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Homemade Dog Food!

 
Miranda Converse
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We recently got a new puppy who is an adorable spoiled little brat. We bought him some expensive grain free puppy food because we thought it would be better for him. Well it turns out, it made him sick. He was getting the runs off and on and finally just refused to eat. A couple hundred dollars in vet bills later and we came to the conclusion it was his food. Bought him some different stuff and he finally started to eat again. This whole ordeal made me want to try to make him some home-cooked doggy food. I won't replace his kibble entirely just because I am not a nutritionist and I can't be sure I am giving him everything he needs but I figure some real food would be a good supplement.  Just though I would share what I did and some things I learned...

So, here is our recipe, it made about a month of food (~30lbs);
4 whole chickens (our own free range birds)
1 lb chicken gizzards
1 lb chicken livers
5lbs carrots
1.5lbs apples
2 Eggs with egg shells
5 lbs rice

We pressure cooked the chickens for a couple hours until the bones fell apart and put them in a food processor to make there weren't any bone pieces left.
Put the gizzards and livers through a meat grinder (some of this was set aside for the cats so the recipe actually probably had only 1/2lb each, mixed it with some chicken but those ungrateful cats weren't even interested).
Boiled the carrots and apples until they were mushy.
Put the eggs in the food processor to break up the shells and then mixed them with the gizzards
Cooked rice in our rice cooker.
Mixed everything together and canned them in pint jars in the pressure canner.

This whole process took an entire day. It was exhausting but worth it seeing how much Archer (the spoiled puppy) loves his food. Next time I will just throw everything (except the rice) into the pressure cooker. Using the meat grinder took up a good chunk of time (gizzards are very stringy and clog it up), we'll skip that step next time.  I think it should take at least half as long next time.
This was also my first time using the pressure canner. I messed it up quite a bit. One can popped it's lid in the first batch and most of the second batch didn't seal. Those all went in the freezer. I think what happened was I was paranoid about the food going bad (some of it was raw still) and so I filled the jars and put them in almost boiling water waiting for the first batch to finish. I had no idea the first batch would take as long as it did.

The cost for us was very minimal. It was less than $10 for the stuff we had to buy not including the jars. I don't count the jars because those can be used over and over again. We saved a lot by having the chickens already.

Now I need to make some different recipes to give him some variety. I plan on going to a local deer/game processing place to see if they will give us their scraps, or at least sell them for cheap.

Overall I would say this was a success! Have you ever made your dog his own food? How did you do it and what was your recipe?


 
Annie Lochte
Posts: 33
chicken forest garden goat
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I love the recipe! I cook a lot for my dogs... And now... I have a puppy with a liver shunt. (believed to be anyway) research has led me to feed her a raw diet. Just hand her a chicken leg quarter, or a few eggs, or a pint container of pork, or a few beef ribs with the meat an fat still on them... Etc. raw bones and all. So far, so good. But the older dogs much prefer cooked food...
 
Miranda Converse
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I considered feeding him a raw diet but I know myself and as silly as it sounds, I know I wouldn't keep up with it consistently. The only cheap meat we have ready access to is chickens and that wouldn't be much of a complete diet. I don't do the shopping so I would have to rely on my boyfriend to pick up other stuff. Plus, raw meat really skeeves me out. Sadly, I've never even cooked chicken before and I'm in my 30's, boyfriend does the cooking too, I'm just as spoiled as my puppy. In my defense, I was a vegetarian through most of my 20's...
Archer does get raw chicken feet and necks when we have them, some beef bones we get from the butcher, and the occasional raw egg.  He needs a lot of food though, already 50lbs at 6mos and growing everyday!
 
Annie Lochte
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chicken forest garden goat
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I love the idea of canning it! I have done a bit of pressure canning with the thought of... If it don't workout it'll be dog food... No bulging lids, but the stuff that just plain ain't appealing... And with your recipe it 'could' be human food. The prepper in me coming out there. And I'm not sure how I'll keep up with this puppy... Her mum is 70# so she will be big. (dad was a traveling salesman) And the thought of feeding her all this meat I have lovingly raised IS an issue with me. But only 1 seizure/episode since starting the raw diet so that is motivation... She was having long drawn out ones every 2-3 days before...
 
Miranda Converse
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Funny you say that because while we were making this, me and my boyfriend were talking about how, if we ever needed to, we could eat this ourselves! I don't consider myself a hardcore prepper, but I am always trying to keep in mind how we could survive if something ever did happen.
I will say, although the recipe sounds very people-food-like, it smells and looks just like dog food by the end! I would have to be REALLY hungry to eat it!

Glad to hear your pup is doing better on the raw diet! It's amazing what a change in diet can do!
 
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