By Liz McGehee
There are lots of reasons to make your own dog food. The number one reason though is that you ensure your best friend is eating natural, organic and nutritious ingredients. Another reason is that homemade dog food relieves upset stomachs and grain allergies. Perhaps the best perk of homemade dog food though, is that it’s cost effective when compared to commercial human-grade food, it’s easy to make and requires minimal ingredients.
While there are many benefits to making your own pet food, it’s important to keep in mind that, like humans, dog’s must have a nutritionally balanced diet. This means there isn’t a one size – or one diet – fits all solution. Depending on their dietary requirements, which are different from humans, dogs may require multivitamins, probiotics and calcium supplements, but this won’t necessarily make up for low nutrient levels.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), recipes prescribed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists were significantly less deficient in essential nutrients than recipes that came from non-veterinarians. Even if the diet meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommended ranges, you should still watch for possible deficiencies, consult your vet and make the necessary changes to keep your best friend happy and healthy.
To calm upset tummies, most vets recommend a recipe that is 1 part chicken and 2 parts rice. Unsweetened yogurt, pumpkin, banana, sweet potato and oatmeal are also great for relieving digestive pain. Generally, bland is best. Do not use oil, seasonings or salt as these ingredients might further upset the stomach. You can make a week’s worth of dog food by using a slow cooker. Just toss and go.
- 6 organic boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 can of organic pumpkin, plain (15 ounces)
- 2 bananas, peeled
- ½ cup peas, frozen or canned
Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or until chicken is cooked all the way through and rice is soft. Stir as needed. Chicken should fall apart, but make sure pieces are small and mixed in evenly to prevent choking. Let cool before feeding to your pet. Save extra food in a Zip Lock bag or Tupperware.
*Warning: It’s extremely important to make sure peanut butter does not contain Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as sweetener. While Xylitol is safe for humans, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause seizures, liver failure, low blood sugar and even death. This will be listed in nutritional facts under total carbohydrates as “Sugar Alcohol” on the back of the product.
PB&J PUPPY POPS
This one is for all of the grain-free pups out there. Truthfully, you can tweak these puppy pops however you’d like, but you can’t go wrong with the natural sweetness of peanut butter and bananas. Organic pumpkin puree works just as well and relieves stomach aches.
- 3-4 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
Peel bananas and put in freezer for around 2 hours or overnight. In a blender, mix bananas, yogurt, peanut butter and honey until smooth. Spoon the mixture into an adorable popsicle tray or an ice cube tray works just as well. Leave the tray in the freezer for a few hours then serve!