice that Ruby loves to run. He is always ready to take off running, any time, any place, any weather. I am a marathon runner, and he is my running partner - 45 to 55 miles a week, but that's merely a trotting warm-up for him, he really lives for the trips to the dog park, where he can be unleashed and just SPRINT forever. So far he's can run faster and longer than any other dogs we know, and even some slower cars. :P


There's one thing he loves ALMOST as much as running - eating. Ever since we adopted him 5 years ago, he has always INHALED his kibbles in minutes. Sometimes I don't even think the kibbles actually hit the bowl, I think he intercepts them midair and just swallow. He also eats anything that resemble, or don't resemble food - the most memorable one was half of a Gatorade bottle lid, which then scratched his inside and caused bloody diarrhea, even that didn't affect his appetite. Whenver my friends tell me about their dogs that don't eat, I simply don't undersand, what a foreign concept - until 10 days ago.

We had just picked him up from doggie daycare (I know I know, we are the worst kind of spoiling doggie parents, but he loves to run and it's a all day play kinda place...), stopped on the way to pick up a new bag of dog food (Iams minichunk in green bag, the same kind he has eaten for all 8 years of his life). Got home in time for dinner, opened the bag, poured kibbles to his bowl, he sniffed and WALKED AWAY! We were stunned, was he having a heat stroke? Sometime wrong with his teeth? Did he eat something bad in the daycare? For the next 3 days, he simply refused to eat his food during the day, before bed, he would slowly chew a few kibbles and walk away again. He would take some treats we gave him, but we don't usually give him people food, just some plain bread slices. With so little food, he was not as energetic as usual, still wanted to run in the morning, but slower and slower. During the day, he would just lay there and look weak. We were seriously concerned.

Finall got in a vet appoinment, the exam and blood test showed no problems - until we mentioned about the food. My vet said Iams had switched production facility and ingredient formula 3 months ago, ever since then there have been a lot of problems. Many of the foods are being recalled, the ones are not recalled (including the one Ruby was eating) also have some bad feedbacks. A lot of dogs would not eat the food, even though they have been eating the same brand/formula for their entire life. Some would get seriously sick after eating, a few older/smaller/weaker ones even have to be put down. We returned the Iams food immediately and got Hills Science dog food instead, Ruby immediately started eating - really immediately because we opened the bag right outside of the store and he started inhaling the kibbles on the sidewalk! Even since then, we have been feeding him part homecooked food (bland rice + chicken), part new dog food, by yesterday, he is eating all dog food, and doing very well. We ran 10 miles this morning, let's just say he's not the one that slowed us down. :P


I am beyond livid about Iams, how can they change ingredients without warning the customers? And what poisonous ingredients are they putting in the food that makes Ruby refuse to even get close?! What about those dogs that got seriously ill or even died? Who's going to take responsibility for them? So here's the PSA: if your dogs/cats are eating Iams, be very careful about feeding them food that's bought after July, if they eat less or get sick, it's very likely the food! In the mean time, check out this link: , especially the comments.


Anyway, now that the scary episide is behind us, I made these sourdough biscuits this past weekend for the poor little guy to make up for what he had to go through. They are full of human grade nutritious ingredients, as well as added benefit of sourdough. I adapted the formula from Nancy Silverton's "Breads from LA BREA Bakery", but Wild yeast has a similar adaption here. I did add one extra egg in the dough since Ruby runs a lot and needs the extra protein. The dough is very easy to handle, and the process is straightforward. It's a great way to use up extra starter!

I made sure to bake them long enough so they remain crispy for a long time. The recipe does yield a whole of cookies, so I froze a lot of them.

Ruby LOVES these, look, he's practically cross-eye-ed.



GSnyde's picture

Best wishes to the SourDog.


txfarmer's picture

I have a feeling these don't have an "open" crumb. :P

louie brown's picture
louie brown

In addition to being a great baker, you're a great source of information. My 11 year old standard poodle has been on Iams weight control in the blue bag his whole life. He had a terrible episode of what we thought was colitis a few months ago. I am checking this out and will return the unopened bag that I have.


I have used Silverton a fair amount. In fact, I have her walnut bread bulk fermenting in the fridge right now. Where did you get your molds for the biscuits?

txfarmer's picture

I hope your dog is OK now! This is more wild-spreaded than I expected - my coworker also had the same problem with his lab. Iams needs to do something asap!

What a coincidence - I made her walnut bread this past weekend (still need to write and post about it), so very delicious. Toasted, mega flavor in each bite. One of my top 10 definitely.

I got the bone shaped cookie cutter from China, the dog shaped one from a big set I got online (amazon?) for very cheap.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I just checked with my vet, who says he hasn't heard or experienced anything with respect to the weight control mini chunks. Still, I'm inclined to switch, especially given Iam's attitude.

Re: the walnut bread, how do you score yours? I usually use the backwards "c" that Silverton likes, but I'd be interested in your ideas. I'll be baking mine early tomorrow morning. It was a pretty stiff dough today; I'm expecting a fairly tight crumb, which is fine for this bread anyway. It's one of the best tasting breads in my rotation. A long fermented sponge and then a long fermented bulk dough. I'm surprised that some of Silverton's best formulae don't show up more often. Her olive bread, to mention just one more, is also terrific.

txfarmer's picture

I really like how the oval one turned out:

And the round one I just did what I always do for my nut breads


louie brown's picture
louie brown

I think I'll try that with the freeform loaf. Thanks, Farmer. I'll share pictures in a couple of days, of my dog as well!

rodentraiser's picture

 I think this happened with another dog food about a year ago. There are lawsuits all over the place because of that one.

