How do we feed our pets when there is no dog food at the grocery or pet stores? Do we give up our pets or panic? Neither, we go back in the days before Iams or Purina and do what our grandparents did to feed their dogs. Now we can fed our pets in a balanced and considered way from what is now known about pet nutrition.
So what did people fed their dogs? People fed mostly table scraps or their developed their own recipes. There weren’t the hundreds of dog food varieties as there are now.
After World War II, Gaines and Kennel Ration began the pet food trend with canned horse meat. Mostly as a way of getting rid of surplus horses and using up cans made for the war effort. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s when dog food really come into its own.
The ironic trend is now going back to natural dog food. After the poisoned grain episode from China and the increasing cost of dog food. My dog, Adam, who I adopted came with multiple bags of very expensive sensitive stomach dog food (that he upchucked anyway). I decided I’d try my friend’s homemade dog food recipe she used.
With a degree in Animal Science, I decided to put my education to a practical use. So after several versions of the following recipe, here is the most balanced one. My German Shepherd dogs love it. My pup Adam went from 56 to 104 pounds and his liver functions have improved 100 points. This recipe is simple and versatile and far less expensive than canned or dry food.
I call it the “Third Recipe”, because all the portions are in roughly thirds; Rice, Vegetables and Meat. Once you get into the routine, it is very easy and you’ll know what amounts you are regularly using.
Important point to remember is dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, which mean they eat all sorts of stuff, not just meat. A meat protein diet will make a dog hyper and overly aggressive plus damage their kidneys. Feeding dogs is being sold as an “exact” science now. The basics of good nutrition are covered in this formula and inexpensive to feed.
The “Third Recipe” for Dogs
- White rice boiled with an optional chicken bullion cube – carbohydrates for energy, easy digestion and bullion cube for favor. You can substitute potatoes occasionally. No pasta, will ruin a dog’s teeth.
- Vegetables – frozen or canned or fresh – green beans or peas/carrots or mixed vegetables – I prefer frozen over canned – and green beans are best. Easily digested and have fiber.
- Meat – chicken, turkey, tuna or beef or wild game or eggs
- Two half meals – morning and evening- and the cup portions depend on the size of your dog(s). All ingredients are roughly in thirds, but if you have an active dog, use more rice.
The most inexpensive way is to buy 25 to 50 pounds of rice is from Costco or similar retail outlet. Those little bags in the grocery store are quite pricey. I store rice in “Vittle Vaults” porthole screw top lid hard plastic dog food containers. Buy on these storage units on Amazon.com–the least expensive and free shipping and you use these for all sorts of bulk food storage.
You’ll need to make more rice every third day as it gets watery and becomes a great bacteria medium. You can use a rice cooker, which I don’t like to clean. Or make it from scratch in a stock pot. White rice recipe is usually 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.
If you are not used making rice, it takes a little effort at first. So for two big German shepherds, I make four cups of rice at a time – eight plus cups of water, bring to a boil with a bullion cube and then add 4 cups of rice. I have on designated big stock pot Brown rice is harder to digest, tastes like cardboard and the point of the white rice is carbs for energy and easy digestion.
Green beans are the best all around vegetable. Green beans are fibrous, full of nutrients and pulls particles through the digestive tract. Mixed vegetables, peas and carrots are fine also. Vegetables, like corn and lima beans, aren’t broken down in the digestive tract and a waste of money. Shop around for the lowest frozen vegetables or seal-a-meal or can your own. Broccoli is fine if you are willing to perish from dog gas attacks.
You can use a variety of meats in this food. It depends what your dog will tolerate. Be careful not to rotate types of meat until you have a feel for what your dog can tolerate. I always cook the meat. There is too much contamination to take a chance on causing a hemorrhagic intestinal bug from raw meat. When adding to food, cut or pull the meat into smaller portions for better digestion.
Eggs are a very cheap and inexpensive protein. I hard boil the eggs and add one or two to the meal. You can fry or scramble if you want to spoil your pooches. Eggs and rice are the ingredients of expensive ID (intestinal diet) dog food from the veterinarian.
Chicken – is great, it is easy to digest and inexpensive. I crock pot or broil a $5 pallet of 10 chicken thighs from Wal-Mart. Chicken thighs have lots of meat and only one bone to remove. I add one chicken thigh per meal serving for my German Shepherds. When traveling I bring cheaper canned chicken breast to open and add. Chicken with bones removed is the perfect meat.
Turkey is inexpensive. Cook a turkey up when they are on sale, then package the meat into portions, freeze and take out as needed.
Tuna – I give this for only one meal a week. It is inexpensive if you buy the store brand and the oil/water is good for their coats. Too much processed ocean fish has mercury. So limit the amount. Fish oil capsules from what fish? Goldfish? Natural fish is best.
Beef – Beef is hard for dogs to digest. Crock pot up beef stew meat until tender and broken down. So if you insist on feeding beef, crock pot for tenderizing and easier digestion. Hamburger is fine in limited amounts, but can be it is a little greasy and pricey to feed regularly.
Wild Game– Feeding your dog, venison or other game is okay. Just make sure it is thoroughly cooked. You don’t want your pet to get sick from some weird intestinal bacteria or parasite. Some wild game is very rich and less is more with pets. Just make sure your pet can tolerate this meat to avoid diarrhea and other intestinal episodes.
You can supplement your dog’s nutrition with a daily over the pet counter vitamin. A money saving tip is to buy the senior dog vitamins. They contain twice as much vitamin per pill. So, buy the senior dog vitamins, break them in half and you get two vitamins for the price of one.
As in all things in life, balance is the key. Dogs don’t mind eating the same thing daily. Do not give your dog gravy or lots of fatty food, as this can cause pancreatitis and could kill your pet.
This food can be put it into zip lock bags and frozen. Don’t blend this food into a paste that is bad for the dog’s teeth and causes the food to lose all the nutritional value.
Dry Dog Food
I do have some dry crunchy kibble dog food out. I prefer Purina, mostly because they are an all American ingredient dog food and never had recalls from overseas tainting like Iams or other brands. Purina One chicken and rice is a good all around dry dog food. Old Roy is a suspect dog food made in China. Science Diet is mostly corn based and not as digestible. Friend with kennels call Science Diet the poop making food, since it all gets eliminated. Eukanuba is a very fatty dog food and should only be fed to active bird dogs or dog with similar energy burn levels.
For three days with two meals a day, it costs me about 75 cents a day per dog on average. This is for the rice, green beans and chicken, even less with eggs or more with beef. Once you get into the routine, making your own dog food it is a very healthy and economical solution and better for your pet’s health.