I love my dogs and do things for them I would not even do for myself. One of those things is that I prepare their food each day. I never thought of myself as becoming this type of dog owner, but I have a Westie which means I have in my life a breed of dog that is prone to skin problems. Food allergies can contribute in a big way to some dogs skin issues. This was the case with Lewey. We went through a number of prepared foods but he was still not responding to his treatments which meant he had to stay on antibiotics for a month or more at a time. We finally decided to make sure we knew exactly everything he ate so we could control for potential allergens. It worked and although he still has seasonal allergies he is virtually free of his skin problems.
The number one thing that people think of when I tell them I make my dogs food is that I must spend a lot of time doing it. Nope. I spend about 15 minutes per day to make my two dogs a days worth of food. The next thing they think is that I must have to cook a complicated recipe. No again. Most of the time I am just opening up cans. The third thing they think is that this must be expensive. Yes. Yes it can be, depending on the ingredients you use, but it is actually less expensive than the treatments for my Westie's skin problems. Using the egg version of the recipe and using home cooked vegetables or better yet, garden grown vegetables I can feed my two dogs for as little as $2 - 3 per day. The more expensive proteins and canned vegetables can raise the price to $7 - 10 per day.
One thing I found when I began to research how to make my dogs food was that there is very little information on the internet on how to make a properly balanced dog food. You would think these creatures called dogs were some rare and newly discovered animal instead of our companions for the last 20 thousand years.
Dog food as we know it today in the extruded dry kibble form has only existed for the last 50 years. Before that there was an early form of dog biscuit made in the late 1800s and canned horse meat became available after World War I. The tins for this canned meat became unavailable during World War II an as a result the pet food movement shifted to dry foods made primarily from the surplus grain by-products. Profit and convenience has been what drives the pet food market from its start to current times. No matter what most pet food manufacturers say about their concern for your pets health - their greatest and possibly only concern is for their profit margins. This is why they use such substandard starting ingredients for their food. I don't trust anything that says 'for pet food only - not intended for human consumption'.
If you decide you don't want to participate in the pet food industries product they tell you things like "You can't make a balanced pet food." Yes, you can and it is rather easy to do so. However, finding that information out was a project that took me several months of research. I did not just trust what I found on the internet. I checked with my veterinarian. She did not know herself what constituted a balanced diet for a dog, but she did give me some excerpts from her veterinarian school textbooks. I worked through the formulas and came up with my basic recipe.
It has worked wonders for my dogs. They do not have nutritional deficiencies. They are healthy and of a proper weight. My Border Collie has been eating homemade food since we got her and she is the pinnacle of health. People are always commenting on her soft and lustrous coat. My vet recently commented on our Westie's health when we took him in for a checkup. She was stunned that at his age we were able to keep his skin problem free without the use of steroids and other drugs.
Am I a veterinarian? No. Do I have a degree in pet food making? No. All I am is a concerned and determined dog owner. I know there are other dog food recipes out there. I am just sharing with you what I have found to be very beneficial t o my dogs. Below is the basic recipe for what my dogs eat each day. If you have any concerns about its nutritional fitness for your dog then ask your veterinarian about it.
Grain Free - Basic Dog Food Recipe
(enough to feed 70 pounds of dog)
Protein 60 - 90 grams
Choices - use one of the following:
- 15 oz can of salmon or mackerel plus a tin of water packed sardines
- 12 oz can of water packed chicken or turkey plus a tin of water packed sardines or a 5 oz can of salmon
- 10 hard boiled eggs plus a tin of water packed sardines or a 5 oz can of salmon
- Two cups of full fat cottage cheese plus 5 hard boiled eggs and a tin of water packed sardines or a 5 oz can of salmon
Choices - use 6 cans (use salt free variety) of the following or 6 - 8 cups of the following:
(a mixture of several is best)
- Green beans
- White potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow squash or zuchinni
- Turnip or Mustard Greens
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup plain full fat yogurt
- 1 adult (human) multivitamin (iron free with no more than 100% RDA for any vitamin. I use Whole Foods 365 brand Adult Multi 1 day iron free formula) - crush it up first
- 1 teaspoon bone meal powder ( I use KAL brand bone meal powder)
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin C powder (I use Country Life Vitamin C crystals)
Tada! Now you have enough food for 70 pounds of active dog. If you know your dogs weight (or its desired weight) then divide that food into daily portions and feed your dog 2 to 3 meals of this per day. So, for example, if you have a 10 pound dog this will give you seven days of food. If you are used to feeding kibble it is going to look like a lot of food. Feed your dog the correct amount - don't skimp. Just because it looks like a lot does not mean it has a lot of calories. Vegetables are very low calorie and they provide a lot of fiber.
|Trudy's additional protein preference.|
Some people say to me when I tell them what my dogs eat, "Your dog eats that?" Yes they do with a very happy look to their faces as they snarf it all down. We feed our two dogs three meals per day of this recipe. They are happy, happy, happy.
|Lewey's additional protein preference.|
Will your dog like it? - there is only one way to be sure - try it and find out. If your dog has been eating only kibble for a long time then introduce the food slowly over the course of several days to a week, gradually substituting this food for the kibble.
|Calorie Burning Level : Medium|
There is something you should know about feeding your dog this way. The high fiber nature of this food produces... well it produces an amount of puppy poop you might not be used to seeing. This is actually very healthy for your dog. This is also in contrast to what I have read on some kibble packages that brag about how this lowers the amount of poop a dog creates. Less poop? In other words, hard, dry stools? That is not healthy. Would you eat a food if it was touted as giving you a smaller and more compact stool? Sure, if you like an uncomfortable time on the toilet. What do doctors recommend we humans have? - lots of fiber so we can have healthy and happy colons. Your dog needs a happy colon too. And - the added benefit of all that happy fiber filled puppy colon is that they will have less problems with their anal glands. When they produce a larger sized stool it helps to express the anal gland as they poop. I know - how totally gross for me to be telling you this, but its true. Believe me - you are only as happy as your dog's anal gland is healthy. Not having to express my dogs' anal glands by hand is one of the many, many benefits I get from feeding my dogs this way.
|Calorie Burning Level : High|
So now you know why my dogs look so happy. Three meals of homemade food per day and happy, happy anal glands.
|Calorie Burning Level : Tornado Dog|
(P.S. Sometimes if we are too tired or busy or just want to be lazy we will give our dogs dry dog food. We call it Pizza night. They enjoy it like anyone loves junk food. But we use only the highest quality dry food. If you are looking for a quality dry dog food that is grain free we have liked Taste of the Wild brand. We also use EVO brand canned venison and duck for protein in the above meals. I found a good deal at an online store here: Petflow.com )