It’s a Dog’s Life

Before Jae stopped working his office job, we purchased middle-of-the-line dry food for our dogs.  With two medium-large dogs who really know how to run all day, middle-of-the-line food could become a fairly significant portion of our grocery bill.  When Jae left the office behind and our income became casual, we downgraded to bottom-of-the-line dry food for the dogs.  Yes, the nasty, full of filler, no name kibble. We couldn’t justify spending so much money on dog food.  I justified the crappy food by including a raw egg on top every morning, but every time I glanced at the ingredients list on the bag, I felt a wave of guilt.  Mainly grains, full of fillers, plenty of preservatives, chicken meal by-product (I’m guessing ground feet & beaks? Yuck!), chemicals and unpronounceable additives.  I don’t feed my kids such poor food, or my livestock, or my poultry.  WHY was I feeding garbage to my beloved furry friends?

Soon enough, Molly started showing typical behaviour changes, mainly hyperactivity.  I’ve known for a long time that poor-quality food can negatively affect a dog’s behaviour, but the changes in Molly still caught me by surprise.  She needed to poop more often and had a couple of accidents in the house.  I knew within a week of the diet change that the crap food was just not cutting it.

This morning that first bag of crappy food finally ran out.  I knew it wasn’t in the budget to switch back to the decent food we used to buy, but I was not about to buy more low-grade junk.  So, I looked up the ingredients on the premium food (the kind that sells for $75 per bag – yikes!), read a few dog nutrition websites, and decided I’d make good food for my dogs at home.

After costing it out, homemade dog food works out to less than the cheapo crap food, and about 10000x healthier!

Here’s what I did tonight for my dogs:

1 sweet potato
2 potatoes
2 apples (simply because both dogs LOVE apples and go nuts for them)
2 cups of brown rice cooked in chicken broth
2 Tbsp flax oil
1 can of tuna
Handful of chopped carrots and broccoli

I cooked the sweet potato and the potatoes, stirred in the rice, apples, carrots and broccoli.  There seemed to be enough for at least a few days, so I doled out each dog’s serving, and added the tuna and flax oil on top. (I also poured the water from the tuna can into the bowls.)

The dogs devoured it. I have never seen them so eager to eat their dinner before.

Each morning they will still get their raw egg (with crushed shell), and on Sundays when we have our chicken dinner the dogs get all the scrapings.  I’m also going to experiment a bit with higher ratio of meat to veggies/rice (always raw meat), and try including things like cottage cheese or kefir.

All in all, it took me hardly any time to prepare the dogs’ food tonight, and I won’t have to do it again for at least three days – there is plenty still in the fridge.  The cost can’t be beat, my feelings of guilt were taken care of, and Oddler & Molly loved their first homemade meal.  I think we’re on the right path!

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9 thoughts on “It’s a Dog’s Life

  1. when we make our dog food, we shop at the discount food store and buy brown rice, oatmeal, sardines, frozen broccoli or spinach, raw chicken parts (legs, thighs) with bones and eggs

    i usually cook a big batch of the rice and oats and leave it in the fridge. when i serve it up, i put some of the cooked grains in the bowl, toss in a handful of broccoli or spinach, a piece of defrosted chicken, an egg with the broken-up shell and a few sardines on top. the uncooked bones and shells are great for them, and this is such an economical and healthy way for them to eat. our german shepherd was always very food-sensitive and it showed in digestive and skin issues. when we fed him this mix, he had great energy, skin, breath and overall health!

  2. That’s awesome! I bet you will see a big difference in your dogs once they’ve been on such a healthy diet for a little while.

    The ingredients in cheap commercial pet food are indeed horrendous.

  3. This is intriguing to me. I have a Retriever who has HORRIBLE allergies. He has major ear problems and is always snotty and shaking his head, Not only do I feel bad for him it’s quite annoying to the rest of us. I would love to know more about this…mostly, how much do I give him and how do I know he will be getting enough?

    • Well, after a week on this diet, Oddler has lost his arthritic limp. Worth trying for your dog! For serving size, there is a calculation you can use based on dog’s weight, which is floating around on the ‘net somewhere. I’ll have to find it and let you know.

  4. Tuna is high in mercury so not something I would be feeding my dogs. I do purchase sardines in water/no salt and canned pink salmon which I rinse first as it has salt. They get this occasionally but mostly Primal raw meat and vegetables.

    • Thanks for the heads-up! I bought the tuna for the price factor – we are on a limited budget. It was cheaper than salmon, so I’ve been alternating between the two instead of doing just salmon. Next trip to the grocery store I will pick up some sardines, more salmon, and try some other meats. I’ve never purchased fish/meats before so it’s all new to me!

  5. Hi, Lindsay — our dogs have been on a home food diet for a few years now. You’re right that chicken meal isn’t meat. We feed raw meaty bones, occasional cooked vegetables, raw milk, raw eggs, and whey, left over from cheese making. Sometimes they get oatmeal soaked in raw milk, if we don’t have raw meat for them in the freezer. I top up their food with codliver oil and kelp meal.

    Once you have more animals on your place, you will be able to let the dogs have more raw meat. They don’t do well on carbohydrates so go easy on the potatoes and rice. If you notice that your dogs are gaining weight, cut back on the carbs and focus on vegetables and animal protein sources.

    • Hi, Chris! Thanks so much for your input. I’ve lowered the ration of potatoes and rice a little bit and started adding more meat/fish. I’ve also started including a scoop of cottage cheese. Morning meal is straight-up raw meat, usually a leg of chicken with bone or a chunk of ham. Evening meal is the rice/sweet potato/carrot/fish or other meat with cottage cheese. It seems to be working really well for them. Their poops are smaller than they’ve ever been before, they have more energy, our 11-yr-old hound has lost his arthritic limp and their eyes are so bright and clear.

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