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Homemade Pet Food

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Angelskates, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    I'm looking into making our pets' food rather than buying it. The good (foreign) brands are getting more and more expensive. We have one dog and five cats, and am most interested in making food for my dog. Pepper is a small to medium sized dog, no idea what kind, a mix. He's in very good health, and has nice, shiny fur. He gets a good amount of exercise. He's about two years old.

    I'd like some advice on what I can give him to eat. He likes most foods. I'd like to do some food I could cook up or prepare once a week, and maybe freeze. Needs to be something easy! At the moment, Pepper eats twice a day (one little packet each time) and has dry food. He seems to like the cats' dried food more than his!

    Also open to preparing for the cats.

    Any recipes, or guidelines you can give would be appreciated.
  2. chantilly

    chantilly Well-Known Member

    My suggestion would be to really look into what is toxic before making anything for your dogs. There is quite a lot. And some can't eat wheat either. But there needs to be lots of fibre and heavy proteins. Chicken is really good for dogs and pretty cheap, yams are also really good and cheap as well as some vegetables like carrots. I made my own dog biscuits with peanut butter and pumpkin pie filling.Pumpkin Pie is heavy in fibre and great for dogs. Sometimes you can get a three pack of whole chickens at Cosco for less then $30. Cook them and then pull them apart, mix them with the yams and brown rice and vegetables. And put them in freezer packs. You can also add spinach and parsley(for their breath) Also very cheap.

    I will say though that this doesn't seem to be a simple undertaking, especially for all five animals. It will IMO take up a fair amount of time.
  3. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I have researched the things not to give him. I'm not so interested in home making the cats, just Pepper for the moment. I just made him a huge pot of sweet potato, potato, carrot, peas, corn, quinoa flakes that fell on the floor so I didn't want to waste them :)shuffle:), and a mix of pork and chicken that I minced. Also some bacon and a tiny amont of molasses (vet recommended). The vet suggested I could mix in an egg at time of serving if I wanted. It made a giant, giant pot, which will definitely last at least a week, and was a third of the cost of his weekly store-bought food. I just made it at the same time as out freezer meals for the week, so it worked out well today. :) Now I just hope he eats it and likes it!
  4. mikey

    mikey ...an acquired taste

    I'm jealous- I can't imagine having that much free time!
  5. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    :huh: you don't have half an hour on the weekend? I can't imagine owning pets and not having, or making, time for them.
  6. Lizziebeth

    Lizziebeth the real Lizziebeth

    I would be careful with pork. My vet says lots of dogs don't tolerate it well and joked he made a lot of money when dogs ate too much pork! He recommended chicken and rice for starters and then adding stuff to make sure the dog tolerated it well. Veggies are usually good. Can you look at the ingredients on your expensive dog food to see what Pepper is used to eating? P.S. I had a wonderful little Pepper doggie when I was a kid :dog:
  7. BittyBug

    BittyBug And the band played on

    Angelskates - I recommend this book: Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats Cookbook. If nothing else I found it very educational. The book is also available on Amazon, but on the Dr. Mercola site they also sell many of the supplements like digestive enzymes and probiotics that you may want to include in your pets' meals. And from their FAQs it looks like they do ship internationally, including to China.
  8. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I know you want to feed your dog homemade stuff, but here's my experience with my cat.

    I feed Mickey cat a raw chicken diet. He LOVES it, which is great because I've heard of some cats having to be wheedled into it. Right now he has the raw chicken or high-quality dry food, whatever he feels like having at the moment. (Even the best dry food I could find has less than 40% protein content, and he should get more because he's older and has hyperthyroidism.) It's hot and the chicken goes bad quickly in this weather, so we only give him the chicken when he meows for it.

    I make a 3-lb batch for him at a time, and he finishes it about once every 2 weeks. It takes half an hour to make it. If we had the room/money, I'd buy a grinder, but 30 min every two weeks isn't bad. If I had more than one cat, I'd definitely consider a grinder. :p

    I'd definitely read up on things that are harmful/poisonous to them, but I believe that dogs are much more flexible diet-wise than cats. Cats are obligate carnivores and really shouldn't eat any vegetables at all. My friend has a shepherd mix and sometimes drops a cooked egg into a bowl for her. A lot of dogs are allergic to corn, but I think it will be obvious if Pepper is. My mom's dog was allergic to corn and he would scratch himself all the time.
  9. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Pepper loves pork, and my vet suggested a mix of pork and chicken because pork has a higher fat content. Turns out Pepper doesn't like peas or corn. He left them in his bowl :lol: He's really smart at eating around things (the five pieces of dried food that were left in his bowl and I mixed it, are now still left in his bowl! What a rascal!) He isn't allergic to them.

