I talk a lot about animals in my interviews and on this blog. I guess that’s only natural since I was raised on a farm. At one point my husband and I travelled around the country in a tiny motor home with two cats and one dog. Now we live with two cats (the house is theirs—we lease from them).
I thought it might be fun to include some thoughts about the pets that own us and those that find their way into our writing, so for the next several weeks this blog will be dedicated to all things pet. This week the writer Jackie Vick shares with us a recipe for dog food. When she sent it to me I was struck by how similar it was to a recipe I used with my cat. I’m certain it kept her alive for years and contributed to her svelte body. Maybe I should have used it on myself!
Jackie makes some important points about how careful as humans we are about what we eat, but are we as concerned about our pets? Do we know what is good for them? Jackie gives us an easy way to insure good health for them.
Author Jackie Vick
Chemicals and Corn in Dog Food: Oh, My!
Next time you visit the grocery store, take a look at your fellow shoppers. You’ll see them carefully scanning the labels searching for gluten-free foods, low sugar content, or whatever meets their dietary needs. These same well-informed consumers will move to the pet aisle and pick up whichever dog food is on sale!
Did you know that corn is hard for dogs to digest? Yet it’s a top ingredient in many dry foods. Then there are sinister-sounding chemicals, and words like “meal” and “by-product”. What exactly is the by-product of a chicken??? And the recent pet food recalls are enough to scare any pet parent.
That’s why I decided to make my dog’s food. Internet sites offered varying (and often militant) opinions. One site suggested adding garlic powder as a deterrent to fleas, while another swore this ingredient would kill your dog! I was lucky enough to find a class offered by a local woman with a degree in animal nutrition.
Her recipes included grains, veggies, and meat, as well as additions like brewer’s yeast, calcium, flax seed, and the highly-debated garlic. I don’t add yeast because Buster’s tummy gurgles so loud I can hear it in the next room. You can clean, dry, and grind your own egg shells for calcium, but I’m lazy and buy bone meal from the health store. I do add the flax seed, but I avoid garlic, just in case.
When I rave about making my own food, most people respond with, “I haven’t got the time!” I’ve found with a few pots and a microwave, it really only takes a half hour. You can find 8 ounce storage containers and lids at Smart-n-Final, and they sell bulk meats, veggies and grains, so the cost isn’t prohibitive. Bone meal and flax seed are kept in stock at health food stores.
Here is a recipe I use for Buster. It’s adjusted for his colitis (lower protein), and I give him a doggie multi-vitamin just to be safe. I’m not a nutritionist or a vet, so keep in mind that your own dog’s needs might be different. Check with your vet. It’s great if you can find a class locally, but make sure to check the person’s credentials.
5 cups of cooked rice. (Brown or white will work.)
16 oz of green beans. (if canned, buy salt-free or rinse)
12 oz of butternut squash (I use frozen from the grocery store)
3 lbs of ground turkey
A handful of dried, unsweetened cranberries.
1 TB of Bone Meal.
2 TB of Flax Seed
Cook the rice according to package directions. If you have a microwave, the rice cooks up easily while you’re doing the other steps.
Brown and crumble the turkey until it’s thoroughly cooked.
Steam or boil the squash and green beans together.
Dump the rice into a large bowl when it’s finished.
Finely grind the turkey, cranberries, and veggies in a food processor (in batches). Add to the rice.
Sprinkle on the flax seed and bone meal.
Once it’s cool, put into containers. Keep a few days worth in the refrigerator and freeze the rest.
I’ve been known to toss everything into one pot and cook it on low until the turkey is done and the rice has absorbed the liquid. Like I said, easy-peasy!