Adventures, heart and home, recipe

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.

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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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