    I've seen this book, and it's way to complicated for me. I'm looking at getting this one. I want to make sure Pepper gets variety, even though he has only two or three little bag flavours.

    I've known since I got a dog what not to give him, it's part of owning a dog. I did do some refreshers though, and put a DO NOT FEED PEPPER THESE list on the fridge for everyone else (namely, my housekeeper, so it's in Chinese). My cats would LOVE a raw chicken diet...they were all over the benches when I was making Pepper his food. I have a mincer - is that what you mean by grinder. Why do you need a grinder (I minced the meat, because it was cheaper to buy unminced and I have a machine that can mince)? Maybe I'll feed the cats fresh fish or chicken as treat meals...

    I'm certainly not complaining about half an hour of my time...it wasn't even half an hour of active time, I answered the phone and putting washing on while it was all cooking.
  10. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    I think it's great what you are doing. My only suggestion is to consult with your vet to make sure your pets get the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients.
  11. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I use this recipe to feed my cat: http://www.catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood#The_Recipe

    The blogger is a vet and everything she says makes sense to me, as a biologist. She recommends grinding up raw chicken thighs, skin and bones and all. Hence the grinder. :p I don't have a grinder, so I use bone meal, which is not as good but better than processed, packaged stuff.

    With cats, cook the outside of the meat if you're afraid of salmonella, but I'm sure you know that cooked chicken bones shatter inside digestive systems.
  12. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    You say consult, I think Pepper's vet now says harass :lol:

    Holy smokes, this has a lot of ingredients...I'm not sure I am willing to go to this much effort, I think sourcing these ingredients here would turn out infinitely more expensive, but I will look into it anyway, especially since I have a lot of cat-owner friends who may be willing to go in for a bulk order :) Thanks!
  13. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Given, that is for a cat that subsists ONLY on that diet. I'm sure a piece of raw chicken here and there won't hurt them one bit. :)
  14. acraven

    acraven Well-Known Member

    Anyone preparing food from scratch which is to be a cat's sole or primary diet should be reminded that taurine is absolutely essential to cats. Its importance was only recognized when a major cat food manufacturer tweaked its recipe some years ago, leaving out all sources of taurine, and a lot of cats died.
  15. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member


    This is probably, bar none, THE most linked site on homemade cat food, and feline nutrition in general, on the Internet. It is the domain of Dr. Lisa Pierson, a vet with over 30 years of experience in the field, and one who specializes in feline nutrition.

    This is another excellent site, with articles written by vets who "get it" about species-appropriate nutrition (which means that "Hill's" and "Science Diet" are 4-letter words/phrases):

  16. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

  17. Citlali

    Citlali Well-Known Member

    My :dog: loves homemade food, specially chicken, rice, sweet potato, carrots and green beans. She is tiny less than 15 pounds so I give her a mix of 3 ounces of protein, 1 1/4 cups of carbohydrates and 1 or 2 tablespoon of the vegetables. When she was a puppy I tried to give her a little bit of everything, now that she is old she just eats her favorites.
  18. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    You should be able to get Wellness CORE at Petco and Petsmart. I believe they have at least 50% protein because my vet recommends them and he only recommends dry foods that have at least 50% protein. (I did the calculations at one point but I don't have them now.)

    We use Evo Turkey and Chicken for our dry which is a little harder to find but has less than 20% carbohydrates which is the lowest I've found in a dry cat food that you can buy in a national chain store. And that wouldn't break the bank.

