Cooking For Your Pet- 11 easy Steps To All-Natural
In my article 7 Reasons To Home-Cook For Your Pet I explained why home-cooking is so important for your dog. In this article Making The Transition 7 Easy Steps I show you how to make the transition from commercial dog food to a home-cooked diet. You can add years to your pet’s life and home-cooking is both easy and economical. The biggest plus to home-cooking is that having natural food around your house will help you eat healthier too. The following tips will help get you started.
1. Before you start you will need a few basic utensils that you probably already have in your kitchen. You will need a one cup, half cup and a one quarter cup measuring cups. They can all be the same cup, but remember you will be measuring wet and dry ingredients, so you may want to have separate cups. A crock pot comes in very handy. You can throw all the ingredients into one pot, go to work and dinner will be ready for the critters when you get home. A big stock pot is also a must if you will be making make large batches of food, for multiple dogs or big dogs. You will also need various size storage containers.
2. Just like for humans you should keep a few basic ingredients stocked and ready for use. Some of the basics I keep are olive oil, garlic, oatmeal, rice, pasta, eggs, canned salmon, canned pumpkin, canned fruits (in juice only), frozen vegetables and frozen meats such as ground turkey. If you have these items you can whip up a myriad of meals in a snap.
3. You can buy many of these items in bulk for a lot cheaper. Some of the big warehouse stores like Costco and B.J.‘s offer good deals on meats and staples such as rice and potatoes. Check circulars and buy when products are on sale. I buy meats in bulk when they are on sale. I have two freezers to accommodate things I buy and to store large batches of food.
4. If you decide home-cooking is the route you want to take you may want to invest in a second freezer. You can keep your ingredients frozen and you will have a place to keep food if you choose to cook large batches at one time. I make a few different kinds of meals and store them in single serving size containers. If I need a quick meal I take one out and pop it in the microwave.
5. Cook in bulk. I usually cook all my meats and carbohydrates separately, but at one time. I portion them out then and freeze them. All I have to do is heat things up as I need them. You can also save a lot of time if you make full meals in a stock pot and then put them in storage containers. Remember to only store three days worth in your refrigerator and three month's worth in the freezer.
6. Cook your pet's meals at the same time your are cooking for your family. If I’m having chicken and baked potatoes for dinner then I make the same thing for my dog. It’s so easy to add another serving while you are already cooking. You can also use leftovers to make your pet's meals. No food goes to waste.
7. Recipe: 1 ¼ cup Meat or Protein, 1 ½ cup Carbohydrates, ¼ cup Green Vegetable, ¼ cup Yellow Vegetable. This is the mixture recipe. How much you give your dog will depend on how much you normally feed your dog. If your dog gets one cup of commercial dog food in the morning and one cup in the evening then that is what they will get of the stews you make. Here are the measurements to make a larger batch, 8 ¾ cups Meat or Protein, 10 ½ cups Carbohydrates, 1 ¼ cup Green Vegetable, 1 ¼ cup Yellow Vegetable. Portion this out into smaller storage containers and freeze.
8. Food List: Protein: Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Lamb, Salmon, Mackrel, Cottage Cheese, Bison, Venison, Rabbit: Carbohydrates: Rice, Potatoes, Yams, Oatmeal, Quinou, Pasta: Fruits: Apples, Pears, Peaches, Strawberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Tomatoes: Vegetables: Green Beans, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Asparagus. There are more you can use, but this will get you started. Because dogs have a shorter intestinal tract than humans brown rice and barley is too fibrous for them. Basmati rice is a good substitute.
9. Home- Cooking is so healthy because it provides your pet the variety of nutrients your pet needs, but doesn't get from commercial food. In the wild your pet doesn't have access to the same food every day. They eat what they are able to catch, which is different everyday.
10. A multi-vitamin is recommended whether your feed your pet commercial food or cook for them.
11. Switching your dog only takes three days. Because the new diet is all-natural your pet won't have the same reactions as when you switch from one commercial food to another. On the first day you can feed your dog mostly kibble with a little home-cooked added. On the second day feed half commercial food half home-cooked, on the third day serve mostly home-cooked with a little commercial food.. On the fourth day your pet should be ready for their new diet.
Starter Stew (recipe for switching diet)
When transitioning use the recipe below for twenty-one days. It's easy on the stomach. After the twenty one days you can mix and match the other ingredients on the list.
1 ¼ cup ground turkey
1 ½ cup yams
¼ cup turnips
¼ cup celery
Cook all ingredients mix, cool and serve. This recipe is also good for older dogs and for a pet trying to lose weight.