By Rikki Cheese

My car stinks. My dogs stink. I stink. It’s all Stephanie Zepelin’s fault. I walked in on her conversation with fellow reporter David Schuman about an incredible bowl of matzo ball soup she recently enjoyed at a local restaurant. I had a childhood flashback. My mom grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in New York City, so I always heard stories of lox and bagels, gefilte fish and matzo ball soup. She didn’t like to cook, and made none of these dishes, but she excelled at teriyaki chicken, split pea soup, and liver and onions. Hearing Stephanie’s story about matzo ball soup made me crave mama’s liver and onions.

Stay with me.

On my way home that night, I bought five containers of chicken livers and cooked them up for the pups and me.

I was a rock star. Akira doesn’t like beef. Apollo doesn’t like salmon. They tolerate chicken. One taste of liver, and they were hooked.

We had liver for dinner for the next three nights. On the way to the dog park on the fourth night, a foul odor exploded in the back of the car. I pulled over and checked it out. No sign of any trouble, but the stench was unbearable. I lowered the windows, hoping the odor would blow away. No luck. Even a full can of air freshener didn’t help. On the fifth night, a foul odor exploded in the front seat. We were a liver-intolerant team.

This is my latest lesson in making careful choices when it comes to feeding dogs. Like people, some dogs can eat any and everything, and some dogs cannot. Whether you cook for your dogs, as I do, or feed commercial kibble, one choice doesn’t fit all.

Your Dog and Your Diet:The dog food industry is booming. From hypoallergenic mixes to limited ingredient products and raw diets, there is something for every dog. Food allergies and sensitivities are a concern for many of us who have furry family members. Bad breath, body odor, itching, scratching, paw licking, diarrhea, ear infections and digestive problems can sometimes be traced to food. If your pooch has any of these problems, first talk to your veterinarian, but before you start giving your fur baby a bunch of prescriptions, check the labels on the food you are buying.

A limited-ingredient diet may provide relief. Duck, venison and salmon are good alternatives to chicken and beef. Consider eliminating grains, glutens, corn and soy. Watch out for fillers and preservatives.

Take into account how much food you are giving your dog, and factor in treats. I only use treats for training. Feeding them to your dog throughout the day is like giving candy to your kids between meals. Treats can make your fur baby fat and lead to all kinds of health problems, including arthritis, diabetes and heart failure.
Did I forget to mention flatulence?

My apologies to Stephanie. The Cheese family troubles weren’t her fault. In fact, I am extremely grateful that she brought back a great memory and created a new one. A trip to the car wash took care of the odor that I don’t plan to re-experience any time soon. From now on, liver is only being served at my house once or twice a week.

Ricky Cheese
Rikki Cheese
Rikki Cheese
Rikki Cheese anchors 13 Action News Live at from 3 to 4 p.m. and anchors live updates on 13 Action News Live at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. Contact her by email at and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LasVegasRikkiC.