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Published on February 26th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans

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Homemade Dog Food Serves Up Natural Nourishment

When it comes to feeding your dog, there are now many sustainably produced, organically prepared foods on the shelves.  These natural dog foods are far superior to most commercial brands, which are often made with poor quality ingredients, animal by-products, artificial colors, and preservatives.

While you can buy healthy food for your canine pal, the best way to know exactly what goes into your dog’s food is to make it yourself…

Natural Dog Food for Optimal Health

Many people make their own dog food, and there are dozens of books and online resources to help guide and educate pet owners who are interested in home-cooking for their dogs.

Finding the right balance of proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrates is key.  Generally speaking, a good meal contains the following ratios: 40% protein, 30% vegetable content, and 30% carbohydrate.

Many dog owners who switch their dogs’ diets to home-cooked food notice marked improvements in their pets’ health and vitality, and find pleasure in the process of cooking “real food” for their animals.  Here are a some general tips to follow and a few nutrient-rich recipes you can offer your furry friend.

General Nutrition Tips

Teeth

  • You can supplement your dog’s diet with a raw beef bone about once a week or so.  The bones clean their teeth and provide a great source of calcium.

Skin and Coat

  • Whole, raw, free-range eggs given three times a week are great for a dog’s skin and coat.  Mackerel or sardines in soy oil added to dog food once a week provide omega 3 fatty acids and contribute to a shiny coat.

Health

  • When choosing vegetables for your dog’s meals, incorporate at least four different kinds, and vary them according to season.  Choose from carrots, spinach, cabbage, kale, parsley, zucchini, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, radishes, leaf lettuce, brussel sprouts, celery, avocado, squash, and peas.  Experiment with different mixtures to find your dog’s favorites.

Crock Pot Vegetable Lamb Stew

Ingredients

1 lb ground lamb (or beef)

1 1/2 cups brown rice

2 stalks broccoli

2 or 3 medium potatoes, cubed

3 medium carrots

1 sheet kombu sea kelp

Instructions

  • Brown the lamb in a pan.  Add cubed potatoes.
  • Cut broccoli and carrots into small pieces and toss into the pot with everything else.  Add hot water to cover and a little pepper to taste.
  • Set your crock pot timer for 6-8 hours.  When you come back, it will be your dog’s dinnertime and more than likely, the stew will smell so good you’ll be tempted to have some too.!  Be sure to cool stew before serving.

Dutch Oven Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients

3 lbs minced or ground chicken or turkey

2 1/2 cups vegetable blend (no garlic or onions), minced

4 cups uncooked brown rice

6 1/2 cups water

1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary

    Instructions

    • Combine chicken, vegetables, and rice in a Dutch oven.  Stir in water.  Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
    • Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Simmer about 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Cool completely and store covered in the refrigerator.

    For a nutrient boost you can add:

    • 1 tbsp bone meal to increase calcium content
    • Brewer’s yeast, flax seed oil, lecithin granules, apple cider vinegar, or Vitamin E as beneficial supplements
    • Fresh or frozen vegetables, generally whatever is available, omitting onions or garlic—experiment with other herbs and spices too

    Homemade Dog Treats

    Doggie “Oatmeal”

    Ingredients

    5 cups raw rolled oats (11 cups cooked)

    3 lbs (6 cups) raw ground turkey

    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    1 cup cooked vegetables, or 3/4 cup raw and grated vegetables

    4 tsps bone meal

    10,000 IU vitamin A (not necessary if you are using carrots)

    400 IU vitamin E

    1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce

    Instructions

    • Bring approximately 10 cups of water to a boil.
    • Add oats, cover, and turn off the heat.  Oats will cook in 10 to 15 minutes—do not stir or they will become mushy.
    • Combine with remaining ingredients and serve.

    Doggie Meatballs

    Ingredients

    1/2 lb ground beef

    2 tbsp grated cheese

    1 carrot, finely grated

    1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

    1 egg, beaten

    1/2 tbsp tomato paste

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  Roll into meatballs.
    • Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-fat cooking spray.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are brown and firm.  Cool and store in the fridge or freezer.

    Homemade Dog Treats

    Ingredients

    2 cups brown rice flour

    1 tbsp charcoal

    1 large egg

    3 tbsp vegetable oil

    1/2 cup chopped parsley

    1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

    2/3 cup milk

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Combine flour, salt, and charcoal.
    • In a medium bowl, combine egg, oil, parsley and mint; mix well.  Slowly stir into the flour mixture and add enough milk to make a dough the consistency of drop biscuits.
    • Drop tablespoons of dough about 1 inch apart onto greased baking sheets.  Bake 15 minutes, or until firm.  Store cooled biscuits in covered container in refrigerator.

    Article Contributors: Julie Reid





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