How to Make Your Own Dog Food, Part II

Following on my previous post about homemade pet foods, I’d like to share with you my experiment and what I learned.

I mentioned the recommended food ratios (veterinarians say that it should be 1/3 protein and 2/3 vegetables and grain), and stuck to that when I prepped a week’s worth of food for my dog. I picked up some ground chicken (manager’s special, 1 lb. for $2!), a bulk bag of brown rice (store brand), and perused the dented can section of my local supermarket for some discounted vegetables. I also bought several cans of no or low sodium chicken broth.

The amount of food you need to make depends on several things: how big your dog is, how often you typically feed them, how much room you have in your fridge, and how often you intend to feed them the homemade food. It’s best to either mix the homemade food with their dry food, or stick to just the homemade. Some dogs have a rough time when you mix their diets up too much.

I prepared the food in bulk and spent about an hour doing so; the rice and chicken can be boiled in separate pots at the same time, and the vegetables just need to be run through a food processor. Once the rice and chicken were cooked, I mixed it all up in a big bowl with some chicken broth (just enough to add some flavor without leaving everything swimming in it) and stored it in the refrigerator for the week.

My dog really seemed to enjoy the food. She was way more excited about it than her normal dinners, which may have had to do with the fact that it was coming from out of the refrigerator with the human food. She probably thought I had lost my mind or finally given into all her begging and decided to just give her whatever she wanted. Ha!

It went really well for the two weeks she was eating the homemade food, and the cost came out to the same as a 15lb bag of food (which usually lasts about 3 weeks for her). I had to stop feeding it to her because of the following:

She has had episodes of incontinence in the past – I don’t mean intentionally peeing inside or not being properly housebroken, I mean leaking while just laying around chilling out. This usually happened during periods of excitement; when friends were visiting or when we were taking her somewhere new or to play with other dogs, and typically cleared up within a couple of hours of relaxation. I noticed, though, that I was finding puddles around the house on a regular basis after a few days of feeding her the homemade food, and after putting two and two together I figured I should do some research (I also called the vet). I found some information online regarding spay incontinence*, and since my dog is spayed, I assume that was the problem. It can sometimes be encouraged or brought on by too many grains in the diet – aha!: the rice in the homemade food. I stopped the homemade diet and put her back on her dry food, and no more leaks.

So, while my experience with making my own dog food was ultimately disappointing, it was definitely fun and rewarding to interact with my pet in a new way. I’m sure any dog-lover can relate; even giving them baths can be a great bonding experience (even if it is a huge pain in the ass at the time). I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from making their own dog food, and I’m sure sometime soon I’ll be posting another dog-food follow-up here about making your own doggie biscuits. If you have a female dog who is spayed, just keep an eye out for the warning signs, or try to cut back on the rice in the recipe you choose. Whenever you mess with your dog’s diet, you need to monitor them for changes in behavior or in their peeing and pooping habits. As always, check with your vet before making any changes if you’re not sure. Good luck!

*Soy milk or soy supplements have been recommended by some in the treatment of spay incontinence as an alternative to the traditional estrogen hormone therapies that most vets prescribe. While not for every dog, you may want to consider this instead of medicating your pet. While soy has its own risks attributed to it in dogs and should be used in moderation, it may make more sense to you and outweigh the risks associated with estrogen hormone therapy. Soy contains phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. Beneful Weight Management dog food contains soy and may be a good choice if your are experiencing problems with female dog incontinence. You can also supplement your dog’s food with soy milk, or purchase soy supplements at organic and natural pet food stores.

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Author:literatrue

I'm a writer of web content and advertising copy in the interactive space. I'm kind of a geek, but I like other stuff, too. My passions and loves include cooking and food, travel, music, and reading; my husband & favorite architect Jonathan; my wonderful family and friends; and my loyal, quirky dog.

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3 Comments on “How to Make Your Own Dog Food, Part II”

  1. anne fowler
    May 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    How do you know how much soy milk to give so it won’t cause stomach upset?

  2. anne fowler
    May 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    how do you know how much soy milk to give to not cause stomach upset?

    • May 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

      I want to stress that I’m not a veterinarian and speak purely from my own experience – but for a 60-70 lb dog, I would start by adding 1-2 tablespoons of soy milk to their regular food and see how it goes for a few weeks. There are also soy supplements for dogs available from natural dog stores online.

      If your dog is at risk of developing cancer or hormone sensitive tumors, I wouldn’t give them the soy at all. There have been some studies that suggest that soy, because it’s a plant hormone, can have an effect on these types of tumors in dogs, humans and other mammals.

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