We like good food, real food here at Pumpjack & Piddlewick, so when we got a cat, and then a dog we felt it only fair that they get good, real food as well, e.g. no preservatives, fillers, etc. so we took the decision to give them natural, home made food.
With our cat, as a consummate carnivore, it was quite simple~ fish, chicken or beef. When I cook for us, I make sure some is set to the side for her (which I simply sautée up). When I buy for us, I simply buy extra for her. And when we have vegetarian nights? I often make double batches of meat and store in the fridge/freezer ready. And the difference in her! Her fur in particular, amazing! So beautifully soft and shiny. And then life got easier when we got a dog.
When Chewie joined us, our standard size dachshund,we opted for the same, giving him home made, natural food. I had checked over available wet foods (for both Gigi and Chewie) and was not happy with either the ingredients or, for that matter, value for money.
We are lucky here in France in that the Butchers, whether independent or in supermarkets, don’t let anything go to waste and offer offcuts packaged up for animals (Viande pour Animaux). In fact the quality is amazing, think Boeuf Bourgignon but with just a bit more fat, okay and a touch of gristle. And the cost is next to nothing! (I’m almost tempted for ourselves.)
We did some research and searching around and found out it was really easy to prepare food for your dog. (I include some links we thought were helpful below.) Of course, there is a lot of ‘you must do this’, but our feeling is if you are sensible about your own diet, you are more than capable about being sensible to your own dogs needs. After all you are the one who sees him/her every day. We’ve watched our Chewie’s fur get softer and shinier since we have been feeding him home made, real food. Our mantra, we use our own common sense as we review recipes and make sure we vary what we offer our pets.
My favourite recipe, and Chewie’s, is a simple one to make. I make it once a week in a big pot and it hardly takes any time. Then I portion into containers that are equal to my dogs daily needs (we feed him mornings and evenings), keeping some fresh in the fridge and the rest in the freezer, taking them out each night to defrost ready for the next day. And the cost savings against pre-packaged wet food! I love it.
Chewie (Small Dog) Food
2 or 3 carrots
1 or 2 stalks celery
a couple handfuls of spinach, swiss chard, kale (whatever is in season) if available
a pinch of seaweed or kelp
1 liver or heart (beef, pork or chicken)
1.5 to 2 kg (3 to 4 lbs) Off cuts of beef (Viande pour animaux) – you could also use chicken or fish (which I vary to when on offer)
Cut everything into pieces. I base the size on my dog.
In a big pot on the stove, heat a couple tablespoons of oil.
Sautee the carrots and celery.
Add in the heart or liver and give a stir.
After it browns a bit add in the beef.
Add water until it just covers the beef.
Add in spinach and seaweed, and stir.
Let simmer for about an hour or so on a low heat.
Then turn off the burner and let it cool naturally.
Once cool, spoon in to containers.
Notes: I don’t generally add rice or other bulk foods as he often has a handful of dry food during the day, but many people do add it. Never, ever add onions or garlic.
Et Voilà! Bon apetit! Home made dog food. In fact we also serve this to our cat. She generally leaves the carrots, but loves the rest!
And in case you are going to ask, yes, we do keep on hand tinned and dry dog foods, for those times when we inadvertently run out, or when Chewie has been particularly active and needs something more during the day, but he always prefers his ‘real’ dog food.
If you would like to make home made dog food, there’s so many possibilities, and honestly it is not much effort.
Bishopton Dog Walking Services: Dog Food Recipes
Dog Food Insider: About Making Your Own Dog Food (Book available)
The Whole Dog Journal: Home Prepare Dog Food Nutritional Information
And for those of you who like All Recipes for finding recipes, they even have a selection of dog food ones. Just go to the site and type in Dog and scroll past the hot dog recipes.