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Anyone else make your own food for dogs/cats?

 
Aza Aguila
Posts: 30
Location: Costa Rica
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Curious...
Does anyone else here cook for your dogs and cats? Or feed them something other than traditional dry "kibble".

We make our cats and dogs food from what is called "menudos" here in Costa Rica - chicken parts, such as the necks, wings, gizzard, liver, etc., cooked with rice, and chopped vegetables.
We make a big batch a couple times a week in our big pressure cooker.
We also give the dogs fresh bones (cow) with a bit of raw meat left on them, and the strained whey from making milk kefir.... plus various table scraps like rice, veggies, oatmeal, soured milk, avocados, coconut, and so on.
Once in a while I stir in a raw egg or 2.

I'd love to hear what others are doing.
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 356
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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I feed my dog a lot of eggs and oats among other things. I crush the shell and he eats that too, good source of calcium.
 
Aza Aguila
Posts: 30
Location: Costa Rica
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we crush our egg shells or grind them and give to our hens for calcium.
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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We do. We see a positive difference in our older dogs health and behavior with home made food. I used to work for one of the larger pet food manufacturing companys and was able to bring home free food for him. He will eat it but just did not have the energy or appetite he has when eating home made. When we are butchering or if we are cooking either turkey or chicken we usually put the scraps into a stock pot when we are done and cook it up for the pets. We can get at costco large commercial bags of white rice for cheap and the same fot #10 cans of vegies, either that or we get cheap smaller cans of vegies at a scratch and dent store in the area. We are a big user of a stock pot. When we butcher we will put things like beef neck bones, and other parts after cutting on what meat that is usefull for other things and then boil them down, remove the meat and can the meat and stock up for both a base for our soups and stews and for the pets. This is more work for us, but if we watch the prices of ingredients it is signifiantly cheaper. When the garden is in season we use extra vegies instead of canned from the store. There are times when I do not see how companies can produce a #10 can of vegies for the price.
kent
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Yes. Our dogs eat meat from our farm, pests (e.g., voles, mice, coyotes, etc) and lastly a little commercial dog food. See:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2006/02/feeding-big-dogs.html

We keep it simple. It is good for them to get the whole animals (e.g., guts) for the minerals and vitamins.
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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My wife is threating to add woodchuck to their diet.
kent
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Good stuff! Give them the whole woodchucks. Best of all, our dogs hunt down and eat pests like that so we don't have to actually 'feed' them. Saves time.
 
Aza Aguila
Posts: 30
Location: Costa Rica
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The only thing I have ever seen my dogs (a german shepherd, a lab-whippet mix, and a mini pnscher) try to hunt was our chickens and flying insects.

we have shock collar trained them out of hunting the chickens... I think its cute that they hunt bugs.

Wait, the bigger dogs do enjoy hunting compost and manure... I'm not so keen on that though!


 
Mariah Wallener
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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My little carnivore is on a raw, prey model diet. By not cooking bones she can safely eat them and gets a great dose of important minerals that way. She eats mostly raw, meaty bones (think chicken parts, pork breast bones and side ribs, etc) and about 15% organ meat ( of which 10% is liver). So it is a "homemade diet" but I don't cook anything. I beleive this is the optimal diet for dogs and after 3 years of this diet she is still very healthy and happy and has a wonderful coat with no more of the skin issues she came with when we adopted her. She does occasionally eat food scraps that have been cooked but just as a treat (and to save me cleaning up plates, lol).
 
George Lee
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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Walter Jeffries wrote:Yes. Our dogs eat meat from our farm, pests (e.g., voles, mice, coyotes, etc) and lastly a little commercial dog food. See:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2006/02/feeding-big-dogs.html

We keep it simple. It is good for them to get the whole animals (e.g., guts) for the minerals and vitamins.

Jesus...Seriously?

My cats are the ones who keep the mice down in my gardens..
I hadn't really thought of letting my labrador chow down on the carcasses. haha!

Interestin' stuff.
 
Shailor Clark
Posts: 34
Location: Roanoke Island, North Carolina
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My almost 2 year old husky loves fresh eggs from our chickens. When she was younger she killed two of the hens, though now she coexists with them well. I think she finally realizes that they make eggs, and she will get some eggs if she doesn't hurt them. In-fact when other dogs come by she protects them to a certain degree.

I also take her out in the canoe occasionally [we live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina] so she can run through the marsh or we go to a sand island to catch nutria. I let her eat the entire thing, although I used to cut out the intestines.
Our chickens also feed on her kill by pecking up the scraps.

In the summer times I occasionally go down the the fish house and clean shrimp and I get to take home bags of squid & small fish that are mixed in. I cook those up for her with whatever vegetables we may have or give them to the chickens as is.

When we first got her she would eat the fresh figs off of the trees as well as the pears that fell when ripened. There is also a huge mulberry tree nearby and whenever we go to pick them she enjoys a nice amount. She also eats fresh raw carrots but only if we grow them!

