Pam from Montesano, WA
You are so lucky that you live in Western Washington (like I do) because you have access to "Mud Bay Granary". This is a wonderful pet store. Everything they carry is high end, but without the sky-high prices. In fact "Greenies" pet treats are only $2.99 there instead of $3.99 like they are in Wallgreens. It kind of reminds me of a health food store for pets. Their employees are extremely knowledgeable and can help you with your questions. They also carry some of the harder-to-get ingredients for making dog food (like salmon oil and calcium).
This is where I recently ran into a gal who makes her own dog food for her 2 White Siberian Huskies. In fact I was so curious as to why she was purchasing a huge quart size bottle of Salmon oil that I asked her, "What are you going to do with that stuff?" To which she replied, "I make my own dog food." I found making your own dog food so fascinating that we ended up talking about the subject for over half an hour in the parking lot after we left the store.
Here's just a tiny bit of what I learned: Dog food is not ike people food, in that dogs have very exacting requirements. They not only need certain oils, but they need a certain mineral ratio in their diet or their bones will become weak. You will need to talk to an expert about this. Find an expert like someone who shows your particular type of dog at shows or someone who raises and breeds your type of dog. I can't remember the exact details she gave me, but I do remember that she said that her male husky requires different amounts of certain minerals etc. than her female husky. I also remember all the work and money this took her. She had been doing research on making dog food for quite some time before she felt ready to actually make the switch. She makes up a new batch every Sunday then freezes it in individual bags which she defrosts nightly.
Mud Bay Granary has 14 locations. I believe the closest to you would be in Olympia. (It's off of 101) Before you decide to make the actual switch to making your own dog food, go into their store and talk to them. They have so many more pet foods to choose from than any other pet store. Another bonus is, you will leave there with so many free samples that you won't believe it. The first time I went in to one of their stores I went in only to purchase a natural cat litter (made from wheat grass) that I could compost in my back yard so I wouldn't be adding to the landfills. But when I mentioned that my cat was a bit overweight, they gave me 5 or 6 samples of food for overweight cats. Then I mentioned that my daughter's cat has allergies, so they gave me a bunch of free samples of food for cats with allergies. Then I mentioned my mother has 2 new kittens and they gave me even more free kitten food samples. By the time I left there I had a whole bag of free samples and literature.
This is no "regular" pet food store. These guys run their business like I would. You can even take back any item (even a bag of half-eaten dog food) for any reason, even if you've lost the receipt. They are absolutely a "Satisfaction Guaranteed" store. They have customer service like they had back in the old days. So do yourself a favor and go in to one of their 14 locations and talk to them about the dog food they sell (you may want to try some for your dog) and also talk to them about the ingredients they sell for making your own dog food and how to do it. You won't be sorry.
Map of Mud Bay Granary Store Locations:
Phone number of Olympia Store (their first one opened):
PS: She sure is a beautiful dog. (08/17/2008)
My dogs go nuts for sweet potato treats. Get a food dehydrator.
Buy sweet potatoes and bake them first. Then slice in pieces about 1/4 inch thick and dehydrate. It is a healthy snack. (08/24/2008)
By Sandra Sue
For Terry and other raw food advocates.
Dogs are not wolves - they are dogs. My dog was fed a frozen top notch raw food diet and had chronic diarrhea and contracted food poisoning from it. So he now eats a baked and steamed diet. This allows the bacteria to be killed, but does not allow the loss of nutrients that boiling meat and vegetables causes. (08/31/2008)
I have a dog who is allergic to just about everything. This is what I have been feeding him for 7 months. So far so good. I start with 3 to 5 lbs of beef (usually chuck roast is on sale.)
I bake it with about 2 to 3 pounds of sweet potatoes put cooked meat and potatoes thru meat grinder then I add 16oz of frozen peas (pureed in blender).
My dog loves it.
Sometimes I add flour, make small balls and bake for 15 minutes. He thinks they are treats. (09/08/2008)
I have seen a lot of posts about how bad garlic is for dogs. So not true, it has to be cooked, otherwise it "can" be toxic, but I have an 18 year old lab/retriever mix who still acts 2 years old. The only health issue she has is arthritis which she all ready had at 2 years when I got her. She has been on a homemade diet of egg, egg shells, beef, turkey, chicken, carrots, garlic, rice, green beans, and some others. I switch up the meat every day. They can have it, you just have to make sure certain things are cooked and or given in regulated amounts.
Good luck with your dogs. (10/22/2008)
I have a 6 month old Shepherd mix or possibly Dutch Shepherd and we have recently taken him off traditional "dog foods" after trying several different brands due to severe mucousy diarrhea. First it was Science Diet, then Nutro which contrary to them, made him poop more not less, then Iams large breed, and finally California Natural Chicken. I could not take any more. I completely stopped it all.
