A place to talk about feeding our dogs a variety of home-cooked foods, with recipes included. Ask questions, check on safe ingredients, share some tips. 

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Reply by Lynne NJ on November 16, 2008 at 5:42am

PetDiets.com was one of the sites I used to come up with mine. Other good resources are Strombeck, "Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets;" Dr. Pitcairn, "Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats;" Messonnier, "Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats." I now have my own doggie library.

Any and all of these references are a great place to start. But I found that over time, I made it into a quick and easy process, that I can do on a Sunday, bag and freeze for the whole week. Recipies are great if you have the time, maybe are home all day. I am not so I worked it out for me.

Reply by Teresa on December 6, 2008 at 6:34am

I just posted a website under Karen's main post about guidelines that you may also want to look at: www.monicasegal.com. She is an animal nutritionist and I have found her to be amazing in her support and product offerings, guidelines.

Reply by Lynne NJ on November 16, 2008 at 5:31am

My std poodle, Magic died during the 2007 dog food recalls and I have been home cooking ever since. Below is the way I do it and have shared this on several forums and thought I'd copy it here:
I really don't have a single recipe. When I first started, I got some dog food cookbooks off Amazon.com and downloaded some recipes from a Google search. Since, through trial and error, I've simplified my regimen considerably. A book that really helped was Dr. Pitcairns, Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Here’s what I do:

I buy the big bag of Frozen Chicken Tenders at Costco and bake them to 3/4 done (they cook more on the pan), then in a big pot I put about a cup of Organic Chicken Broth and cook some red rice with lentils (Royal Blend Texmati Brand is what I use). You could use brown rice, too. When mostly done, I steam different veggies, sometimes blueberries, sometimes crazins (dried cranberry raisin like things, don't feed raisins) sometimes I'll add an apple chopped up, pumpkin or some seeds or nuts. I add plain oatmeal or flax seed and sometimes Ill change to the brown or red rice and lentils. Basically, my recipe changes every week with some similarities.

Usually on a Sunday, I cook dog food (once a week and ziplock bag and freeze). About every other month, I'll cook up some stew beef and salmon or other oily fish added to the chicken or liver. I use ground turkey and some ground beef occasionally. I did pork once, mixed into the chx tenders, lamb is expensive so I only did that one time, what ever is on sale I buy. I always give daily supplement, cod liver or salmon oil every other day and I started adding bone meal, yogurt or cottage cheese a couple days a week. I also bought The Missing Link Superfood Supplement and Solid Gold SeaMeal Supplement that I separately (1/2 tsp) add once a week. They include natural plant enzymes.

It might sound like a lot but it takes me about an hour to cook, cut up and bag each week. The kids even help. When I shop for the family, I shop for the dogs, too. I also split 1, 13oz can of Innova Evo 95% Meat Dog Food, Natures Logic, Merrick Before Grain, Canidae or other premium dog food between 3 dogs every other day or so. I leave Premium Grade dry food out all day and they will pick on that here and there (I use Innova Evo Red Meat Small Bites). I have never had a problem with overeating. I got a dehydrator for Xmas last year so every month or so I use a bag of chx tenders to make jerky. The doods go crazy for them.

I read several articles while I was doing my research that made a lot of sense. They said that before the 1960's or so when dog food was created, dogs ate what the family ate or they hunted their meal. Dogs are carnivores. They ate different things every day. They didn't seek out anything other than meat. The only grains or fruits would be in the stomachs of their preys. And while there is a yuck factor to allowing my dogs to go out hunting, I try to match it to some extent. Dogs don’t do well on large amounts of corn, which is a cheap ingredient the food companies add to keep costs down.

They didn't eat corn or rice or wheat (gluten, drugs, etc) and they lived to 18, 20 or more. If people ate the same thing every day for years on end they would get sick of it and if they ate some of the crap that has been put into dog foods over the years, our life expectancy would be a lot lower. I have taken this to my dog feeding.

Much of the advice I have shared on DoodleKisses has been great advice and many more people are home cooking or feeding raw. I think, and I am really glad to see more pet owners take charge of the food they feed their dogs. I had absolutely no idea there was a problem with what I fed my dog until Magic died. Now, I research everything I buy.

