Would you cook a meal for your dog? The Doggy Cooking Network, a unique YouTube show for those into canine cuisine, recorded in Safety Harbor, Florida (AP Photos / Courtesy Kris Rotonda)
Would you cook a meal for your dog?
Lexile

Is the way to a dog's heart is through its stomach?

No one believes this more than Kris Rotonda and Denise Fernandez, the couple who conceived the Doggy Cooking Network and founded online dating service YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, where pooch-loving singles can connect with potential mates.

Their Doggy Cooking Network on YouTube taps into the popularity of cooking shows like "The Pioneer Woman" and "Barefoot Contessa" to show pet owners how to dish up fresh, homemade alternatives to commercial kibble. It struck a chord as serving safe, wholesome food and has become important to people putting more time, money and energy into pet care.

"The idea is simple. Food brings families together," Fernandez said. "Only people who are really devoted to their dogs are going to cook for them."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received reports that dog and cat treats made abroad have killed 1,000 dogs and sickened more than 4,800 pets since 2007. The agency has not been able to prove the chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats are causing the illnesses, but large retailers PetSmart and Petco plan to pull them from shelves.

Worried pet owners can find easy home-made recipes in Rotonda and Fernandez's cooking shows. In their videos, they use simple ingredients like chicken, rice and eggs to make everything from frozen yogurt bars and sweet bean rice to meatloaf birthday cake, and they incorporate food trends like organic and gluten-free snacks.

Fernandez and Rotonda are not professional chefs but display quick ways to please a pet's palate after testing the dishes out on their four dogs.

Viewers mix along with the couple as they joke, banter and show off their finished dishes during the four-minute cooking segments. They started their one-of-a-kind show about three months ago. Shows are being posted once a week on YouTube, but they hope to expand soon.

One viewer, Mary Montufar of Mountain View, California, builds on the show's recipes to make her own creations for her 11-year-old Maltese mix, Phoebe. If the Doggy Cooking Network features chicken with carrots and peas, she tries similar alternatives, like turkey and sweet potatoes.

Montufar tried all kinds of store-bought food, but none of it stopped her dog's scratching and discomfort. So she decided to give the online cooking shows a try. The ingredients are simple and cheap and the recipes are so easy that she can make a week's worth of food at a time, she said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is it important that the recipes be easy?

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COMMENTS (134)
  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 10:54 a.m.

    I think that as long as the recipe you are using to make food for your pets with is not too expensive and is quick it is a good idea. I am lazy and never feel like making my own food so I don't see how I would feel like making my pets food when I can go to the store and get them some. I also think that people who make their animals big meals that humans would eat kind of go overboard with the whole homemade thing.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    I would possibly cook my dog a meal depending on the occasion and the circumstances. If I was really close to my dog and it was his/her birthday, then I might think about doing so.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 01:10 p.m.

    I think that it is great that this couple makes their dog specialized food that they have created. This assures that the dog is eating beneficial products and understands what is going in the food. However, the dog dating website is a little too extreme.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 01:26 p.m.

    Personally, i understand the want to cook for a family pet. Owners are often close to their animals, and when pampering is due, it's due. Myself, i likely will not cook a meal for my dog.

  • shannons-Koc
    11/10/2014 - 07:02 p.m.

    This article informs fellow dog owners about a nutritious alternative to feed their dogs. As a dog owner myself, I feel it is important to know what you are feeding to your dogs. How do we know what is really in most dog food and treats that we feed our pups that can make them sick? After reading this article it has interested me in a new way of feeding my dogs and cats. When finding a good recipe, something that is easy to prepare would be most important. You'd be able to feed your dog through out the week and your dog will love it too!

  • Alliyahv-Fre
    11/11/2014 - 12:54 p.m.

    I think it is important that some recipes are easy because some people aren't the best cooks, so if the recipes are easy, they can learn to cook better.

  • alizel-Koc
    11/11/2014 - 11:59 p.m.

    I honestly would cook a meal for my dog. Breakfast, lunch & dinner, because I would treat it as if it was my child. I believe that humans & dogs are similar in certain characteristics, so I would definitely feed my dog or cook up a meal. I also strongly believe that dogs should be treated like humans, because they have a love connection in a certain way.

  • NW2000Basketball
    11/12/2014 - 08:45 a.m.

    the recipes should be easy because its a dog and the dog doesn't need a hard cooked recipe. plus the dog might not like it if you put too much into the recipe.

  • jordant-Koc
    11/12/2014 - 10:35 a.m.

    In this article, the author spoke about alternatives of store bought dog food and treats. They went on to explain how making food from scratch and at home is actually healthier for your dog. Anything all natural is better then store processed. I'm not quite sure Id do this for my dog in fear of myself not packing enough of the nutrients and protein that they need. For a treat once in a while would be something nice to do for my dogs and easy enough.

  • Logano11
    11/13/2014 - 10:34 a.m.

    I would cook for my dog, but many pet owners give dogs food they shouldn't have. Sometimes I give my dog scraps of leftover food, and that's usually because she begs and gives me a sad look. I like to keep my dog healthy, so I know I shouldn't be tempted to give her food when she gives me a sad look.

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