I’m in the process of switching all my dogs over to homemade food with intentions of making enough for 3 days at a time. The more I read, the more I’m convinced there’s not going to be a prepared and packaged food that will be comparable in vitamins and nutrients; not to mention the huge lists of recalled dog foods and treats over the past year.
It’s quite scary!
Before going any further, let me preface my story by saying that I feel like my dogs have always eaten pretty good. I generally stick to a healthydiet and cook accordingly. Making extra “people food” for them is more common than not.
But doing so wasn’t enough to shake that nagging feeling. I want them completely off commercial dog food as much as possible.
My wistful aspirations of sharing the new recipes quickly came to a screeching halt after seeing the abundance of what’s out there. Impressive, to say the least. What I’ve decided is that at the end of the day, it’s all about a good BALANCE of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
The proper nutritional proportions recommended by the experts are:
80% meat with fat
5% fruits and vegetables
5% dairy and supplements
My biggest challenge has been trying to sneak in the vegetables and fruits. Robert, Rudy and Stella are all self-declared carnivores, and old enough to be set in their respective dietary ways. That being said, dietary changes for them is difficult at best! Unfortunately, grinding any vegetable, regardless of how small, doesn’t remove the smell. Thank goodness for butter! They love it and it’s proven to camouflage every vegetable so far.
I haven’t really used a recipe, per say. My method is to find out the basic ingredients of a particular dish and add “a little of this and a little of that”. I like improv; it works for me. Many people say I’m a good cook and that’s fine, just as long as my dogs agree.
Another reason for improvising with the homemade dog food is that it allowed me to use whatever I had available, with the exception of buying additional meat. Along with ease, it seemed the best way to see if the transition would also be any more economical. Expect a “thumbs up” on this if you currently buy quality, grain-free or gluten-free dog food.
Keep in mind that everything is fixed in large quantities. All 3 of my munchkins have hearty appetites!
Also, all the ingredients are fresh unless otherwise specified.
In lieu of the typical recipe, here’s a run-down of a couple of the things that were a big hit:
Chili Burger Mac-n-Cheese
1 1/2 lb. ground beef (80/20) celery carrots broccoli cauliflower (about a cup each-chopped) 2 tbls. butter macaroni (enough to absorb the liquid) 8-10 oz. cheese (shredded) In a large kettle, brown and crumble the ground beef in about 8 cups water; add veges and butter; cook until tender. Sprinkle with a little chili powder and add cheese. (I used cheddar and a little Velvetta) This made a lot but it should freeze just fine. Again, the vegetables were just what I had on hand in the refrigerator.
Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
2-lb boneless chicken celery green beans carrots zucchini tomato (about a cup each-chopped) 2 tbls. butter instant rice Brown chicken in a little olive oil then shred. Add about 3 cups water and vegetables and butter; boil, remove add 3 cups rice. There's an abundance of information on different healthy diets for dogs but from what I've experienced so far, maintaining a healthy diet isn't difficult, time-consuming or expensive. With that being said, I realize that there are dogs with very specific dietary restrictions; such as with canine diabetes, allergies or other medical problems. In these situations, the products at "ONLY NATURAL" might be just what you're looking for---and they auto-ship, too! Check them out if your looking for a healthy, reliable commercial food.
All comments, questions and sharing your own experiences/recipes are welcome!
High Paws and Happy Hoofing!