This one uses chicken, fish, rice and veggies.
Reply by Karen & Jack on November 16, 2008 at 11:55am

Another mouthwatering masterpiece! I gotta go find something to eat now...
Reply by Teresa on December 6, 2008 at 6:53am

My biggest concern about making my own food has always been about making sure all the right nutrients are being added. Have you worked in conjunction with your Vet to make sure your dogs are getting everything they need or simply from all of your reading? I would love to move to making my own food and do not mind the time etc. just a little nervous about not giving the right mix.

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 6, 2008 at 7:22am

Teresa, if you go down 3 more postings, you will see Lynne's answer to a similar question I asked below.

Reply by Teresa on December 6, 2008 at 7:29am
Thanks Karen.
Reply by Lynne NJ on December 6, 2008 at 8:20am

Teresa, The post a few down that Karen points out also doesn't mention that some vets are not up on nutrition, either. Just like if your doctor told you that you needed surgery you would get a second opinion, we need to do this with our dog feeding. Just because a vet or a doctor says "X" does not make it so. Before my dog died from the recalls of 2007, I never thought to doubt what my vet of 20 years said. When I started reading everything I could about dogs and feeding and vet care in the US, the more I started to doubt my vet.

Every year, he gave a cocktail of vaccinations, and last year when I wanted to titer my 8 yr old Bijon, and it was told to me that he didn't think it would matter. Huh? Does he not read vet literature? The titer came back that he had FULL immunity. So if we did another shot i would have overloaded his system.

When the recall was announced I called and asked what I should feed. He said he feed Beneful. Beneful?

Anyway, now I do my own research. Get Pitcairns, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. You can learn to "balance over time" rather than "complete and balanced" which is a propaganda technique professed by the commercial companies. In the wild, dogs would eat a variety of things over a period of time. I have been homecooking and feeding some raw for almost 2 years now. We have not had to go to a vet at all.

To shorten my rant, there are very few vets who will work with you to "make sure your dogs are getting everything they need." If you do find one then you are one of the lucky ones. Do your own research, then ask your vet. If he is up on his education, he will advocate homecooking and/or raw. Certainly, he will reccommend organic, human grade, no additives, no rendering plants, no by-products or fillers. Sorry, I can get very long winded on this subject.

Reply by Teresa on December 13, 2008 at 4:59pm

Hi Lynn. I don't consider you ranting at all and do agree with your points. I'm a strong advocate of researching anything that I am told so that I have time to really understand what I am being told and then make my own decisions. I am fortunate in that I do have an amazing vet that is very good and actually giving me her point of view, giving me options and then letting me make a decision.

Question back to you - if you don't immunize every year, do you have any trouble taking your dog to groomer or any other dog service? or do you get a letter from the Vet saying that immunization is up to date?
Reply by Lynne NJ on December 13, 2008 at 6:06pm

I have never had a groomer even ask me if they were immunized, for anything. My present groomer has been with me for almost 8 years. The only one mandated by law here, is Rabies. If you are boarding, they might require to see proof. But a titer report should be accepted because it tells you the levels of immunity. My dogs are seldom around other dogs as my groomer comes to my home and only at the dog park do they really get near other dogs and that is for a short time. Does this help?

Reply by Lynne NJ on November 16, 2008 at 5:32am

The point is, not to point out the loss of my beautiful dog, but to get others to research and think about what they feed their pets. Something I learned in the 2 years since the 2007 recall, is to question everything, regarding my dogs. From food to the forced vaccination schedules, I am to my dogs, now, like I was with my children when they were babies, THEIR VOICE. Just as my vet will do nothing without fully explaining and titering or testing before giving anything to my dogs. I will never trust commercial dog food companies to feed my dogs. There was just another Mars dog food recall, recently. So they have learned nothing. By homecooking or feeding raw, YOU ensure your dogs are fed properly.

Reply by Karen & Jack on November 16, 2008 at 9:01am

I would like to learn more about adding digestive enzymes when feeding a homecooked diet (and just in general.) Most of what I see on-line is on websites which are trying to sell the products. Any impartial, fact-based info would be very helpful.
Reply by Lynne NJ on November 16, 2008 at 9:31am

Karen, I have been alternating between adding plain yogurt, Solid Gold SeaMeal containing Prozyme and a Probiotic Supplement from Nutri-Vet. I also add Bone Meal and Tast of the Wild Suppliment and Missing Link Supplement. I alternate every week with a different combination, thinking that I can balance over time rather than "Complete and Balanced" as the dogfood companies advocate. I feel this is closer to natural feeding. I get everything from onlynaturalpet.com. But reading books like Dr. Pitcairns really helps.

