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Homemade Dog Food!  RSS feed

 
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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?


 
Posts: 108
Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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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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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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My mom always slipped our dog a fried egg periodically.  She said it made their coats shine.  She wouldn't give a dog raw eggs.  I think it was a carry over from the farm and how people hated 'egg sucking dogs'.  Dogs would sneak into the chicken house and steal eggs.  

Anyway, it got me thinking.  Eggs are about the cheapest protein source there is, the standard other protein is judged against and probably excellent dog food (arm quarter backing here, I really don't know).  I realize a solid diet of eggs would probably not be the total answer, (if nothing else, a dog on a pure egg diet would probably empty a room if it farted) but I'll bet they can be a big part.

Side note, another thread got me thinking about dog poop.  Years ago I pulled apart several samples of coyote scat out in the desert to see what they were eating, (mostly rodents in that case).  What impressed me was all the hair was on the outside of the turd and all the bones were in the center.  I discussed that with the guys I was with and we decided the coyotes gut arranged the hair on the outside to protect the gut from sharp bits of teeth and bones.  How did the gut arrange for the different components to come out that way?  I haven't got the tiniest clue.  Anyway, it made me think that maybe the hair (and maybe feathers) is good for roughage and to protect the gut and tender anus.  So, I figure a wild dog would not eat just the meat of smaller animals, it would eat bones, hair and guts, which probably would provide things that a pure meat diet wouldn't.What do you guys think?

Years ago I watched my bosses dog (half sheperd, half husky) hunting mice in the grass.  As I watched I think he caught and ate 8 - 10 in the space of about 5 or 10 minutes.  I've read that they can be a surprisingly large part of a wolf's diet some parts of the year.  

I also saw a side question in the other thread about the cheapest way to raise meat and that and the two paragraphs above got me thinking.  Would raising mice be a cheap source of meat for dogfood?  In some places I lived I think I could feed a dog for a week or more on trapped mice, but the supply would quickly dry up if I were using them regularly.
 
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We feed all the mice we trap to the dog.  We also save scraps when ever we butcher game.  We freeze it in 10 lbs bags and then when we need it we boil it like a stew.  The dog loves it and the broth makes the dry dog food a little more exciting.
 
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Mick Fisch wrote:My mom always slipped our dog a fried egg periodically.  She said it made their coats shine.  She wouldn't give a dog raw eggs.  I think it was a carry over from the farm and how people hated 'egg sucking dogs'.  Dogs would sneak into the chicken house and steal eggs.  

Anyway, it got me thinking.  Eggs are about the cheapest protein source there is, the standard other protein is judged against and probably excellent dog food (arm quarter backing here, I really don't know).  I realize a solid diet of eggs would probably not be the total answer, (if nothing else, a dog on a pure egg diet would probably empty a room if it farted) but I'll bet they can be a big part.



Raw eggs in moderation are fine but don't go overboard with it. If you want to feed them a lot of eggs cook them. If they eat too many raw they can get a vitamin B deficiency which causes other problems.

Glad they aren't on the "banned" dog food list since my mastiff loves visiting the chicken coop to find a snack or two.

In reality the only possible (minimal) risk to dogs from eating raw eggs is that in large quantities a compound called avidin which is found in raw egg white can create a biotin (vitamin B7) deficiency in dogs, the symptoms of which include inhibited cell growth, inhibited fatty acid metabolism and loss of skin and coat condition.
https://www.mypetwarehouse.com.au/my-pet-blog/expert-pet-advice/can-dogs-eat-raw-eggs

 
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When my Staffy Bruno was a live...we gave him Liver, pork and similar meats like that and he would then fetch them up and in the end the vets found he had Colitis through these foods then is kidneys went bad so I put him on Harrington dog food but 3 separate flavours to stop boredom and he loved it besides keeping a nice weight of 24kg...until the kidney disease reached a bad stage and was causing weight loss anyway.


