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 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!