There are many reasons why you may turn to homemade dog food. You may have a picky eater, you may be afraid of using commercial dog food after the the 2007 recalls or you may just want to spoil your dog a bit. In any case, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind if you plan to make dog food. Consider basic nutritional guidelines and use this free homemade dog food recipe to get started.
Dogs are carnivores, so they need a good amount of meat in their diet. It's best to choose lean meat because domestic dogs are prone to weight gain. If your dog is not prone to allergy or skin irritation, you can use beef, chicken, liver or fish. If your dog is prone to allergy or skin irritation, try lamb or duck, or to use fish, try salmon or whitefish. Cut about 1 pound of meat into bite-sized chunks and put the meat in a stock pot with one can of sodium-free vegetable broth. Stew over medium heat for about an hour and then reduce heat to simmer for several hours.
Grains are a great way to make your homemade dog food stretch. They're also a good part of a balanced diet. That said, it is best to use a quality grain that will not cause digestive problems for your dog. Brown rice is the preferred grain for many who make dog food. However, you can also use oats, barley or whole wheat pasta. For this free dog food recipe, use 1/2 cup of uncooked brown rice. Place the brown rice directly in your stock pot with the meat and broth. Cover the pot with a lid until the rice is cooked. Then remove the stock pot from the heat source and allow the stew to cool.
Vegetables are an important part of a homemade dog food recipe because they provide your dog with many nutritious elements. If you want to use fresh vegetables, you can put them right in the pot with the meat about two to three hours before you add the rice. That said, many dogs will eat around the vegetables in their food if they are not well blended. So, baby food vegetables are great for mixing in dog food. Stick with peas, carrots, sweet potato and green beans. Stay away from corn and broccoli because some dogs have an intolerance to them. Mix two jars of baby food vegetables in with the meat and rice once it has cooled.
Add some plain unsweetened yogurt for calcium and probiotics. While calcium helps strengthen bones, probiotics are good for digestive health. Two tablespoons can be added to the mix once the stew has cooled. You should also add a vitamin supplement to your homemade dog food. It's best to add this when you prepare each individual bowel so that it is measured accurately per serving for your dog's size. Many companies make dog multivitamins in liquid and powder form that work quite well for this purpose.
- Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M., Ph.D.; 2005
- Gourmet Sleuth--Dog Food Recipes