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Dog Nutrition

Dog diet, nutrition, and healthy eating

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Home Made Dog Food Recipes and Tips

  • Jun 13, 2010
Rating:
+5

Why Your Dog's Diet Might Need Help

Natural Pet FoodResearch has shown that, for both pets and people, eating the same diet every day can result in missing nutrients, development of allergies, toxic kidneys and liver, and chronic health conditions.  There are great information sources on pet nutrition that are worth reading.

Signs of a nutrient-poor diet include:

  • Dry skin, hot spots, dull coat, dandruff, and shedding. This condition invites fleas, mites, ringworm infections and inflammatory allergies
  • Behaviors such as irritability, hyperactivity, nervousness and restlessness. When you change their diet, it can take a few weeks on the new regimen before this begins to change
  • Stools - large stools can indicate an inability to digest all of the nutrients. Stools that are anything other than chocolate brown can indicate dyes, bacterial infections, chemicals in the food, or other health problems that are developing.

These all can be addressed simply by paying attention to what you feed your dog.

Even adding a small amount of more natural foods to their diets can make a big difference. Try some of these easy recipes and see what happens. My two dogs get a mixture of kibble and raw or homemade food with every meal. Their coats shine, they're energetic and happy, and my vet bills are small.

Things to Know about Homemade Diet Additions

Natural Pet FoodThere are a few things to avoid feeding your dog. Do not:

  • Never feed leftover fats or bacon grease
  • No onions grapes, raisins, or chocolate
  • No sauces or other rich foods - dogs have a simpler digestive system than we do and it may not sit well
  • No spicy, salted or fried foods
  • No sweets! The sugar is not good for them.

Here's what you can (and should) feed them:

  • Vegetables, either fresh or cooked. (Chop fresh vegetables for easier chewing and digestion)
  • Fruits - dogs like fruit and it's very good for them
  • Thoroughly cooked long grained rice - not instant rice
  • Proteins such as chicken or turkey

You can make a big batch up and store it in the refrigerator for several days. Just warm it slightly before feeding to take the chill off.

My Basic Pet Food Recipe

Rice potI hate cooking, so do something really, really simple.  For my dogs, I've found that a diet of equal thirds is great.  Here's what I do:

Ingredients:
  • 1/3  brown rice (I put in 2 cups of rice to make 4 cups cooked)
  • 1/3 mixed vegetables (one pound packs of frozen veggies found on sale)
  • 1/3 protein (whatever is ground, lean and on sale - beef, chicken, turkey,etc.)

Toss the frozen veggies in the pot, bring it to a boil, toss in the rice, and crumble in the meat while it's coming to a boil again.  Cover and let is simmer on low for 40-50 minutes (depending on the directions on the rice package).  This recipe makes 5 quarts and it lasts for days in the refrigerator.

Here are some other quick and easy dog food recipes for your experimentation pleasure.

Best and Most Inexpensive Dog Diet Basics (from Carolyn Blakey, DVM)

brown riceHere's a simple recipe with basic proportions that contain items from three major food groups:

  • 1/3 of the diet can be cooked whole grains such as brown rice or oatmeal
  • Between 1/3 and 1/4 should be high quality protein - real meat
  • Up to 1/4 should be vegetables and/or fruits - lightly steamed or grated

It's a good idea to add a pet vitamin/mineral supplement and, possibly, a digestive enzyme - especially during the transition period from the prior diet to the new diet.

A Simple, Fresh, and Varied Diet (by Norman C. Ralston, DVM)

ground beefThis is a really simple diet that can be combined in many forms. Essentially, the proportions should be:

  • 50-60% grain (brown rice, corn, barley, buckwheat, wheat) - just make sure they're thoroughly cooked
  • 25% raw or barely cooked meat
  • 25% steamed fresh vegetables - add a little seaweed or kelp for trace minerals, including calcium.

Blend or chop these into small particles, and add an essential fatty acid, Omega 3, supplement such as fish oil.

Time-Saver Recipes (by Karen Bentley, DVM)

fast pet foodHere's a really simple recipe that can be prepared in very little time - and stored in the refrigerator

  • Cooked chicken thighs (no bones)
  • An equal amount of mixed vegetables
  • Tofu - 1 tablespoon for small dogs up to 1/2 cup for large dogs
  • Pumpkin pie filling (1 tables for small dogs, up to 1/2 cup for large dogs
  • Kelp Meal - 1/4 teaspoon for small dogs up to 1 full teaspoon for large dogs
  • Multi-vitamin/mineral supplement

Tip: Gradually move your dog from their existing diet to a home-made diet.  For the first two days, give 1/4 of their diet as the new diet, then do 1/2, then 3/4s and so on.

It can be a good idea to add some basic supplements just to make sure you've got all of the micro-nutrients and the like covered - especially while you're first converting your dog to the new diet.  Camping Dog Supplies carries a series of supplements from the American Kennel Club (the RenewTrients brand) that are specially formulated for things like digestive aids, shedding, hip and joint issues, as well a good general multivitamin.

Happy experimenting!  It's fun for you and your dog will thank you!

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October 06, 2010
I made my dog's food for a few years. He eats a raw diet and no starchy carbs. We started feeding this way because of him having severe allergies. I still do cook him up some chicken and veggies from time to time. I think that the pet food companies have people brainwashed that they need something we can only get from a bag or can to keep our pet's healthy, but in our case quite the opposite was true.
 
June 28, 2010
Nice article. At PeopleF├╝d, I make real food for dogs every day. Makes all the difference in the world in my opinion (I do this for a living). People do not realize the health detriment to feeding pets the same exact meal everyday for their entire life and the high level of processed foods we give them. Dry food being marketed as "naturally balanced" and healthy boggles my mind. When was the last time you saw a dog take down a kibble in the wild? www.peoplefud.com
June 28, 2010
The first time I saw written vet suggestions that you should never feed your dog people food, I was stunned. of course, given how bad some folks diets are, maybe that's why it was a recommendation. Basically, though - if it's healthy for us, it's healthy for them with a few exceptions. By the way -- would you consider writing a review on your product line? I'd love to hear more about what you're doing and why -- and I'll feature it!
October 06, 2010
yep my dog eats something different every day. Today he had Rabbit! I did feel a little bad thinking about the cute little bunnies but he seemed to love it!
October 06, 2010
Rabbit? Where in the world did you find rabbit? I've just gotta know!
October 06, 2010
I thought about putting my dogs on a raw diet, but never did just because of the storage issues. I did, however, have them on a home-made cooked diet that worked really, really well. I think raw makes a lot of sense, though -- it's just something I've never actually taken the time to do.
 
June 14, 2010
Wow, in the 21st century, I would've never thought about anyone making their own dog food, but you make a good case for it. What a great idea! Thanks for the tips and all the recipes :)
 
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About the reviewer
Hollie ()
Ranked #127
I have always loved animals and have been given the gift of being loved back by them. Seven years ago, I adopted an 8-month-old puppy who was starved and mistreated from a local shelter. In learning about … more
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