Here's today's batch: Beef, Chicken, rice, veggies and the last of the fresh parsley from my garden. Bye bye summer.
Reply by Karen & Jack on November 16, 2008 at 11:53am

OMG- That looks so much better than MY dinners! Can I be your dog in my next life?

Reply by Lynne NJ on November 16, 2008 at 12:03pm

Yes. I'm not doing this to brag, however. I just want others to see how easy it really is to do. I do it in stages, over the course of a Sunday. It's 3:00 here and I'm all done for the week. Jack has been sampling (as I cut, he's under my feet). You can chop it in a grinder but my guys like it this way. What takes the longest is the cutting into bite size pieces. The cooking takes no time at all, because I leave it on the rare side. If I didn't have the Bijon, I could leave it big for Jack and Ginger. Yummy.

Reply by Karen & Jack on November 16, 2008 at 12:00pm

Here's a tip that involves many of our categories...Nutrition 101, homecooking, and RAW diets:
There is actually more nutritional value in certain cooked vegetables than in the same veggies served raw- carrots are one example. The reason is that plant cells have cell walls, unlike animal cells, and these cell walls are made of indigestible plant cellulose. When you cook the veggies slightly, the cell walls are broken down, and the nutrients become more easily absorbed by the body.

Reply by Lynne NJ on November 16, 2008 at 12:08pm

Excellent point. I do the carrots (or if I do potatoes or squashes) alone, steam them a little. The broccoli or spinach I put in with the meat. Herbs I put in last without cooking (like the fresh parsley, for breath). Everything gets put together in my big bowl for mixing after it's cooked.

Reply by Karen & Jack on November 25, 2008 at 2:38pm

After all that controversy the other day about giving our doodles turkey, today I noticed that there is a recipe in this month's Bark Magazine (Nov/Dec 2008 issue) called "Thanksgiving Dinner" from The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious and Delicious Recipes Your dog Will Love, written by Jonna Anne, with Mary Strauss, Canine Nutritionist, and Shawn Messonier DVM. I can't copy it over here, it's too long & I'm a hunt-&-peck typist. But if can't get ahold of a copy of The Bark, go to amazon.com and enter the book title in "search books", once you bring it up, you can click "look inside this book" and you will actual be able to read the recipes. For this one, once you are in the book itself, search "Thanksgiving", and you'll get the whole recipe plus information on reducing the fat, etc.
Long story short, this recipe calls for turkey (both dark & white meat), sweet potatoes, oatmeal, cranberry sauce, and turkey GRAVY! A real Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for your doodle! Gobble, gobble!
Reply by Adina on November 25, 2008 at 2:48pm

I'm sorry but I just have to giggle at "...Recipes Your Dog Will Love..." Cuz I know my dogs and all their favorite "recipes" go like this:

First, start chopping a food item.
Then accidentally drop a morsel on the kitchen floor.
Serves the fastest snout first.

Optional ingredient substitutions for "chopping food item":
--- tearing open a bag of foodstuff
--- pouring something into a bowl
--- pouring something into a pot, skillet, pan
--- stuffing a wad of chips into your mouth
--- opening a can of tuna
--- lifting fork to your mouth
--- cleaning kitchen counters of crumbs

Reply by Karen & Jack on November 25, 2008 at 3:05pm
The only one of those "ingredients" that gets a response at my house is "opening a can of tuna"...BOTH species of hairy creature come running!

Reply by Lauren on December 22, 2008 at 12:29pm

Anything that may even sound like a bag of food/treats, the doodles come running to see. They make sure to pay attention (even from several feet away,) just in case I might drop something...anything... any delectable morsel. :)

Reply by Adrianne on November 29, 2008 at 5:16am

Can there be a separate discussion with no personal info - just the Cookbook?

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 16, 2008 at 7:32am

Sorry, Adrianne, I just noticed this post...do you mean a separate discussion with just recipes in it? I think we could do that if it would be helpful. We don't have a "cookbook' per se, but could take Lynne's, Leslie's, & other's recipes that are here & in the treats section, and put them in a Recipe discussion for easier reference.
I can't promise people won't still make OT comments, though, LOL!

