About two weeks ago, I took my friend Matt's advice and started to prepare home cooked food for the pugs. My biggest motivation was and is to relieve Tonka of his allergies. His allergies are mostly environmental but I do think that certain foods and/or additives and preservatives add to his discomfort. In just two weeks, I have seen changes. With the addition of so many fresh fruits and vegetables to their diet, they are getting their water from their food versus the water bowl. Usually the pugs would wake up in the middle of the night to get a long and noisy drink of water, and they aren't doing that anymore. Arliss' reddish brown tear stains have disappeared from his cheeks and he isn't rubbing his face on the carpet anymore. Tonka is still scratching but it is much less than before. He would regularly shimmy across the living room carpet on his belly to get a good long scratch, that hasn't happened much at all. I think the flax oil is starting to help his skin, it doesn't look or feel as dry. Both pugs are waking me up later for breakfast and in general are begging less. Even Arliss' banging on the door for food has stopped. For pugs, Arliss and Tonka weigh a lot more than the standard 12-18 lb pug weight range. Arliss weighs 26 lbs and Tonka weighs 24 pounds. I've noticed that Tonka looks like he could be losing a little weight. Arliss still feels just as heavy as before. To make sure I am covering all of the nutritional bases, I have been referencing two books, the first is Real Food for Dogs and the second is Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. In addition to the food, I add flax seed oil and some psyllium husk powder. I have always fed them a teaspoon or two of whole fat Seven Star's plain yogurt once a day, and I have continued to do that. Tonight, lamb was on the menu. I cooked about 1 pound of ground lamb with 2 cloves of minced garlic. I placed the cooked meat in a big bowl where I added 1 apple (peeled and chopped), 1 cup of sweet potato (cooked and cut into small cubes) , 3 carrots (shredded), 1 cup of steamed broccoli (pulsed 3 or 4 times in the food processor), and a 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal. It is very easy to prepare this kind of food so don't be afraid to try it, you can make a big batch of food and freeze it so you don't need to cook every night. Let me know if you have some good recipes to share.