Friday, June 03, 2011

Feeding dogs is about to be hard work.

By now you probably know how we like to take advantage of any opportunity to make a somewhat challenging situation, by sheer force of will, into something absolutely, undeniably ever so much more difficult and painful than it ever needed to be.  You know, can't just buy a regular house.  Nope, gotta buy a fixer off the internet in a state that's 17 kajillion miles away.  And we can't just get a dog.  Oh no, we gotta get THREE, and make two of them brand new puppies.  The kids like their school and are doing well?  Then naturally we must consider homeschooling instead!

You see what I mean?

So after Doggy Diarrhea Fest 2011, which lasted way longer than it should have and could no longer be attributed solely to some irrational fear of lightning (praise Jesus.  'Cause nobody better ruin my storms for me, ya hear?   I am not even playin'), we started thinking: what additional thing can we do that will take us more time and require more effort and possibly even cost us more money?  Aha!  Make our own dog food!

Oh yes, I can hear you now.  "What is wrong with your brain, fool woman?  Why would you possibly consider such a thing?!?"

Did you hear about the diarrhea?  DID YOU?

But besides that, there's more.

7 reasons we are actually considering making our own dog food

1) The food we buy for the dogs right now is little dry balls of (probably) questionable ingredients in a big bag.  This bag lasts us approximately two weeks.  It costs $29.99.  $29.99!  Twenty-nine dollars and nine-nine cents for two weeks' worth of frappin' dry kibble.

2) The only place, literally, that they sell our magical $30 meat-n-stuff nuggets is at Tractor Supply Co. which is a solid 30 minute drive from our house.  Thirty minutes to spend thirty dollars on a bag of little spheres that may or may not have contributed to several piles of doggy diarrhea all over my house including next to the train tracks and on the clean laundry.  ON THE CLEAN LAUNDRY.

3) And do you know what they sell at Tractor Supply (besides the dog food, of course.  I mean, duh.  Don't get smart with me, boy)?  Yes, tractors.  More to the point: tiny tractors.  Tens of millions of tiny tractors all lined up in beautiful rows on a seductive shelf placed oh so strategically right in the entryway of the store.  If you have ever gone shopping with a three year old boy in  a store that displays an enormous collection of miniature motorized vehicles then you know why taking that child on a dog-food-gettin' excursion to TSC is located somewhere between scrub the toilets and root canal on my "stuff I love" list.

4) Have I mentioned the diarrhea?

5) Oh, and if someone told you about the fabulous (and this is a literal quote from the ingredients list of our current dog food) "dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium" that you were about to enjoy, I bet you would be super de duper excited to scarf it down!  See, now that's what I thought.

6) Our youngest is obsessed with trying to eat the dogs' food.  Obsessed.  Some friends suggested we let her try a piece and then she would be cured of her curiosity.  So we did.  And now she wants to eat kibble more than ever!  I'm betting if we scrap the whole kibble concept and start serving those pups some rice/yogurt/meat mix of some sort (yes I'm gonna do some research.  Be patient!), either she will continue eating it but actually get a nutritional boost or she will leave the poor dogs alone because her precious kibble is missing from the equation.

7) We are fools.

Has any of you ever made your own dog food? 
Do you have any recipes or favorite sites?  
Any words of wisdom or warning?

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  1. I'm thinking about making my own laundry detergent. But I don't think that counts, does it?

    (I don't have a dog...)

  2. I'll be very interested in seeing what folks have to say in response to this post. I too have been contemplating making my own dog food. I have 4 shar-pei and my issue is vomit... Doggy vomit all over the place. And the amount of money I spend on dog food is outrageous. I do at least have a Wal-Mart literally around the corner... but still...

  3. It just sounds like sooo much work!

  4. Luckily hard work is free and is something we're good at!

    Now if someone comes and says they spend $60/month to feed a single dog....then we're gonna have a problem :)

  5. Yes, you're nuts. Brucie is on special food for overweight inactive dogs. I bet he'd be very active if he lived with you. How about #4?

  6. Doesn't rachel ray have a cookbook about it or something???

  7. Just when I think your plate is overflowing, you add this. *lol* I will be excited to see the replies. Roy has talked about doing this for a while now. Note the word TALKED, that is as far as he has gone so far.

  8. You have older kids right? Make it their project.

    However, no more diarrhea is absolutely UNguaranteed (is there such a word?).