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 8, 2008 at 6:08am

If you're homecooking, should it always be the same thing?Posted by Michele on December 8, 2008 at 6:38am in The Food Group:

Every week, I cook a big batch of chicken "stew" for Chapin. It has 8-10 chicken legs with backs attached, some brown rice, barley, carrots and zucchini. The chicken gets boiled then deboned, and the rest is cooked in the chicken broth, then everything is mixed together, and frozen in 3-day portions. He gets about 2 cups, twice a day.

Sometimes, I'd like to give him something from the table - last night we had beef stew and I deliberately left out onions so that Chapin could have some. But I chickened out (hah! just made myself laugh), because I didn't know if a dog is home-fed, do you still have to ease new foods in?

Chicken stew with beef stew mixed in? (Sounds gross to me..)

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 8, 2008 at 12:42pm

Michele, I change it up every week with some similarities. I use two big bags of chicken tenders that I get at Costco as my mainstay. The rest of the ingredients I change, weekly. Sometimes I add fish (whatever's on sale), sometimes beef stew cubes. I have used ground turkey, ground beef, pork, lamb and turkey or chicken parts. The veggies I change too. Carrots, zucchini, spinach, broccili, always I add frozen blueberries and Crazins. The carb I change too. Red rice and lentils is my carb of choice but I have used barley and oats, too. You can do potatoes and sweet potatoes but don't go overboard on these as they are carbs. Adding garlic, parsley and some sea salt works nicely. I also add bone meal, Missing Link Canine Supplement and Sea Meal. I do a squirt of fish oil before serving, and viola: Doggie Food al la Lynne.

I don't "ease in" anything. The guys are fed the way they would have in days past (pre-commercial dogfood). Every once in awhile I have a soft stool issue but not too loose and it rectifies in a day or so. I think it's more the treats, grass, dirt, pool water, sticks, bird seed, sunflower leaves or other strange things they find in the yard. Chicken stew with beef stew would have been "heaven" to Chapin. Go for it!

Reply by Denise on December 16, 2008 at 7:19am

This is great ... I have been reading and so many of my questions have been answered! I have a finicky eater here - she is just a pup - and when she came to us at 7 weeks, she was bony. (my vet said "on the thin side") But she is so finicky! Luckily Atlas Pet Supply has a return policy because I tried many different dry dog foods before I found something she would eat. ( all premium foods - Canadae, Chicken Soup, NutriSource which is a premium made here in Minnesota, Blue Buffalo, and I can't remember them all. Her bowl is down all day and she nibbles. Then at supper time, I was giving her a 1/2 can of Canadae. But after Thanksgiving, I took the turkey carcass and giblets and boiled them all up - added carrots, potatoes, sodium free chicken stock, brown rice, a little garlic and 1/2 dozen eggs. I put about 12 ounces in freezer bags and threw in the freezer. Abby has been getting this for her last meal of the day, and I'm happy to say that tho she is growing like a weed, she is filling out some too. Her hip bones aren't sticking up any more and her poos are nice and solid, dark, and small. I have gotten a lot of good ideas - like adding crazins which would be good for urinary system, and adding flax seed or fish oil for her coat. Adding yogurt after it's cooked and cooled would be a great probiotic as well. Maybe she would just eat a tablespoon of yogurt by itself - should try that, and crazins for a treat. (or put the crazins in the yogurt - good treat for the both of us!! heehee) But anyway- after all this rambling ... I'm glad to read that the turkey I have been feeding her is NOT going to kill her - she never even got a loose stool from it. But will maybe use chicken thighs next time. Thanks you all for so much information - DK is the greatest!!

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 16, 2008 at 1:08pm

Uh Oh, Denise. Sounds like you are coming over to the dark side. LOL That's how I started cooking for my dogs. I started small, added things here and there that I read about and now I homecook every Sunday so my three dogs have a healthy, nutritious dinner every night that I don't have to worry will kill them. Keep going, you're on your way. Ask, if you have questions and WELCOME TO HOMECOOKING DOGFOOD!!!