My brother and my girlfriend's father both hunt, so we get them to give us the [fresh] carcasses of deer and ducks, which I give to her whole.

We occasionally buy some dog food in the winter if I don't take her out to hunt enough and organic raw pumpkin seeds to mix in her food, because they are a natural vermicide.
Though after we run out of what we have now, I am going to try even more so to feed her fresh local organic food, while still providing a balanced nutritional diet.

Finally, she gets table scraps of rice, vegetables, and meat that my roommates may not finish.

She also catches moles, doves and other small birds, racoons, insects, and opossum occasionally.
 
                
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We feed our spaniel the raw, whole prey model diet. He gets a lot of actual whole prey as we raise rabbits and guinea pigs. I supplement those with whatever meat/meaty bones I can find on sale ($1 lb or less) and the trimmings of our own meat. We are not super strict like some are so our dog also gets to lick our plates and will steal the fruit and veggie scraps we throw to the g.pigs and chicken.

I will give him milk kefir as well and a couple times I have soaked some bits of meat in the kefir whey. I don't think you can go wrong with all those wonderful enzymes and vitamins.
 
william ava
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If I start making my own dog food, what do I use? Whenever the dogs have digestive issues, I've always made them boiled chicken and brown rice, sometimes with a can of pumpkin thrown in, but that's been rare and not as a staple diet. Is that a good start, though? How much food does each dog - a 30 pound collie mix, a 70 pound Heinz 57 with some hound in there and Django the spaniel, who weighs 75 pounds and should weigh 55 or less - need?


EDITED by moderator to remove spam links.
 
                
Posts: 51
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William, You will find a lot of homemade recipes online. The one I am using and others are here is the Raw, whole prey model. You follow a general ratio of 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs in the amount of about 2-3 % of your dog's ideal weight daily and NO grains or veggies. Within this diet there are a lot of variables based on what meat is available to you and what you can afford. I would look around online and read and start with what makes the most sense to you.

Blue

 
Jay Green
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Got Raw?
 
Patrick Winters
Posts: 93
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I'd be really interested to hear more from people who've completely closed the loop when it comes to feeding their working dogs. Dogs require a pretty heaping pile of food every day, and in a closed-loop permaculture scenario where most livestock won't be slaughtered until autumn, and where hunting season begins in autumn, that doesn't leave very much meat available for the spring and summer. You can only kill so many squirrels, leaving the dog's survival to random rodent opportunities seems poor planning and unsustainable.

The smart permaculture system for feeding chickens is to put them on a paddock system. Pigs aren't raised unless there is plenty of guaranteed food ready for them. There must be a smart, effective, dependable way to provide your dogs with plenty of food, without having to go out and find squirrels or woodchucks to shoot if there don't happen to be any around that afternoon. With lots of other work to do, that seems like a very poor use of time day after day through the growing season.

Off the top of my head, one possibility would be to raise rabbits in hutches specifically for the dogs' food. Feed the rabbits garden weeds and kitchen scraps, direct their manure into the worm bins, and feed the rabbits to the dogs.

What other reliable scenarios are there to ensure there's enough food every day in a permaculture system?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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People talk about year-round rabbitry and poultry for human consumption, but they are really talking weekly production (as in one slaughter for one meal a week) and not an EVERY DAY meat supply. To feed dogs without canning or freezing takes a consistent production beyond what is needed for omnivores.

When we had guard dogs, we tried to work a system to get us rabbit quarters and the dogs the rest. It would have been workable with more effort, but our weather makes rabbits difficult and unreliable in the summer.

We feed ALL our food waste to something--pigs, dogs, chickens--someone is going to get it. But we are not near 100% closed loop--maybe for a few weeks a year it works out.
 
Peter Mally
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My wife makes food for our dog, and she prefers it over the store bought (and we buy Taste of the Wild for her and the cats) food. Typically it's gluten-free grains (millet, split peas, lentils) chicken gizzards, beef livers, mackerel, eggs for proteins and for vegetables she LOVES frozen peas but also will get carrots, the dog also like blueberries and slices of apples. We'll get a big cooked down bone from the local butcher.
 
                
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Patrick, I think you are restricting your idea of what makes a good meal for a dog.

Sure, large livestock like steers and hogs are great food but there is a ton of meat available at other times of the year. Chicken, ducks, geese, quail and their eggs. Some people not only raise rabbits but also guinea pigs (thrive on weeds) or rats(thrive on table scraps). As more people are raising dairy goats the little males are pretty easy to find throughout the year. Some people also use fish and I don't see any reason why snakes and alligator wouldn't be fine as well.
 
Andy Sprinkle
Posts: 46
Location: Lexington, Kentucky Zone 6
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Walter Jeffries wrote:Yes. Our dogs eat meat from our farm, pests (e.g., voles, mice, coyotes, etc) and lastly a little commercial dog food. See:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2006/02/feeding-big-dogs.html

We keep it simple. It is good for them to get the whole animals (e.g., guts) for the minerals and vitamins.


