DIY Doggie Diner





Introduction: DIY Doggie Diner

Last year, I decided to start making my own dog food. I started my research by picking up a copy of "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats," which includes nutrition advice and several recipes. Then, I read more on the Internet and talked to my vet. I think the BARF (Bones And Raw Food) diet is probably best, but I don't have the resources to do it at this time. Homemade seems to be the next best thing. I definitely feel better about feeding this than I did about feeding commercial chow.
It's important to vary your dog's diet somewhat, to make sure they're getting everything that they need. Mine also get a daily multivitamin, plain yogurt, and the occasional whole egg. This diet may not be appropriate for all breeds, so you should check it out with your vet.
There have been numerous benefits to feeding my little pack this way. They are shinier, have less "doggy" smell, better breath, smaller stools (because there're more absorbable nutrients and less food filler). They even seem to be a bit more mellow and relaxed.
Making your own dog food is very easy, and it's also pretty cost-effective.

Step 1: Start With Clean Bowls.

Stainless steel is best. Ceramic is ok too, but these two are way too enthusiastic at mealtime for those.

Step 2: Add a Complex Carbohydrate Source.

In this recipe, I am using brown rice. I vary this step with oats, potatoes, or yams.

Step 3: Add Veggies.

Here, I've used carrots and romaine lettuce. Also popular with the doggies are: broccoli, tomatoes, swiss chard, peas, parsley, cauliflower, green beans, etc.

Step 4: Add Flax Oil and Supplements.

Liberally drizzle your dog dinner plate with oil. I like to use flax oil, but you can also use fish oil. I also like to add chlorella powder when feeding fish meals.

Step 5: Add a Protein Source.

Here, I've used jack mackerel (juice and all). I also like to use salmon, turkey/chicken, and organ meats. Dogs are carnivores; they need quality meat sources!

Step 6: Stir It Up!

I like to add the contents of a few powdered beef liver capsules for added taste and nutrition. The big carrot chunks in the bowl on the left are there to slow down one of the dogs who eats too fast (without chewing). It's an idea I had that's based on the "Brake-fast" bowl design, and she likes to crunch down the carrots when she's done.

Step 7: Serve.

And watch your best friend enjoy a healthy, satisfying meal.

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    77 Discussions

    UMMmmm One issue with this... Dogs are Omnivores... Cats are Carnivores... Other than that its all good.

    8 replies

    Thank you. I had to do a Ctrl-F to find this reply. Thank you so much for being smarter than the rest of the internet :) No sarcasm here.
    BTW, I work at a Vet office and do NOT recommend raw foods for a few reasons. First off, it can be dangerous. Name brand dog foods with a reputation have been around long enough and have the science to keep you dog healthy into their teens! Raw diets being the natural diet... want to know how long wolves live on their all natural diets? If I told you it was a FRACTION of the life expectancy of a domesticated dog you might be astonished. Wolves get a lot of nasty paresites in their food. Oh yeah, and about raw being dangerous... for YOU and your children because of the kinds and amount of bacteria. The dogs can usually handle it but children rarely can. Keep that in mind. oh yeah, and the cost of a name brand dog food is considerably cheaper when you price out all of the things you need to add to the food to make it balanced and nutrient rich.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!! Not a fan of this article because it's just bored people getting into trouble and putting animals at risk. Vets have it down to a science and the food quality of NAME brands has rarely if ever shown any reasons to doubt. Don't be stupid, cooking for you pets occasional is fine but understand it's more for your ego than it is your pocket book or their health.

    I have a little insight here too, having run a veterinary facility, performed around 6000 spays in my lifetime, etc.

    This said, I actually applaud the creator of this 'ible. If anything, for the Vitamin/Protein/Sugar balance, I would personally add more meat, and cut back on the carbs (in nature, the dogs seldom threshed their own rice). Still, dogs have been domesticated for tens of thousands of generations, and their diet should not, in fact, exactly emulate a wolf's. I think this 'ible does a good job of illustrating this.

    As for dog foods, it's very, very difficult to find what I would consider a "good" dog food. We are seeing a good amount of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. in dogs these days. True that they're living longer, but these problems *can* be avoided. The answer is to significantly reduce the animal's sugar intake (the same works for humans, too). This means reduction of "bad" carbs, specifically, corn. You'll find that the vast majority of dog foods today use corn as a primary ingredient. This is because it's a cheap filler.

    Then there's the preservatives used.  You don't see people having to keep dog food in the fridge, do you?  This is due to the fact that the preservatives are added in significant amounts.  Specifically, we're talking about Sorbic Acid, which is known to generate Reactive Oxygen Species (ie: free radicals).  This means the natural Vitamin E and Vitamin C (antioxidants) that should be in the animal's diet are destroyed in the dog food.  To counter this, chemical "vitamins" such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are then added to the dog food to offset the vitamin deficit.  (Take a note, the same happens with your own food, just not to the same degree.)  Chemical vitamins are very well known to be poorly absorbed by the body.  (I could go into the science of "why" but I think I'm already rambling too much.)

