For the first two years, my poor puppy could barely eat anything that didn't make her sick. We tried every dog food on the market and from the vet, but nothing worked. That's how I found myself cooking for the dogs. I introduced new foods slowly until I had enough ingredients for well balanced meals. I also worked out cooking methods that minimized the kitchen work. Here's how I got my puppy eating...
Step 1: Awesome Food
First, I should say that any dog will love this recipe. It helped my young dog with bad digestive problems eat and put on weight, but it's awesome food for all dogs.
Second, I'll make a disclaimer here that I did research, but I'm not a vet. My dog's stomach problems were very bad and everything we did, we did with the vet's approval. Also, I mixed my homemade food with some commercial food to make sure I didn't miss any nutrients that my growing puppy needed.
Step 2: Ingredients
(This makes about 3 weeks of only homemade food, or 5-6 weeks if I added kibble.)
2 lbs uncooked brown rice
Sunflower oil (About half a cup to 1 cup)
2 cans of string beans
1 pound of carrots - washed and trimmed, leave whole
6 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 to 2 pounds of yams - washed and trimmed, leave whole
and/or 1-2 cans of pumpkin
Note: I added ingredients slowly to my puppy's diet with each new batch of food, so I would know which foods were problematic. This is my final "good" list. For a dog who can eat anything, like my older dog, just follow the recipe as is, all at once.
I now add offal (hearts, liver, etc.) in with the chicken. My pup loves it. She picks out the hearts <3
Step 3: Cooking
This took me a while to work out - because how much time does anyone really want to spend in the kitchen cooking for the dogs?
1) Cook the rice (I use a rice cooker - set and forget)
2) In a really big pot (use a stock pot, if you have one), add the chicken first and all fresh veggies (carrots, yams) after. Then add enough water to cover everything. Cover the pot and cook on a medium heat on the stove. When the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 90 minutes, or until everything is very soft.
3) While the rice and chicken cook, make the eggs. The easiest way to cook the eggs is to break them into a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for a minute at a time. Stir in between. When the eggs are firm, they're done. It won't take long.
Step 4: Combine
1) Let all the cooked ingredients cool off a bit.
2) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut up into 1/2" pieces. Don't worry about precision. This is not gourmet cooking. Then throw it back into the stock pot.
Now this is the hard part. This gets to be a huge amount of food. You can try combining everything in the largest bowl you have or use the stock pot. Or, what I do, is mix everything in two batches. Whatever works for you.
3) Starting with the rice, oil and salt, thoroughly mix in one ingredient at a time. Make sure to break up the eggs. Stir in the chicken and veggies last. The veggies will fall apart as you stir. Stir in as much of the liquid from the stock pot as you can with out making everything soupy.
Use a heavy spoon for stirring. I get help when I can. It's a workout.
Step 5: Save in Batches
This recipe freezes very well. Freeze in batches that will last about 5 days each. I use reusable stacking containers.
Take a container out of the freezer and defrost in the frig about 2 days before you'll need it. Then you'll always have a fresh, thawed supply of food ready.
Step 6: Nom Nom Nom
I hope your dogs like this as much as mine do!