Homemade dog food gruel

Anyone would agree that dogfood can get pricy, especially if you go for anything other than cheap-o name brand.The fact is, dog bodies aren’t meant to eat corn byproducts (nor are livestock for that matter), which is what most big-brand dog food is these days. This stuff causes myriad health effects; everything from digestion problems, tumors, and shorter lifespans. Corn’s (the cheapest) filler material, which is why big brand dog food has a ton of it in there.

We generally feed our dog a mix of dry kibble and some sort of wetter food mixed in. This wet addition has been everything from pureed pumpkin, leftover people food, canned dog food, or occasionally a raw egg.The dry kibble we use is decent, from Nutro. It’s middle-of-the-road. It’s still got lots of grains, but no corn. It’s not organic, but it’s cheap. We’ll occasionally mix up the flavor, but it’s generally the same brand.

 

One thing we also started recently, is to make our own dog food.This is something that anyone can do, and if you follow these quick suggestions, you might even enjoy doing it, as well as justify the time and cost. I’ll list my tips first, and our exact recipe will follow:

  • Leftovers! Most dogs will eat everything including the kitchen sponge. If you have dinner leftovers, institutionalized canned food in the pantry, barely overripe produce… throw it all in. Obviously be conscious about dog allergies/toxicity. Avoid chocolate, avocados, and all those no-no food items. If you’re curious, just google the food to see what vet’s say.
  • Shop in bulk. Rolled oats, rice, and other stuff is incredibly cheap from bulk bins.
  • Plan to make the food in a single pot; easy to clean up

 

Now for our recipe, and price breakdown. Obviously your exact concoction can be anything you want. This is what we put together for the most recent batch:

  • 2 cups of rolled oats (these puff up like 4 times their volume when cooked) bulk: $.40
  • Broth and water. (our broth was made from a chicken carcass weeks ago, and frozen. I don’t recommend canned/boxed broth, as it’s often very salty) broth/water: $free
  • 2 russet potatoes, 1 big sweet potato, 1 butternut squash. These were are from cupboard, starting to spud-out and get rubbery. The butternut squash had been hiding for like 3 months. $1
  • Bacon grease…so tasty. This was the drippings from a pack of bacon, maybe 3-4 tablespoons. $free
  • 1 cup of apple sauce. Again, old fridge leftover. $.50
  • 1 cup de-shelled spanish peanuts. These were leftover from x-mas baking $.25
  • Other ideas: rice, ground beef/pork/turkey, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, stale cereal, carrots and veggies, pasta, egg, etc.

Total cost for a huge pot of dog food: $2.15

Cut up the starchy things into 1 inch cubes. We baked/roasted them in the oven, as we were making some seasoned taters for ourselves too. You can also boil. Roasting will make the texture less slimy though.

Make the rolled oats per instructions in a large pot. You can also do rice instead of (or in addition to) oats. I believe for either, the ratio is 2:1 liquid to grain. Once the oats are cooked and steamy, dump in all the other ingredients except the tater chunks. Cook everything for 10-15 min until it’s hot and consistent, then gently fold in the potato chunks. The idea is to maintain some texture…otherwise everything can quickly turn into just a pureed paste. I like to think Jaeda enjoys the chunks, heh. In the end, it should be thick grey gruel. Go ahead and try it. It won’t taste terribly appetizing by people standards…but have you ever tried to eat dog food? 😉

 

Let it cool, then portion out into either freezer containers or ziplock bags to store. We keep one pack in the fridge to use, and pull one from the freezer when it gets low. We mix a few spoonfulls of the gruel in with half a cup of her dry kibble, and she looooves it, nosing around and eating the gruel bites out first.

 

Cleanup is a breeze: one pot, one mixing spoon, one cutting board (and a cookie sheet if we decided to roast the taters).

homemade dog food
Frozen and stocked up for the next month. The orange chunks are squash and sweet per-tater.

 

 

 

Paging Doctor Fido

LongerRoad mascot and occasional guest-poster, Jaeda, went under the knife yesterday to have a fatty (lipoma) tumor removed from her belly. It was about the size of a gooey softball, underneath a muscle where it was hard to get at.

Surgery was a success and she’s home resting, a bit tired but seemingly happy. She’s also sporting a spandex compression vest to keep everything tight. Quite stylish, I might add 🙂