One of the experiments I have been working on (sounds like a mad scientist huh?) has been home made dog food. It is also one of few ideas I have been posting on facebook about. My friends on Face book have asked me when I was going to post on here how it is going. I decided now is the time. I have spent a few months trying different meats and veggies that I am now ready.
There are a few reasons that can cause you to decide to start making your own. Recalled Chinese (sorry Chinese people) petfoods and the expense of purchasing dogfood for your dogs are two of my reasons. Another reason is that then you know what is in it. Most recipes I have found call for meat, grains, and vegetables.
The recipes I have ignored call for salt, garlic, and onion. First of all your dog doesn’t care if there is salt or herbs and spices because they are dogs. They care for meat most of all. Seasoning the food is what makes us humans happy. Garlic and onions are not good for your pets anyway. That being said, I was adding 1/4 tsp per day of garlic powder for 5 days a week. I spent quite a bit of time checking on what a safe amount of garlic is for my dogs (2 Shelties) because garlic combats fleas. I didn’t add it to the recipe because it is not safe to feed it to them every day. I can also say that I have stopped doing it as it was one more step in the early morning before my coffee that is just not going to happen. I did not see an improvement on the flea front with the use of garlic powder, but my dogs breath were refreshingly smelling of garlic. Cayenne pepper in moderation is also a good choice to add to the dog food.
When you research this subject online there are many blogs and many ideas of the perfect foods. Meat recommendations go from ground beef to chicken to lamb and beyond. The recommendation is 2 pounds of meat. I have been warned that the over use of chicken can cause allergies in some dogs. Mine seem to think that chicken is the bomb. The thing is you have to decided why you are making your own dog food. I have a friend who lives out of the country. They can not import dog food in from the states and they have their own issues for using the dog food there. So they make theirs. Everything I do is to save money and have the best quality for me and mine. I really am not sure if making the dog food is the best solution financially, but it seems to be the best nutritionally.
Vegetables can be an issue too. Dogs benefit from carrots, spinach, broccoli, and celery. Even cayenne pepper has health benefits. Other veggies that can be used include green beans, zucchini, cabbage, parsley, kale, squash, asparagus, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Trial and error will help you decide what to feed your dogs. My dog Courtney has issues with spinach. Diarrhea was not my friend when I fed her food with spinach in it. So my dog food is not made with spinach. Dogs do not digest uncooked vegetables. They just don’t chew well enough. I have begun pureeing my vegetables which makes the nutrients easier to digest.
I know there is a movement to feed grain free dog food, but I just can’t afford that. I have to feed them some grains to stretch out the food to make sure this makes enough. The main grain I use is brown rice. You can use rolled oats. I have been thinking of using old fashioned rolled oat to this.
My dogs have been on this dog food for a few months. Each recipe makes 6 days of food for my two 20 something pound dogs. There are the odd days where I haven’t had time to make them food and I keep a bag of dog food just for that occasion. We also haven’t fed them this for the past few days because we will be out of town and someone else will be watching our dogs at their house. They have 2 dogs of their own and it would be difficult for my two to be fed something different than their two. It is also a bit difficult to have someone else adjust to your way of doing things. The reason we have started them on dry (brand name) dog food is Courtney gets loose stool when eating the dry dog food. She is up 2 or 3 times a night having to go to the bathroom. When on her home made dog food. She has normal stools. This is so gross a topic! But true.
Most of the blogs I have read have taken their pups to the vet and their home made food has been approved by the vet. The only addition I have ever seen is to add vitamins to make sure the dogs are getting them.
Dog Food by Sue
2 pounds meat*
1 pound of brown rice. uncooked
1 pound frozen broccoli**
Take 8 cups of water and put into a soup pot add meat*** and cook for 20 or so on medium.
Remove meat to cool. Add broccoli and any other veggies you are choosing to use. Cook until done. About 15 minutes on medium. Once veggies are done I take them out with a slotted spoon. Set Veggies aside.
Add brown rice and cook until rice is soft.
Put burner down to low. Dice meat into small pieces. I have medium size dogs so I make smaller pieces. Add to rice.
Take vegetables and puree. Add to rice and meat. Stir until well mixed. Food is done when most of the water is absorbed into the food.
Cool and store. This makes approx. twelve 1 1/2 cup servings. I feed my pups once a day 1 1/2 cups per dog. This can be frozen.
*Chicken, liver, ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, or chicken (These are the frugal stuff I can afford)
I buy what is on sale or cheaper as that is what I can afford. I am sure better quality meats can be used.
**I purchase a 2 pound bag of frozen broccoli and use half of the bag. I have used fresh carrots, celery, and canned unsalted green beans. I plan on trying potatoes and sweet potatoes as the price comes down on them. My dogs loved the green beans. My dog Blue loves the broccoli so much he stole the package of fresh broccoli out of my grocery bags while I was unloading the rest of the groceries. He sat under the dining room table chowing down.
***If you are using ground meat do not add until you have cooked the veggies and removed them. This way the meat does not get pureed into the veggies. But stir the meat and get it into smaller bites.
Every day I add 1 vitamin tablet and 3 tablets of brewers yeast to each dogs food.
The cost adds up like this:
2 pounds of meat. I work really hard to keep the cost at $2.50 a pound. $5.00
1/2 of a 2 pound package of rice is $0.70 .70
1/2 package of 2 pound bag of frozen broccoli $1.00 1.00
This comes to $.59 a serving or $1.19 for both dogs.
Now a 40 pound of Dog Chow is $22 and the cost is approx. $.92 for 2 servings. It lasts for about 28 days. I divided $22 by 28 days. The home made is a bit more, but my dogs seem to have more energy and shinier coats. I did not add in the price of vitamins or brewers yeast as the dogs get this even with the store bought dog food. If you are using the high end brands you can save quite a bit, but when feeding larger dogs or larger amounts of dogs I would make a huge amount and store it in the freezer so you are not making this on a daily basis.
One warning to anyone considering this. Please realize that this takes some time. You can take a few shortcuts. You can make larger quantities, but it takes time. You may find that your pets love this so much that you can’t stop doing it once you start. My two dogs get so excited in the morning waiting for me to fill their bowls it is funny watching them run circles. They look at me like I lost my head when they have to eat dry dog food.
The only issues I have run into is Courtney having loose stools when back on the dry food. My husband keeps asking what it is and if he can eat it. Oh, and my cat is very upset that he is not included in the home made food.
*****AS WITH EVERY SINGLE POST I WRITE, I AM ONLY SHARING MY EXPERIENCE. THIS POST IS IN NO WAY A JUDGEMENT CALL THAT YOU ARE A BAD DOG OWNER IF YOU DON’T MAKE YOUR OWN DOG FOOD. EACH POST IS A SUGGESTION FOR TRYING IT YOURSELF AND THE COST. IF YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO MAKE YOUR OWN DOG FOOD OR HAVE NO TIME OR SPACE TO STORE IT, THEN PLEASE PURCHASE FROM ANY REPUTABLE PLACE THAT SELLS GOOD DOG FOOD AND USE IT WITHOUT GUILT. I HAVE FOUND THAT MY DOG HAS FIRMER STOOLS AND I DON’T HAVE TO CLEAN UP POOP ACCIDENTS SINCE SWITCHING*****