This link explains certain foods and side affects...just thinking of your pets :)

http://bjk9s.com/dangerous-foods/
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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FYI -- Use extreme caution if you choose to feed your dog pork especially if it comes from wild boar or pigs raised on small homesteads/farms.

Pigs can carry Pseudorabies which will quickly kill virtually every dog or cat that comes in contact with it (humans are immune, and most pigs show few or no symptoms). It is a herpes virus and U.S. farms used to be full of it until a few years ago. They finally eradicated it from the vast majority of commercial pork farms however the virus is still found in wild pig populations and on some small farms/homesteads.

The folks that hunt pigs with dogs are often rolling the dice regarding their dog's lives as exposure to live infected swine or raw pork will transmit the virus. Even when I buy pork for myself I am very carefully to ensure the dogs don't have a chance to lick any plates or packaging that touched raw meat (though technically well cooked pork should be safe).

https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_multi_pseudorabies_virus_infection
 
pollinator
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The dogs get scraps, leftover bones from stock, winter squash I can't finish, bacon fat, hard boiled eggs and a little kibble, just to keep them accepting it, if I run out of other stuff. They do have preferences but, in the end, they eat what I give them.
 
Gail Dobson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:The dogs get scraps, leftover bones from stock, winter squash I can't finish, bacon fat, hard boiled eggs and a little kibble, just to keep them accepting it, if I run out of other stuff. They do have preferences but, in the end, they eat what I give them.




Stacy until vets came around...going back 100's of years dogs was given scraps from the table excuse the expression and they growed to good ages...where as today they get ill quickly.
 
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"Raw eggs in moderation are fine but don't go overboard with it. If you want to feed them a lot of eggs cook them. If they eat too many raw they can get a vitamin B deficiency which causes other problems. "

I've been feeding raw eggs on a regular basis to my four dogs for the last two years.  Three of them are 40lb cowdogs, and they probably average about seven eggs each per week (the fourth is a ten pound jack russel that gets about three or four per week).
They get the entire raw egg, shell and all, mixed in with their Costco dog food.  I never cook the eggs.  Of course in winter they don't get that many due to my hens not laying as much.
The dogs are all exceptionally healthy in appearance, and in energy levels (too much energy if anything).

I had to google vitamin b deficiency symptoms after reading that comment.  It does not appear to be the case for my dogs.
I do recall reading somewhere that if the shell isn't given along with the yolks it can be a problem.

 

 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Is a food processor strong enough to grind up pressure cooked chicken bones? Does it have to be a heavy duty model? Do you chop them up fairly dry or with broth?

I frequently pressure cook chicken leg quarters and then debone the meat by hand, the joint ends are easy to crush and add but the main part of the bone usually gets discarded.

Once a month they go on sale for .48 a lb and this week they are on sale, I think I will pick up 30 lbs and can it for the dogs today.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Gail - in my experience, when my dogs have been ill, it's been mostly bad genetics, not food. I've also found it much easier to maintain a healthier weight in my animals with less kibble.
 
Gail Dobson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Gail - in my experience, when my dogs have been ill, it's been mostly bad genetics, not food. I've also found it much easier to maintain a healthier weight in my animals with less kibble.




Stacy your right in what your saying as dogs are like humans health issues are usually genetic and if your pets are in good health with their diet and not being ill...then you know your doing the right thing :)
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Gail - in my experience, when my dogs have been ill, it's been mostly bad genetics, not food. I've also found it much easier to maintain a healthier weight in my animals with less kibble.



The easiest way to maintain ideal weight is to feed them twice a day and use a measuring cup. I feed 6 and never have weight problems, if one is looking a little too thick or thin I can easily adjust their daily ration.  Everyone that shows dogs uses a measuring cup (or maybe a scale if they feed raw).

