Let's face it, dog food kibble is a pretty processed food. While there are some better versions that use only real meat, veggies, and grains, even those must be processed in a factory, fortified with vitamins, dehydrated, then preserved and packaged into shelf-stable versions for long storage. I wouldn't want to eat food in this form, day in and day out!
"To make pet food nutritious, pet food manufacturers must “fortify” it with vitamins and minerals. Why? Because the ingredients they are using are not wholesome, their quality may be extremely variable, and the harsh manufacturing practices destroy many of the nutrients the food had to begin with."
Any creature thrives when eating the way nature designed them to eat. Since we strive to eat only whole, real, unprocessed foods, shouldn't we feed our most beloved fur-babies the same?
Consider what wolves and then domesticated dogs have eaten for thousands of years. In the wild, dogs and wolves eat meat - almost exclusively. They get vegetable/greens/roots when they eat the intestines of the animals they've killed for food. They get all the protein, vitamins & nutrients they need from the organ meats and flesh of the animal, with a little foraging mixed in. Domesticated dogs through history likely ate whatever was leftover from the plates of people... who were eating only real non-factory produced food up until the last century.
It's a little labor intensive to make dog food at home, but so worth it! When I feed my pups real food, their coats get shiny, they shed less, their breath doesn't smell too bad, and they have tons of energy. Even my picky white fox, who usually turns his nose up at even the most expensive hipster kibble, can't resist this recipe!
**Disclaimer** I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. Especially if your dog has any special/medical conditions, I suggest you consult with a vet before changing your dog's food. I suggest seeking advice from a holistic veterinarian if possible, who doesn't receive commissions from any particular pet-food manufacturer.
Homemade Puppy Chow:
Place 3-4lbs of ground beef/chicken/turkey (grass-fed/organic if possible) into a large pot, add just enough water to cover, and heat on medium. (I usually get this meat at the Whole Foods butcher in the frozen section; or talk to your local butcher.)
Chop 3-4 cups of various veggies into small pieces and add to the pot, about 5 minutes after the meat comes to a low simmer. Think 30-40% green veggies, 60-70% starchy/root veggies. In my last mix I used sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, chard, kale, & a few cloves of garlic. Try cabbage, apples, broccoli, yams, cauliflower, turnips... get creative!
Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender.
Remove from heat, and allow to cool about 30 minutes. Add a healthy dose (around 1/2 cup) coconut or olive oil.
Store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze.
I serve one 50lb dog one heaping cup of food, two times a day. Adjust for smaller/larger dogs and activity level.
Optional & awesome extras:
beef/chicken organs like liver or heart (add during cooking)
sardines or canned tuna (add after cooking)
whole raw eggs (food processed to break up the shells)
white rice (for active dogs and to add bulk)
whole plain yogurt (as a topping before serving)
Have you tried a homemade dog food recipe? What do your dogs love? Let me know!