  9. Here goes.....
    ground turkey, chicken or poultry roasted on the bone with meat removed.

    Asstd vegetables such as celery, peas, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower (do your research some vegetables are bad for dogs) cook them until soft and then puree. Dogs have a hard time digesting vegetables if not pureed. NO ONIONS,GARLIC, AVOCADO!!!!

    Cooked brown rice

    I use the following ratio:
    approx 1 lb raw meat
    approx 1/2 lb raw vegetables
    2 cups cooked brown rice

    prepare all seperately and then mix together.

    Sometimes I roast a whole chicken and boil the organs with the vegetables and puree together. Also if you are low on meat, you can add a few eggs and scramble them into the cooked meat or rice.

    If you are low on rice you can add a little bit of mashed potatoes. I often save the stumps and leaves from broccoli/cauliflower and use that instead of using perfectly good broccoli. I often freeze things that are leftover and then throw them into a batch of dog food later.

    This recipe was approved by my vet but he said try to stick to poultry.

    This could get really expensive with all three dogs. I feed my 12 1b dog 1/2 cup of this a day plus she gets 1/4 cup of high quality kibble for breakfast. We never have diarrhea.

    To make it the least expensive you will want to buy whole chickens when they are really cheap and save all usable vegetable waste. Carrots are also very inexpensive. If the kids leave something on their plate at dinner will freeze it if appropriate and throw it in a batch later.

    Good luck!

  10. Um, email me. I sold dog food for 8 years in California, and as of the 20th this month, I'll be doing it again in Idaho/Montana/Wyoming/Utah. I studied pet nutrition and can point you to some damn good food that probably won't cost you much more than you're paying now (maybe a lil less?)

    I <3 dogs. :)

    (oh, and there are foods out there that will cost you $200+ a month to feed each dog. You're not crazy, so I won't even mention the crazy-people brands)

  11. I am not a dog person, but rather a cat person (we have 2), but I sympathize with the frustration of finding random projectiles and piles of stuff puked up in various places across my house just because they can. Seriously, my mom always taught me to carry a bucket around when I was nauseous or go to the bathroom, why can't the cats head for the bathtub at least? (Still gross I know, but at least it is NOT carpet) and can be easily cleaned. I mean, they are litter box trained after all and never have accidents with that end (knock on wood).

    Alas, I have no hopes for finding puke in my bathtub (a girl can dream though right?), but I did switch their dry food to a "hairball reducing formula" - one you can still get at the local grocery store and I have yet to see one pile of stuff anywhere. It has been about 2 1/2 weeks - YEAH!!!! So, I do have hope that the changes you are thinking about implementing will help you as well - even though I know nothing about making your own pet food - dog or cat or otherwise. Good luck!!

  12. In answer to #1 ingredients such as animal fat and animal digest = rendering plant fat = road kill. So, yes feeding dogs other dogs. Lovely right?

    As I started reading and got to the part about you making your own dog food I thought you lost your ever loving mind. (Again!) Then I read your reasons. Most especially #4. I say GO FOR IT!

  13. That's seriously awesome that you want to make your own dog food!! You go girl...and let us all know how it turns out!

  14. I'm glad I can make everyone question my sanity on such a regular basis :D

  15. We have 2 Golden Retrievers, George & Clara & a Burmese who thinks she is one of them. If you can make your own dog food go for it, because it will be better then what you buy at the store.
    We ended up with 2 dogs after going & picking out George for my son I saw Clara the runt of the litter so cute & sweet. The first year was the worst they can pee & poop a lot! We love them so much they have to stay.
    Okay so I fall into the issue you will freak about..., uummm, I pay $60 a month for 2 dogs, yes I do. I know it is really good food & giving them a healthy diet. we only had an issue one with projectiles when we changed their food & they needed to adjust to it.
    I buy the 'Evo red' meat & 'Taste of the Wild' and have had no problems with either. I do really believe you get what you pay for & I never looked into it, but my thought was always if I make the food it will be as expensive if not more. Have you been to the meat counter lately? I am also not a big meat eater, to the point my son will say, 'Mom I'm a growing boy feed me meat!'
    I do agree that dog food is too expensive. I'm sorry I can't be of help here. Please don't think too poorly of me for spending what I do on dog food ;P

  16. I believe that Rhonda Jean at the Down-To-Earth blog makes her own dog food. Big TSC fans here--we've found that the tractor toys don't hold up to our kids for long, but the Schleich animals are practically indestructible. My girls adore the baby lambs and bunnies, et al, my big boys prefer the knights and horses from Amazon.


