Feeding Time at the Zoo


Okay, here’s a weird topic. Who knows, maybe there will be someone out there in the world besides myself who is interested in it…

I’ve been thinking for a LONG time about how I mostly eat unprocessed food because I believe it is healthier. But I feed my dogs processed food every day of their lives. Think about it. Is there anything more processed than dog food? This fact, combined with the extremely high price tag of the elite dog foods, and my mistrust of their ingredients, all factored into my adventures in making dog food!

So I scoped out the web, and most of the information was from companies trying to sell you supplements in case you missed some of the VERY IMPORTANT micro ingredients that your dog might miss in that processed food. The other information seemed to be from people who were just kind of guessing at what dogs need. So, gleaning information from here and there, and then looking at what was in some of those high priced dog foods, I set out to make my own. Here’s what I was doing a few weeks ago. I was heading towards completely eliminating the processed food. In this batch, I actually put some of the processed dog food, so I wouldn’t have to do anything but scoop it out at feeding time.


My grocery store sells 10 pound bags of chicken thighs/legs very reasonably. I bring it home from the store and they go directly into a pot with some water, and simmer them for an hour and a half. Take them out, cool them off, and the meat practically falls off the bones. I am very careful to keep all the bones out of what I feed them. One time I checked, and the meat I actually got to use was 7 pounds, which made that meat 82 cents per pound. The same store also has yams very reasonably priced, and since a lot of the dog foods are ____meat and sweet potatoes, I figured that was a good addition as well. I noticed that most of the better foods also included peas, so I grabbed a bag of frozen peas. Of course, rice is used in some foods, so I added that, and I always feed my dogs carrots. Oh, and I had some apples I didn’t particularly like, so those got added in as well. They LOVE the apples.

After the chicken cooks, I use the leftover liquid, which has quite a bit of fat, and I cooked the rice and the yams in that. I put all of the liquid in the dog food.

You can see that that was a LOT of dog food up there. And that only lasted a week. I froze most of it, to keep it fresh, but that takes a lot of freezer space.

I don’t know how much longer my adventures in dog food making will continue, but since then I have adjusted what I do quite a bit. I decided to go with a mix of half homemade and half processed food (just in case there really are some VERY IMPORTANT INGREDIENTS in that processed dog food.) And I eliminated the peas after I noticed that they went straight through the dogs… The rice was only a filler, so there was no need to cook that. This week I added one beet, because I noticed that beets were also included in some of the higher priced foods.

I think a lot about how dogs in the wild would eat. Of course they would not cook their food. But I am just not willing to go the raw diet route. I don’t think they would be eating a ton of grain or vegetable material. Which made me think about how they would never have to brush their teeth or have a dental cleaning done in the wild. So the chicken is what I am mainly adding, along with some yams, carrots, and the beet. Of course there are other meats I could add, but the chicken is the most economic choice. This week I added up what I purchased for their homemade food, and it was $8. I’m pretty sure I’m not saving any money over the cost of the premium foods. But I feel like maybe its a little better for them. BTW, I don’t feed junk processed dog food. Right now I am using Diamond Naturals food or the Costco brand food. Both are grain free, since I have sensitive little doggies who seem to be allergic to a lot of things.

Anybody else out there making their own dog food??

As much as Chloe chews on bones, I am hopeful that she will never have a problem with her teeth!

As much as Chloe chews on bones, I am hopeful that she will never have a problem with her teeth!

16 thoughts on “Feeding Time at the Zoo

  1. Excellent Debbie! I wanna be just like you when I grow up but am already older!!❤️ Also retired NP looking at all the new ways of better self care!!

  2. I shake my head at myself because for some unknown reason I have started to add pumpkin to my cats’ food. I am pretty sure I would not actually make food from scratch for them regularly. I had/have enough trouble transitioning MYSELF to all that cooking/prepping. But yes, I do get it.

  3. When I got a poodle puppy back in the late 60’s the breeder told me to feed him rice and hamburger. Now thinking about it, it seems like a few nutrients were probably missing.

  4. Their food actually looks pretty good! My cousin has dogs that go insane for canned pumpkin. He will open a can and they eat it right like that!

    I think making food for dogs is a good thing. I wouldn’t dare do it for cats because of the taurine issue. Not to mention I think cats are just from Mars anyway.

  5. We have two mini doxies and feed them Royal Canin because that is what the breeder told us to feed them. I would worry about them having loose stools if I fed them people food. Have you had any issues with their bowels since you started making their food?

    • That’s funny that you call it people food. I wouldn’t eat what I’m fixing for them! Anyway, I switched gradually from their regular dog food to the homemade food, and then gradually added back the regular dog food until now I am feeding them half and half. No loose stools at all! My brother feeds his mini dachshund Blue.

  6. Wild dogs eat the whole animal so that includes the stomach and its contents, so that would mean if the animal they ate was a herbivore then they also would eat a variety of plant foods.

  7. No I don’t make it myself but Bella gets fresh food that I buy at doggy day care.

    You can give your dogs the chicken legs raw without cooking it first. The bones do no harm when eaten raw, cooked is bad but you already know that. What you can also give them is raw fish, I sometimes get a piece of raw salmon with the bones still in it, those can be eaten raw without a problem too. And Bella loves the fish.
    Everything she gets is raw, nothing is cooked.

    Here’s an indication what she gets in a week.
    Monday: red meat (beef/horse/lamb/goat with 5% veggies and 35% is bones)
    Tuesday: chicken/beef (5% veggies and 60% offal)
    Wednesday: salmon/beef (5% veggies, 60% fish)
    Thursday: chicken/beef (5% veggies, 30% bones)
    Friday: beef/lamb (65% tribe)

    On Saturday and Sunday she gets processed dog food because sometimes you aren’t home at the weekends and this is easier to take with you than fresh food.

    • That is really interesting, especially the percentages. That’s what I thought, that the veggie percentage should be a lot lower.

  8. My sister has raised championship Airedales for many years & she feeds them only a raw diet that she makes herself. I know she would be happy to share her recipe with you. I can give you her e-mail address if you like.

  9. Very interesting!! I feed my dogs costco brand but now I’m interested to read what more natural, raw foods I can give them! 🙂

  10. Gee, and here I was feeling good about feeding my dog premium dog food, LOL! What you are doing for your pets looks really good and I’m sure they appreciate it. 🙂

    I literally LOL’d at the picture of Chloe with all of her bones. I have the same scene, daily, with Paco. “Dis one taste better den DAT one.”

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