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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

The joy of making homemade dog food

A few years back, our senior female Daschound began eating her poop. This is not exactly how I ever thought I would open a blog post on my foodie website, yet here we are. I took her to the vet to find out why she began modifying her diet. Come to find out, this behavior is common in dogs who do not get enough carbohydrates in their diet. My vet recommended adding sweet potatoes or pumpkin to her food. So I began baking sweet potatoes. I would slice them up and put them in a storage container in the fridge for dog treats. Every morning and every night our Daschound and Boxer would get their sweet potato treats. They loved them. And the Daschound went back to her old self.

Our male Boxer has a very fickle digestive system. We said had a squidgy tummy. He would even get sick in the house during the night which always made for an interesting morning. The vet recommended that he switch to chicken and rice to settle his stomach down. Well, that was easy enough. I just baked some chicken parts and made some rice. I would debone the chicken once it was cooked and stir it into the rice. Before cooking for him, there were many days he would refuse to eat because his stomach did not feel right. That is no longer the case. This got our boy's tummy straight. His coat became shinier and we noticed less shedding.

I began reading up on other dog owners who cook for their pets. There are many recipes out there. Some ingredients suggested are peas, carrots, turkey, and barley. My best friend, Paula, even adds herbs from her garden for her pup's food. But before embarking on a change of this nature, please partner with your veterinarian. The doctor will know what foods work best for your breed and specific health concerns for your pet. Now once you have the green light and list of ingredients, let's talk about ratios, storage, and benefits of homemade dog food.

When making food for my dog, I try to make it equal ratios of meat to grain to vegetable. You may end up with 6 cups of rice but only have 5 cups of chicken. That's perfectly okay. Mix that up with your vegetable choice and serve. Your dog will live and love you.

Let's say your vet gives you options to work with like several vegetables, protein, or grain choices. I would avoid putting all of the recommended foods in one pot for several reasons. Dogs, too, get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. Creating multiple variations of the meat to grain to vegetable formula will have your pet even more excited and satisfied at dinner time and beyond. I also believe that less is more. Make this creation more fun for you by eliminating culinary chaos. Your pup will enjoy three well-made ingredients perhaps more than fifteen ingredients.

I prefer to make three ingredients in bulk at one time every two weeks. It is a labor of both love and counter space. You can prepare all of the veterinarians recommended ingredients individually. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Then combine some of them at every meal to customize each dining experience. Paula makes a smaller batch with rice, ground turkey, and vegetables. She will make dog food every four to seven days. If you have other friends who would like to take on cooking for pets, you could agree to a swap. You can give half of your batch to them and vice versa.

For storage solutions, I turn to ziplock bags. Our dog eats one and a half to two cups of dog food in one sitting. So I use quart size zip lock bags that contain two meals. They stack easily in the freezer. I transfer bags to the refrigerator as needed every couple of days. And once word gets out about your homemade dog food, you will receive requests to try it.

There are many benefits to caring for your pet in this way. First is it is cost-effective. Rice, sweet potatoes, and chicken are inexpensive. Preparing enough volume to feed a large dog for two weeks costs less than ten dollars. You will notice improved overall health. Our boxer not only recently received a clean bill of health but was also praised for being in exceptional health for an eight-year-old. Your pet notices that you are putting in the extra effort to care for him or her and this gives you a happier pet. Then there is the joy you get from being nurturing creating a greater bond. And finally, it is so good for your heart of watching your furry family member really enjoy being fed on a new level. Our dog never chased his food bowl around the house licking every little morsel until we started making and packing his food with love.

My tried and true Dog Food recipe is below. This recipe has been fed to multiple dogs with rave reviews on the benefits listed above. My boyfriend, Neil, even licks the spoon after he dishes out our dog's food. Thank you for reading. Please subscribe and come back often to discover another culinary adventure with me.

Homemade Dog Food

  • 10 lb chicken leg quarters

  • 2 lb. bag of brown rice

  • 3 lb small sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large roasting pan with chicken quarters in a single layer. Loosely cover the pan with foil. Bake chicken for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 to 30 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165. Remove chicken from the oven and allow to cool,

Preheat oven to 375. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the sweet potatoes atop the foil. Place the sheet pan in the oven. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour or until tender. Set the potatoes aside to cool.

Measure the rice in a measuring bowl. Place rice in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Cover rice with the recommended amount of water according to the package. Add an additional cup of water. Cook according to the directions. *How the rice is processed and the variety will alter the cooking time and water needed ** When cooking bulk rice, add more water so all grains of rice cook fully.

Debone chicken reserving the meat, cartilage, and skin. Set aside. In a 12 quart or larger food processor, add equal parts chicken and sweet potatoes. Process until smooth. Repeat. Once all chicken and sweet potatoes are processed, stir this blend into the rice. This works best in batches. Taste if desired.

Package the dog food blend in quart size zip lock bags. Use a large drinking glass or cup to hold the ziplock bag open while spooning in the dog food. Seal the bag removing the excess air. Store the bags flat in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.


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