Many of us have been brainwashed to think…. that it’s impossible for us to eat healthy at every meal. So if we struggle…. with OUR food…. then feeding decisions for our pets usually suffers also.
It’s easier than you think to make a vet approved homemade dog food at home. What a difference.! Compared to the prefab dog meal alternatives…where most pet parents end up…this is nutrition-packed goodness.
We are pitched with “quick and easy” options…by the international food conglomerates…who want us to “buy into the idea” that they are offering healthy and convenient meal options. Heavily processed foods typically are neither healthy nor convenient.
There is a solution… and I recently went back to making my own dog food for my pets. It’s not quite the hassle that you may think. Make a list… and set aside some time and you can knock it out in a few steps.
Pick a recipe – Keep it simple when picking a homemade dog food
Yep, I know, there’s a ton of recipes on the internet….very simple to make your healthy homemade doggy chow. Lots of great choices…and also some are really bad. If you haven’t done it yet, check out my article about why making your own dog food is a great idea for your pet family.
I admit that I don’t have all of the top notch dog food recipes. I’ll only share what I believe to be solid choices to recommend… based on my research… and what I believe in after I’ve tested some of my own recipes. Most dogs will eat almost anything…. so don’t count on them to be a good gauge of success.
In this article I’m just using a basic chicken, brown rice, egg, sweet potato, bean, and veggie recipe. Yep that’s it! Like I said…keep it simple and easy.
- 2 cups cooked chicken (can include heart, liver, gizzard, and broth-limit skin and fat)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cooked kidney beans
- 5 eggs scrambled
- 1 large sweet potato or two cups cooked pumpkin
- 1 cup of fresh cook vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes)
Cook for your Dog- and your family
This culinary adventure is for your dog and not your human family. Yes you could eat this fresh made well balanced meal...but refined palates will find this to be pretty bland and primitive.
When I start another batch of food for my dog (keep in mind I cook enough to last a couple of weeks)…. I start by picking up some discounted raw chickens at the store… and poaching them myself. Never use rotisserie chicken- they are pumped full of preservatives and salt.
Poaching a whole chicken in a small amount of liquid keeps the bird nice and moist. You can add a small amount natural herbal season to this process but you are not seasoning this for humans. (remember no onion or garlic)
Don’t give salt to your dogs. This is why table scraps (as in your left over dinner) is typically really bad for your dog… because of all the added sodium.
How to poach a chicken
Rinse of the chicken really well. Put the whole chicken in a deep pot or dutch oven. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water. You do NOT need to cover the whole chicken. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat until it’s a low simmer. Cover and cook for about an hour. Turn off heat and let sit for another half hour.
Another reason that I poach a whole chicken…. is because I used most of the meat on this chicken for lunches for my family. After I cook a chicken I cut off the breasts and use those for sliced meat for chicken sandwiches (never eat chicken lunch meat). This meat is also great for burritos, wraps, and other chicken dishes.
Get the carbs- Dogs need Carbs, along with Protein and Fat
The key is that give your furry friend the right kind of carbohydrates. They need complex carbs since they can digest those and use them for energy. Always cook carbohydrates intended for your dog… especially potatoes and sweet potatoes.
I love using brown rice which is nutrient rich. Brown rice has more nutrition and less sugar than white rice.
Sometimes white rice is fine to use if your dog has tummy issues…it’s easier to digest… even for dogs with an upset stomach. Just keep in mind that its not as healthy as brown rice.
The next ingredient is sweet potatoes. These root vegetables of one of the most nutritional beneficial foods to feed your dog. They’re loaded with Vitamin A & C… and are a great source of magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
Pumpkins are an even better option but they aren’t always available at the store unfortunately.
For sweet potatoes or pumpkins….you can boil or bake and then integrate into their diet.Be sure not to feed them the peels or rind.
Keep in mind sweet potatoes do have a high amount of natural sugar… so proceed with caution when giving to diabetic dogs due to their glycemic index. It’s always a good idea to introduce a new food to your dog in small amounts….let their body adjust to all the nutrition you are adding to their diet.
Veggies- A Healthy Option for Vitamins and Minerals
Dogs need a healthy balanced diet… and the addition of vegetables to their meals can offer a super boost to the vitamins and minerals they need.
Many dogs have a tough time digesting big chunks of vegetables… so be sure to cut them up small and cook them well. It’s best to stay away from too many leafy green veggies.
Healthy options include: asparagus, carrots, peas, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli, pumpkin, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and celery.
It usually is a good idea to boil or bake vegetables completely and never use oils or garlic in the cooking process.
Another good healthy addition are fresh cooked beans such as kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans. These are non-toxic bean types and are a good source of fiber and protein.
Don’t use canned beans… those contain a large amount of sodium and also will contain preservatives.
Final Healthy Result
So here’s a photo of my final combination of this recipe and step by step guide to how I made it.
- Poach the chicken – after cooled -shred 2-cups meat
- Cook 2 cups of brown rice (according to packaging)
- Bake 1 large sweet potato
- Scramble 5 eggs
- Boil 1 cup assorted vegetables
Combine all ingredients above and add extras such as cooked beans as in this recipe. I store this mixture in mason jars and store int he fridge.
I feed my dogs twice a day and give them about a half of a cup of this fresh food with their zero grain high protein dry food. You can feed this to your dogs exclusively once you let their body get used to this fresh option.
You now have a lot of options for putting together a fresh meal option for your dog. One that will be a nutritious and well-balanced dinner…one that can change every time you cook for your pooch. Know what foods to never feed your dog… and use what you already have in your fridge.
Don’t stress or get locked into a routine or recipe.
Mix it up, experiment, and have fun!