I want to make homemade food for my dog - a 60lb boxer. Anyone have any recipes to share?
Do you make your own dog food?
My dog is 70 lbs, and she normally eats 24 ounces of food (about 1.5 lbs) a day. If we are in the super active months of the year where we are hiking, mountain biking, and exercising like crazy she needs more like 2 lbs a day. It works out to be 2-3% of her body weight depending on our activity level. All summer she needs about 3%, but in the dead of winter when the weather stinks she really needs less food because we don't play as hard.
The food I give her ranges in price from $1 a pound to $3 a pound. The bulk of her diet is in the $1-2 a pound range. Chicken quarters usually cost me $1 per pound. I find it costs me $70-$80 a month to feed her what I consider to be a balanced, well rounded diet.
I feed a varied diet of chicken, turkey, beef, venison, pork, fish, and eggs. She gets chicken leg quarters, chicken liver, heart and gizzards, turkey necks, beef meat/heart/organ blends, beef liver and kidneys, pork feet, pork organs, whole raw sardines, and the like.
I source it mainly from a regional Yahoo group cooperative where we buy wholesale and bulk raw food products. I mainly get the chicken quarters at the grocery store, and most of the organ meats at ethnic grocery stores. The beef blend, tripe, bulk sardines and such come from the bulk food co-op. It helps that I have a big freezer: I can get more food that way at a better price.
The pluses to our raw diet:
1. My dog is healthy, shiny, and has NO gas or bad breath.
2. We won't have to invest tons of money into sedated dental cleanings (very common with kibble fed dogs who don't get their teeth brushed regularly. Raw keeps the teeth super clean and white with healthy gums).
3. Her poop is about 1/4 the size as it was on kibble and stinks 80% less. (At one point for $$$ reasons my husband convinced me to go back to kibble to see how it would work, and her poop literally quadrupled in quantity and was so stinky. After a couple weeks he said, "Never mind the extra $25 a month, we're going back to raw!")
4. Her food gives her lots of satisfaction and mental stimulation.
The minuses (because I believe in full disclosure)
1. It costs us more than using some of the premium grain-free kibbles out there, and more yet than regular kibble.
2. It takes up a lot of space. I have an upright freezer in the garage, and her food takes up half of it.
3. It requires more fore-thought. I have to remember to defrost the day before. Not a big deal, really.
4. It can be messy to prepare. The chicken quarters and whole fish are easy: she just gets one, no prep needed. But the ground meat blends and tripe come in 5 lb frozen chubs and require thawing and re-freezing in appropriate sizes. Likewise, the organ meats require cutting and freezing in their individual portions.
5. The paranoia. I think we all go through that first year of worry about giving our dogs raw chicken bones. No problems here yet!
6. Inconvenient explanations to non- raw friendly vets who will make you feel like you are NUTS for not feeding a grain-based kibble diet. (we aim for a "don't ask don't tell" kind of thing, but if your dog is sick and needs an x-ray they may freak out at the chicken bones in the image!)
I did a raw diet for a while and plan to go back to it when I can. Its very basic, raw meats in the correct proportions of muscle meat, bone and organs. I added a few suppliments like fish oil. It was pretty cheap, I got meat for under 1.50/lb and wasnt much more then I pay now for premium kibble. Just make sure that whatever diet you choose to follow you research alot, i mean a super ton lot, you can really hurt your dog if you do not do your research and ensure they are receiving everything they need in their diet.
as for some of the above cons, No need to defrost the food first, feed it frozen :), chicken bones are actually one of the best for dogs because they are soft and easily digestible :)