Homemade Dog Food (cheap and easy)

     When we first got Dusty (a collie and golden retriever mix) from the shelter we fed her dry dog food. She wouldn’t eat it. So we switched to canned. She kind of ate at it. So we mixed the two and she ate a little better. I thought cats were supposed to be finicky. Once in a while I would break a raw egg on top and she would eat well, and sometimes not. I considered going to a pet store or the vet and buy some of that expensive high quality dog food but then I thought, “Hey, I’m on a budget and after all, it’s a dog!”

     She’s got to eat. I didn’t adopt her to let her starve and I didn’t adopt her to break the bank either. That’s when I decided to make my own homemade dog food. So I put Google to use. The beauty of it is that this (if you play your cards right) is cheaper than the cheapest canned food (not counting your time).

Here’s my basic recipe:

40% meat/protein

30% fruits and vegetables

30% starches

Meat and protein: chicken, beef, turkey, pork, eggs, and so on. I’m always on the lookout for meat on sale. It’s easy to freeze it until I need it. I usually buy a 10 pound bag of chicken quarters at the local box store, cheap. I bake them in a roasting pan and then de-bone them. I also add a dozen or so boiled eggs just chop them up. Eggs too expensive, no sale this week? I grab a pound or so of liver or any organ meat, cheap.

Fruits and vegetables: carrots, peas, green beans, celery, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, and so on. The trick is to use what you have. This is a great time to clean out the refrigerator. The bottom of the celery that no one eats, the white parts and the base of the lettuce, the left over bit of tomato, the base of the carrot, are all great to throw in the pot. Go to your local farmers market and get a deal on some stuff that’s on the edge (avoid mold, though). Or talk to the produce people at your grocery store, they are always throwing out stuff that’s still good but not good enough to sell. I also buy canned or frozen vegetables when on sale. Look for the “no salt added” varieties, easy to keep until needed.  I chop up enough to fit into a large pot and just boil until soft. It’s very important to run this through a blender or chopper as dogs cannot process vegetables whole.

Starches: This is the grain category but it also includes potatoes. Brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes. I usually just use quick oats because it’s easiest to cook although rice would be cheaper.

Add on: After I peal the eggs I put the shells in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so to dry them out. I grind them up and add to the mix for a little additional calcium.

     I stir this whole mess together and freeze it. I use Ziploc containers (bags or whatever you have is fine) and take them out of the freezer as needed. This recipe usually lasts Dusty (a medium sized dog) about 2 weeks. If you have large dog(s) I wouldn’t even attempt this unless I had a very large kitchen, lots of time, and just love to cook. I don’t, but it works for those of us who have just a medium dog or one or two little ones. After all, money is time.

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