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Homestead Basics: Homemade Pet Food

Updated on February 3, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

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.

" chickens!"
" chickens!" | Source

Do Not Feed Dogs or Cats These Things:

  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • *Fat trimmings-use with caution. These can cause pancreatitis in some animals
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Raw meat Grapes
  • Fake fats
  • Egg shells
  • Mushrooms
  • Macadamias
  • Citrus oils
  • Persimmons
  • Milk and dairy-use sparingly with caution
  • Avocado
  • 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!

Homemade Dogfood

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.

Dog Treats

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 egg

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 Catfood

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.

Cat Treats

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!


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    • profile image

      lili 6 years ago

      hi is tomato bad for shih tzus/

    • jseven profile image

      jseven 6 years ago from Michigan

      My dog eats grass-fed scraps and healthy dog food. I am disgusted by the things some of the commercial dog and cat foods have in them. Voted up.

    • Susan D Tyndall profile image

      Dianne Tyndall 7 years ago from Sanderson, Texas

      Very informative article voted up and useful, I also am a dog lover, cat lover, and pretty much love all animals no matter what breed. We have 10 dogs and my husband is always cooking them something up!

    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 7 years ago

      Thanks for this hub, Informative article.

    • profile image

      Madeline 7 years ago

      This article and videos are great! Thanks so much now I can try to save a little money and try making homemade dog foods for my dogs.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 9 years ago from Texas

      Good recipes! Thanks! It is important to realize that cats need taurine for their vision, so keeping a good quality of dry food available or adding this as a supplement to food you make is very important.


    • profile image

      Christopher 10 years ago

      Great recipes! My own personal dogs love home-made treats!

    • flread45 profile image

      Frank 10 years ago from Montana

      We cook up the legs and leftovers,then mix it with rice for our dogs..

    • Aman deep Garg profile image

      Aman deep Garg 10 years ago

      Thanks a lot for this information.Now i can take care of my pets properly.We have to improve his eating habits.

    • teeray profile image

      teeray 10 years ago from Canada

      Informative hub! I noticed that on the list of 'do not feed these to your pet' - things with citrus are on that list!

      My cat HATES citrus and if I hold up a section of orange, it's like holding up a cross to a hollywood vampire......get thee back, I say, fanged feline! *hiss*

      Perhaps he knows oranges are lethal to his kind


    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Thank you dafla.

    • profile image

      dafla 10 years ago

      As usual, great article, Marye.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Good luck!

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 10 years ago from Hutchinson

      You are so right..... I will be brave. : ) THX again! I will let you know how it goes. My fur babies will love you for it!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      MrM-LOL! We have many! The cat keeps the rodent population that is ever present on a farm at bay..and the dog keeps my feet warm at night.

      Michele- I know it is sort of frightening to do but whe you think about it, really, what did dogs eat 500 yeas ago? SUrely not purina?

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 10 years ago from Hutchinson

      We have been thinking about trying this...but have been a little nervous about doing it. Thank you for this hub!!!

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney

      No Pets allowed