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This whole pet food recall is pretty crazy. When I first heard about it, I was getting ready to visit family in British Columbia, Canada. My first thought was "whew, my pets are okay" because we home cook their food. Then during our visit, more and more pet food brand names were coming up, then brand names of decent quality kibbles that didn't even know their food contained some of the ingredients. And then, of course, cooked fresh food for dogs became very interesting to just about everyone we know and we're pretty happy to hear it.
New brands are being pulled now, not because they contain the contaminated wheat gluten, rice gluten or rice protein concentrate but because they were made in the same plant as those with the contaminated ingredients, and cross contamination may have occurred. Not to mention, the recall dates keep widening to encompass more and more pet food. The worst is that the tainting of the ingredients from China is deliberate. The manufacturers of the ingredients add the melamine to falsely increase protein levels of these ingredients, a practice that has been common for years according to the NY Times.
So if you think you'd like to try making your own food, now is a good time to start. The following recipe is for adult dogs in good health without any major health issues. If you have questions, let me know and we'll see if this recipe will work for your dog.
There are ingredients that should not be included in any dog food as they are considered toxic:
- grapes and raisins
- macadamia nuts
Dog Food Recipe #1
- 2 and 1/4 lbs ground beef
- 1/4 lbs chopped liver
- 2 large or extra large eggs
- 1 lb frozen peas and carrots
- 1/2 package chopped spinach
- 1 lb sweet potato
- 2 apples
- Calcium supplement
Ground beef - lean ground beef if you can too avoid excess pooling of fat when the food cools.
Liver - any kind will do. If you can find chicken livers, they are already small so there's no need to cut the liver into smaller pieces.
Eggs - Crack the eggs and add. If you have larger dogs like I do (50 pounders) I the shell in too but I mash the shells into the other ingredients to help break them down a bit. The shells don't bother the larger dogs at all and are a great source of calcium
Peas and carrots - buy the frozen no name kind. If you buy a 2kg (4.4lb) bag, use about a quarter of it and through the rest back in the freezer
Spinach - partially thaw the spinach, cut the package in half and throw the unused half in a sandwich bag and back into the freezer
Sweet potato - they're pretty large, the local grocer here calls them Yams. If you've never purchased them before, they look like super huge orange potatoes. Weigh the sweet potato when you buy it to get a sense of how much you'll need to get 1 pound. Slice it up, chop it up whatever but keep the pieces no larger than an inch or so thick. The sweet potato will be the deciding factor on whether your food is cooked.
Apples - whatever kind you have. If you have a smaller dog, cut into wedges and remove the core. If you have a larger dog, just cut into wedges. There's some concern about the content of the seeds of an apple but your dog would have to really really chew that apple to actually get the seeds and break them and dogs typically just chew enough to get the food down.
Calcium supplement - Dogs need 800mg - 1000mg of Calcium per pound of food cooked. This is approximately a 5 pound recipe, therefore you need 3500 - 5000mg of calcium. Large egg shells have approximately 2000mg of calcium. If you added your eggs shells, you're good for calcium just make sure they're mashed up. OR you can dry the egg shells then grind them with a coffee grinder or magic bullet. OR you can purchase bone meal or calcium supplements, crush and add to the mix. If you are purchasing calcium supplements, avoid those with Vitamin D.
Mix all ingredients together a large covered casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for 1 and a half hours. Check vegetables to make sure they're mushy. If not, keep going until they are. When it's done, if your dog is 40 pounds or over, put food into a tupperware to cool and put in the fridge. If your dog is smaller, split the food into two tupperwares, cool, freeze on and put the other in the fridge. DONE.
Feeding - Vets will recommend that when switching foods to blend them over 3-4 days, increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of the old food as the days go on. This may be necessary for some dogs that have always been on the same kibble or type of food for years. You'll likely find in the future that you'll be able to switch up your dog's food without incidence but for now, blend the foods for 3-4 days. Be sure to mix the food well so the cooled fat isn't sitting all in one spot to avoid feeding a lot of fat at one serving.
BEWARE, your dog will try to convince you he needs more food because he's IN LOVE his new food. Stick to about 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 times the kibble you were feeding of the home made food. Take note of your dogs appearance daily. Is she putting on weight, loosing weight or looking good. Adjust their amount of food accordingly however do not make huge adjustments from one day to the next. If you need to feed less, decrease the amount by 10% for a couple of days until you see weight loss then stay there until the weigh loss stops. If your dog still needs to loose weight, decrease the amount by another 10% and stay there until more weight is lost then stops. If you need to increase the weight, you can increase the meal by up to 20% but be very careful of the gain. Most healthy dogs should look fairly lean without noticeable fat around their hips and stomach area. You should be able to feel the spine and see the beginnings of the last ribs at the top of their back.
So there you have it. Let us know how this works for you. If we know you're into making food for your dogs, we'll continue to post new recipes.
There is SO MUCH MORE to talk about when making food for your dog. For the rest of the week, we'll discuss the different ingredients, other ingredient options, supplements the nutritional requirements of dogs, health issues and whether a home made diet is your best option.
Have a great day and talk to you soon,