When we got her from a shelter 9 years ago, Heidi was an abused, malnourished, pitiful thing who joyfully loved us from first sight on. Although we were able to help her overcome most of her challenges due to a poor start in life, she has always been ambivalent to food. Therefore, it took a long time for her to lose the “starved dog” look. Add to that, the active personality of a German Shepherd and she was one skinny dog. After a year or so, the vet informed us she was going to have to get off the cheap dog foods and onto some quality high-protein chow.
Fast forward 9 years and here we are. We’ve been very happy with the brand she’s been on for years but I decided that the old girl could use a treat. And it’s always nice to be able to stretch out the expensive dog food as much as possible. Since we’ve been trying to cook more whole foods for ourselves in our family’s diet, I thought we could extend that to the dog too.
So yes, we make homemade dog food.
For those of you not shaking your heads at how spoiled my dog is and are interested in the recipe, please read on. It’s really not too much work and it makes enough to supplement 2 meals a day for about 2 weeks. I don’t make this stuff religiously but boy, oh boy, does it make her happy. She even lets me know how much she enjoys her dinner by wiping her face on the side of my bed (with the quilt it took me a year to make) in sheer happiness and gratitude afterwards.
Homemade Dog Food
2 lbs ground pork
2-2.5lbs ground beef
1 large sweet potato
1 large apple, cored
2 carrots (or 8 baby carrots)
1 c. kale
1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 c. rice
1 1/2 c. water
Put the ground meats in a 4-6 quart crockpot. You can really use any ground meat that you would like. (Heidi likes the beef and pork best for taste and I like their price.) Buy bulk to get a better deal or wait for a good sale to make this more cost effective.
Add all of the fruits and veggies to the crockpot and mix with the meat.
Cook on HI for 3-5 hours or on LOW for 5-7 hours until the meat is browned. This actually smells pretty good too. My son thought “dinner” smelled really good when he got a whiff on the last batch. 🙂
When the meat mixture is close to being done, cook up the rice with the water on the stovetop. We use long-cooking rice (bring the rice and water to a boil, then turn heat to LOW, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes). When the rice is done, mix into the meat mixture.
Voila! Dog food.
Separate the food into 1/2c. -1c. portions in small baggies or tupperware. We keep most of them in the freezer and pull out about 4-5 at a time and keep in the fridge. When meal time comes, we squeeze a bag down the middle to split the serving in half, microwave the meals serving for about 30-40 seconds and then mix into her regular dog food. (We cut down on the kibble to save money and avoid over-feeding.)