I was at the vet the other day and there was a nice older man with a young border collie female, he was telling me how incredibly smart she was and it was obvious he really loved the dog. The dog was HORRIBLY obese! I didn't say anything to the man but wonder if I should have (though others have probably told him and he ignores it),  there is no freaking way she will live a normal lifespan or avoid serious health problems with that amount of fat on her. Odder still the man was fit and trim, so it wasn't a case of the dog taking after the owner.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Lucrecia - again the weight issues are mostly genetics, my labs and lab mixes are always heavier despite getting the same amount of food as the others. But they seem happier with a smaller amount of better food, instead of just kibble.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Lucrecia - again the weight issues are mostly genetics, my labs and lab mixes are always heavier despite getting the same amount of food as the others. But they seem happier with a smaller amount of better food, instead of just kibble.



That is the point of the measuring cup, genetics and eating habits don't factor into it. If their weight is a little off it instantly gets adjusted in small increments (quarter cup for instance) and the dogs never notice.  Though if some dogs had to be on much smaller portions and felt deprived I would probably add a little plain rice or canned green beans to bulk it up so they felt full.

And yes genetics do favor some dogs and keeps their weight stable despite minor changes in activity and calories.
 
Gail Dobson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Lucrecia - again the weight issues are mostly genetics, my labs and lab mixes are always heavier despite getting the same amount of food as the others. But they seem happier with a smaller amount of better food, instead of just kibble.




Stacy my Bruno when he was a live went from 24kg up to 27kg through steroid and tablets as he had prostate trouble causing blood loss and he then had castration and they put him under the dietitian at the vets and she said he only needed 200g of food daily and we found Harrington dry dog food and he loved it, so every sunday I weighed bags out of 200g in 3 different flavours to cover the week...come 1pm I gave him about 50g in his dish to stop any hunger and then the rest at 5pm, it took a few months for his weight to reduce but we finally got him back to 24kg again but he was a dog that carried some muscle but after that he was used to his routine.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Gail - I have a pit bull/lab mix that's 100 lbs, at his prime he was 85 lbs. He's about 10 now, with a bad hip. We previously did the vet route and all it did was lighten my wallet. That's when I went searching for alternatives. He gets a little kibble, about 1/3 cup twice a day with scraps, typically bones & meat, winter squash and eggs, but also other bits I have about. I simply don't have the money to be overly fussy with pets or anything else. For his hip, my daughter gets him some glucosamine/chondroitin pills and he gets a rub down with an herbal salve. It's as good as it gets.
 
Gail Dobson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Gail - I have a pit bull/lab mix that's 100 lbs, at his prime he was 85 lbs. He's about 10 now, with a bad hip. We previously did the vet route and all it did was lighten my wallet. That's when I went searching for alternatives. He gets a little kibble, about 1/3 cup twice a day with scraps, typically bones & meat, winter squash and eggs, but also other bits I have about. I simply don't have the money to be overly fussy with pets or anything else. For his hip, my daughter gets him some glucosamine/chondroitin pills and he gets a rub down with an herbal salve. It's as good as it gets.




Stacy all of us can only do what we can afford but the dietitian didn't recommend that as we had a very choosy staff on our hands we was just lucky he liked it after being spoilt meat wise but what your doing is knowing what is best for your dog and if he's happy and content with what you do no one can fault you :)
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Gail - I have a pit bull/lab mix that's 100 lbs, at his prime he was 85 lbs. He's about 10 now, with a bad hip. We previously did the vet route and all it did was lighten my wallet. That's when I went searching for alternatives. He gets a little kibble, about 1/3 cup twice a day with scraps, typically bones & meat, winter squash and eggs, but also other bits I have about. I simply don't have the money to be overly fussy with pets or anything else. For his hip, my daughter gets him some glucosamine/chondroitin pills and he gets a rub down with an herbal salve. It's as good as it gets.



Stacy did you see my thread on injectible glucosamine? My very arthritic old dog went on it a week ago with VERY noticable results within 1 day.  My vet said oral glucosamine only works on 20% or so of dogs but the injectible produces fast noticeable results in 75%.

It isn't very expensive especially after the first month's treatment (inject twice a week at home the first month). After that they only get a shot once or twice a month which would likely be quite a bit cheaper than the glucosamine pills/supplements. If it works it will reduce pain and noticeably increase their energy level which also burns calories.
 
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