    I wanted to use a food that I could get locally in case I ran out and the online order hadn't arrived yet but I buy most of my cat food online. It's cheaper!
  19. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

    You feed him raw chicken? :eek:

    I've heard otherwise because chicken can so easily carry the salmonella virus. Which is also why chicken is the only meat that needs to be cooked "done" and can't be pink inside for us humans.
    However, our cat gets a slice of cooked, unseasoned chicken every now and then. Though she prefers everything fish if she gets the chance to choose ;)
  20. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    Thanks, before I got Casper, she was was a rural outdoor-only cat so she ate what she could catch for years. When I got her, her system was very sensitive to store bought foods - she's adjusted some, but she still has occasional reactions. I have been wanting to make her food, but I wanted something more comprehensive than some online instructions.
  21. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Pepper doesn't like the food I've made :( I even made a gravy because I thought it was because it was too dry, but he just licked it off around the food. :(
  22. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    It can take them a while to adjust. Some pets get into a routine and won't like any new food no matter what and some are like kids who want to eat candy (the crap pet food) instead of what is good for them (the good pet food).
  23. Christina

    Christina Well-Known Member

    I cook chicken thighs in the crock pot all day and take the bone out. I use it as a topping on their dry food. They love the chicken "juice" that is there as well. Jenny has lost 23 pounds (she started at a porky 103) in the past year, supervised by our vet, by having dry food, a can of green beans for bulk and two tablespoons of chicken juice and a tablespoon of chicken. Only 8 more pounds to go!!
  24. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    103 pounds?! What kind of pets are you talking about?
  25. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I use the link Karina linked to above: http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood that's made by a vet. The vet writer now bakes the outside very quickly, just to kill any germs on the outside, but the inside is still raw.

    We buy the fancy organic human-grade chicken from Whole Foods, and haven't had problems yet. Cats supposedly have a much more acidic stomach than people do, so they can eat shadier things. And Mickey won't eat the chicken if it's been out too long, at any rate.
  26. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    Raw prey is a cat's natural diet, in spite of the misinformation about feline nutrition the pet food companies and allopathic vets try to foist on their clients and customers. Cats thrive and are much healthier on a properly-balanced raw food diet than on meat-flavored cereal that is too high in carbs that sets the cat up for obesity and diabetes, and too low in moisture, which can cause cystitis and other forms of FLUTD, and urethral blockages that WILL kill a cat if they are not addressed in time. The lower quality foods also tend to use plant sources for their protein rather than animal meat. And that includes Science Diet, which a lot of allopathic vets become pimps for once they set up their practice. My own vet announced that on her practice website only week's after my cat's initial post-adoption exam, that why I'm dumping her practice in favor of a holistic/integrative vet. Why anyone would think that dry food diets are appropriate for a cat is beyond me.



    http://feline-nutrition.org/nutrition/proper-feeding-from-pottengers-cats - this is a synopsis of a study done 70+ years ago, comparing cats fed raw meat diets to cats fed cooked meat diets. The author of this article wrote a book that I feel should be in every cat owner's library.

    Why are you comparing humans to an obligate carnivore??? There are no similarities - a human GI tract is long and alkaline in nature; a cat's is short and acidic.


    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  27. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    I am now picturing cats out in the wild cooking up their mice in little microwaves so they don't catch salmonella. :lol:

    Out in the wild, cats will find dead animals and then eat on them for up to a week (depending on their size). Their bodies are made to eat raw meat.
  28. JennaLaw

    JennaLaw New Member

    We have 3 dogs at home, and I started making home made dog food for them in the slow cooker. Boneless chicken, sweet potatoes, some brown rice, dog safe veggies (whatever we have in the house) carrots ( a MUST HAVE for The Beagle LOL), a little bit of oil for their coats and enough water to cover it all. Set cooker on low and let it cook for the day. When done, I would use the stick blender to mash it all into a pureed mix. They love it...and it lasts all week.
  29. cmchan

    cmchan New Member

    almost 10 years ago did homemade for my cat for about 6 months until she refused to eat chicken & rice. I did make variation using different vegetable but mostly just chicken & rice. My vet mentioned that not all home made food will have all the nutritions so he suggested 1/2 home made (morning) and 1/2 store bought food (dinner). I have read up on raw as well but not possible considering the amount of meat you need to buy + deep freeze to kill the germs. Another website you can check up on is

    Good luck as some cats may refuse the food.
  30. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    ^^^Why were you giving your cat rice? Cats are obligate carnivores, and thus do not need any grains in their food. Or veggies, either.