Making my own dog food has been something I have been debating on doing for a long time! My eyes were first opened to the many issues with Kibble and what we feed our pets when I adopted my dog Ziggy. The rescue we adopted him from made me aware of how different dog foods were rated and I was stunned to find out the expensive food I was feeding my dogs was rated 2 stars!! The owner of the rescue recommended never feeding your dog anything below 4 stars. Something that was interesting to me in the beginning of my investigation into what we feed our pets, was that price and brand did not necessarily correlate with quality. The website that I find these ratings at is Dog Food Advisor. I highly suggest starting your journey here to make small changes initially with what your pet eats! For those needing to stay on kibble and a healthy budget my recommendation is the Costco Kirkland Dog Food (earning 4 stars).
As my journey to learning more continued, I then became aware of the dangers of kibble through a great documentary called Pet Fooled on Amazon Prime. Just like the human world of food myths and lies, what the pet industry tells us is best is not always the case – there are hidden agendas in marketing and advertising from well known brands we think are good for our furry friends! After watching this documentary, I knew I had to make a change in my animals diets if I wanted them to live their healthiest lives. My animals are my babies and they mean the world to me. If I can do something to make their health better and life longer, why wouldn’t I try?
This led me to reading more about a fresh food diet on Bunnys Buddies Rescue website and ultimately decided to try The Farmers Dog fresh pet food because I did not think I was capable of cooking for my animals daily or weekly with my busy schedule. At this time, I was back down to 1 dog and 1 cat, and so although The Farmers Dog is expensive, I could afford it for the two of them (yes, my cat Charlie was on it too and loved it)! Now, I have 3 dogs and 1 cat who I love dearly and I have found it unreasonable to spend over $500 a month on food for them. As much as I adore them, that is more than I spend on my own food monthly!! This led me to finally make the jump into cooking for them. The recipe I am using is a mix of what I wanted to do and what Bunny’s Buddies recommends on their blog How To Make Your Own Dog Food. Please remember the size of your dog, health and activity levels play into how much they should have and what items they should specifically eat, so it is always best to consult with your veterinarian on your animals specific needs.
**Please remember, Grapes, Raisins, Xylitol are all food items that will kill your pet so never include anything like that in their diet. Xylitol is found in many sugar free items (esp. Peanut Butter) so make sure to double check always!
The recipe I am using for my dogs and cats is as follows:
3lbs Organic Turkey
1 Yellow Squash (organic if possible)
1 Zucchini (organic if possible)
2-3 large carrots
1-2 containers of organic beef bone broth from Trader Joes (Walmart and Amazon carry as well)
1 head of organic cauliflower
- This all goes into the crockpot on low for 6 hours.
- I start with meat then layer some veggies, bone broth, more meat, veggies, broth etc.
- When I serve them, I add rice and blueberries to the dogs portions and leave my cats portion as is from the crockpot.
Some thoughts I have on switching my animals from Kibble to fresh food:
- They love this food so much more (so much so they drive me insane until I feed them)
- Their allergies have cleared up and they rarely have flare ups
- I spend less money at the vet due to digestive issues being little to none, very few allergy flare ups, and an overall stronger immune system.
- They do have worse breath and I think it is because they are not eating hard food to break away plaque (my only criticism). I am learning new ways to improve their breath and overall mouth health and am finding that yearly cleanings, brushing their teeth, and giving them hard chews or dental chews helps! Any recommendations in this area are welcomed.
Overall, this change from kibble to fresh food over the last year has been more positive than not! Now that I am cooking for them, I feel foolish for thinking it was so time consuming. If you can set aside 30 min a few times a week and have a crockpot it is truly worth the little effort. Your dog, your wallet and your heart will thank you, hopefully maximizing the time you have with your cherished furry friends.