Thursday, February 12, 2015

Making Home-Cooked Dog Food

I'm cooking dog food this morning.  You may already know that I supplement my dogs' diet with home-cooked food that we call Dog Stew.  I started doing this five or six years ago, when our greyhound Emma was under the care of a holistic veterinarian for treatment of weakness in her back legs.  One of the first things the vet and I discussed was what Emma ate ... and the vet told me that Emma needed to eat more real food, in addition to commercial dry food.  From this conversation, Dog Stew was born.

Dog food components are in these pots.

The recipe has evolved since then, taking advantage of whatever I have on hand, but the basic ingredients remain the same. I offer it to you, in case you may be inclined to try something like this for your own dogs.

Connie's Dog Stew

In the smaller pot:
2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground turkey
1-2 pounds pureed/ground organ meat (today's organ-du-jour is chicken liver)

In the larger pot are lots of colorful vegetables ... frozen ones today, fresh ones when I can in summer:
One package each of peas, carrots, broccoli, lima beans, green beans, and kale, simmered till tender with just enough water to cover them in the pot.  No corn!  When the veggies are tender, I puree them in the pot with my hand blender.  I do this because Ruby eats so fast that she almost doesn't chew, and Winnie has only one tooth and she can't chew.  Stir in one large can of pumpkin puree (or add orange squash to your original veggie mixture)

Other stuff:
Cooked rice.  I use half white rice and half brown rice, two cups each when uncooked.
Kibble, amount varies

I mix the meat and rice, then stir this mixture into the vegetable puree.  Add kibble, one cup at a time, until most of the extra liquid is absorbed.  I divide the stew into plastic containers, 600 grams each, and store it in the freezer.

Not picking out that one extra gram from this container just to get a perfect photo.

At mealtime, the dogs' meals consist of half stew and half commercial food (kibble for Ruby, canned for Winnie), mixed with a little bit of water.  Today's batch of stew made 18 full containers and one partial, which will last for just over two months.

I know that cooking food for the dogs like this is better for them, and it makes me feel good to know that they are happier and healthier because of my efforts ... all of this cooking and mixing sure does crap up the kitchen, though.


  1. When my dogs got older, I did a lot more toward meal preparation for them. The shortest living dog I had, only made it to 9 years. The others lived into their teens. My last dog was 17 years and 4 months. Meal prep was the least I could do for them, since they provided much more for me. I miss them so much!

  2. Connie I feel I am in very good company. My recipe is just about the same as yours!

  3. ...and I feel a little embarassed.. for I do not make my own dog food, and I do know it's better for them. They do get scrambled eggs and left over meats, but you put me to shame with your efforts.

    And Stephen, I am not surprised...

  4. Hi! Just started following your blog recently. I too, have been making dog stew for my little guys for the last 9 years. I also add mine to their dry food. I started after one of my guys got gastrointeritis. None have been sick since!
    My recipe is similar to yours...ground meats, peas, carrots, chicken broth and sweet potatoes
    Or pumpkin. They love it! Sometimes I vary it and celery or green beans and or parsley,

  5. What a wonderful recipe! Dave and I made food for the dogs but I've since gotten away from it. They get a high quality dog kibble and always some of my food but it's not the same. Now, it's just easier and less time consuming for me to feed kibble but I may start again and just add a bit to each meal. That's a good solution, I think.

    for this fabulous post ... I am going to do this !!
    Honestly, I have been feeling somewhat guilty about not feeding enough 'real' food. Your solution will solve my problem perfectly. Oh wow, I'm sooo excited to get right to it!!


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