Reply by Denise on December 17, 2008 at 5:39am

Well, thank you Lynn. And Abby gets so excited eating what I cook for her - unlike the "other" people I cook for. LOL
Is there anything else I should put in there - she is still eating dry (premium holistic) dog food.
Merry Christmas

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 17, 2008 at 12:41pm

What I found is that over the 1 1/2 years I have been at this is that as I read new things and find out about new things, I add those new things. But remember, I try to ballance over time not balance at every meal. So, adding different veggies, different fruits, different meats and/or fish, eggs, etc., will balance it all out. I also give a daily vitamin supplement, add olive oil to the stew and fish oil to the meal. You'll start to notice over time what she likes a lot and things she's so-so with. Like one of my guys will eat anything I give him, one loves apples and Ginger is picky and doesn't like it too juicy or mashed. It took about 2-3 months before I really felt I had it figured out, and I will still try new things as I learn about them. I still free-feed their kibble and they will pick at it all day.

Reply by Denise on December 17, 2008 at 3:26pm

So - in doing this - have you found that their poops stay firm - and that their coats are nice and shiny and soft? The canned dog food I buy - which is Canadae - is close to $2 a can, and I would feed her a 1/2 a can a day. Making my own will definitely be cheaper.
Reply by Lynne NJ on December 17, 2008 at 4:00pm

Their poops are softer and smaller than when I fed my last dog canned only. But this is mainly due to having less "filler" and "crap" in their diets. The poops will just about melt away in a hard rain, which is a nice side effect. I do that sometimes with the cans, too. If I am running short on mine, I will sometimes split a can of Canidae, Natures Logic, Wellness or Organix between the three dogs bulking up my stew. My own seems to cost about the same as the premium cans. But I figure it will cost a lot less in vet bills in the long run.

Reply by Denise on December 17, 2008 at 8:12pm

I had made liver and onions for us the other evening for dinner - YUM YUM - but had quite a bit left over. I wished i hadn't have added the onions, I could have made dog food out of it. Why are onions so toxic to dogs - (cats too) - it makes no sense. When I'm cutitng onions up while making dinner - i have to watch real closely that i don't drop any - Abby will grab it and run with it and eat it. Permalink Reply by Lynne NJ on December 18, 2008 at 3:07am
Delete Onions are toxic to dogs. The toxicity is dose dependent, so the bigger the animal, the more onion need be consumed to cause a toxicity. Onion toxicity causes a Heinz body anemia. Heinz bodies are small bubble-like projections which protrude from a red blood cell and can be seen when the cells are stained. This "bubble" is a weak spot in the red blood cell and, therefore, the cell has a decreased life-span and ruptures prematurely.
If numerous red cells are affected and rupture, anemia can result. It is a form of hemolytic anemia. Onions are only one of the substances which can cause Heinz body anemia. Other substances such as Acetominophen (Tylenol) and benzocaine-containing topical preparations can also cause Heinz body anemia in the dog.

The toxic effect of the onions are the same whether the product is raw, cooked or dehydrated. The hemolytic episode usually occurs several days after onion ingestion (lowest hematocrit around day 5 post ingestion). Daily feeding of onions could have a cumulative effect due to ongoing formation of Heinz bodies versus a single exposure with a wide gap until the next exposure, allowing the bone marrow time to regenerate the prematurely destroyed red cells.

The cat is even more susceptible. Recently, Gerber began to add onion powder to all its meat baby foods. They are labeled as "better tasting". Since baby food is often used in sick cats that are not eating (to stimulate their appetites), there was concern that the onion powder would cause a Heinz body anemia in these cats. Within a week or two of the change, there were numerous reports of Heinz body anemia in cats receiving Gerber baby food in their diets.

I strongly recommend NO ONIONS for dogs. There is no benefit and certainly the potential to cause harm.

NOTE: Garlic is safe for your dog used in moderation and can help with a myriad of things such as gas, flea prevention and it has natural antibiotic properties.

Written by Dr. Wendy Wallner, DVM

If you scraped the onions off, even washed the liver, she would have loved it. I add liver about once a month to my stew.

Reply by Denise on December 18, 2008 at 6:09am

Thanks Lynne - I guess I didn't think of rinsing it off - doesn't sound so appetizing to me but I'm sure Abby would have loved it just the same! Thanks so much for your help and sharing what you know. I really appreciate it.

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 18, 2008 at 6:11am

Anytime! Happy Holidays!

