November 28, 2008

My dog has high cholesterol / Buffy's vegan dog cookies

My dog has high cholesterol. I've never known a dog with this problem; nor did I know that dogs were even tested for such things. She went to the vet for a couple of other complaints and received "routine" blood work to check her kidney function and such, as she is an older girl. We think she is 15, since her paperwork said she was three when we adopted her from the Humane Society 12 years ago. We didn't know the actual day of her birth, so we gave her the same birth date as our other (now deceased and sorely missed) dog, Starr. Anyway, the vet now wants to do a fasting blood test to recheck her cholesterol. In dogs with untreated high cholesterol, the cholesterol can be deposited in other organs, particularly the eyes. Buff has cloudiness developing in one of her eyes which had previously been contributed to age-related cataracts. Now the vet thinks the cholesterol could be a factor. We'll see.

Her reaction to the news was understandably irate. "Just give me more carrots," she said. "And I'd be happy to consume almonds and walnuts if you people would let me." In addition to the high cholesterol, she also has a slight heart murmur.

Of all the indignities, her fast began on Thanksgiving, and ended today after her test.

What could I do but bake her some dog cookies?

UPDATE: Buffy is now on thyroid medication (for hypo-thyroid) which helps to control her cholesterol.

Buffy's vegan dog cookies.
  • one cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (NOT baking yeast!)
  • 1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • two tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water (or no-salt veg. broth)
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and yeast flakes.
  2. Mix peanut butter and oil with water. (I measure the 1/2 cup water into a measuring cup, then add the peanut butter to make 3/4 cup, then add the oil and mix with a fork until the p-butter is dissolved.)
  3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Drop by small teaspoons onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350˚ for 20 minutes.
  6. Cool and store in a closed container.
  7. Makes about 50 small cookies.
Here's a link to a list of foods dogs cannot have

The following list of foods comes from here:

  • Avocados (fruit, pip, and plant) are toxic to dogs. They can cause difficulty breathing; fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart; or pancreatitis.

  • Onions destroy red blood cells and can cause anemia, weakness, and breathing difficulty. Even small amounts can cause cumulative damage over time. This includes onions or chives - raw, powdered, dehydrated, or cooked.

  • Large amounts of garlic cause the same problems as onions.

  • Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. As little as a single serving of raisins can kill him. If the dog doesn't eat enough at one time to be fatal, he can be severely damaged by eating just a few grapes or raisins regularly.

  • Tomatoes can cause tremors and heart arrhythmias. Tomato plants and the most toxic, but tomatoes themselves are also unsafe. (All parts of the plant except the tomato itself are also poisonous to humans.)

  • Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death.

  • Caffeine (from coffee, coffee grounds, tea, or tea bags) stimulates the central nervous and cardiac systems, and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations, and even death within hours.

  • Diet products containing the sweetener Xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures. Unless treatment is given quickly, the dog could die.

  • Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle tremor and paralysis. These symptoms are usually temporary.

  • Walnuts are poisonous to dogs.

  • Chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. But any chocolate, in large enough amounts, can kill a dog. An ounce of chocolate can poison a 30-pound dog, and many dogs will happily consume more than this. The symptoms may not show up for several hours (and so might make you think all is well), with death following within twenty-four hours. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated, but it is still dangerous.

  • Apple seeds, cherry pips, peach pips, pear pips, plum pips, peaches and apricot pips contain cyanide, which is poisonous.

  • Too much salt can cause kidney problems. Also, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may then drink too much water and develop bloat, which is fatal unless emergency treatment is given very quickly.

  • Too much fat or fried foods can cause pancreatitis.

  • Ham and bacon contain too much fat and too much salt, and can cause pancreatitis. Also, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a life-threatening condition called bloat. This is where the stomach fills up with gas and within several hours may twist, causing death.

  • Raw liver or too much cooked liver (three servings a week) can lead to vitamin A toxicity. This can cause deformed bones, excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine, weight loss, and anorexia. Check the label of your canned dog food to be sure that it does not contain liver if you are giving your dog liver also.

  • Wild mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, or death.

  • Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can deplete your dog of biotin, one of the B vitamins. Biotin is essential to your dog’s growth and coat health. The lack of it can cause hair loss, weakness, growth retardation, or skeleton deformity. Raw egg yolks contain enough biotin to prevent the deficiency, so this is not a problem with raw whole eggs. Raw egg yolks could contain salmonella, so you should get your eggs from a reliable source or cook the eggs.

  • Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but rice is generally safe in small amounts.

  • Cooked bones can splinter and tear a dog’s internal organs.

  • Dogs can't digest most vegetables (carrots, green beans, lettuce, potatoes or yams) whole or in large pieces. Potato peels and green potatoes are dangerous.

  • Dairy products are high in fat, which can cause pancreatitis, gas and diarrhea. A small amount of non-fat, plain yogurt is usually safe.

  • Pennies made from the 1980s to today contain zinc, which can cause kidney failure and damage to red blood cells. A dog that consumes even one penny can become quite sick, or even die, if the penny is not removed.


    1. Poor baby! Ah, the things we do for our canines, eh? And now I have to add "making Andrea's dog biscuits" to my own list!

      Hope the cholesterol is under control soon. And send pats on my behalf!

    2. PS RE: your comment on my blog--I didn't REALLY think you'd be blank on the answers to ALL those questions--just a little good-natured teasing ;)
      (Oh, and turns out I saw MY first--and only--moose in the US!)

      Elsie's tummy has been duly rubbed; she thanks you. :)

    3. Thanks on behalf of Buffy. And yes, I knew you were teasing—I was just teasing back.

    4. awwww, Buffy is adorable! I hope her fasting test results came out well... She's a lucky puppy, with those beautiful dog treats!

    5. Is there a reason you chose spelt flour over anything else? I don't keep spelt, but have others.

    6. SC, I've read a few articles saying that wheat, corn and soy (among other foods) are not recommended for dogs. Although spelt is related to wheat, many humans who can't tolerate wheat are able to eat spelt. I happened to have some spelt flour so I made the cookies with it.

      Lots of dog products are made with wheat and if your dog isn't allergic to it, you can make the cookies with whole wheat flour.

      Dogs can develop allergies to foods at any time, even after eating these foods for years. I guess we just have to pay attention to our animal's health and be aware of what foods can cause problems.

    7. Did Buffy eat the cookies? Molly will never eat dog cookies that I make...I've tried variations on flour/peanut butter/carrots/banana. Even with PB "frosting" she won't eat them!

      Spelt sounds like a good idea for a dog on a wheat-free diet. Will have to try that next time!

    8. Buffy pretty much loves everything and she loved the cookies. (I think she won't eat lettuce but she will eat kale.) I have to be careful when I cook and something drops onto the floor, that it's not something dogs can't have—like raisins or onions. Buffy is always right at my feet hoping I'll drop a carrot.

    9. Fantastic blog, I hadn't noticed before during my searches!
      Continue the good work!

    10. Wow neat! This is a really great site! I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
      like this in the past? Keep up the great work!

    11. To think only!

    12. Hey,

      I have a message for the webmaster/admin here at

      May I use part of the information from this post right above if I provide a link back to your website?


    13. James,
      Yes you can. Thanks for asking.


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