 I know back in the 80s I used to feed Kennel-Biskit - however it was spelled. I fed that for years and years and then one day my dog started getting bladder infections. After the third one, my vet recommended switching dog food and when I did that, his last bladder infection cleared up just like that and he never had another one. That's about the point where we found out the makers of K-Biskit had changed their formula. I also remember when Science Diet switched their formula waaay back in the day. My trainer raised Dobermans and all of a sudden, everyone with Dobie puppies started noticing their coats were looking salt and pepper, instead of a solid black or red. Amazing how a change in food can so drastically affect a dog.

jackie9999's picture

So glad Ruby is better :)

Since you titled your post "dog food public announcement" ..I had to add that Hill's isn't much better than the Iams. The main reason vets sell it is because they get a good markup on it...not that it's a good food.

Everything you wanted to know about dog food...

Trishinomaha's picture

We just lost our lab Betsy about a week ago who also loved to eat. I'm so very glad you took your sweetie to the vet and got the problem figured out. Our four-leggeds that give us so much unconditional love deserve the best treatment they can get. We just picked out a new pup a few days ago (another lab - we just love labs) so thanks for the link to the dog biscuit recipe. I'm going to hold on to it till she's old enough and then I'm going to bake up a batch. You can't love them too much!

highmtnpam's picture

Thanks for the heads up.   Pam

pattycakes's picture

Ruby looks like a great dog. I love the soulful look in his eyes, and your description of how he likes to run. We have one of those named Bud. Bud was born and raised until he was 4 weeks old in the wall of an abandoned house way out in the sticks. Someone found him and his littermates as they were ready to tear the house down. Bud came to us in someone's hand, and I thought I had a little lap dog. What I got, and I would never change back to the lap dog, is a scrappy little terrier/coyote (?) mix who can run circles around every other dog he's ever met. He runs with the big boys and takes his knocks, runs with the fast dogs and keeps going after they stop. He's a great boy.

When Bud came, his favorite food was feces. Go figure. What were those puppies getting to eat beside their mother's milk? I put him on a raw diet because a friend of mine who feeds her dogs raw food has the most beautiful mutts on the planet. And he has flourished. A week and a half ago, we got a purebred Malinois, and I eased him onto the raw diet, and along with some brushing, he has gone from a rough, dull-coated, stinky dog to a sweet smelling, minky slink. His coat is gorgeous, and it happened almost overnight.

Now, there are many people who have opinions, good and bad, about raw diets for dogs, but the Kymythy Schultze book set me straight, and I believe that almost any dog will flourish on it when introduced to it gradually. Just as humans are best designed to eat a hunter-gatherer diet, so are dogs designed to eat raw meat, including, yes, bones and organ meat. Kymythy asks you to design a small prey animal, including what might be in the stomach, which a wild dog would eat. So the dog gets a small amount of pulped vegetables, both above-ground and below types, as well as a little fruit, nuts, and eggs. Now, I'm simplifying, because they can and should eat a very diverse diet. What they shouldn't eat is what is in processed dog food, really, any kind. I have fed my dogs high quality processed dog food for years, and I've seen them develop degenerative diseases.

I have the leisure time and the interest now to actually take the time to prepare food for my dogs, and they are stunningly beautiful and clean-smelling because of it. No flatulence, no bad breath. And surprisingly, it's no more expensive than the dog food I was buying, just more labor intensive.

Please don't start feeding your dogs raw food based on the prescriptives I gave above. Go to the library or buy Schultze's book, and do it right. She's a nutritionist who has really studied dogs' nutritional needs, and her book gives you all the information.


thedutchbaker's picture

Hello ,

You make your dog biscuits why don't you make him his own food, I have a 4 year old mud and had many dogs before him.

This is the first dog that i make food for and after 4 years of feeding him this, his teeth are as with as when he was a pup his coat is shiny and he has a lot of energy

Here is the formula ( i make about 20# a the time and put it in the freezer)

10 cups brown rice, 20 cups water( boiled and cooled)

4# ground meat ( i use Turkey)Cooked and cooled

8 cups of vegetables( frozen broccoli and carrots)cooked, cooled, and chopped in the food processor

8 Eggs( scrambled), 4 egg shells(dried and  ground in the coffee grinder)

2 cups powdered milk

After everything is cooled down, mix it in a large bowl and put the food in zip-lock containers and freeze them

Good luck and healthy cooking

The dutchbaker

jackie9999's picture

I make my own dog food as well..but I don't cook it - it's mostly raw beef and/or chicken and veggies, sweet potatoes etc. and a little grain (well cooked brown rice) to make it go further. Raw chicken necks are the favourite snack here...second on the list are these liver cookies - your dog will do ANYTHING for one of these :)

1 cup chicken livers
3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
3/4 cup Spelt flour
1 medium sweet potato (microwaved)
1/2 tsp anise
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
Few tablespoons egg

Throw in the processor for a good mix up, then spoon onto a parchment covered tray and spread out to about 3/8" and bake approx. 25 minutes at 350. You want them nice and dry..not burnt. OR get yourself some cutsie doggie cookie cutters and have fun..add/subtract flour so they can be rolled out.

While I make mine I generally have two helpers underfoot...they sit by the stove waiting for them :)

I leave a few in the fridge for snacks (the rest go in the freezer).

Trialer70's picture

I fed Iams lamb and rice in the red bag for almost twenty years to my dogs (several breeds, mostly active working dogs in great shape like Ruby) and just switched last year over to Canidae lamb and rice after I started seeing too many recalls on other Iams feline and canine products.  The particular product I fed never got recalled but "where there's smoke, there's fire" and I made the switch.  Dogs never showed any ill signs before or after the switch on either food, but at least I feel better about feeding this one--all ingredients are American-grown and processed and the ingredient list seems healthier.  Hats off to Ruby and his discerning nose.  Also thanks for the dog treat recipe; I'll make use of it for my left-over starter!