    So all of this being said, to say that "all dog foods are not created equal" is both an understatement, and at the same time, false.  While it's true that not all dog foods contain corn as their primary ingredient, it's also true that the vast majority of dog foods use the same preparation/preservative methods.  Simply put, making a fresh, balanced meal for your dog will *always* be superior to store bought food.  I applaud the creator of this 'ible for taking the time to prepare their pet's foods, something I don't even do when I KNOW the science behind it all. (I actually feed mine a store-bought dog food that has a low "filler" content meat base with rice as one of the later ingredients.)

    In the case of this instructable, their dogs are getting their vitamins in far higher amounts (due to them being in the natural foods, not some spray-on garbage) and the glycemic load of the rice (while I would recommend less of it) is still far less than the glycemic load of the corn base of regular store-bought dog food.

    What's more, if you find something "isn't working" for the dog, it's very easy to tweak the meal to suit that animal, a luxury you don't have with store-bought foods.  If something "isn't working" for the animal (you'd be amazed at how many dogs actually develop an allergy to the corn itself) your options quickly become limited in the dog food isle.

    I agree with the idea that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  The problem is, it IS broke.  Some breeds of dogs only live for 6-7 years.  While this is primarily due to the inbreeding it took to make these unnatural breeds, these lifespans CAN be lengthened significantly through an appropriate diet.  

    Now, ALLLLL of this being said, if you're going to do this, you also need to educate yourself on what dogs should and shouldn't eat.  For instance, things that you would consider perfectly fine for you are not so much for your dog.  Like onions, avocados, grapes, garlic, anything with caffeine, etc.  (Someone else mentions tomatoes, though I see no reason that a small amount of tomatoes in the diet would hurt.  The vitamin C boost would be a boon, in fact.)  

    Another myth is that "fatty foods are bad" for the dog (and for humans).  If anything, we (and our dogs) don't get enough fat.  The irony here is that this is actually what MAKES us fat.  Sounds crazy, but it has to do with how insulin functions, specifically, it forces you to store any fat in your bloodstream, fat that normally would just pass out through the bowels.  If you're not getting your energy from fat, you're getting it from sugar.  It's one or the other, folks.  A bowl of shredded wheat has a higher glycemic load than TWO Snickers bars.  Look it up if you don't believe me.

    I've got about 700 clinical studies, and years of study into this, so if there are any questions, feel free to send me a message.

    But long ramble summarized:  Instructable good.  Store dog food bad.

    Wish I would have found this 'ible when it was new.

    Your post sir is spot on about the bad in store bought foods. While what the others say is true, that pets are living longer that's due mainly to the meds and healthcare we give them. I'm just over 40 and when I was a young child my father was a hunter, rabbits mainly, so we always had a good sized "pack" of dogs(beagles), but we also had others for pets and other types of hunting.

    Way back then dogs were feed mostly real food, and mostly meat, and vets were far fewer per population than now, and in most cases m(inflation etc etc). And so it was nothing for a dog never injured to never see a vet.

    Now given these conditions most people today would guess that most dogs back then to come to the end of their lives in poor health with all sorts o what we now call "chronic diseases", but they would be wrong. A very high majority of dogs would be at the end of their lifespan and be jumping, running, wrestling with their owner and play fighting with other dogs one day and you would wake up the next and they would have passed away that night. Years of old age problems such as arthritis. high blood pressure, cataracts, glaucoma, incontinence, hip problems, diabetes, and OBESITY(!) and the other several others I can't actually put a name to at the moment was almost unheard of, and to have a single dog with several of them was more than extremely rare. If you took an old dog to the vet with 3 of the problems I listed they would ask you a million questions to try and determine what was causing so many problems in a 12YO dog. Most would assume that your dog had some unknown problem that they couldn't find that was causing the other problems(and i know this because we had an old family friend that had been a vet since the 1950's, in the 70's and 80's he used to tell us of the changes in peoples pets, of course back then science didn't really understand that what they had started using in feed was bad, on paper it looked very healthy)

    Nothing has changed in a dogs life except the "food"(and I do use that term loosely) same air and same water, only the food is different. So where does everyone think the problem lies? It's the chemicals they add to it, fake vitamins, corn, rice and soy, none of which are natural for a dog to eat(humans either for that matter). Dogs started eating almost an identical diet to humans(look at the ingredients on the dog-food, almost everyone of them is also human food, and wouldn't you just know it, they started developing the same old age diseases and weight problems as humans did.
    It was also very rare to have a dog be allergic to a food before the invention of commercial dog-food, Now? Very common, how odd is that?

    For people who don't remember a time before commercial, mass produced food was sold/used all the health problems our beloved pets endure in old age seems a normal consequence of old age itself.

    But those of us that were there before this garbage was widely used know better, We have seen with our own eyes the worsening health affects this food has had on pets.

