Homestead Basics: Homemade Pet Food
Using What You Have
Making pet food is a great way to deal with culled livestock on the homestead. Chickens that are past their prime, and really, any livestock that is not going to be eaten by you can be made into a frugal, and healthy pet food.
If you are butchering, the organs are great ingredients as well. Liver, kidney, heart, even the fat trimmings all can go into a healthy,and frugal meal for your dog or cat. Liver is where the body deals with toxins so the amounts used should be controlled unless you are dealing with your own organically fed livestock. If you have recently been fishing don't throw away the scraps from your cleaning duties but do be careful that there are no small bones in the mix.
Vegetable trimmings from the garden can be added to the food, as long as you are careful to check the list of fruits and vegetables that cats and dogs should not have .
In addition a certain amount of whole grains make a healthful addition to the canine diet. Remember that dogs and cats do not need salt so keep processed foods and salt away from these recipes.
Do Not Feed Dogs or Cats These Things:
- *Fat trimmings-use with caution. These can cause pancreatitis in some animals
- Artificial sweeteners
- Raw meat Grapes
- Fake fats
- Egg shells
- Citrus oils
- Milk and dairy-use sparingly with caution
- Anything with alcohol
- Anything uncooked
- Anything moldy or spoiled
This is by no means an all inclusive list. Check with your veterinarian before changing your pet's diet.
Nutritional Content and Petfood Manufacturers
Dogs need to have this approximately 18 % protein and 15% fat with the rest made up in wholesome carbohydrates in their diets. Cats nees 32% protein, a much higher rate than dogs. They do not need carbs at all so the majority of the food should be a combination of quality protein and fat.
The pet food manufacturers have scared consumers into believing that manufactured pet foods were the only safe products to feed animals, much like the baby formula manufacturers all but ended breastfeeding in the 1930s and 40's! The truth is that dogs were man's best friends for centuries before Purina showed up. Even table scraps are fine as long as they are not full of junk. At least with your own, homemade food you know it is not contaminated!
Dog Food Recipes
Dogs are omnivores, that means that they eat much like a human, a wide variety of foods. Make sure meats are cooked. Dogs can tolerate raw eggs in a small amount..but normally cooking the egg in with the food is a better idea. During the winter a tablespoon of olive oil every couple of days will help keep the coat shiny. You can make it as gourmet as you want, but really, a dog does not need ratatouille or ragout. Just cook the meats that you have chosen, add some vegetables and grains and serve it.
This is a good basic dog food.
Basic Dog Food
4 lbs meat (scraps, organ meats, etc.) cut small or ground
3 cups vegetable trimmings, also cut small
4 cups brown rice, oat groats, oatmeal etc.
Cover with water and simmer for about 1 hours until rice is tender and water is absorbed.
Cool and store in fridge or freeze in serving size packets.
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1 cup cooked ground pork (boil in water, save broth)
1 cup grated carrot
6 tablespoons shortening or lard
1/2 cup cold meat broth from boiling pork
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil two cookie sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour,and milk powder. Add the ground pork, carrot, shortening and egg; mix in to the flour mixture.
3.Gradually add broth to form a stiff ball of dough.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters, and re-roll scraps until no dough is left. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the cookies are browned. Allow cookies to set for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
If you have a dog that has a sensitive digestive system or food allergies lamb is the best meat you can use and don't use pork or organ meats at all.
Homemade Cat Food
Cats need mostly meat in their diets because their systems are set up to tolerate high levels of protein.Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan.
Basic Cat Food
Cook 4 ozs meat in water to cover until it is cooked through but not tough.
Add 2 boiled eggs, chopped.
Grind in food grinder or process.
1 c flour
1 c finely shredded cheese
1/3 c yogurt
1/4 c whole wheat flour
2 Tbs oil
Mix together and knead until a dough forms. Roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut with small cookie cutters. Bake at 350 25 minutes.
Check With Your Vet.
By making your own pet foods and treats you can be sure that your pet is getting wholesome foods. You won't need to worry when recalls happen and you will save money in the long run. Some pets, cats especially, won't like everything you make. Use trial and error as your guide and don't become discouraged the first few times you try.
Especially if you are living on a homestead and trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, making your own pet food takes you one step closer to self sufficiency and using all of what you have. Be sure and discuss dietary changes with your vet and make the changes gradually. Watch your pet carefully for signs of allergic reaction. By doing this you are doing what you can ensure your pet has a long and healthy life.
Pets become like family members over the years. One the homestead they are not only companions but partners who work alongside us to achieve our goals! Coming home to a delicious dinner is as comforting for them as it is for us!