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 19, 2008 at 6:01pm

Denise, I have started rinsing off certain items from our dinner to give to Jack...tonight it was lima beans. We had them with butter, salt & pepper...I rinsed a spoonful in hot water & Jack gobbled them up. I have also done this with cooked carrots, and roast beef...rinsed off all the seasoning, gravy, etc. It doesn't sound appetizing to me, either, but the dogs don't care, lol!

Reply by Denise on December 19, 2008 at 8:42pm

I guess i wouldn't have thot of doing that. We are BIG onion eaters here - I put onions in /on everything, so if Abby were to get a treat from leftovers, it would have to be rinsed. Thanks for all the input - it's been great!

Reply by Kelli on December 22, 2008 at 11:32am

I am so thankful for all of the information in this group! I just started cooking for my doodle (along with feeding Innova EVO). It's much easier than I thought it would be.
We (like most of you) had a scary experience with a "pet store" commercial food. We didn't even realize how bad it was until we had a friend lose her dog and he was on the same food and having the same symptoms as ours...
Leo has never been so excited about meal times! He LOVES his "chicken stew" mix. I also added fish last week. I haven't found any veggies that he doesn't like, except that he likes his carrots separate from the rest of his food. He spits them out and eats them last, weird! Every time we nibble on a baby carrots he begs and loves to gnaw on them, so obviously he likes them, just not mixed in!

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 22, 2008 at 12:26pm

Kelli, I am so glad things are easy for you. I found out, too, how easy it is. The more you do it, the easier it gets. My guys do the same thing with carrots, so now I cut the smaller and they eat them right up. Keep experimenting and Leo will love every "stew."

Reply by Leigh, Deuce, Chance, & Luke on December 22, 2008 at 2:05pm

Is Soy Flour a good alternative to use vs regular flour? I'm trying to stay away from wheat flour and haven't found Oat flour lately.

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 22, 2008 at 2:14pm

Soy is a big no-no for dogs! It's one of the top allergy provokers, is not well-digested by many dogs, and can also cause bloating. According to Joan Weiskopf in Pet Food Nation, "Pets can't utilize the amino acid complex from soy. You will find a lot of soy in commercial pet food because it is a cheap and plentiful source; it just happens to be useless to a dog or cat."

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 22, 2008 at 2:23pm

Leigh, I have never heard of soy flour and none of my natural health books mention it. They do say tofu is OK and soybeans are OK. Wait, in Natural Health Bible for Dogs it just says soy flour has the second highest isoflavone levels: 44 mg. "In pets, a dosage for soy isoflavones of 2mg per pound of body weight twice daily has been suggested as an alternative therapy for dogs with urinary incontinence. Long term side effects are unknown...pets taking...should be monitored for side effects associated with estrogen." You may want to do some more research on this.
Reply by Leigh, Deuce, Chance, & Luke on December 23, 2008 at 4:11am

Hmmmmmmmmmm I guess no soy flour for my 2 healthy beasts when making treats. Any other suggestions?

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 23, 2008 at 6:42am

Leigh, I don't think a human grade whole wheat flour would be bad, unless they have some allergy problems? I know wheat itself is not a good ingredient in kibbles, but I think a lot of good nutritious dog treats use whole wheat flour, no? I know that Three Dog Bakery does, and their treats are certified human-grade, and were recommended to me when my 15 year old poodle was failing.

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 23, 2008 at 1:08pm

I use Whole Wheat Flour when I bake dog treats but like Karen said if there's an allergy you might have to do more research.

Reply by cocoincanada on December 23, 2008 at 10:32am

Wow, this is very interesting. My two main questions are:

- When feeding homemade food, how do you know you're feeding enough? 1 cup, 2 cup, etc? Is it just trial and error?
- Do you still feed some kibbles, or do you feed ONLY homemade for all meals?

This is a very cool thread. I have given Sunny lots of raw/cooked veggies in the past (frozen veggies are his fave!), and he likes fruit like apples, watermelon, etc. too. I never would have thought it could be so simple as adding some extra ingredients to the cart at the grocery store and cooking for an hour.

Some of you have mentioned soft stool that melts away in the yard...this isn't a problem for home, but trying to pick up a soft poop while on a walk is often very challenging. How do you deal with this aspect of it?

