Needing some advice

This is the place to share your best homemade dog food and treat recipes with each other! Remember to use caution if your pet has allergies and to make any diet changes gradually so that your dog's stomach can adjust to the new foods you are introducing.


Woof where\'s- momma?
Barked: Thu Feb 17, '11 2:46pm PST 
I am the type of person that needs a list. I have 2 dogs. A 55lb 4 year old Nova Scotia Duck Toller, she is spayed and a Male 72lb Labrador named Indy who is a service Dog.
Why I am looking into preparing food for them is they are shedding and never seem to keep weight on. I feed them what the bag says ( it is a cheaper food due to a job loss) and it isn't working. So, now here I sit looking for as much information as I can to try to find a non-expensive solution to feed my two babies.

Can someone if not a few someones give me a detailed set up of what to feed and how to do it for our weights? ( no raw as the boyfriend won't feed them raw foods. Bones I might be able to get by on but no raw meat unless it is cooked. He is OCD germs) They reason I need detailed is I ( haveing MI's) get confused and overwhelmed easily.

Princess and the- Pea
Barked: Thu Feb 17, '11 5:01pm PST 
I start with 20 calories per pound of dog and a minimum of 1 gram protein per pound of dog. So your 55 pound dog would start with about 1100 calories of food and a minimum of 55 grams of protein and your 72 pound dog would start with about 1440 calories and a minimum of 72 grams of protein per day. Your dogs may need more or less than this amount. Geriatric sick Sassy needed a lot more, about 120%. Senior but healthy Max needs a lot less, about 80%. Hands on the dogs to judge whether more is needed or not!

An ounce of raw meat/fish/egg has about 5 grams of protein so we are looking at about a pound and a half of boneless meat/fish/egg per day here? Sound doable? That would be 45 pounds of boneless meats/eggs/fish a month, what do you think?

While I can get whole chickens on sale for $.79 a pound, only 60-70% of that weight will turn into boneless meat and broth for the dogs so it is not as cheap as it sounds. That might be $47 a month for just the meat if I lucked out and found that good deal AND had room to store it. Quarters are often cheaper.

If you go ahead with the cooked diet, feeding about 2500 calories a day total you will need to add in vitamins and minerals as well as a lot more calories with grains, starchy veggies and more green/colored/leafy veggies for vits/mins. I haven't found a good enough source for zinc except for expensive canned oysters though. Max gets a pill for it. If you can feed beef/veal/lamb liver then a copper supplement isn't needed. The diet hasn't enough phosphorus unless whole grains are fed so bone meal or dicalcium phosphate would be needed as well as the free egg shell from the eggs you might add to the dog food.

Still interested? Do you think you can handle buying that much meat for the dogs? Let me know what stuff you would like to use for the food and I can cobble up something. On my own I fail but Dogsters come up with great food ideas.

If not, try supplementing the not so great kibble with fresh stuff. Start out with just a little at first, increase to a maximum of the amounts mentioned over a number of meals, just like switching kibbles. You don't need to feed this much if you don't care to, but you can substitute up to 25% fresh food for kibbles.

You don't need to do any figuring other than substitute calories and post here if you need help with that. Stew up a chicken, blend it and a cup will provide about 300 calories. All you do is plop the thing plus liver and any other innards in the bag into a pot with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for an hour, two hours - until the meat is coming off the bone. Take the meat out of the pot so it cools faster, bone and put meat and skin back into the pot and use a stick blender to grind it all up. Or put the meat and skin into a blender or food processor and chop. Or shred the meat and skin into the pot by hand. Or chop the meat and skin with a knife. Take out a little less than 300 calories of kibble for the smaller dog and put in a scant cup of chicken gravy, take out 360 kibble calories from the larger dog and put in an overflowing cup of chicken gravy maximum. Adds loads of fat and protein. You might take off the skin and fat and add back to the dog's food as tolerated for at least the first few times you cook. Dogs do great with lots of fat but why risk an upset?

Or buy hamburger. Personally I like to sizzle in a pan so the meat smells good then add water and blend. 95% lean is only 38 calories an ounce raw and 75% lean is 82 calories an ounce raw. That makes it tricky for substituting! Choose cheap and reserve the fat to add back as tolerated.

