Having a pet can be one of life’s greatest joys. So, it makes sense to take care of your furry pal as best as you can, including the type of food you provide.
The types of premade pet food run from generic bags of chow to freshly cooked food. Low-quality chow, packed with preservatives and fillers, is akin to the worst junk food diet, and higher-quality dry pet food can make a dent in your wallet. Although companies offering fresh pet food options are becoming more and more common, committing to a steady diet of this healthy fare for your pet can put a considerable strain on your budget.
One solution is to make your own pet food. If you do it right, the result will be healthier and cheaper pet food than any of the premade options — so let’s explore.
Advantages of Making Your Own Pet Food
“The biggest advantage is the ability to treat some of the most common pet ailments through nutrition rather than medications,” said Denice Subach, author and creator of Senior Dog Days.
Subach is the proud owner of a 15-year-old senior dog named Frodo who she has been making homemade dog food for since 2016.
“Before our family made the decision to make our own homemade food, it seemed like our dog was always on steroids and medicated shampoos for his itchy skin, waxy ears, and seasonal hot spots. All those skin problems (and vet bills) went away with his homemade diet, which is exactly why we continued.”
She continued, “Additionally, now that our dog is 15 years old, we can make batches of food that include more anti-inflammatory vegetables, known for their power to calm the effects of arthritis. We use our dog’s bi-annual blood work results as a guide for introducing new ingredients.”
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How Much You Can Save
“Cost will completely depend on the size of your pet,” said Subach. “Our dog’s healthy weight is about 83 lbs. and he eats nearly 2 pounds of food daily. While we made an initial investment in supplies, such as containers and a good meat grinder, our monthly cost to make homemade raw dog food is generally $100 per month.”
Subach went on, “If we bought the same quality, and the same amount of dog food from a store or pet food delivery service, the cost would be closer to $400 month. We are saving about $300 per month and we’ve been making homemade dog food for 6 years. That means we’ve saved over $21,000.”
How To Make Homemade Pet Food
Now that you know the potential savings to be had if you make your own pet food, here are some ways to make it. However, check with your vet before switching your pet to a homemade diet. You want make sure that what you provide will meet all your pet’s nutritional needs.
Recipe #1: The Protein, Veggie, Fruit Bowl
“For beginners, the easiest way is probably with a food processor,” said Subach. “Most people have one, which means you can try making pet food at home without much investment.”
“Simply add an appropriate protein (poultry, beef, game), good veggies (asparagus, celery, kale, carrots), lower sugar fruits (berries, apples) and any vitamins your vet might recommend. A food processor will ensure that all the beneficial ingredients get completely mixed together, ensuring your pet doesn’t pick out just the tasty protein bits.”
Recipe #2: Turkey With Veggies, Eggs and Rice
“You can try out this turkey recipe with vegetables for an easy, delicious, healthy treat for your canine companion,” said Rajashree Goswami, a pet welfare expert with GreatVet. “This meal is balanced with protein, veggies, and grains, making it a good meal for your pet. To prepare the recipes, you need coconut oil, ground turkey, zucchini, spinach, carrots, turmeric, egg and rice. Heat a pot on medium heat and use coconut oil and turkey to prepare the meal. Cook it for 10 minutes until it turns brown.”
“Now add vegetables in medium pieces and stir them and add turmeric. Stir it for 5-7 minutes, and when the vegetables are tender, mix the egg. Turn off the heat and let the egg be cooked in the steam of the hot food. Mix it well; now add rice and stir again to mix all the ingredients well. Cool it properly and serve it to your pet.”
“The food has nutritional benefits; coconut oil is good for the pet’s coat; turkey or the egg provide the proteins, turmeric has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties; and rice offers energy and helps in the gastrointestinal function.”
Recipe #3: Chicken and Rice for Cats
“For your feline friend, you can offer the chicken and rice diet,” said Goswami. “It takes only three minutes to prepare the food. Take the boiled and chopped chicken and add rice to it. You can [also add] 50 gm [around a ¼ cup] of boiled and mashed potato and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix all ingredients in a bowl properly when the meal is ready.”
Recipe #4: Sweet Potato Bites for Dogs
“These single-ingredient sweet potato bites are super cheap and healthy for your dog, and they couldn’t be easier to make,” said Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale.
“Also, sweet potato includes healthy vitamins and fiber that can aid in a healthy digestive system.”
1-3 sweet potatoes, depending on the size of your dog. I like to make larger batches and freeze half for later use.
1. Preheat your oven to 250º F.
2. Cut sweet potatoes to your desired size and shape. Small cubes work great as training aids, while long, thin strips create a crunchy jerky bigger dogs will love.
3. Spread your sweet potatoes across two baking sheets and bake for three hours. The low, slow baking process will dehydrate the sweet potatoes so they last longer and get that satisfying texture dogs love.
4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The treats should keep for up to 2 weeks or longer if stored in the freezer.
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