Making homemade dog food is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, once you get the hang of it, you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your dog.
The meals that you prepare can be healthier than what you but at the store. Your dog might just enjoy these homemade meals more than canned or dry dog food. Plus, you get the added bonus or perk of the “fuzzies,” that warm, wonderful feeling you get when you know that you have done something good for someone besides yourself.
Initially, you will need to practice until you figure out exactly what it is that you are doing and exactly what it is that your dog is willing to eat. For example, some dogs are fussier than others about what it is that they are willing to eat. Let’s face it, just because a dog is willing to eat road kill, does not mean that he is going to eat vegetables or rice.
My dog will actually take the things he doesn’t like out of his dish and place them on the floor. He doesn’t even try to hide it like the kids do- he just leaves it out in plain sight. A slice of tomato, a few string beans, a strip of onion might all have been meant for his tummy, but they all wind up on the floor. Maybe he wants to make sure that I know I will be cleaning it up after him if I have the nerve to put it in his dish again.
At any rate, the less fussy of an eater your fog is, the better it is for you and your culinary efforts. You probably will go through a trial and error process with your doggie meals. It’s okay to prepare batches and batches of homemade dog food looking for the perfect recipe that your dog will actually eat. Just make sure that the meals you make are small enough for one serving so that you aren’t wasting too much food.
Start with the basics. Realize that most of the dog food on the shelves has some type of meat in it- chicken, beef, lamb, etc. You don’t need to buy the leanest cuts either, unless, of course, your dog is already overweight. In that case, trimming off a little bit of fat can certainly go a long way.
Remember, you are in control of what goes into your dog’s food. Therefore, you can decide how much attention you are going to pay to his nutritional needs. Not only do you want his food to taste good, but also, you want it to be good for him.
Plus, when you prepare homemade dog food, you have the added benefit that it may be cheaper than purchasing it at the store. In particular, name brands are very expensive and can add up to a tidy little sum by the end of the month.
However, you need to be careful because your dog might not like the taste of your homemade dog food better than the store variety. This is exactly why you have to pay attention to your dog’s preferences when it comes to flavors and types of food. You don’t want to waste a lot of money preparing something that he won’t eat.
Hopefully, the foods that you use for fillers will appeal to your dog. It may take him a while to get used to the change in taste, so don’t give up after only a few meals. The taste may not be as close to his favorite brand of dog food as you would like and he may need time to adjust. If you are lucky, he will simply love what you are making him and he probably will.
Finally, consider the fact that the time you take to prepare his meal can be additional bonding time. You can enjoy each other’s company as well as the savory aroma coming from the cooking food.
At any rate, one of the easiest meats to prepare for this venture is chicken liver. Not only is it easy to cook up, but also, it is relatively inexpensive. The flavor is strong, as with all liver, but that is more likely a positive factor rather than a negative one. Ground meat, beef, pork, turkey, or veal, are also good choices for an easily prepared dish for your dog.
Ground veal or turkey has less fat and is easier to digest than ground beef. However, you will need to cook it slower than the ground beef. Additionally, you may need to add some cooking oil to the meat to prevent it from sticking to the pan initially. The pricing on these different types of ground meat varies, so you may need to consider that when you are making your selection.
Always avoid adding salt since you don’t really need it for flavoring. Plus, it really isn’t good for your dog and will only make him thirsty. Cook the meat slowly. Stir or turn the meat in the pan constantly. This will allow the meat to remain juicy rather than becoming dried out. You will know the meat is fully cooked when the meat juices are no longer red and have turned clear.
If you prefer, you can use beef or chicken broth to keep the meat moist. If necessary, add a small bit of soybean oil to the pan to keep the meat from sticking to the pan.
If you want to add vegetables, you should precook them. Dice them into small pieces so that they will cook faster and you won’t risk a choking episode with your pet. Once the meat is almost finished cooking, add the vegetables to it. This way, they retain their shape while picking up some of the meat flavoring. If you want to save time, precook enough vegetables for the week and store them in the refrigerator until you need them.
Knowing what vegetables to add to the meal might be the most difficult part. If your dog has already enjoyed store bought stew for dogs, use that as a starting place. It really is a process of trial and error at this point to discover what your dog likes and what he doesn’t.
Attempt to use nutritional vegetables for your dog’s meal, keeping in mind the vitamin content. Green vegetables are usually a good option that pleases both you and your dog. Moreover, you can also add a small bit of rice, fortified bread, or pasta for variety.
Take note of what your dog leaves behind once he is finished eating his new meal of homemade chow. Don’t include any of those types of vegetables, pasta, or meat in the next batch.
The quantity of food that you cook depends on a few different things- your dog’s appetite, the size of your dog, and the number of meals that you are preparing. You can either prepare one meal at the same time that you prepare your own or you can prepare a small stockpile to store in the refrigerator.
Always remember that you should introduce a gradual change in your dog’s diet to avoid digestion and elimination problems. Start out slowly by adding a bit of homemade to his usual brand. Gradually increase the amount of the homemade food and decrease the amount of his old food until you have completed the switch.
Also – it is important to add nutrients if you only feed homemade. Speak to your vet about your pet’s nutritional needs to make sure you are providing the best for fido.
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