Let’s face it --- we typically love our pets.
And one of the most popular rural and farm animals is the family dog.
Many of you have more than one.
We want to share some fun ideas on making inexpensive homemade dog food. We also explore healthy options to keep your dog happy, healthier and energized.
And as a quick aside --- we are here to help you purchase a new tractor when the time is right.
Let’s have some fun and explore this somewhat off-the-beaten-path --- yet relevant topic.
IMPORTANT --- Make sure to run this article past your family vet for customized directions.
Always consult your veterinarian when it comes to your pet’s nutrition.
Making homemade dog food is fun.
By adding personally-sourced ingredients, you will have complete control over your dog’s diet. Homemade dog food can also be very nutritious and tasty.
The best part is that you will know what you are feeding your dog. You can save money while serving your dog higher-quality ingredients. This leads to overall better health.
There are plenty of dog food recipes.
So you need to know the best ingredients.
You also need to decide if you want to make wet or dry dog food.
There are questionable ingredients in store-bought dog food.
Many contain fillers, preservatives, and meat byproducts, including 4-D meats. In many inexpensive brands, there are fillers added to replace natural proteins. These add empty calories with zero nutritional benefit. Fillers include soy, corn, rice, and wheat.
You may not know it, but your dog’s teeth are not designed to chew grains properly. This can cause digestive issues and other health concerns. These grains are treated with chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides) before harvesting, and ultimately end up in dog food.
Some brands use meat byproducts or 4-D meats. This stands for dead, dying, disabled, or diseased. Manufacturers are permitted to simply call these ingredients “meat byproducts” and they contain steroids, hormones, and chemicals. Many dog foods also contain artificial dyes to make them resemble meat.
We want to start this section by going over some ingredients your dogs shouldn’t eat.
NEVER ADD --- (Dyes, Wheat, Gluten products, Corn, Rendered fat, Meat by-products, BHA, BHT, Additives, Onions, Grapes, Walnuts, Macadamia nuts, Coffee, Spices, Raw dough, Avocados, Raisins, and chocolate.)
Here are some ingredients to use in limited qualities or avoid.
LIMIT --- (Butter, Salt, Dairy, Cooking oil and Corn.)
Dog food should contain natural muscle meat sources.
WATER --- (Distilled or filtered.)
CONSISTENCY --- Cook all the ingredients or keep all the ingredients raw. If you use cooked steak in a dog food recipe - you will also need to cook the vegetables, brown rice, and anything else you include. Raw meat is not recommended.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS --- Dogs need iron, calcium, zinc, and copper. You may choose to add a shaker powder. This may be something to consider if your dog has special dietary needs.
PROTEIN --- (Meat, Lamb, Fish, Turkey, Chicken, Beans, Seafood, Dairy and Eggs.)
Beef is a common protein in homemade dog food. You can opt for any organ or muscle protein because it will help your dog to meet its daily requirements.
The main protein to avoid is liver.
RECIPE: A great example of a dog food recipe using ground chicken is: (ground chicken, brown rice, zucchini, peas, spinach, squash, and carrots). Blend it in the food processor.
Add filtered water, as necessary. With wet vegetables such as zucchini, peas, and squash --- you won’t need as much as you would if you were only using carrots and spinach.
CARBOHYDRATES: Essential fiber for digestive health. Without enough carbohydrates, your dog could be prone to loose stools and diarrhea. There are also essential vitamins to protect their digestive system.
FILLERS --- (Oats, Brown rice, Yams, Cooked potatoes, and Pasta.)
These healthy fillers will keep the dog food together.
RECIPE: Ground turkey or chicken, brown rice, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and peas. Add water, as necessary. Mix in a food processor or Vitamix.
VEGETABLES --- (Zucchini, Peas, Carrots, Green beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Pumpkin, Squash, Spinach, Cooked cabbage, and Cucumbers.)
FRUITS --- (Blueberries, Melon, Coconut, Blackberries, Apples, and Bananas.)
OILS AND FATS --- (Drizzling olive oil, Walnut oil, Safflower oil.)
Many families save money by making their dog’s food.
They cheaply source the ingredients or use leftovers. Supplements can also be added.
A single can of wet dog food will cost around $2. You’ll need at least two cans a day. That’s a $4 per day expense. You can save a lot of money with homemade dog food.
If you source multiple ingredients for $20 --- and create 20 servings --- you’ll be spending $1 per day for meals. You can portion and freeze them to serve later.
Organic ingredients will increase costs --- so be careful.
Is homemade dog food better?
Yes --- if you use natural, healthier ingredients.
The keys are quality and bioavailability.
With homemade dog food --- you have complete control over the quality of the ingredients.
Bioavailability is another advantage. Fresh food has far more nutrients.
Artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors can damage your dog’s digestive system. Natural ingredients can help their bodies absorb far more nutrition per meal.
Buying organic ingredients will equate to less pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. Organic meat should not contain growth hormones and steroids. You can also add a multi-vitamin.
Figuring out how to make dog food can be time-consuming.
It requires research.
Here are some quick tips:
Dog breed: Investigate the specific nutritional requirements for your dog’s breed. Also factor in the dog’s weight when determining portion sizes.
Activity: How active is your dog? For example --- an active livestock guardian dog will require more calories than an indoor dog.
Recipe: Find a recommended recipe or mixture. You can find hundreds of homemade dog food recipes online. Some are nourishing and some are not. Check with experts who create homemade dog food for a living.
Veterinarian: Get professional advice from someone who specializes in dog nutrition. They will help guide you.
Balanced Diet: There are a variety of ingredients your dog food will need, and they require precise measurements. Protein, carbs, fats, calcium, and essential fatty acids are a few to consider. If you choose to give your dog one recipe every day --- it must meet the nutritional requirements. If you rotate the dog’s diet, you can swap ingredients for others. Introduce new foods slowly.
Adult dogs need a high-protein food source.
Their diets should include 20% protein and 5% – 8% fat.
Also include lysine, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and iron. Vitamins are also necessary including A, B12, D, E, folic acid, niacin, and thiamine.
Correctly measuring the ingredients is crucial. With a combination of measuring cups and food scales, you can meet the exact needs. In many cases --- using a food scale is better for accuracy.
It can be challenging to create a homemade dog food recipe that is nutritional and all-encompassing. You might need to invest in supplements. Discuss this with your veterinarian. There are many organic dog supplements available. You can simply shake them onto the homemade dog food.
As you introduce new foods into your dog’s diet --- you must track their progress. Any changes to their behavior, stools, or digestive health could show that you need to modify the quantities or change foods.
Watch for weight gain or loss, excessive gas, vomiting, and loose stools.
Track the foods carefully. Take your dog to the vet if they are experiencing any differences in behavior.
Hopefully, this brief article has helped you understand how to put together homemade dog food. It was a bit off-the-beaten-path --- but we do love our pets!
Again --- always check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet.
If you need any further help or have any questions about rural living, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.
If you are looking for old, vintage, classic, or new tractor parts, send us a part request.
Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.