Rufus’s Healthy PupHash… mama’s answer to pet food worries!

This is Rufus McDufus! And why I’m doing this… tell us about your pet family.


I write this post and share this recipe as a concerned dog mama regarding the current pet food reports as I look for a safe and healthy solution for my Rufus!
NOTE:  Cats are also being affected by this food situation.

Disclaimer: I make NO claims in regards to nutritional or medicinal values of this recipe for your dog. I have no animal nutritional education and am only sharing for others who are trying to feed their dogs a healthy homemade diet. There may be edits to my recipe as time passes and Rufus (and mama) adapt to something new!


I also make no claims that the foods noted below have been proven to make dogs/pets ill. At this time, there are no official recalls.  Do with this what you wish. As a very concerned pet mama, I felt compelled to share this and hope you will do the same. Since sharing in the past few days, I have had friends who saw this and have had friends whose pets become suddenly ill and died! Clueless… and now wondering if “this” is what happened to them as well.  Whether or not you have pets or are concerned with this, I hope you will share with your friends that need to know to make informed decisions about theirs!

Inspiration: This recipe is inspired by many. As I began researching homemade dog food recipes, along with many others, I came across Dr. Judy Morgan and her puploaf recipe.  Every recipe creator has their own particulars. I have pulled ideas from multiple recipes/sources/professionals to create something with ingredients I can find that will provide good nutrition for my picky Rufus, who also has a quirky digestive system.  This is not anything scientific. Simply a recipe I’ve concocted as a professional recipe creator for my buddy… to share with any others who are interested. Tweak for your own pooch’s needs and quirks!  I may do that periodically myself, so use as a baseline with your own research and pet’s palate. 


About Rufus… Rufus is my foster fail!
Never have I ever had a big dog before him. Never have I ever had TWO dogs at one time! Never would I have chosen him. He chose me and we’ve been a team since!
Rufus needed a bit longer foster as his testicles were recessed and his neuter needed a more invasive surgery. In those extra days of recovery, he decided he liked it here, and went about making me want to have him stay.

At the time, I had a blind speagle June Bug. She wasn’t too fond of Rufus but they came to like (tolerate) each other.  June Bug died a little over a year ago. Suddenly.  And now that information is mounting about dog foods making dogs quickly ill, immensely sick and rapidly dying, I have to wonder if her sudden illness may be related and she a casualty as well.  Rufus and I miss her so much!


My sweet June Bug and Rufus

So for many of us pet/dog parents, the past couple of weeks have been so stressful, and scary! Frightening news is coming to light about many name brand dog foods seemingly making pets suddenly ill and many have and are dying! This “Do Not Feed” food list includes what I have fed Rufus since day one per vet recommendation. This has been especially worrisome since he has a quirky tummy and was a vomiter early on. It took me a long time to find one of the blends that worked for him so he would stop vomiting, and I could stop cleaning it up! Now, I have stopped that feed. I wonder if the food was causing all the vomiting!?

(Note: Many vet$ are unaware of thi$ while others are well aware. They are in a “precariou$” $ituation $ince no recall$ have been implemented. Additionally, some of them are “clo$ely tied” to one food or another, and are not even going to warn their cu$tomers that “$omething” may be ami$$.)  


I’ve been in a researching tizzy myself, reading and watching all I can as I don’t want my Rufus to be a casualty in the growing numbers. I joined a couple helpful facebook groups and in just a few days, group followers in one has grown from about 20K when I found it, to today, as I write this, to over 70K!  There are several groups you can find for yourself, but this is where I first started getting information and informed…
Saving Pets One Pet @ A Time.

The posts and information in this group is coming fast and overwhelming! But very helpful and eye-opening. The heartbreaking stories are mounting and every few minutes, yet another gut-wrenching pet story is added! 

It is usual when products eventually get recalled that the catalyst came from grassroots discovery and reporting, and that is what is happening here!  Any group with similar issues that grows at the rate as this one is telling!  The food companies know this also. The “sponsored” ads for dog foods in my facebook feed (and on TV) is noteworthy!

