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Home-cooked kibble? What readers feed pets

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Organic kibble? Homemade puppy chow? A year after the country's largest pet food recall, many pet owners have changed how and what they feed their pets. Readers told us how they've restructured their pets' menus in response to an story that revisited last year's recall.

"I was pretty picky before that, but now am more so. I will no longer buy any food that has preservatives," writes Terri of Scottsburg, Ind. "I also cook for them about half the time with a homemade stew of meat and vegetables. I think my pups eat better than I do!"

Chelsea of Springfield, Mo., acknowledges that the specialty pet food she buys her dachshund is pretty pricey, but she believes it's worth it.

"I have always spent a little extra money on veterinarian-recommended food such as Science Diet which is only sold at vet offices or pet stores," she writes. "Anything that will keep him safe I am willing to do. If a new food came out (that was) guaranteed to be safe, but cost more, I would buy it."

Read on for more responses.

I now feed my cats an organic/natural food that is dry. I used to feed them canned and dry of a fairly cheap brand, and I had no problems, but wanted to be sure I was giving them much better, as well as safer, food.

— Anonymous

I try to feed home-cooked foods. Store-bought pet food is only about 20 percent of what they eat.

— Barbara, Garland, Texas

My Scottie died of cancer at the age of 10 and finding more and more people losing their pets due to cancer. I will never feed another animal commercial foods unless the FDA does something to assure us that it is safe for our animals.

— Carol, Colonial Heights, Va.

I have always feed my pets high quality food and will continue to.

— Angie, Buffalo, N.Y.

I noticed that my dog was having dietary problems. I started to cook him meals, but I searched for a good dry dog food and combined the two. Since then I have gotten very tired of cooking and noticed my dog putting on too much weight. I asked my vet, and she gave me some vet-approved brands. But my dog doesn't like them. I'm getting very frustrated.

— Jean, Mays Landing, N.J.

We have only purchased cat food that does not have corn meal gluten as an ingredient.

— Ann, Miamisburg, Ohio

I lost my cat last year [from tainted pet food that was later recalled]. I have two survivors who now only get pet food from companies who do not import ingredients from China, manufacture their own food, and use high quality ingredients.

— Marcella, Sun Valley, Calif.

I have changed. My dog got very sick. She was peeing ALL the time, drinking water like crazy. Had the vet do a blood sugar test, all was OK. Could not afford to spend thousands on tests. I avoid any food with "meat bi-products." ... She is fine now. Only organic from now on.

— Paul, Chicago

I have switched to all natural organic foods like Wellness or Merrick.

— Erika, Wisconsin

We now prepare our dog's food ourselves.

— Dennis, Arizona

I've been using a dry, organic dog food from a small company that was not implicated in the recall and products that cannot be found at local large pet food chains. Sometimes I order from online but I supplement my dogs diet 60 percent real meat, veggies and fruit. I'm at peace and my Sassette is just gaga over her new menu. But I made sure to research and talk with vets so her food is well balanced.

— Mel, Baltimore

Our pets, 3 cats and two German Shepherd dogs, now eat what we eat — that way we will all die together if the food is contaminated.

— Terry, Winslow, Ariz.

I switched to USA-made Merrick and I supplement that with cooking organic chicken and vegetables for all my dogs. I also make all my own treats. I can not be careful enough when it comes to my precious pets' health. My new motto is — If I wouldn't eat it, neither should they.

— Susan, Concord, N.H.