Or buy a pork shoulder roast, cut the easy stuff off the bone and stew the bone too so as not to waste the little bit of meat on it. The fat under skin is overwhelming, I don't feed that much fat, but don't go crazy trimming the fat out.

Or buy canned fish. Not tuna, but salmon, sardines and mackerel are good choices. Dump into a strainer and put strainer into a bowl of water to rinse some of the salt off it. A scant cup for the smaller dog, a generous one for the larger dog maximum.

Or scramble up some eggs. Just one for both dogs first time, one each if that goes over well and maybe 3-4 a week total.

If you are up to it liver is terrific stuff, adding just an ounce or two per pound of other meat really adds to the interest for the dogs. Me, not so much although it sort of kind of smells not so awful to me after cooking for the dogs for many years!

Chances are the kibble is low in meat protein, definitely low in water and probably could use more omega 3. Today you can add water to the bowl and maybe some canned fish if you have any. Tomorrow maybe cook up some meat or a couple eggs and add to the kibble.

Woof where\'s- momma?
Barked: Thu Feb 17, '11 7:26pm PST 
I am gathering information currently. If I do this I have access to everything but lamb. I am debating raising bunnies to feed us and the dogs. Any all information is appreciated.


Howling good- times to be had- with me.
Barked: Fri Feb 18, '11 7:09am PST 
Rabbit can be a part of the diet, but it is very low fat. A human or dog on rabbit only for a long period will actually starve to death. You need fattier meats as well as grains, fruits and vegetables. 75% meat/bone, 20& produce/grain and the last 10% can be treats, kibble, canned whatever as long as it is healthy.

I feed kibble and canned for the last bit simply because I need my dogs to travel with me for up to a month at a time and, they need to eat a widely available kibble on the road. Prepping raw in a hotel is not generally practical.

Woof where\'s- momma?
Barked: Sat Feb 19, '11 7:47pm PST 
Thank you guys. If anyone else has more Information that has not been mentioned feel free to add it.

Princess and the- Pea
Barked: Sun Feb 20, '11 7:31am PST 
Here is a whole lot of reading. And today, stew some chicken or ground beef or open a can of sardines or mackerel or scramble a couple eggs and add to the kibble. Any fresh food can really help the diet. Read this from a vet.

Do nald Strombeck's book. Old, too much carbohydrate/not enough meat to suit me and that vague vitamin/mineral supplement really bugs me but the recipes are sound and simple. Wonderful that it is all online now!

Spend a week reading here. Look through all the drop down menus, there is a whole lot more than this one page on cooking for dogs.

Loads of recipes and thoughts about the how and why of nutrition here. Mostly raw and she is not a fan of feeding grains though.

Noise Police
Barked: Sun Feb 27, '11 7:10pm PST 
Good for you, for paying so much attention to your dogs' nutrition.
If you crunch some numbers and find that homecooked is too expensive, the dogs will still benefit greatly with the addition of some fresh homecooked food, like Sassy said.

You said your dogs are on a budget-conscious kibble. First, I'd make sure you're getting the best food you can for what you can afford. The two cheapest decent foods that come to mind are Kirkland's (Costco) and Diamond Naturals (Tractor Supply). A little more expensive options are Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul and Canidae. Be sure to ask about frequent buyer memberships - I have a friend who gets every 10th bag of Canidae for free.

Hazel's shedding decreased noticeably with the addition of Grizzly brand salmon oil for added omega 3's. It is a cost-effective way to add nutritive value, when you consider how long a bottle will last.

Now back to the homecooked ... one very cheap way to add fresh nutrients to your dogs' food is to add a homemade topper to every meal. For example, the batch I made today included: beef, beef kidney, eggs, green beans, celery, and cauliflower. I buy whatever is on sale, or whatever needs to be used up my fridge (in this case, I got beef on a great deal, and the green beans and cauliflower were some old frozen veggies). Simmer the meat until it's cooked, and toss in the veggies toward the end so they are lightly coked. If you have a food processor, use it to grind everything up with a little bit of broth for moisture.

Also, you can give the dogs a few raw or scrambled eggs per week. One tin of sardines in water per dog, per week, will also help.