YAY, ME!! I just finished making my first homemade batch of dog food. Yes, I said dog food… I know… crazy! I don’t even cook most of the dinners in our house (Thankfully, my hubby is a great cook)! I didn’t even make my kids’ baby food. Have you read the label on baby food? Carrots have carrots in them, that’s it, just carrots. Green beans have green beans, and so forth… not a big deal. Have you read the label on some dog foods? We’re talking too many ingredients and big words that nobody can pronounce.
I want to give my puppy the best food I can. So, as any good mom does, I started my research. I spend a lot of time and money trying to decrease the amount of chemical exposure my family gets. I don’t go overboard, everything in moderation, but I do what I can. Why should the puppy be any different? My brother’s Boykin Spaniel had oral melanoma. How does that happen? It had to be something that he ate, right?! I could be wrong, but dogs seem to have a lot more health problems today than they did when I was a kid. Maybe I didn’t notice it so much, but it just seems like there are a lot more dogs with seizures, diabetes, cancers, anxiety, etc. Not delving into that topic right now, there are certainly multiple theories.
So, not far into my searching, I started reading about raw diets for dogs. There are multiple resources, so I read all that I could, and learned that raw for dogs is kinda like Paleo for people. Back to the basics of what our ancestors ate. Wolves are the closest ancestors to our modern canine companion, so that is what the raw diet is based on. Think about dogs killing and eating rabbits and other varmints; they ate the entire animal, bones, organs, muscles, all of it. FYI-Raw bones are not at risk for splintering like cooked bones, cooking dries out the otherwise pliable tissue.
One of the important things I learned was that you need to go ALL raw meat or ALL kibble, mixing them is when problems arise. Kibble is digested slower than raw meat. Raw meat is digested quickly and therefore doesn’t allow harmful bacteria (like Salmonella) enough time in the gut to cause harm. Canine stomachs have a very low pH which helps kill any harmful bacterial too. There are quite a few rules to raw, so I would recommend doing your research before starting, and making a plan with the proper transition time.
Now, about Phoebe’s new food! Turkey with spinach and carrots, yum! This little puppy must have known I was doing my research. I tried multiple puppy foods, and she didn’t like anything. (She did however like the sweet potatoes I gave her. 😉 ) All raw food has to have a protein base, I chose turkey because it seems to be the least allergic. Phoebe is itchy, and we have ruled out everything but food allergies. So, I wanted to avoid the most common food allergens for dogs, and my vet and another friend recommended ground turkey. I wanted to add something that was green (think about how often your dog eats grass) and another veggie.
My recipe, which is a first time try (and is very bland because of the allergy thing), may need supplementing, but it’s a start for us:
- 2 – 48 oz rolls Jennie O ground turkey 85/15 (has rosemary extract added)- higher fat content than lean
- ~2-3 oz of fresh organic spinach – chopped
- ~8 oz of organic shredded carrots – blanched and chopped. Our puppy is little, only 3.5# right now, you probably don’t need to chop for big dogs.
- Add a small amount of coconut oil to the food when it is served, >few drops, but <1/2 tsp. This is a great supplemental essential fatty acid (EFA). I will probably add more supplements as we go.
This recipe was developed from reading multiple raw food recipes and figuring out what might work best for Phoebe, so far, we’re good, she cleans the bowl! 😉
I mixed everything together and stored it in BPA free Freezer Safe Gladware. The storage options took a short amount of research, GLAD did a good job with the BPA free labeling (Thanks, GLAD!)
I stored enough for 2+ days worth of meals in each container. I have projected that the above will give me enough food for 2 weeks. This is for a 3# puppy, so obviously would be different for bigger dogs and will increase as she grows.
**Raw meat needs to be properly handled, and the area and supplies sanitized well. Humans can easily get sick from not cleaning well after handling raw dog food.**
I look forward to trying other foods with her in a couple months. For the next 2-3 this will be all she eats. It can take 8-12 weeks for foods to completely leave a dog’s system. Hopefully, we will see Phoebe’s scratching decrease in these couple months. If so, we get to add new foods, but only one at a time (just like with babies).
Pets quickly become family. The first day we got Phoebe, I knew what love at first sight was. If you don’t, just get a puppy. 🙂 Easier said than done though… I’ve been wanting to get a puppy (for my kids 😉 ) for a while now. Having a puppy is similar to having a new baby in the house, especially having one that is so little (with a little bladder) and has to go out at night (glad that didn’t last too long). Even with all the new chores around the house, I wouldn’t trade this part of the journey for anything, it’s wonderful! #puppylove
If you don’t have a pet, and you have kids, get a pet! If you have a pet and you don’t have kids, that pet might like a kid or 2 to run around with (just sayin’). If you don’t have either, try one, you might like it! 😉 If you’re allergic, suck it up, so am I!
It’s all about Enjoying the Journey, so come along! 🙂