I have been making him a mixture of boiled chicken, rice, pure pumpkin, pureed carrots, and cottage cheese and a piece of "white/wheat" bread. He has pooped less, and loves his food, and his poops are normal. I don't know if this is the healthiest food for him, but if I can put back on the weight he has lost from the diarrhea then I will continue feeding him this diet and looking for other recipes.
He also has a severe itching issue even after using the Frontline for fleas. Also, I do know that garlic is OK if you use it in moderation and check your dog's vet first. Some have different feelings on this subject. But, I have been told that in moderation it is a good natural flea killer.
Merry and Grizzly (11/11/2008)
I loved reading all your notes and loved your pictures of your pets. Just wanted to offer that you should puree any food you are giving your pet. I'm sure you know how dogs inhale their food and if you chop it up they won't get the nutritional value you've worked so hard to achieve for them. (11/19/2008)
I make all my own dog food. Word of warning. Never give your dog mushrooms, garlic, onions, raisins, or chocolate all of these can be fatal to dogs. If your dog has a sweet tooth I suggest a bowl of fine porridge oats. You can mix this with either milk or water or fruit juice and add fresh chunks of fruit, yogurt, and if you want carob drops. My old dog Sasha loves it. Also don't feed your dog the same food for more than 3 days in a row as it can cause tummy upset.
Also chicken/beef with vegetable casserole is a big hit. Just chuck all veggies and meat in a slow cooker/pan and cook away. Also things like wholemeal pasta or rice with tuna and veggies and you could add a high fat cheese if your pup is having trouble gaining weight. Use full fat milk/yogurt. Hope this has been of some help. This is my old girl Sasha, she's just turned 17. (12/05/2008)
My dog, Sandy, has a very sensitive system. I always blame bad genetics. I think this may be true as her genetics are bad all around, not just her system. She is even going prematurely gray at two years old. Anyway, in the past, I had trouble finding a food that didn't irritate Sandy. She would throw up on just about every commercial food I provided; from Purina to even the super premium foods like Wellness. I was baffled trying to find out what was wrong. Then, I found out. She simply has a sensitive system. Not only do things like soy, corn, and many grains irritate her system, but for her, digesting dry food does, too. She does better on brands like Innova, but still, I wanted to find the solution.
In September, 2008, I found it. Since then, I have been cooking for my dog and the change in her health and appearance is amazing. Her coat is much softer and she hasn't thrown up since. While recipes may seem simple, before switching to a home cooked diet (dog or cat) I recommend consulting a canine nutritionist. Everyone says vet, but really vets don't know nutrition the way nutritionists do. Most vets only know what companies like Purina and Science Diet push. And, therefore, would not be willing to help you with a home cooked diet. Now, if you have a vet that will, awesome. You found a needle in a haystack. But, still, a nutritionist is your best bet.
As far as avoiding garlic, only in large amounts. In small quantities, garlic is not harmful and is actually good for the dog. Foods you should NEVER feed are:
You need to be very careful cooking. Meals need to be nutritionally balanced if you're not going to feed a commercial diet with the food. My dog is on a combination of homecooked/canned so, if I leave out something, but the canned has it she'll be fine. However, if your dog isn't on such a diet and you leave out something she could suffer because of it. It would take far too long to list everything a dog needs, but a quick google might help you. I also recommend the book "Pet Food Nation". It has biased opinions on the raw diet, but nevertheless, it's helpful.
The basic dog needs are:
There are a lot more dogs need; like I said, a good book and a quick google might help you. Making your own recipe is easy once you figure out what your dog needs. I usually make my own instead of following some. I can share one or two. So, here goes:
Cook food as you normally would and mix together in a bowl. Puree or mash before serving.
Cook ingredients as you would (cooking potatoes until mashed) and mix together in a bowl. Puree before serving.
I make food for a 14 lb dog, so double or triple the recipes depending on your dogs size. My dog needs 1 1/2 lbs-2 lbs protein (from meat, dairy, etc.) in one meal to last for up to four days. But a dog three times her size would need 3-4 lbs protein sources.
Now, admire the shine that is Sandy's coat.
I have a 30-35 lb Border Collie. I cook ground turkey and skinless chicken thighs. Pan fry/brown the ground turkey and bake the chicken. Put the chicken in a food processor or just cut in chunks with a kitchen scissor. Mix the meat together. I make big batches and freeze 4 cups for each batch.
For the veggie mix - I buy a big bag of frozen veggies (no onions) and boil, then puree with the boiled water. Add some apples and bananas to the mix. This I freeze in 1-2 cup batches.
Then when I need a fresh batch for the week, I take the meat bag and add 2 cups tofu so I have 6 cups of protein mix. Add 4.5 cups of cooked brown rice and baked white potato (with skin) mix and add 1.5 cup of the pureed veggie/fruit mix.
I feed 1 cup of this 4 times a day. For two of the meals I add 1/2 tsp. egg shell powder for calcium (I make in bulk) 1/2 human vitamin pill and a tablespoon plain yogurt.
In addition, once a day he gets either a cooked chicken liver or a sardine or piece of mackerel for Omega 3. (10/26/2009)
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