Dog Health & Care

Homemade Dog Food From the Table


Homemade dog food has become popular ever since the 2007 dog food recall, which has been ongoing. Since then, lot of pet owners do not trust pet canned food over the counter, fearing they may unsuspectingly lose their favorite buddy or their favorite buddy could become seriously ill. However, there will always be certain individuals who will need to buy canned pet food of some over making their own homemade pet food. 

In particular are some of the elderly or disabled individuals who have limited means and ways to make it. But regardless, making your own homemade dog food in your own kitchen is the safest and best way to make sure your animal is being fed correctly and one they will enjoy more. (Also read Healthy Human Foods for Dogs)

Canned dog food contains between anywhere up to 15% protein and between 2% and 15% fat, depending on the meat and animal tissue used. The Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO) that controls the quality of commercial dog food allows animal hair, blood, waste, and animal by-products like feet, beaks and feathers into commercialized dog food.

The four main types of canned dog food on the market are ration, stew, chunk style and animal tissue.

  • Animal tissue dog food – animal tissue is considered unidentifiable animal by-products that are canned before being liquefied. They are considered unfit for human consumption by the government, but are considered high sources of protein for animals. Some examples are arteries, chicken feathers, lungs, feet, and so on. If listed as one of the first four ingredients in the package, it has an acceptable  amount of meat in it.  Anything further down the line is nothing more than a trace of meat.
  • Chunk style dog food – chunk style dog food is nothing more than animal tissue (by-products) cut into chunks to disguise what it is. Once it is placed into the can or pack, it is covered with some form of gravy before it is sealed.
  • Ration dog food – ration dog food is ground meat that has been cooked down into a liquid before being canned.
  • Stew dog food – the stew dog food is a food item for the dog that the owner wants. Dog owners who are vegetarians want vegetarian dog foods, dog owners who do not eat beef prefer a dog food that consists of chicken, lamb or turkey; and dog owners who  eat a completely balanced meal prefers the stew dog food for their dog as it has meat, vegetable, and gravy in it.

Why you should feed your dog off the table

Feeding your dog off the table gives the dog a better palate of food, offers safer food than buying off the counter, and puts you in charge of your dog’s health. Replacing the daily ration of commercial dog food with food from the table is something that commercial dog food makers prefer you would not do.  It cuts deep into their pockets when you make your own homemade dog food while adding to yours.

homemade dog food
Nancy's granddaughter Allie and JJ

Feeding your dog from the table can easily be done and safely by making sure the food you cook is the correct type for them,  and that you do not overfeed the animal. My grandma used to say it is cheaper to add a potato or piece of meat to the pot than to cook them separately for added company. By adding an extra potato to the pot for your pet, you can eliminate your dog food bill and make them happier doing it.

There are over 35% of dogs who are obese in the United States, with most of them getting their daily feeding from dry canned food and canned dog food. Unfortunately, most dog owners feed one setting of table food in addition to a daily ration of dog food. This is an amount that would double their entire day’s rations and then not exercise them afterwards. Get the picture?

Before you begin serving up your homemade dog food made from the same food as you are eating, first check out what foods dogs cannot eat because of toxins in the food. Things like chocolate, grapes, raisins, caffeine, citrus oil extracts, wild mushrooms, onions, or macadamia nuts can be extremely deadly. Another thing to watch for is making sure they are receiving a correct amount of vitamins, minerals,  carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids (Omega-3 or Omega-6).

Excess vitamin poisoning is more apt to occur than vitamin deficiency, so having your dog’s blood checked annually should be a priority on your list. Check with your vet and see if he or she wishes to see the dog sooner.  Providing an overall vitamin supplement from your vet to go along with its homemade dog food will provide the dog with what it needs to remain healthy.

Human food from the table that are good for dogs

Dog food needs to be palatable so the dog will eat it. Many dogs stick their nose up at one brand or another, but very few will turn away from a plate of food off the table.

  • both sides, remove it and place garlic, chopped carrots and tomatoes, in the skillet for sauteing until it is caramelized. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken broth to the skillet. Return the skillet and juices to the skillet and let it cook for about half an hour. This can be served on rice. The only difference between you and your dog is that your chicken is not cut up into little bits.
  • Turkey and Sweet Potatoes on a skewer – Cut up leftover chicken or turkey into cubes along with squares of sweet potatoes. This should be tossed lightly with olive oil before adding apple chunks and 1-tablespoon of orange juice. Marinate either overnight or about half an hour before cooking. Thread the meat, sweet potatoes and apples on a greased skewer for broiling in the oven or on a grill – 3 to 5 minutes per side. This can be served over rice or kibble for the dog, while you eat yours directly from the skewer.

Snacks and treats

Giving your dog table scraps in between meals or whenever they beg for something to eat is not a good idea as it adds pounds, the same as unhealthy snacks are for us – potato chips, candy bars, cake or ice cream. Making homemade dog food treats is better, and one they will enjoy more because it it something we can appear to “eat” in front of them.

Biscotti biscuits are hard biscuits the Civil War soldiers carried with them for nourishment, yet would last for days. Dogs love them, especially the peanut butter and bacon biscotti biscuits.

Peanut Butter and Bacon Biscotti

Yields 100-crouton sized biscuits

2 cups pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup filtered water

Mix ingredients.  On a floured board, flatten in circular form with a rolling pin — similar to a pie shape about 1/2-inch thickness. Bake from 18 to 25 minutes until the dough is dry and firm to touch at 325-degrees. Remove from oven and cool, then cut into 1/2-inch strips. Then cut the other way to form little squares. Separate the little cubes and return the pan to the oven for another 15-minutes.

Once they are removed and cooled, they can be stored in cookie tins or enclosed containers for the dogs or yourself for long periods of time. They are delicious to munch on throughout the day along with one or two given to your dog as a treat, proving that good ol’ fashioned home cooking and  homemade dog food can be a solution for tough times.

 

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