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PETS: Raw feeding, Home cooked and Kibble. What do you feed them?

edited March 2019 in The Cantina
I have  a fat brown Retriever-mongrel mix who is allergic to Chicken and grain. Two of the most common ingredients found in pet food. So, out of necessity, I've been cooking for him. For a dog, he eats better than I do. Trouble is balancing dog diets perfectly tends to be tricky, especially on a shoe-string budget. So I want to know, what do you guys feed your dogs?

My dog food recipe: port hearts (fat trimmed off), vegetables (left overs or bought specially) pureed or minced. then whitebait plus kidney or liver. *EDIT* (NOT A COMPLETE MEAL) but good enough. 

The peels of most vegetables is also a good option. I.e the stuff that usually goes into stock. Just check if it's safe before adding it into the mix. You can also stretch your vegetables if you puree the heck out it. The internet says that if you let it ferment, it's good for you dog. I think it's a good idea too, given that my brown potato gobbles up rotten fruit from the one fruit tree in my garden. Just add vinegar (apple cider or otherwise) to the pureed mix and let it sit in your fridge. Serve raw or steamed lightly. He loves it especially if it's got turmeric and black pepper added to it. 

Ha! this month, it looks like it's cheap mackeral and scad, for the first half seasoned with pork offal. Then duck and maybe indian buffalo veal seasoned with shrimp and fish.
Food costs for one month: a hundred ish, with 15 of it off. :heart: 12kg of animal protein, and maybe 1.5 kg of vegetables and .5 of yam. (me food included)
Fancy dog food for one month: 300. (still filled with fillers like sweet potatoes and yam. This one can't take carbs in any large amounts)
He seems to be doing well so far. 


  • Not a cheap option at all but my ex and I used to buy our cat this stuff (marketed as dog food but we researched it and it was fine for cats). It's frozen meat pellets, essentially. Not just meat but like, marrow and things. Formulated to be what dogs/cats natural diet would consist of. We got it at petsmart, they keep it in a freezer in the food section. But like I said, not cheap. It was like $30+ for 7ish pounds.
    I'm gone.
  • @Slander
    Yeah, it can get really pricey. Pets are waaaay smaller than us, so they can't tolerate the antibiotics and chemicals we pump into our meat as well as we can. You have to source for quality meats and think about mineral balance.  

    General formula I've found, seems to be main protein source (muscle meat usually. lean) then organ meats (heart, liver, kidneys & lungs) and then fatty fish like sardines or salmon if you have  a bigger budget. Then you need to add vegetable matter.  Farm raised animals have a nutrient profile than game animals who spent their entire lives out in the wild. You can buy that, if you have a bigger budget. Or if you hunt/farm/live near a friendly hunter etc.  Cost does add up. 
  • @Bandus thanks! I'll keep an eye out, in the mean time. I'm cooking meals for my fat brown potato. 
  • Pro-tip. Always, always check before adding new vegetable or protein to your dog's food bowl. TOday, I accidentally poisoned my dog with the skin of a Jicama. I figured "skins are nutritious! dog needs nutrition!" only to find out an hour later, after I went to check that it contains the pesticide Rontene. Thankfully it was only a very tiny bit of jicama with skin I added. 

    Looking back, my dog did show some signs of poisoning, (Drooling and lethargy. Wasn't bugging me to play with him like normal) but I couldn't tell if it was a food coma or something he else he also ate. I fed him a charcoal pill and now he's right as rain. Running around and barking as usual. WHEW! 

    So check....

    PRo-tip no. 2

    If you're feeding kibble. You can stretch the kibble by adding food toppers. Use vegetable stock scraps - you can chop them up and steam them or feed them raw. The stems of vegetables you don't eat, the skins and the bits that have gone slightly off but not rotten.  Just make sure you mince them. Add meat off cuts like tongue, ears, or cheap cuts that are half off.  

    Pro-tip 3 

    I've found a good indicator of whether you're feeding your dog right, is the pay attention to the way they smell. Mine smells yeasty if he's eing fed too many carbs. Oily and smelly if there's too much fat or protein. Not smelly if I'm doing it right. 
  • My vet cautioned against the frozen food craze, because while technically it seems the way to go, in practice it isn't regulated so they end up with pets being ill or worse because of that. She said that is why they still recommend a quality dry food, as many pets get dental problems from wet food. This would happen in nature too except they don't live that long then, and also some pet breeds aren't natural variations so we should be careful with the idea that "natural is the way to go". She did say she hopes there will be more regulation because with dry food if you pet is allergic to grain or some of the mites that live on grain then you have that issue to deal with and you need a wet food that isn't futher bulked up with grains.
  • @Minei

    Yup, I'm keeping a close eye on him. My mantra is: if I can't eat that, neither can my dog. I do feed him a mix of frozen raw and cooked food, depending on time constraints. This morning he got a frozen catfish head. This evening it was meat from the rest of the catfish, with organ meats and a spoonful of vinegar fermented veggie mix. These two weeks is fish: scad and catfish. Next half of the month: tilapia, duck and cheap beef. 

