Feed Your Gypsy’s Soul with a Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipe

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By KONG Guest Blogger, Erin Bates

I recently took up the…well, let’s just say DAUNTING task of switching my pups to a healthy homemade diet. I have two small dogs, Gypsy and Marshall, who are both very picky eaters with very sensitive stomachs. I decided to begin making my own dog food for my pals. After hours, and I mean hours of reading, I was still completely stumped as to how to begin. It seemed that each source for us pet owners is completely different: only use raw meat/cook all the meat/never use white rice, only brown/don’t use rice—dogs don’t eat grains/dogs will live longer and have healthier immune systems if they are fed natural/store bought food has better vitamin content and won’t kill your dog!

Thankfully, I finally found a resource that provided a specific breakdown of the percentages that should be used when writing your own dog food recipe. I used this calculation along with some other “tips and tricks” I had read, to create my own recipe. Then, for safe measure, I shared it with my vet. My vet very honestly told me that it is his job to sell me the food carried in the office, but in all reality, he ONLY feeds his dogs homemade food. He recommended that I slightly cook the meat to help avoid food borne illness while also maintaining the vitamin and mineral content of the products. *Note: dogs are less susceptible to food borne illness than humans are.He warned me that this task was not for the lighthearted, but, if I could manage to be consistent for my dogs it will only provide them with a happier, healthier and longer life!

So, my journey moved forward—right to the front door of the local supermarket, perfect for stocking up on meats, fruits and veggies. I also grabbed lots of Tupperware containers for freezing and storage of the finished product. And $65 dollars later, I was ready to get cookin’!

We are about two weeks in to the new food and the dogs are madly in love. The key is to take it slow and easy. Start by substituting a tablespoon of your dog’s kibble with the homemade food, and go up from there. Eventually your dog will no longer eat kibble. A homemade diet is rich and will take your pup some time to get used to, don’t rush it.

TIPS and TRICKS:

If you wouldn’t feel safe eating it, don’t feed it to your dogs

  • Ensure you are buying fresh (or frozen) meat from a reputable source. Do not use meat that has gone stale.

Go with your gut and remember that your dog is… a dog

  • Following exact measurements gets a bit tricky when you are getting into such large yields – remember the percentage calculations and try to think about what your dog would eat in the wild.

Be consistent

  • This process is time consuming and requires planning. If you cannot make the commitment to feed your dogs this new diet for the foreseeable future, it may be best to stick with what you already do.

Talk to your veterinarian

  • Your vet is a great resource. They are trained in animal biology and not only know the ins and outs of pets, but know the ins and outs of YOUR pet.

Remember why you are doing this

  • Ultimately is important to remember that you are doing this for the LOVE of your dog. Put love in, get love out!

Here are the calculations and recipe I used:

Calculate Your Dog’s Diet:

60-80% should be meat/proteins

  • 20% organs (liver, gizzards, etc.)
  • 20% skin/fat
  • 35% muscle meat (thighs, breast, etc.)
  • 25% “other” meats and eggs with the shell ON (ground hamburger, chicken necks, etc.)

20-40% should be fruits/veggies

  • Acceptable fruits/veggies include: apples, carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, cabbage

OTHER

  • You may choose to use a grain (brown or white rice) or potatoes for a filler—use these sparingly and do not use rice if your dog has a grain allergy

Feed Your Gypsy Soul Recipe:

(Yields approx. 60 cups)

*Please note, I created this recipe and find that my dogs are doing well on it, however, I am not a vet and you should consult yours before switching your dog to any new diet

  • 4 pounds of Stew Meat – cut in to bite sized pieces
  • 2 whole chickens – cut off the bone (include skin and innards)
  • 3 pounds of ground beef – 80% lean
  • 1 pound of chicken livers –can be found in the grocery store frozen meat section
  • 2 pounds of chicken gizzards/hearts – also carried at the grocery store
  • 4 pounds of carrots
  • 4 celery hearts
  • 8 apples
  • 5 pounds of potatoes – peeled, chopped, slightly mashed

Using a large stock-pot, lightly brown your prepared meats.

Peel and chop your carrots into bite sized pieces. Place them in another LARGE stock pot. Add the chopped celery and cored & chopped apples. Fill pot with water and bring to a simmer. You are not fully cooking the fruits/veggies, simply softening them for ease of eating by your pet. I simmered mine for about 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Fill pot with chopped and peeled potatoes, bring to a boil and leave boiling until potatoes are extremely soft.

Once all ingredients are prepared, combine them together (potatoes will become slightly mushed as you stir) and begin portioning into Tupperware for freezing and storage. I added a powdered multi-vitamin into my final batch to ensure my dogs are getting all of the nutrients they need.

Erin Bates, Real Estate Agent by day/pet enthusiast by night, has a passion for cooking, crafting and keeping her pets healthy. She lives with Gypsy, a Jack Russell Blue Heeler puppy, and Marshall, a little 4 year old Jack Russell Chihuahua mix.