Friday, 7 October 2011

Home Cooking Dog Food

First of all, let me start by saying making your own dog food is a lot of work.  I dread dog food days, I even find myself counting down the days until the next day I have to make it again because that's how much I hate doing it.  So why do I continue?  Because the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Genevieve and Murray have always had sensitive stomachs.  It took us about 6 months to find a food that both of their tummies could agree on when they were younger.  They seemed fine on this for just over a year but it was costly.  We were spending $80 every 3 weeks!  And Murray had hives off and on and they both had regular ear infections.  Since they're Retrievers I didn't think the infections were because of their diet but because of their floppy ears.

Then last Fall, Genevieve started throwing up and having diarrhea off and on.  At first we thought maybe she had just eaten something she shouldn't have on a walk because other than that she was acting completely normal.  After about 2 weeks though she couldn't keep anything down.  After about 3 or 4 visits to the vets, tests and meds our vet came up with nothing more than an allergy to her food.  Genevieve also had a parasite in her intestines for the first 8 months of her life which he said could have done some permanent damage.

I had looked in to home cooking before but because of the work involved wasn't sure about it.  Now I felt I didn't have a choice.  So I looked at the back of some dog food packages to see what kind of fruits, veggies and other foods they put in it and made a list.  We also suspected that Murray was allergic to grains so I made sure to keep those out of the food.  Well within a day of making up a batch, Genevieve was back to normal.  Within a week Murray wasn't scratching and the hives we frequently found all over his body were gone.  And in over a year there has been the odd ear infection here and there, not monthly.  Both dogs have lost the extra weight they were holding (Murray was getting to be quite the heffer) and they're now more active and their coats are bright and shiny!  Our vet was amazed at how healthy they look and also the variety I put in to their food!

So what do I feed them?

  • 8 cups of rice
  • 2 2/3 cups of oatmeal
  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 carrots
  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 yams
  • meat
  • 2 apples
  • 1/4 cabbage
  • 1/2 container of cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large can of each kidney beans, chickpeas and green peas
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • Any other fruits and veggies I have lying around except mushrooms, spinach and onions 
I cook up the rice in 8 cups of water and 4 cups of beef or chicken broth.  The oatmeal I cook in 6 cups of water.  A food processor becomes your best friend with all of the veggies.  I chop them up then throw them in 1 or 2 veggies at a time and pulse them enough to get them small enough.  If you add too many veggies at once by the time they're all chopped up you'll have made veggie stew.  The processor is also great for the meat.  If you don't have ground burger then cutting up a steak and throwing it in the food processor for a few minutes will mince it enough to make it easy to mix in to their food.  I heat up the beans, cook the eggs and stir fry the veggies in oil and garlic.

All of this food lasts my dogs 5-6 days so we usually spend an entire day making up 6 or 8 batches to get about 4-6 weeks worth.  Of course if you have a little itty bitty dog one batch may last you a few weeks or even a month.  Lucky you!

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