11 April 2019

Homemade dog food

Recently I revised my recipe for Gracie's meals. I've never fed her canned dog food because I want her to stay healthy and I doubt the claims of healthy ingredients in most store-bought canned food. Homemade dog food is easy to make and I make a big pot full, keep one container of it in the fridge, and put the rest in the freezer.  Generally I cook the food up once a month.

I used to add rice to her food but since I read about arsenic in rice, I've moved on to oats, barley, lentils and, occasionally, beans. Read that link about rice, it's interesting and basically it recommends you soak rice for 24 hours prior to cooking, wash the rice after soaking and cook it in clean water.  That reduces the level of arsenic quite a bit.  However, as Gracie is such a small dog, and this is the food she eats most of the time (with a few days of chicken necks, tuna and sardines along the way), I thought it best to remove it from her food and find something else.

I'm glad I chose rolled oats.  It's a very healthy substitute, contains protein, fibre, B vitamins, zinc and iron.  And it smells wonderful when it's cooking, just like a casserole.

In a large 3 litre/quart pot I start off with meat, usually 1½ kg beef. Cooked dog food should always contain a high proportion of meat/chicken/fish. I add 1½ cups oats or barley or lentils and sometimes a handful of beans.  Then 2 cups chopped up vegetables, these are the same vegetables we eat - carrots, cabbage, sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin or whatever is in the fridge. Please read this link about foods dogs should never eat. Add one tablespoon of Vegemite and fill the pot with water. Cook on high until it boils, then turn it down to simmer for one hour.  Cool it completely, add one container to the fridge for eating in the following days and put the rest in containers and freeze. Gracie eats about a cup full every day and what's in the containers keep her going for a month.  She also has a handful of Black Hawk biscuits in the morning and she scans the floor for any fallen food. 

I've not worked out the cost of this food but the beef costs about $12 and the rest about $5 - $7, let's say $20.  It lasts for about 30 days so it's about 70 cents a day. Of course it would cost much more to feed a large dog. I just checked my local Woolworths prices and cans of dog food range from 29 cents per 100 grams to $1.73 per 100 grams.  I hate to think what's in those cheaper brands.

Not everyone has the time to cook food for their pets but if you buy pet food from the supermarket, in light of recent news about dogs dying after eating certain brands of food, it's wise to make sure you're buying the healthy stuff. 

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