     I do make sure the frozen foods are parasite free by freezing it for at least a day or so up to a week, before feeding it to my dog.  So far apart from getting the runs, from adjusting to a diet of fish, he seems okay. I'm learning as I go along.  I do plan on taking the potato in for a check up when I have the budget to do so. 

    Dry pet foods, whether on the low end or high, tend to have carbs in some for. This dog can't tolerate that at all. As an occasional treat, yes. Anything else no. His limit seems to be 40g of COOKED grain based carbs per week. (that's a rough estimate). The better quality ones are out of my budget. He was on dry food but he got fat, smelly and started shedding. He developed yeast infections in his ears on a regular basis. On this diet him' feeding him:  very little shedding, and he's got more energy. Yeast problem cleared up. 

    On average, if I fed him dog food and had a healthy budget. At least 300 upwards per month. Going as high 600 per month. No thanks, can't afford that!
    Making food for him: around 100 per month maybe more, maybe less, depending on whether I can find a good bargain on fresh meat or fish. He eats exactly what I do. What I feed him, you could grill up, and serve to you and your family.  

    I'm not saying that this is perfect, but out of the options I got, it's better than most! (I would like to hire a vet nutritionist to check my dog food, but that's thin on  the ground where I'm at and expensive)

    Over time, I will be rotating back and forth between dog food and home cooking depending on budget and time constraints. 

  • I think at this point, I need to invest in a heavy duty table top meat grinder in the future. For fish, I need to make sure that all the fine bones are ground up into mush. You can blend up fish with a hand held blender but not in large amounts or the unit will go ka-put!  
  • edited April 2019
    Hey! This is a topic I'm so hugely passionate about. I'm so pleased to see more and more people becoming more conscious about the food we feed not only ourselves, but our pets too!

    Even if you don't have a pet with specific allergies like @Tiase's, I think cooking healthy, nutritious, whole-food meals for your pets is a wonderful thing to do. You can see exactly what's going in and make sure that everything they're getting is varied, fresh and vibrant. Unfortunately, even when it comes to premium pet food brands, what we feed our pets is often not fit for human consumption. I mean there's a reason we have euphemisms like 'dog food' or 'a dog's dinner' when it comes to bad and sad meals for our own species. There is also the ethical issue of if you're an animal lover (presumably so if you have pets!), are you going to be really comfortable feeding your pet unethically sourced factory-farm meat? From animals kept in tiny cages and horrific conditions? For me the answer is no.

    Something to be aware of when it comes to 'premium' brands recommended by vets: sadly, just as there is corruption in the human health industry, the vet industry (and it is an industry, do bear that in mind) is not immune. If you have been recommended brands like Hill's Science Plan then you should know that these big pet food brands in many cases fund the vet industry and education, such as hosting sponsored vet conferences, vet school lectures and seminars, etc. There is a heavy institutional bias and if you're reading studies that endorse a particular brand of pet food, you should also be sure to check who funded those studies — and which studies they may have 'buried', through selection bias. There is also the simple fact that many vets receive commission from big pet food brands like Hill's when they sell their products. If you're buying pet food directly from your vet's office, it's worth asking if they receive commission when you make this purchase.

    I came to be aware of these issues through great misfortune when my best friend died of cancer, aged 9, which is young for a cat. There was never a cat more spoiled in existence. I followed medical advice with him to the letter, he was in perfect health for most of his life, I spent a lot of money on the 'best' cat food (or so I thought) money can buy as told to me by my vet. I believe firmly that his cancer was caused by bad medical advice that I followed without question. My sincerest wish is that I could go back in time to have done more research and saved him before it was too late.

    For more information I recommend this channel:

    (FYI this is not anti-vax; I am pro-vax. I am anti excessive, unnecessary vax repetition which no one would ever dream of doing to a human, in universal doses too large for most cats or small dogs, which has been proven through peer-reviewed studies to put our pets at risk of cancer and is being pushed by pharmaceutical companies for financial gain. Look up VAS, AKA Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma.)

    This website (for cat owners):

    And as always, do your own research. Go to the source.

    "They are elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty."
    — Oscar Wilde

    "I'll take care of it, Luke said. And because he said it instead of her, I knew he meant kill. That is what you have to do before you kill, I thought. You have to create an it, where none was before."
    — Margaret Atwood

  • It is a bit tricky though to make completely balanced dog foods. If you do it right, your dog's poops should be small and dry up within a day. 
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