We haven't fed our dog kibble in a long time. I was always intrigued with natural or home-made dog foods (particularly BARF or raw diets). Health benefits aside, the thought of throwing my puppy a bleeding chicken carcass while I wiped the blood and guts from her mouth seemed pretty cool to me.
Then one day she got salmonella poisoning from a well-known and popular kibble brand, and my mind was made up.
Over the next little while I'll be posting about my adventures feeding raw (Queen Rhodesia is quite particular in what she eats, how she eats, the size of the pieces she eats, and even the temperature of her meat. Not to mention how finicky her digestive system is), but today I will throw out a simple (well not really all that simple) recipe that is her crack cocaine of dog food:
DDF: Doctor Dog Food
First off, every dog is different and I'm not all about measuring and grams and pounds and all that jazz. I learned how to feed Rhodee by guess and check. If she ate it that was the first step. Then I'd see how she poos (too hard, too soft, ice cream, dark, super smelly, boney, frequency, etc etc). Then I'd see how much she pees. Then I'd do the physical checks (boxer/bulldog mixes are the ultimate in instantaneous physical changes. If I saw too much rib, she needed more food. Or she needed more fat. Or needed less bone and more meat). Then I'd see her fur. If it was dull and flaky, she needed more fish. Or eggs. Or olive oil. Or a combination of all three.
Feeding a dog isn't a science, it's an art. Just like how all humans react differently to different foods, it takes time, effort, and persistence in finding what works for your dog (not just the breed, but your individual dog).
Here's one of my DDF recipes. I feed Rhodee about one pound of this plus two raw chicken leg quarters a day. She is a 57 pound solid and very active dog-athlete. This will feed her for about two weeks.
8 or 9 cups of cooked rice: <$1
One beef liver (buy it from the butcher for cheaper than a grocery store): $2
Half a tub of plain yogurt (those 1L tubs): <$1
One can of tuna: $1
A bag of full-intact sardines (about 8-9 fish): $3
7 cups (or more) of greens and other veggies (spinach and carrots): (use the stems etc. of what you don't eat: free)
4-5 tablespoons of ground flaxseed: pennies
One pound of ground beef: $5
3-4 pounds of chicken gizzards/hearts (these are pretty cheap since humans rarely eat chicken insides): $8
6 eggs: $1.50
Some olive oil: negligible
Everything ends up in one pot. Cook (or raw - depending on your preference) the chicken, and the ground beef. Cook the rice.
Blend the fish with the yogurt and the veggies to a nice (and smelly) paste.
With all the other ingredients, throw in one big tub/pot and stir.
And there you have it: your very own DDF for fewer than 50 bucks a month.