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 23, 2008 at 2:36pm

Sorry, Coco, I can only rave about melt away poops, I can't help you pick them up. LOL We have a dog door and back yard, so melt away is nice. On a walk, well??? Maybe add some brown rice to "stiffen" it up. Good Luck!

On another note, I am so happy to see people homecooking. It warms my heart that so many of us are taking back the feeding of our dogs away from the crap DF companies have been giving them. I do still free feed kibble, about 2 cups a day for three dogs (only premium brands). It gets left out all day. My homecooked is their dinner, meal. Sometimes, I will give them an egg in the morning and, of course, treats as the day goes on. Frozen veggies is a great treat to give.

Reply by Karen & Jack on December 23, 2008 at 3:02pm

I also have to pick up poop twice daily on walks, but Jackdoodle is still mostly eating kibble with brown rice in it, with some homecooked tidbits added in; I find that rice is a must for keeping his stool firm enough to pick up. I think if you go the homecooked route, adding some brown rice, as Lynne suggested, would help. A heaping spoonful of canned pumpkin (NOT the pie-filler, but actually cooked pumpkin) helps too.

Reply by Denise on December 23, 2008 at 4:48pm

Well, I just made a batch of dog mush for Abby (second attempt) and here is what i did:

In a large pot:
add 8 cups of water
appx 4 tablespoons sodium free chicken stock - more or less as desired
I used 3# chicken breasts, diced. (they were on sale and cheaper than the thighs pkg)
I added about 4 cups of carrots, cut smaller to cook faster
about 4- 5 potatoes, washed but unpeeled and cut up
a sweet potato - this I did peel and cut up
I chopped about a 1/2 cup craisins - good for urinary tract
I boiled this until the veggies were mostly done.
I strained the veggies out and put them in a bowl.
In the pot of broth I added:
4 eggs, beat - pour in the hot broth slowly while stirring - more protein
1 1/2 cups raw brown rice - carbs and keeps stools firmer
Simmer this until the rice is done - appx 1 hour, stirring ocassionally

While the rice is cooking - I use a chopper and chop the veggies and meat mixture up finer. When rice is done, add the veggie mixture, a Tablespoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 cup olive oil - for the coat - back to the rice mixture in the pot.
( I did add some minute rice to absorb the extra liquid - I suppose you could use oatmeal also)
Let it cool and bag it up and throw in the freezer. (I bag it up 2 cups to a bag - enough for 2 days )
A batch this size lasts me 3 weeks to a month - more or less - feeding her appx 1 cup a day.

Her kibble (premium brand) is down during the day and put about 1 cup of this "mush" down at supper time.
Her stools are great, her coat is so soft, and she is filling out nicely. She was thin when we got her, she is a finicky eater, and she is growing so fast that she wasn't filling out at all. That's when i decided to make her this mush, and she loves it. You could add any combination of veggies, or use any meat. The options are limitless, but this recipe is somewhere to start.

Is there anything else I should be adding?? I'm new at this. Any and all advice is more than welcomed!! Anyone with anything more to add, please do so.

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 23, 2008 at 5:07pm

Denise, it looks like you have a pretty good plan. I do pretty much the same thing, but I do more meat and less other stuff and more low sodium broth and less water. I have been at this over a year now and find that as you find things on sale or fish or other meats on sale you can change it up. If you don't give marrow bones, you could add some food grade bone meal and salmon oil is also good for the coat. If you notice she is putting on weight, back off on the starches, carrots can be switched off with spinach, peas, broccoli or almost any fruit or veggie except mushrooms or onions. Read through these discussions and you will find lots of other tips.

Reply by Denise on December 24, 2008 at 7:16am

Thanks Lynne - I guess I should have said - I use a powdered soup stock, so I have to start out with that much water. Where do you find food grade bone meal? I am watching her weight - but I am also trying to fatten her up to some degree - as I said, she has always been on the thin side. Her hip bones don't stick up any more but her ribs are sure close to the surface yet. I don't want a chunky dog - but I want her to feel solid and healthy, not bony and fragile. I will cut back on the starches tho, as we go along. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I don't want an over weight dog either...

Reply by Lynne NJ on December 24, 2008 at 8:35am

Health food stores would carry Bone Meal, or I got mine from onlynaturalpet.com. Or you can give marrow bones (raw) every once in awhile. Ground up egg shells can be added here and there or cottage cheese for calcium.


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