Dogs are foodies too, and yet they are often just fed the same dried food day-in-day-out for the whole of their lives – imagine. The marketing around pet food scares people into thinking that dogs need to be grain free (they don’t and some evidence even points to it being detrimental) and that they should only eat dry food because of their teeth, and so on (mine always have bones to chew, which is good for tooth health). Also, look at what’s in a lot of dog/pet foods and it’s a bit of a horror story.
Now I am no pet nutritionist, so please don’t take any of this as professional advice, but I’m mum of three dogs and three cats and have always had dogs and cats as well as goats, chickens, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, peacocks and guinea pigs so I feel very slightly qualified experience-wise. Although dogs have been domesticated for a loooong time, their wild ancestors would have scavenged meat as well as eating some veg-matter (watch any dog around grass, and my collie will even munch on the bushes in my garden sometimes!). Basically their diet would have been as varied as what they could lay their teeth on. But now they just have to eat a bowl of dried biscuits, yuk.
You can buy ‘better’ (compared to ground up donkeys’ queer things mixed with some old sawdust) wet or dry dog food, such as one with the initials ‘LK’ but you need a second mortgage to do so and you end up with a fair amount of waste packaging too. I worked out it would cost me about £6.50 a day to feed my three on LK, and I’m not Rockerfella!
So, I make my own dog food. Not only do they love it but they get variety, flavour, good ingredients, vegetables and whole grains; it saves me an absolute mint and I don’t have a bin full of cans or plastic trays (I wouldn’t just give them dried food but I admit the packaging with that isn’t too bad)
I’ll give you a basic recipe but essentially you can (and should) vary it with any meat or fish as well as any carbohydrate such as rice, pearl barley, oats or whatever you like and a variety of veg. Give it some flavour too with herbs, tomato puree and a bit of seasoning (it won’t hurt them). I also add olive oil for healthy fatty acids. You could also add cod liver oil, which is fab with its Omega 3 fats.
Of course dogs are just like us, they need lots of exercise, fresh air, sleep and love as well!
Other things you can try:
Adding a couple of eggs
Making it with fish or adding some fish to the mix
Serving it with wholegrain rice/pearl barley/oats on the side or can cook it and mix it in with the meat and veg.
Serving it with good quality kibble.
Stick everything in a wide. deep frying pan, pop a lid on and cook for 10-12 mins, stirring 3-4 times. Now pour the cooked mix into a shallow oven dish (as shown in pic), press it down with the back of a large spoon, cover with foil and refrigerate.
You’ll find that it slightly solidifies in the fridge, so the consistency is like tinned dog food, but better!
Well, like I said, I’m not a dog nutritionist but it has meat, fibre, veggies, healthy fats and whole grains!
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