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The Art of Making: Dog Food

Welcome back to the Cooking Corner! In this edition of “The Art of Making” we take a bite out of crime by making our own dog food.

WAIT IS HE FOR REAL!!!

Yep…. I’m one of those dog owners who spoil their dogs with homemade food. Is it all that surprising 😉 I like to monitor what goes into my body so why not pass it along to my furry best friends.

Now I need to give a big shout out to my Father for getting me started down this path.

He and I talked about making our own dog food for years, jokingly at first but now its become a serious hobby. One day he calls me asking if I want the old kibble container as he proudly states “I no longer needed it as Bruce is on the raw diet”. “Wow…he actually did it” I thought to myself… followed by well if he can do why can’t I.

Little did I know what I was getting myself into…

Full disclosure its a ton of work upfront but once a routine has been established its pretty smooth sailing. The benefits of knowing exactly what is going into the food outweighs all of the extra work. Grocery shopping for all of the fresh ingredients, prepping the food, and learning when to restock as well as portion control are now apart of my routine. On top of all that, a fine balance of protein vegetables and grains is required when making dog food. Finding that perfect blend is tough especially with a picky eater… After doing some homework and a few trial and error batches, here are the ratios that works for us:

  • 50% Protein (Chicken, Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, Salmon)
  • 40% Vegetables ( Broccoli, Spinach, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes)
  • 10% Grains (Brown Rice) as a binder

As a disclaimer, I cannot say that this ratio is right for you and your dog or that making your own dog food is the way to go. All of these things work for my family and should be used for educational purposes only.

Weekly Ingredients List

  • 5-6 pounds of Chicken Thighs
  • 4 Large Sweet Potatoes (Sliced)
  • 2 -3 Cups of Broccoli
  • 2-3 Cups of Baby Carrots
  • 2 Cups of Rice
  • 3 Cups of Water

I use an instant pot to cook all of these ingredients but the same task can be accomplished by other means.

The Recipe

  1. Wash all of the vegetables
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes
  3. Combine all of the ingredients into pot (not all of the chicken will fit into one pot)
  4. Press Manual
  5. Set the pressure to high
  6. Cook for 25 minutes
  7. Make sure to check the vent setting
  8. Slowly vent once finished
  9. Remove chicken from bone
  10. Toss the bones out or save for broth later
  11. Mash everything in the pot together
  12. Repeat for the rest of the chicken
  13. Chill for as long as they can wait
  14. Serve it up!

The above recipe and ingredients list yields about a weeks worth of dog food.

I have two medium size dogs and they eat twice a day. I also prep a double batch and pull the second batch out of the freezer the night before I need it. Keeping an eye on the food levels are important! No food means the dogs don’t eat until you can whip up another batch ~1 hour not including chilling time.

In order to keep things fresh, I swap out either the protein or the veggies monthly.

Make notes of whether or not that dogs like that batch and start a rotation: one month chicken the next month ground turkey, for example. A major piece of advice that I can give is to keep a can of pumpkin around. If the food causes diarrhea (the first batch always does), make sure to include a spoonful or two of pumpkin at each meal to settle the stomach. Another lesson I learned is not to do this cold turkey. Be sure to cut in the old food with the homemade food 50/50 at first and work your way down to 100% homemade food.

Let me know what you think about this recipe or include your own, my puppies like a variety!!!

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