Walter...your dogs are awesome!!
 
Shelly Randall
Posts: 73
Location: Central Valley California
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We feed our cats the carcass and organs of our chicken butcher. I put the whole carcass, spine, neck, everything in a meat grinder and grind the bone up with it all together. They need the calcium from the bones and the marrow is super nutritious. We cook the organs and add that to the mix for the missing nutrition. I package this into daily servings that go into the freezer for storage and out to thaw for daily feeding. They get one a day raw, unwarmed. Two of our cats love, love it and chow down. Then they are calm the rest of the day because they are digesting. It really calms down our orange, aggressive tabby. If he doesn't get his meat, he acts like a junky going through withdrawl. He disdains bagged cat food and gets moody when we don't have meat. He acts like the pure carnivore, which he is. Grains are merely filler. Our two other cats do not like meat. They will gobble up dry cat food easily and without much fuss but pass up the meat. Some cats take to a switch in diet and others are content to feed like they always have.

We don't have a dog, but it should be noted that dogs are omnivores and evolved with humans. For thousands of years, they ate the scraps that their owners left for them which included carbs as well as protein (not grains). A friend of mine cooks chicken and sweet potatoes for her dog in a crock pot for the week and dishes that out daily. He is quite content.
 
wayne stephen
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I saw a company - B.A.R.F. { bones and raw food } - selling high priced raw meat and bones ground up. Seems that would be easy far most permies to do from our livestock and hunting leftovers. I have been without canine relationships for 7 years but would definitely grind the bones to make their bread if I choose a GLD this year or next.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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just got a puppy about 40 hours ago and she doesn't like puppy food so I'm finding this very very very helpful..also have 2 cats and would love to stop giving them storebought, but they won't even eat salmon or chicken out of a can !!! wierd I know..so anyway..I'm going to experiement with people type foods for them and see what I can come up with, esp the puppy as she is going to need to have homemade ..she will eat the cats food some..I even tried putting bacon grease or cream on the puppy chow and she didn't care for it much.

will be experimenting with some mixed cooked grains I have leftover and cook it in with some eggs for her supper.
 
John Polk
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Dogs and cats that turn their noses up on dry kibble can often be persuaded by breaking a raw egg over the top.

 
Que Lawrence
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We raise rabbits for our family and to feed our dogs. We also raise chickens and goat but don't really butcher them often. When we do though, the dogs get some of it too. Since we don't have the room for pigs or cows, once a year we do buy 1/2 a pig or 1/2 a cow from a local farmer and use it for us and the dogs.

We have a rat terrier and a dachshund. They readily eat raw meat. Both dogs came to us with skin problems and the raw meat diet has completely clear up all problems.

Table scraps are given either to the dogs or the chickens.
 
Julia Winter
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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There's a great book by Ian Billinghurst, an Australian veterinarian, about feeding your dog called "Give Your Dog A Bone." I went for years feeding my two big dogs a completely raw diet, and it was great. When I had my second baby I started getting overwhelmed with tasks and the work of buying 50 pound boxes of turkey necks, thawing them to the point where they could be separated and then repacking into bags for refreezing (plus washing and drying the bags) became too much. I also made something I called "veggie glop," with pureed/masticated vegetable matter mixed with ground raw organs and supplemented with various goodies, and making that was a big production I no longer had time for once I was working full time with two kids. Still, I think the dogs were healthier on the BARF diet, even compared to the high-end grain free kibble that I fed afterwards.

Bones are not dangerous if they are raw. They can be dangerous when cooked, as the small ones get brittle and poky and the large ones get hard enough to break teeth. Also, if a dog manages to chew up a large quantity of cooked bone they can get horribly constipated, as in, intestinal obstruction. A dog on a raw diet has two kinds of output--rather small, very dark and firm stools and the famous "chalky white dog poo." These come from eating raw bone, and they are like little rocks, very dry and sometimes crumbly. Passing these little rocks naturally empties the anal glands, and if you've ever had to deal with a blocked anal gland you will be glad to know there's an easier way!

Turkey necks are a fantastic dental cleaning device for dogs. Be aware, I've heard reports of dogs trying to swallow these whole, leading to choking. If you're not sure how your dog will react, you might want to hold on to one end with a vise grip until he learns to take his time. . .
 
kirk dillon
Posts: 58
Location: Maple City Michigan
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OK... I'm a Vegan... This dead animal stuff is really grossing me out....I know dogs love meat and I plan on getting a dog someday and I'll probably have to deal with that. There will be some animals on my farm for their multiple uses and even if I don't eat them myself there will be some "parts" available as dog food. I plan on making several dehydrators for various reasons and I guess I could dedicate one of them to "jerking" the animal parts. Since I know nothing about this, wouldn't that be a good way to preserve the available food out over the year??
 
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