I have had dogs all my life. They always got wet food, with a cup of dry mixed in. It usually got heated up on the stove too. Spoiled Pets! But now that I do pet rescue work, I realize some pets get a whole lot more spoiled than that!
I once heard that even in the most premium dog foods, there is still 10x the amount of chemicals and preservatives that are maximum allowed in processed human food. I don’t know if that is true, but I absolutely believe it. Imagine what levels of preservatives the cheap dogs food levels contain! Or what type of fillers are put in there!
I have been making my own dog food from ingredients in my pantry for 2 years now. Why? Most of my pets have always passed away due to kidney failure. They were good ripe ages, but no record breakers. I began to think that the chemicals in dog food maybe was the culprit. The second reason is that one of my current dogs had previously been used as breeding stock. When the previous owner decided they wanted out of the dog breeding business, she just dropped off her 6 stock dogs at the vet and never came back. The animal rescue I work with took them in, and I decided to foster two of them. I was quickly a foster failure, and fell wildly in love with these two loveable chihuahuas. The female, had no teeth whatsoever. This is because she wasn’t fed nutritious food, and any nutrition she did get went towards producing litter after litter of puppies, and not towards maintaining her own fur, skin, bones and teeth. She had skin problems, level 4 luxating patellas in both knees, and no teeth. The “no teeth” issue problem was addressed by running all of the home made food through the food processor to make it s consistency she can eat easier. The skin problems were solved by the vet telling me to shave her down. However this has caused me a whole brand new issue because her fur never grew back properly. So I am adjusting their food recipe to accommodate fur nutrition. And I thought I would share with you my methods for cooking dog food.
In general, my recipes keep the protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables to a third each.
So one third of the volume will be whatever proteins I have available in the fridge. Ground beef, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts and tuna are my usual meats. Then every once in awhile, I will add liver or some other organ meat. I will also put a can of beans in some batches. Like kidney beans, black beans, chick peas, etc. This fur growing thing has gotten me adding a can of smoked oysters too. Any frozen fish filets on sale at the store, I will pick up. Salmon, tilapia, haddock, etc. Dairy is a good protein source too. I will add cream, yogurt, eggs, or cheese. This week, I started adding peanut butter for a nut source too.
A third of the volume will be a carbohydrate source, such as brown rice, oatmeal, or potatoes. Each batch, I will switch up the carbohydrate source.
I will buy a huge bags of frozen mixed vegetables and a bag of frozen mixed berries from Costco. I balance the mix to majority vegetables though. I am sure the berries have some nutrients that vegetables are missing. I will also have big cans of collard or mustard greens, or spinach that I add a few big tablespoons to the mix. Dark green vegetables cannot be missed out on!
I will make a processor full of protein, a processor full of vegetables, and a processor full of fruits and vegetables. I will then add olive oil, and chicken stock, to get it to the right texture/thickness. Then I mix those together in a giant storage container, and that will feed my three dogs for a week.
AVOID: A few foods are not good for dogs. Chocolate, onions, tomatoes, raisins and grapes. I also avoid corn. It is ok for dogs, but I don’t find it as nutrition packed as other vegetables. Don’t dog foods use it as a cheap filler?
I hate cooking. So I will try to cook their food before our dinnertime, so I can cook extra for the human dinner meal too. I will end up making one batch of dog food that lasts the whole week for the 3 dogs (2 small, 1 big), and I store it in the fridge. If I make a really big batch, I will freeze one container of it, and keep another in the fridge. Just remember to dethaw the freezer one a day before you will need it. I also do keep storebought premium canned dog food on hand for days that I have run out of the home made stuff, or we are travelling out of town with the animals, or there are guests in town and I can’t get around to doing a big batch of food. It really only takes about an hour once a week.
I pay $2.00 per can for the premium food I feed the dogs. The 3 dogs eat 2 cans per day. That would cost $28 per week. Even cheap garbage brands like Alpo @ $1/can would cost $14 per week.
The protein portion of my homemade batches costs at most $10. The carbohydrate portion costs about $2. The vegetable portion costs about $4. So I can feed my 3 dogs for $16 per week. Extra costs would be your time to make it, but if you make it at the same time as dinner for your family, it is a wash pretty much.
- Lean Ground Beef package: $10
- Pork Tenderloin from Costco $14. I use 1/2 of the tenderloin for a batch of food, and cut steaks from the rest of it for a family dinner.
- Giant can of tuna from Costco $7, plus I use the giant can for craft tool storage containers!
- Chicken breasts. I buy boneless breasts now from Costco, which are huge! The time to roast and de-bone a whole chicken is too much for me. I don’t know how much I pay for them at Costco, but I would use only about 6 breasts per batch of food.
- I buy bulk oatmeal. I think for $3 a container, and that would last for 5-6 batches of food!
- Brown Rice, I would cook about 2 c. (uncooked volume) of rice per batch. A bag from Costco would last you forever!
- A huge bag of Normandy vegetables is $7 or something? I use about 1/3 bag per batch. Berry mix bag is $10 maybe, and I use only about 1.5 c. per batch.
- A package of liver is around $3!
- Canned beans are about 70 per can!
- Canned spinach/collard greens runs about $1 and lasts for 2-3 batches.
- I would put 3-4 eggs per batch in at 30 cents each.
See? Find what is on sale, divide large portions and freeze it, and use what you have in your fridge. It is VERY economical.
- Much healthier pets and longer life. That reason should be enough right there!
- Less veterinarian bills!
- I am using up food in my fridge that would probably sit around until it went bad and I would have to throw in away. I am notorius for that, unfortunately.
- I am feeding my dogs better food that I would cook for myself. Since I am already cooking the food for them, I make myself a portion or two as well, so I am eating better too.
- Costs the same as if you were feeding your dog the cheapest dog food on the market, and it has FAR less fillers and chemical preservatives, and far more nutrition!
- Since this food has more nutrition per volume, you can feed your dog less and there is less waste and time cleaning up doo from your yard!!
Please note that I an not a nutritionist or expert in the pet food field. This is just what I feed my dogs.