The Pampered Pooch

Whether chasing a squirrel or enjoying a belly rub, healthy dogs are paragons for the good life. They instinctively live in the moment and delight in life’s simple pleasures. Their love is pure, loyalty strong, and happiness contagious, which can have profound effects on our well-being.

Research backs this up, indicating that simply petting our furry friends can reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and boost oxytocin (the “love” hormone), enhancing relaxation and happiness. And dogs’ playful energy and need for regular exercise can motivate us to be more active.

To be good human companions in this symbiotic relationship, we owe our dogs good caretaking. Opinions may vary on the optimal approach to doggy care, but the consensus among vets is that it requires dedication, daily exercise, sound sleep, socialization, routine check-ups, proper hygiene, and a balanced diet.

Dan Gilmore, Bellevue Club’s executive chef and known dog-devotee, says that he believes lots of love and a variety of good food is fundamental to dogs’ health and well-being. “I feed my two Great Pyrenees—Mr. Nuggy Thunderpaws and Greta— a combination of raw food and kibbles,” says Gilmore. He discovered the benefits of raw food as part of a mixed diet when his former dog was suffering from digestive trouble. “After experimenting with different diets, we found that including raw food relieved some of her symptoms.”

“My dogs love raw food, but preparing it takes time that not everybody has,” Gilmore explains, which is what inspired him to create Canine Chow, the Club’s raw dog food and tasty treats (available for purchase through the Butcher Shop on the Bellevue Club app). The Club follows strict safety guidelines, and their recipes are based on recommendations from veterinarians and pet nutritionists to ensure a healthy balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. “Members like the ease and convenience of being able to pick up food for their dogs in the market. We also offer a menu for doggy room service in the hotel, and we plan to offer a doggy brunch on the Polaris patio in the fall,” he shares.

The Raw Food Revolution

Dog diets have evolved over time along with their relationships with us. In the wild, dogs foraged and ate raw meat. As they became domesticated, they increasingly relied on human scraps, which included a mix of vegetables, meat, and grains. Industrialization created the possibility and market for commercial dog food, which is now incredibly diverse, catering to a wide range of dietary preferences and health needs.

Raw food in its modern gourmet form is now de rigueur. It grew in popularity alongside trends for more “natural” diets, free from additives, unnecessary processing, and occasional food recalls from distrusted commercial markets.

Pet owners’ observations and some research show that raw food can improve dogs’ digestion, increase energy levels, and support healthy teeth, skin, and coats. The benefits are many, but there are also some associated risks, such as bacterial infections if the raw food is not prepared correctly or if dogs eat only raw meat, which could lead to nutritional imbalances.

“Everyone should do their own research and consult a vet to learn what’s best for their dog,” emphasizes Gilmore. As for his dogs, he says their wagging tails, sparkling eyes, and unwavering exuberance have made it clear what they think of the Club’s recipes.

Safety Guidelines

  • Consult your veterinarian or a pet nutritionist to understand your dog’s dietary needs, based on age, weight, activity level, and overall health condition.
  • Introduce raw food gradually by mixing in small amounts of new food with your dog’s current food.
  • Select quality, human-grade ingredients and include a variety of meat sources. Most meats are available from butchers and fishmongers. Many are now available online.
  • Follow basic sanitation rules. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils and cutting boards, and thoroughly wash hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after handling food.
  • Prepare food in batches and, after proper cooling, freeze in daily meal-sized portions for convenience. Determine portion sizes based on your dog’s caloric needs. Thaw daily portions in the refrigerator to minimize bacterial growth
  • Maintain regular vet check-ups to ensure proper nutritional needs are being met.




  • Chicken scraps, 3 lbs.
  • Chicken liver, 1.5 lbs.
  • Turkey neck, 2 lbs.
  • Chicken heart, 2 lbs.
  • Broccoli scraps, 12 oz.
  • Sweet potato, 8 oz.
  • Carrot, 8 oz.
  • Steel-cut oats, 6 oz.


  • Blend ingredients in food processor/grinder.
  • Batch in daily portions based on dog’s caloric needs.
  • Freeze until ready to use; thaw in refrigerator.



  • Beef scraps, 4 lbs.
  • Beef liver, 2.5 lbs.
  • Beef heart, 2 lbs.
  • Broccoli scraps, 12 oz.
  • Sweet potato, 8 oz.
  • Carrot, 8 oz.
  • Steel-cut oats, 6 oz.


  • Blend ingredients in food processor/grinder.
  • Batch in daily portions based on dog’s caloric needs.
  • Freeze until ready to use; thaw in refrigerator.

Dog Treat Biscuits


  • Whole oats, 1.5 cups
  • Buckwheat flour, 1 cup
  • Barley flour, 1 cup
  • Millet flour, 0.5 cup
  • Parsely, 1 bunch
  •  Peanut butter, 0.5 cup
  • Egg, 1


  • Mix oats, flours, and parsley in food processor until smooth.
  • Add peanut butter and continue to mix until well incorporated.
  • Add egg and water. Mix until dough forms.
  • Roll out dough; cut into desired shapes; place on tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 250º for about 2 hours. Time may vary depending on shapes.

More Reflections

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11200 Southeast Sixth Street,
Bellevue, WA 98004