    So we can use drugs to make them live 5 years longer, what benefit is it to the animal when those extra 5 years, not to mention 2-5 more are spent with their health declining year after year. It is much better for the animal to live a "natural" 10 years and be running around literally like a puppy(BTW almost no old dog acted like an "old" dog by just laying around and being active but rarely. I had many(as did my friends) dogs older than 10 years and they ALL acted like puppies. They ran and played fetch all the time, played tug of war, the whole nine yards. There was none of this old age syndrome you see now where they run every now and then, and even then only for a short time, no sleeping most of the day even when people were around, no huge weight loss from not eating. No, old dogs acted almost exactly like young dogs did.

    Until one day you played with them just like you did a puppy and then it was their time, and they died that night while you were asleep or while you were away from the house.

    This is how animals(and humans)are supposed to live, healthy and active until their time is up. Not being so miserable for years that death is actually a relief from their misery.

    So feed them real food, not highly processed chemical laden garbage that simply looks healthy on paper.

    I would definitely add that all dog food is not created equal, but if you do your research there are great foods on the market. You do have to spend a little money though.

    I have found that all of the issues mentioned by the author are not issues with my dog because I feed her good, store-bought food. She has a shiny coat, no "doggy smell", and fine breath.

    Brands we like are: Taste of the Wild, Solid Gold, Premium Edge, & Wellness.

    Cats aren't Carnivores, the definition of a carnivore means to have a diet consisting of or exclusively meat and animal tissue. If you look on most ingredient listings on cat food bags there are high percentages of veggies like certain greens, herbs, or roots. Sorry to be a little rude but I'm sort of a perfectionist when it comes to animal facts and especially cat facts. : )

    Kindly collect your facts better:
    Via Wiki :
    Obligate carnivores
    This white Bengal tiger's sharp teeth and strong jaws are the classical physical traits expected from carnivorous mammalian predators

    Obligate or true carnivores depend solely on the nutrients found in animal flesh for their survival. While they may consume small amounts of plant material, they lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter and, in fact, some carnivorous mammals eat vegetation specifically as an emetic. The domestic cat is a prime example of an obligate carnivore, as are all of the other felids. The ability to produce synthetic forms of nutrients such as taurine in the lab has allowed feed manufacturers to formulate foods for carnivores (zoo animals and pets) with varying amounts of plant material.

    Kindly read carefully:
    Wiki says: a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue
    I actually COPIED AND PASTED that quote from Wiki, thank you very much. And cat food brands, such as Purina, consist of certain types of veggies that give a healthy amount of protein and minerals. So, kindly do more digging before jumping to conclusions, and please read your facts carefully, for the sake of no misunderstandings. Thanks!

    P.S. Don't take this reply the wrong way, I do think you are really passionate about your knowledge. : )

    I was told by a Dog Trainer that if you feed your dog less meat and more veggies then this type of food is like a low status wolf in a pack getting the left-overs the pack leaders won't eat from a kill. Therefore if fed this type of food the dog will become less aggressive and will accept you as pack-leader more readily. No idea if its true. Certainly sounds plausible.

    9 replies

    Dog trainer never saw a kill then. The alpha gets the stomach and its contents. Any predator will eat the stomach/intestines first (and pull the colon apart and ROLL IN IT).
    They may be less aggressive because their blood sugar is steady and they don't have vitamin deficiencies.

    The canine "food pyramid" is a little opposite from ours. Ours is more veggies than meat, theirs is more meat than veggies. Wolves eat herbivores which contain small amounts of vegetation in their bellies.
    They don't eat trees full of rabbits. They eat rabbits full of grass. Diets are all about balance! :]

    I'm fully aware of that dogs are carnivores and that all animals need a balanced diet. Which may include a little vegetables for dogs.

    I don't see why you need to repeat what I've already stated. :-)

    From my perspective I wasn't repeating what you stated good sir. What I saw was a statement about more veggies possibly being a good way to change the behavior of a dog. I'm sure you understand the woes of an internet crusader.

    My 2 dogs eat raw meat every day, get very little veggies, but certainlyknow who's the leader of the pack.
    1) Me - @ 73 kg
    2) Bill - @ 3.3 kg
    3) Ozzi - @ 6.6 kg

    Bill holds his place, too!

    You should of course feed your pet a variety of food, including different meats, to ensure they get all the vitamins and amino acids that they need to remain healthy. :-)

    That would make sense, eating vegetables always made me feel less important... Do you think that it applies to humans?

    It depends on what school of training you think is right. Dogs haven't been wolves for a very long time, just like tug-of-war doesn't mimic power struggles (they actually cooperate to take down prey, not fight over it), eating last or eating worse doesn't translate into a less aggressive dog.

    I make my dogs their meals pretty regularly, especially since Taste of the Wild has increased in price dramatically in the past year or so. However, one day I was preparing dinner for 3 large dogs. a visitor was watching me put the various ingredients in monkey dishes ( according to dog sizes) and assembling. she asked if I was having stir fry for dinner. I explained it was for the dogs and her comment wwas that my dogs eat better than her kids.