Dog Nutrition – Cooking for Your Dog and Why It’s Good for their Health

A Dog's Diet

Imagine living on a diet of convenience food, how long  would be before it took a toll on your health? Yet most of us feed our beloved dogs pet food because we are encouraged to believe it is the best way to keep our dogs healthy.

When my dog, Gus, arrived from the rescue centre he was balding, his ribs were showing and you could see his spine, he also had the most appalling stomach problems that made living with him a little challenging!

I tried several expensive brands of food, but nothing really helped.  Most of the advice on the internet either advocated a raw food diet or commercial food: so I decided to try the middle ground and created a recipe that transformed him into a healthy dog.

Healthy dog

The recipe is simple:

5lb of minced hearts, (heart is muscle not offal)

250g of frozen mixed veg

Place in a large pan and add cold water.

Bring to the boil until mince is cooked.

Allow to cool – drain off some of the water but keep the fat – you dog needs this.

Sprinkle the food with linseeds – it is very good for their coat.

I put these into tupperware boxes so that I work out portion sizes.

Add Porridge Oats soaked overnight in Water or Boiled Rice, I add this afterwards not cooked up with the other ingredients. Rice can go off easily, so I use it fresh.

IMG_1160

Dogs need certain nutrients from raw meat, so I give him a portion of uncooked heart mince on the day I buy it.

Your dog will need additional calcium, you can crush up egg shells but I give my dog bones from the butchers.

My dog is a Staffie, he has incredibly powerful jaws that need to gnaw bones and he is able to crush them down. Sometimes when I have made stock with a chicken carcass I add a little vinegar. This makes the bones soft enough for him to eat. (I am reluctant to give him raw chicken bones because of they can splinter even more so if they have been roasted).

If your dog is smaller it might be worth talking to your vet.

I know exactly what is in my dog’s food, unlike commercial food,

(see further down the post)

Home made food

 Here are the reasons I have for making my own dog food.

  1. He is a healthy weight – my dog is well past middle age (11 years old). He is active, and vibrant, with a glossy coat like you will see on a racehorse. He is not slowing down, nor does he appear to have any arthritis or joint problems.

  2. His teeth are white I don’t need to buy him teeth cleaning treats, he has no tooth decay.

  3. He does not smell – his tummy has settled down and picking up after him is easy.

  4. He doesn’t eat treats other than pigs ears, even when the vet gives him a ‘treat’ he will lick it and politely leave it on the floor.

  5.   It is cheaper on average it costs me £10 per week to feed my dog.

  6. Apart from his annual checkups we do not have to visit the vet, there are no signs of diabetes, obesity or teeth problems.

You cannot feed your dog the following: Onions, dairy like milk or cream, chocolate.

I avoid putting in greens like broccoli, cabbage or spinach as it can make the food smell unpleasant.

Pet food was ‘invented’ as a way of selling animal waste left from food manufacturing. Before this many dog owners fed their pets leftovers from their own meals – which wasn’t all bad as a dog requires a diet similar to our own requiring meat, vegetables and carbohydrates as well as the odd bone.

The scientific claims of pet food is designed to give us the same confidence used to sell washing powder and toiletries. Bear in mind a business primary aim is to make money, that means  maximising profits and trying to outsell competitors.

I began to read the labels on dog food and discovered the following.

Contents of commercial dog food

If you read the contents of pet food you will find

Chondroitin – is cartilage and connective tissue (food waste that cannot be used in human food) it was this product suspected of causing BSE, as diseased animals were used in animal feed.

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) also sometimes called oligofructose or oligofructan,  used as an alternative sweetener. Amino glucose or anything ending with ‘cose’ is sugar. 

Sorghum is a grass and its grain is widely used in dog foods as an inexpensive alternative to traditional grains it does not have the same level of nutrition as rice and oats.

Calcium carbonate – this is made from shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells

Pet food does provide nutrition – but I want to know exactly what my dog is eating, so I  make it myself.

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9 thoughts on “Dog Nutrition – Cooking for Your Dog and Why It’s Good for their Health

  1. I would never have thought about making my dogs food. It sounds like its the best thing to do and makes sense. I will have to check Hugos dry food ingredients. He eats dry food and sometimes sardines for his coat. Gus looks lovely.:)

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    • Thank you for your lovely compliment, he is a very friendly dog, despite their reputation!

      Let me know what you discover about Hugos food, sardines are something I hadn’t thought of, omega 3 and 6 is very good for dogs I might add it to the menu!

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  2. What a lovely boy your dog is! And a lucky boy.

    Great idea to use vinegar to soften chicken bones. Many years ago mum’s dog died from cooked chicken bones splintering in its stomach that were given by a neighbour, who thought they were being kind.

    Broccoli is definitely a no no, not just something to avoid, but poisonous to dogs.

    Most people, of course, can’t feed their leftovers to dogs these days, because they contain too much rubbish!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting article and Gus looks very well! Makes sense that we should be feeding our dogs the same good food that we eat. I think one of the reasons we go with commercial foods is because the canine “output” smells much better and it is easier to pick up the 10.6 million tons of poop which are produced each year! I lost my girl, Kova, when she was 13 and she was pretty healthy right up until the last year of her life despite commercial dog food. That said, she’d march into the kitchen whenever she heard me starting to chop vegetables so she got a good supplement of fibre on a regular basis. I also used to give her a wild salmon gel each day for her coat. Eventually I plan to adopt another rescue and might well consider feeding this mixed diet you suggest.

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  4. Hi PippaT thanks for your comment, your dog Kova sounds lovely.

    I am not for one minute suggesting that commercial food is bad, but I rate it in a similar way to processed food.

    I find that with the right balance of oats veg and meat, his output isn’t as bad to pick up and my home is a lot more pleasant to live in without needing deodorising sprays.

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  5. I don’t have a dog right now, but have in the past. We sometimes made him food. Also, my grandma would always make food for her dog – propf that my dear grandma loved to feed everyone! Good point about being careful and informed about what is safe and what is not, if you plan to make your own food. Interesting coincidence, I am almost finished writing a post on pets and our newest addition to our family. Though I won’t post it till the weekend because this week at work has been crazy busy, and I have a deadline for a story. Take care. Beautiful dog!

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