From best I can surmise at this point… there’s been “something” amiss for about a year or more (back in 2022), but the problem has escalated in the past month or so, and reports have greatly increased with December food purchases! It’s as if something new/different is “in” many well known pet foods… perhaps some sort of ingredient purchased by them all that is tainting the foods. Folks who have been buying and opening new bags of food the past month+ are making up so many of those reporting, although there are many reporting from a longer period of time!  Many dogs (and cats) are falling ill (or worse) immediately! Some dogs won’t eat it. Symptoms are all over… lethargy… vomiting… diarrhea… and more.  I’ve never seen anything like it and makes me sick to read what I’ve been reading!  Again, I stress, I’m not making any accusations, but, when it walks like a duck… 

Many, including Dr. Morgan, are spending thousands of dollars to get independent food tests done. Some consumers are doing that, but these tests are extremely expensive and cost prohibitive for most. Many are reporting to the FDA, the governing agency. Many are saving foods in their freezer for what may come. At this point, there is no recall and of course, these food companies are denying anything is wrong with their foods.  Should there turn out to be validity to any of this, the financial implications, not to mention long term distrust, are huge!  The process of testing that eventually leads to any sort of recall is lengthy!  Which is why, as pet parents, we have to figure out what to do on our own!   

The one at the top of the list is, of course, calling this all “rumors” in press releases and social media posts. So if there is nothing wrong, why aren’t THEY leading and out front in testing? To disprove the “rumors?” And showing us their foods are safe?

Here are some of the recommendations from professionals at this point to stop feeding.  Other foods have been added to the recommended “do not feed” list in this group (see group posts for the extended list).

This list has changed several times in the past week with new ones added.  (List from professionals in the Saving Pets One Pet at at Time Community)


If you believe ANY BRAND of pet food is causing or has caused illness or death:⁠


I have learned that many, probably most, pet food companies do not batch test. That is not required by the FDA.  I won’t get any deeper in all this here… just do your homework and research. Be aware of this growing problem and make your own decisions!  Unfortunately, the brand Rufus came to love and worked for his tummy is on the list. I have decided to make him some food for now. I know this isn’t feasible or doable for all. It’s not cheap either.  And I am still going to look for the most affordable option among the recommended foods by professionals in the facebook group as even I, a food professional that cooks all the time, don’t know if I can sustain this food prep. I did have fun making this yesterday… and will probably keep making!  Especially when I watch him lick the bowl clean. I just hope you find this information and recipe helpful!  There are so many components for feeding a nutritionally balanced diet for animals that we trust our pet foods to provide for us! As with our own food and nutrition, we’ve got to be more vigilant, now more than ever!

I also understand that there used to be no dog foods. They ate what they were given and hunted for themselves. They at table food and scraps. I’m certainly not telling anyone what to do here.  Just sharing what I’ve decided to do for now should it be helpful… I’ve read too many sad stories this past 10 days that I just can’t put the food I was feeding Rufus in his bowl!  I was out and about to buy a new bag when all this came to light. And seems as mentioned above, the newer feed, what folks have bought recently, is where the rapid uptick in illness and death is coming from.  The research I’ve done has been exhausting and why I just made a decision yesterday what to do and doing it!    

I surely hope this is resolved soon. So many have no idea any of this is going on, and just doing my little part to help spread the word… save pets and help others have knowledge if experiencing any of this with their pets and along with their vets, have no idea what’s happening! Folks have been spending hundreds, even a couple thousand dollars on tests with their vets that are leading to no answers!  Inform and ask your vets about this. Some, but not all, are aware. 

Here’s my picture tutorial of “how to”…
You’ll need:

  • food processor/grinder (available all the time at thrift stores if you do not have)
  • big bowls
  • measuring cup and spoons
  • big spoon for stirring (gloves for hand mixing would be good)
  • bags or containers for packaging
  • freezer storage space

lean beef for puploaf


Since a 90/10 lean beef is needed, I looked around locally to find best buy.  This lean round roast was a nice price, $4.18/lb. No already ground beef was that cheap! I got the butcher to do a rough grind for me!  It was just right. I will keep my eyes open going forward for lean meats like this to grab and have ground to freeze. Shop smart!
Note:  The already ground 90/10 was $7.99 a lb! 

ground hearts, gizzards, liver and sardines

Some recipes, including Dr. Judy’s, include beef hearts. They are not available in my area. I googled and found an appropriate sub (for me to use) are chicken hearts. Which is nice, since those are usually packaged together with gizzards, another ingredient! My mixture includes the ground gizzards with hearts, ground beef liver (find usually in freezer sections) and sardines canned in water.  I have read some find it hard to locate sardines in water and find occasionally (and buy them all) at Aldi. All my local grocers (Food Lion and Carlie C’s) had plenty of them packed in water… $1.18/can.

