Homemade Dog Food: Recipe and Cost
During the "great dog food scare of 2007" when melamine was found in dog food made in China — leading to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of pet deaths — many people turned to U.S. made natural dog food. While these foods are nutritious, a down side is that they are exceptionally expensive.
In our house, we had always considered buying natural dog food, not because of where it is made but because of what is in it. (If you want to read details about what is in dog food, this article is straightforward without exaggerating or being too graphic.) But ultimately the day-to-day cost of natural food was just too steep. (It's arguable that with the long term cost of huge vet bills due to kidney disease or another possibly-preventable disease, natural dog food is worth the cost.) How much does a bag of natural food cost? Usually around $50-70 for a 30 pound bag. Compare this to a $15-20 40 pound bag of the "cheap" dog food.
The most recent addition to our family, a black flat-coated-retriever named Murphy, has a food allergy. He is most likely allergic to poultry and also to either soy or corn — common fillers in the cheaper dog food. Because of the allergy, we had to start feeding him natural dog food. As a 60 pound dog he eats a lot of dog food. Which costs us a lot of money.
So we looked for and found an alternative: Homemade Dog Food. Here's the recipe we use.
Homemade Dog Food Recipe
2 boxes barley, cooked
5 pounds lean beef
3 pounds ground pork
3 small potatoes
water (lots of it)
We cooked the meat first and discarded the grease. Then we cooked the barley in a 5 gallon pot and added all the other ingredients with a lot of water. We cooked all the food until the vegetables were mushy, added in the cooked meat, and used an immersion blend to blend it all together. In the end this homemade dog food recipe made about 4 gallons of food which at two cups a day is enough for just over a month of food. Once you let the food cool it's easy to put in smaller storage containers and freeze. You can substitute different vegetables and add more if you wish. (Just see the list below of foods that dogs can't eat.)
We now combine natural dry dog food with our homemade dog food. Since the ingredients for the homemade dog food were just under $20 we are saving about $30/month. (We can buy 1 bag at $60 and make 1 batch of dog food which will last for a total of 2 months. This costs $80 as opposed to two bags of dog food for $120.)
Just be sure if you are making homemade dog food you avoid ingredients that can be poisonous for dogs. Below is a list of the most common.
What Dogs Can't Eat
Have you ever made homemade dog food? How would it compare in cost to the brand of food that you currently buy?