When Life Forces You to Make Homemade Dog Food

by Charlotte Walker

We’ve been nearly two weeks without a vehicle, which means we haven’t been able to leave the homestead to pick up supplies in town.

I hadn’t anticipated being without a vehicle for so long. It isn’t a big deal though, in fact, it has been a good test for us. This has allowed us to see where we might be weak in our food supply.

Aside from dairy products (that we don’t produce ourselves) dog food has turned out to be the weak spot in our food supply. We ran out of kibble this morning forcing us to improvise by making some dog food. This idea turned out to be very popular with our resident chow hounds.

This recipe produced 10 quart (32oz) jars.

When Life Forces You to Make Homemade Dog Food

Foods You should NOT Feed To Dogs

Before putting together the recipe, I refreshed my memory on which foods are unsafe for dogs to eat.  Garlic and onions are not suitable for dogs, and celery and corn aren’t good choices either.

THE INGREDIENTS

To make a balanced meal, dog food must contain protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and fat. It is advisable to introduce a new diet gradually, and if you aren’t sure of a recipe, please consult your veterinarian for advice. It is also important to pay attention and observe how your dog is responding to the food.

We will also be supplementing this feed with eggs and raw bones because we believe variety is vital for their health (and ours).

Vegetable Peels

I happen to have quite a few bags filled with vegetable peels and scraps in the freezer. I use this to make a mash for the chickens, but it is just as good for the dogs (or for hearty vegetable human-friendly vegetable stock). I filled up a stock pot with the vegetable scraps and covered it with water, simmering until it was nice and soft.

Vegetables, barley and squash

Squash

We had three small squash in the pantry, so I chopped three up and roasted them in the oven until tender.

Chicken / Pork / Wild meat / Protein

My husband raised pigs for a while until he got tired of eating pork (too much of a good thing). We still have some pork roasts in the freezer that needed using up. I popped a good sized roast into the oven to cook while the squash was roasting.  This meal is looking pretty fancy.

We don’t have any deer or wild meat for them at the moment, but ideally, that would be used for a recipe like this.

Roasted pork.

Barley – Carbohydrates

I chose barley as the carbohydrates for this recipe, but you could also use other grains including brown rice.

Fat

The pork we used is home raised and had a nice amount of fat on it. Our dogs are very active and burn a lot of calories every day and need that extra fat. I also added wild salmon oil with additional fatty acids and nutrients to round things out.  If you have overweight dogs or inactive dogs, you will want to cut back on how much fat goes into this recipe.

When Life Forces You to Make Homemade Dog Food

Mischa is normally so dignified but here is is foaming at the mouth in a very unlady like fashion. 

THE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 8-10 cups finely chopped cooked chicken/pork/ wild meat (I cooked a generous size pork roast)
  • 3 medium squash roasted
  • 5 cups Assorted vegetable scraps and peels (carrots, pumpkin, peas, green beans.
  • 4 cups barley (about 1.5 lbs) (pre-cooking measure)
  • 1 cup fish oil with omega 3

Directions

  • Chop up the squash, remove seeds and roast on a tray in the oven until tender.
  • Roast the meat in the oven while the squash is roasting. Once cooked and cooled, chop up finely.
  • Cover the vegetables with water and simmer until tender.
  • Cover the barley in water in a medium pot and cook until tender
  • Mix everything and store in jars or Ziploc bags. I like to portion it out by day. This food can be frozen as well.
  • The amount of feed will depend on the activity of your dog, and it’s size. Our dogs are big eaters, and we are going to give one quart to each dog, half in the morning and half in the evening.

The dogs knew the food I was cooking was for them, or perhaps it was just hopeful optimism. Either way, they decided to stay inside and patiently watch us prepare the food while drooling.

Puppy Television

We still intend to purchase kibble, but in future, we will augment it more often with homemade meals. The dogs certainly approve.

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2 comments

Irene Comfort February 13, 2019 - 10:08 am

Thank you for the recipe. With the unpredictable weather we have been having, I can see having to use this in the future. Also we have older vehicles, only one running right now and the unexpected does happen.

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Charlotte Walker February 17, 2019 - 12:37 pm

Thanks, Irene, it does feel good to know we can improvise when we need to. My husband is wishing he had been able to hunt in the fall because having a freezer of wild meat would be incredibly useful. It is quite expensive to purchase dog food so I am thinking about how we can keep them healthy while adapting their diet to more of a homemade one long term.

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