The ground beef and eggs.  Recipes suggested 5-6 with shells. I bought medium eggs (lower price of $1.99) and used the entire dozen since I doubled the recipe.

Aren’t these veggies beautiful?  We should “eat the rainbow” and our pets too!  Mushrooms… kale with red bell pepper, ginger, butternut squash, broccoli and blueberries.

Next, I threw the eggs, shells included, into my food processor with the oil and whirled until mixed and shells ground up.

All mixed up!  I used a large dishpan and another large bowl since I made a double batch.

Filling station set up!  I bought these bag holders previously (Amazon) and they are great!  One quart bag holds 4 cups of loaf. Package and freeze according to your feeding amount needs.

Years ago I was gifted this funnel thingy. It makes filling bags so easy!

All done!  Outside time for shopping, it took me about 30-45 minutes of focused time to make and clean up!  Just turn on some music and you’ll be done in no time!
I got about 16 cups with one batch. So since I made double batch, I got 32 cups! You will need to ask your vet or research to know how much to feed your dog each day.  So many variables I’d rather not get into.
Package flat like these to save space in your freezer!

Scroll down below for printable recipe!  I’d love to hear from you about this. Have you heard about this issue? What are you doing to feed your pets? Come over to my FB page (link below) and chat about this! 

Find my other tasty pet treats here on my blog!

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Rada Knives and Kitchen Tools  USA made budget-friendly cutlery (great for gifting)
Watkins 1868 Store. Did your mama and grandma buy from “the Watkins Man?” The best vanilla…

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Rufus's Healthy PupHash

A tasty nutritious "meatloaf" for your pooch!
Keyword: dog food, puploaf
Author: Wendy Perry


  • 3 lbs. lean ground beef (I bought round roast) look for sales and have butcher grind for you
  • 2 ½ lbs. chicken gizzards & heart mix
  • ½ lb. beef liver
  • 3 cans sardines in water (I include the juice but you can drain)
  • 6ish ounces butternut squash (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 5-6ish ounces dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) I used kale (3ish cups once ground)
  • 5-6ish ounces broccoli (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 4ish ounces mushrooms (save the other have of carton for next batch)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated about size of thumb
  • ¼ cup sunflower oil (I always have on hand) or flaxseed
  • 6 medium eggs with shells
  • 6-8 oz. mussels (or kelp powder **)


  • The goal here is to grind everything up and mix together. Do this according to you processor and how much you can do at the time.


  • One large butternut squash gave me enough for the double batch I did and enough for 2 more batches. I froze for next time.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are recommended but I couldn't find and are expensive. I used white mushrooms.  A little bit different nutritionally but I'm in the ballpark and happy with what I'm doing.  You do you.
  • Some recipes call for beef heart. I cannot find a source in my area. I subbed chicken hearts. My grocers usually package those 2 together which works great for this recipe.
  • The (cup) measurements I noted above are approximates. Exactness isn't imperative (for me)... just get in the ballpark.
  • For the broccoli, I uses the stems and florets.
  • ** Re Kelp Powder:  These vary. Check with your vet or online to make sure you don't give too much. Some recommendations are 1/2 teaspoon/day for larger dogs and 1/8 teaspoon per day for smaller dogs. Some suggest 3-4 times per week.  Too much can cause hypothyroidism. You'll need to decide what's best for your pooch.  I'm still figuring this out for Rufus (He is 85#) and not here to offer nutritional advice.
Some suggest feeding this food raw. Rufus wouldn't touch it raw, but licks the bowl clean when I lightly cooked in micro for about 30 seconds and cooling to room temp. If cooking, cook gently and not long.  Instead of cooking it all before packing and freezing, I will cook portions as thawed at the time of feeding, or just cook one of the bags at the time to keep in fridge!  
Will keep in fridge 4-5 days in airtight sealed bags or container. Freezes great!


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