  17. Dwija, I was literally laughing out loud while reading all of this! As coincidence would have it, we also have three dogs, and decided to get two as rescued puppies while the other had been with us for two years prior to the pups. We have had more than our fair share of experience with doggie diarrhea, so I completely understand your desire to make your own dog food! And while dogs bring so much joy to our lives... they certainly are a handful. Thank goodness we love them despite the diarrhea!

  18. I thought the last part asked, "Do you have any recipes or favorite sides?" I was like, you have to be kidding! Doggie side dishes?

    p.s. I bet you people would buy your home made kibbles!!!!!

  19. I'm interested to see how this turns out! I've been contemplating making my own cat food.. one of my cats has bad allergies, and supposedly homemade food can help that.

  20. Hey...I do like the idea of selling our fancy homemade food to offset the cost of feeding our fancy (not actually) pups!

    p.s. Aren't y'all impressed that I got all three of them to sit and look at the camera? I gots skilzz!

  21. I cook enough as it is... and making my own dogfood would mean more dishes to wash! But I don't have a dog currently, so it's a moot point. When I DID have dogs, I would spend ridiculous amounts of money on organic and natural brands and eventually stuck to just one. Then I had a kid. If/when we are dog owners again, I would probably go back to using Natural Balance.

    And PS, yes you are insane.

  22. I'm so going to do this!!! We can afford only the cheapest, non-foodiest dog food, and oh, the nastiness issuing forth from my dogs. It's unspeakable! I've heard from several people that dogs poop a LOT less if they eat high-quality food, which only costs about a million dollars a bag. But I bet I could get rice and meat for just as much as the cheap dog food! Ooh, a new project, yay!

  23. First - your doggies are gorgeous!
    I think you could make dog food. I mean, why not?
    Who knows, you may be on to something here. You could manufacturer homemade food. My friend used to make homemade dog treats and couldn't keep up with the orders.

  24. I don't have any advice about making dog food. But, I had to laugh about your daughter eating dog food. ( : Lizzie goes crazy for it. She's been known to snag a handful and try to sneak off to bed with it. lol

  25. Wow, I had no idea dog food was so expensive! It sounds like a pain in the butt, but it might be worth it given the expense, inconvenience and soiled laundry.

  26. Only one bag for 3 dogs? That's $2.30 a day for all three. Hell of a deal if you ask me.

  27. We make our own dog food. We have a basset hound, a boston terrier and 2 corgis. Their food consists of a pound or a pound and a half of hamburger, a pound of pasta, and a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Cook the pasta and when the pasta is done throw the frozen veggies in with them and turn off the burner. Let it sit till the veggies are cooked (a couple of minutes). Drain. Brown the hamburger with a little garlic, then mix with the noodle mixture. Sometimes we will throw in some cooked rice also. We fill several 2 quart plastic containers with the mixture. We keep one out and freeze the rest. We usually end up making a double batch. We serve it with a dollop of cottage cheese on top. I swear that the dogs eat better than we do at times. We have found that the dogs are healthier with better coats and we rarely have fleas. They also do get kibble in a dish on the floor that they can pick at whenever. We started this about 3 years ago and haven't looked back. Have fun no matter what you decided to do!

  28. i don't have dogs, but I do have three cats who poop and puke so much I sometimes wonder if they invite other cats to our house while we're working just to add to the puke and poop collection. I won't comment on the making your own dog food thing, because I definitely would do the exact same thing for the exact same reasons. So if you're crazy, then so am I. :)

    My sister's late father-in-law and her mother-in-law make their own dog food with great success. I'll try to get their recipe.

  29. Well, since you don't really have anything else to do....I guess it's a good idea. Since you're so damn lazy ;)

  30. The Barf Diet (Raw Feeding for Dogs and Cats Using Evolutionary Principles) [Import] [Paperback]
    Dr. Ian Billinghurst (Author)

    I used this method of raw feeding a number of years ago and was very happy with the health of my dogs on it.

    If you can balance a diet for your family you can do it for the dogs too.

  31. Oh bless you, Dweej. You put me to shame. Now you're making your own flipping dog food AND you have chickens that live in a coop you built? I need a nap just thinking about it.

    Also, what is up with babies of the world and their endless pursuit of dog food? Both my kids were obsessed with getting to the dog bowl. Makes me extra annoyed when they now turn down vegetables. Ummm excuse me Mr. Picky, but didn't you want DOG FOOD a few short months ago?!

  32. Girrrrrlll, you just crack me up!


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