If you read any of our food related stories, you will know we like good food, real food here at Pumpjack & Piddlewick. So as our cats and dog came into our lives we felt it only fair that they get good, real food as well. That is, no preservatives, fillers, etc. So we took the decision to make our own pet food. And honestly it is so easy!
With our cats, as consummate carnivores, it was quite simple~ fish, chicken or beef. When I cook for us, I make sure some is set to the side for them. Sometimes I serve it raw, sometimes I serve it cooked (and cooled).
When I buy for us, I simply buy extra for them. In figuring quantities for my grocery list, I count the cats together as another mouth to feed. And when we have vegetarian nights? I often make double batches of meat and store in the fridge/freezer ready.
But why go to the trouble and expense? Easy, health and well-being. Their fur in particular is amazing! Especially after eating fish. So beautifully soft and shiny.
When Chewie, our standard sized dachshund, joined us, we opted for the same. Giving him home made, natural food. I had checked over available wet foods (for both cats and dog) 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. They all 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 for these cuts! (I’m almost tempted for ourselves.)
We did some research and searching around and found out it was really easy to prepare your own pet food. (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 pets 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 pet food 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.) Some is kept 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 just can’t beat it.
Chewie (Small Dog) Pet Food
2 or 3 carrots
1 or 2 stalks celery
a couple handfuls of spinach, swiss chard, kale (whatever is in season)
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 any other meat or fish (which I vary with when on offer)
Cut everything into pieces. I base the size of the pieces on my dog. Take out any bones*. (Raw meat bones are kept as a treat for Chewie.)
In a big pot on the stove, heat a couple tablespoons of oil.
Sauté the carrots and celery.
Add in the heart or liver and give a stir.
After it browns a bit add in the meat.
Add water until it just covers everything.
Add in spinach and seaweed, and stir.
Let simmer for about an hour or so on a low heat. You could also do this in a slow cooker, set on low for 3 – 4 hours.
Then turn off the burner and let it cool naturally.
Once cool, spoon in to containers.
Et Voilà! Bon apetit! Home made pet food. We serve this to our cats too, varying it with simple meat or fish. They generally leave the carrots, but love the rest!
And in case you are going to ask, yes, we do keep on hand tinned and dry pet food, for those times when we inadvertently run out. Or when our pets have been particularly active and ask for something more during the day, but they always prefer their ‘real’ food.
If you would like to make home made food for your pets, there’s so many possibilities. And honestly, it is not much effort.
This is our favourite site for general info and nonce about making your own dog food ~ The Bark: How and Why to Cook Your Dogs Food and Recipes
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. And what our dog likes, so do our cats.
Additional Notes: I don’t generally add rice or other bulk foods as our cats and dogs often have a handful of dry food during the day, but many people do add it. Never, ever add onions or garlic. *Never give your pets cooked bones, and no chicken or fish bones cooked or raw.
Nice post, I think feeding our pets good food is a sensible idea. I’ve never liked the look or smell of tinned animal food and used to give our cat (the beloved Archie) fresh food to supplement the dried food he generally had available to snack on.
I have yet to ask our local butcher if he has scraps and off-cuts, but I suspect I am more likely to make stock for the freezer for winter soups from them!
I hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying the slightly warmer weather now that spring is arriving.
Spring is finally springing! (Though a bit cold and rainy today, still the garden loves it.)
I suspect any butcher will have scraps and be much happier to sell, some even give, to you rather than simply throw away. (We find getting bones a little bit harder to get, though depends on the butchers.) And your dog (or cat) will love you for it for sure. And so many uses as well, as you say. I often make stock from chicken bones and then pick off the residual cooked meat (which just falls off the bones) and give to our cat. No reason one couldn’t take the meat from the stock you make and give to you dog/cat ~ though may depend on how much you salt it prior.
We mainly try to limit the intake of wheats/cereals against proteins and veg, wishing the dried stuff, if you will, to be the smallest portion of their diet. It certainly makes a difference in them farting ~ much, much less if they don’t eat much wheat, which we take to be better for them as gas build up, we think, means they are not able to digest it properly.
A a dogs life… 🙂