Making Dry Dog Food
Finding the Right Balance of Nutrients and Taste
With all the pet food recalls over the past few years many people have thought about making their dog’s food. What’s daunting about this is finding the right foods to put together for a nutritious, delicious meal. If you plan to make the dog’s dry food, there are two things to consider: Does the dog eat only dry food or is the dry food a supplement to wet food. If it’s a supplement to wet food, the content requirements are not as restrictive as those for the dog who eats only dry food.
The basic recipe for both is the same: flour, fat, egg, dry milk. The flour can range from all-purpose flour to potato flour to whole wheat flour or rye flour. There are all kinds of flour. Fats can come from animal fat, if you want to add meat or canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, corn oil. Like flour there are all kinds of oil. Whole eggs are best, rather than just egg whites. And, yes, dry milk, that yucky stuff that makes blue milk.
6 cups of any combination of flours
1 cup of powdered milk
3-4 eggs, depending on size
1/3 cup oil
2 ½ cups liquid (milk, water, broth)
Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients. The dough should be thick and moist (not too wet) like bread dough. Add water or flour (or some other additive), if necessary to get the consistency.
Spread the dough on a cookie sheet about a 1/2 –inch thick. You can perforate the dough in the shape you want now or just break the cooked kibble into pieces after it’s cooled. You can cook it slowly at 200 degrees for about an hour, or at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let it cool and harden.
Now, this isn’t going to taste very good, which is why you may want to add goodies to the recipe after the basic ingredients are mixed. You can add cooked and pureed meat, vegetables (green beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots) and/or fruit (apples, pumpkin), even peanut butter or shredded cheese, whatever your dog likes. The main focus, however, is to keep the dough thick and moist so it smoothes easily in the pan.
You can even add herbs and spices, such as salt, turmeric or parsley, or other additives, such as brewer’s yeast, rice, corn or bone meal, bran and oats. Anything your dog likes and can have is on the menu.
You should never feed your dog the following foods:
- Garlic (occasionally in minuscule amounts because they do like it)
- Artificial sweeteners or fats
If your dog eats only kibble, then it’s not quite as easy as kibble that’s a supplement to wet food. Since this food is his only food, it must meet all his nutritional requirements for protein/amino acids, complex carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Protein should account for from 16 to18 percent of the diet (meat and/or dairy); complex carbohydrates (vegetables) should comprise about 45 percent, fats about 12 percent. If you think the dog isn’t getting enough minerals and vitamins, you can supplement the dog’s food with AKC RenewTrients Dog Multi-Vitamin, available at www.dogsupplies.com.
So, take for a complete meal,
Ingredients - Basic recipe
1 can plain pumpkin (not pie filling)
3.5-4 cups meat, cooked and pureed (You can drain it if you want or use it in your fat count)
4-5 cups vegetable/fruit, cooked, drained and pureed
Add flour if the mixture is too soupy or tacky; add water or more oil if the mixture is too dry. You can increase the oil to 1.5 cups and still be OK with the fat content, depending on whether you’re using the meat’s fat.
Use your knowledge of your dog and your creative cooking juices to find the recipe that works for you and your dog. When you’ve found it, stick to it because dogs like and need routine.