DIY Canned Dog Food

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by ditch witch, Apr 18, 2014.


  1. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    One of our dogs is down to her last tooth and can no longer chew kibble so rather than pay $3 a can for the better quality canned dog food I decided to make it myself. Previously she was on Nutro lamb and rice. My original recipe used chicken and rice, but I decided to primalize her food as well as mine so I redid the mix. She's been eating it for a few months now and not only has her coat become like mink but her energy is way up and her chronic stomach issues (barfing, farting) are all but gone. The added bonus here is the cost. Half of this I grow in the garden (spinach/kale/pumpkins), plus I already have eggs on hand from our chickens. Chicken liver is almost always on almost-expired markdown at the store, and I can get a 10 pound bag of chicken thighs for $7. Use the skin, the fat, even the bone if you can grind it. Go fishing? Use the entire fish.

    This makes about 5 packed pints done like I do it.

    2 pounds meat (deer, rabbit, chicken thighs, fish)
    2 cups organ meat (liver, kidney, heart, gizzards)
    2 scrambled eggs (I dehydrate a lot of eggs so I use the dehydrated powder instead)
    1/8c olive oil
    1c diced carrot
    1c diced apples or cranberries or some kind of fruit
    2c diced pumpkin or sweet potato, winter squash
    10 oz chopped kale or spinach or beet greens (my last batch I used chard)
    1.5 tsp powdered eggshell (don't skip this, dogs have really high calcium requirements)
    1 tbsp grated ginger or Ceylon cinnamon (helps digestion)
    1 cup or so chicken/veg/soup stock
    1 avocado (optional)

    I have a commercial mixer with grinder/slicer/dicer blades that attach to the PTO so I run sweet potatoes and carrots through it to shred them. A salad shooter would probably do the same trick. You don't have to do that, but it makes it cook faster than diced.

    Put the meat into a crockpot set on low. A few hours later, add the chopped up cooked egg (or dehydrated egg), carrot, pumpkin, apple, and kale and pour your soup stock over it all. Let it cook on low until the meat is cooked and the rest is soft, about 3-4 hours.

    At this point I pull the crockpot over to the sausage grinder and run the horrific mess through, using one of the bigger opening plates so it isn't just pureed. Once it's all ground and in the bowl, I add the egg shell, oil, and cinnamon and mix well. If I have an avocado about to go bad I'll toss it in then as well. My last batch I tossed in a couple of black bananas. Then it goes into mason jars, loose packed to the bottom of the threads with a turkey baster's worth of juice from the crockpot added in, and into the freezer.

    If you want to can it for storage, then omit the olive oil. You'll need to add fat back into it when you feed tho. Pressure can 15#@90 min, or whatever the recommendations are for the kind of meat you used.

    For the powdered eggshell, put just cracked eggshells in the oven and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes to kill pathogens and also make the shells rilly rilly brittle. When you have enough baked shells, toss them in the food processor and whirl to a fine crumble. Then into the blender to pulverize to a gritty dust. I keep a quart Mason jar full of powdered eggshell around not only for dog food but for the garden. I've seen dog food recipes that said to toss the whole egg into the crockpot. Don't. Ever eaten a Dorito and had the corner stab you in the roof of your mouth? Yeah. Sharp eggshell does the same to your dog. Powder it.
     
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  2. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    Sounds like something I would eat o_O I´ll try having some veggies in the dog chow now, just been using meat, organs and bones and boiled them down and took the bones out when cool, but I have lots of last years carrots and stuff in the cellar.
     
    Mike and ditch witch like this.
  3. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    The way my vet explained it, if the dog were running wild he'd catch a rabbit and eat the whole thing, fur, bones, guts and all. And the guts would have whatever the rabbit had been eating, grass, berries, roots, etc. So the dog is designed to eat some fruit and veg, tho meat and bone is the main thing. Also the fur supposedly works as a laxative. No not a laxative, more like an intestine sweep. The veg, particularly the peels, kind of take the place of the fur. So I leave the peel on the sweet potato, apple, green beans, etc. The crushed eggshell makes up for the bones they're not crunching down.

    But yeah, in a pinch I'd eat the stuff. With the cinnamon in it, it smells almost good.
     
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  4. wastelander

    wastelander Bad English, bare with me

    I'll try the eggshells too. They just go to the compost now anyways and it would be good if they came to some more use.
     
    Mike likes this.
  5. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Hey DW, did you by any chance cook at the petro on I40 in Amarillo. Sounds like one their meals. :( Not bad with tobasco tho.
     
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  6. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Pulverising the shells into a gritty powder is good for the garden...the minerals and nutrients in the shell will break down quicker in the soil, making uptake into the plants more readily available.

    The processed shell grit can be added to the chicken feed, as supplemental calcium for egg shell production. Spreading a little eggshell grit/powder in your worm farm may help neutralise the growing environment if you don't have ready accesss to garden lime in a SHTF environment.

    Excellent posts DW.
    :5s:
     
  7. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Ha. I20 just east of Ranger. Best chicken fried steak between the two coasts according to all. I didn't cook it tho, just slung it.
     
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  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I had a dog with periodontal disease. It was so expensive and his gums would get infected. I think that is what killed him.
     
  9. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    DW, great post! We have been buying chicken leg quarters (at $10/10lb bag - ouch, not $7) and canning them after pressure cooking them. Your post identifies a number of terrific points:
    1: grind the bones which are very soft after pressure cooking.
    2. Drying egg shells in the oven then grinding - great calcium source.
    3. Using organ meat
    4. Ginger for digestion - Great as our three little ones have sensitive stomachs.
    5. Veggies for roughage and minerals
    There are more good points in your post. Probably the best pet post that I have seen in a long time.
    Thanks,
    GB
     
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  10. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    We used to have the Danes on Raw but man that was such a hassle.... every week our kitchen turned into a butcher shop. The big bonus was they processed most of the food and had very little crap in the yard... though it could be a little pungent somedays....lol. Nothing funnier than seeing a Great Dane running around the yard with a large fish in its mouth dancing happily before they devoured it.
     
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  11. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Oh I meant leg quarters, my bad. United/Amigos always has these 10# bags of leg quarters for $7 and change, but once a month they put them on sale .57 a pound. With Cinco de Mayo coming up they'll go on sale for sure and I'm planning to buy 3-4 bags.

    You can also use canned salmon or mackerel. The 15 oz cans of mackerel are $1.39 each here. I haven't tried it only because I'm afraid it will make them stink like fish. But it's an option, one I was looking at when we first started doing the aquaponics... was thinking I could use tilapia for them.
     
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  12. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    DW, periodically I give the Mean yard dogs :) sardines in oil. Not too much though, like garlic, the fish odor on the breath and from their fur is, dare I say it, fishy......
    GB
     
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  13. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    Yikes, thanks to this thread I found chicken leg quarters on sale for 69 cents/lb so I picked up 2 boxes (4 -10 lb bags each box) for 80 lbs!! So I'll be canning for a few days...... $55.20 total
    GB
     
  14. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    I usually purchase a dry high end dog food like blue buffalo, but i do make food for them. Oatmeal based, then deboned chicken thighs, a couple of eggs, green beans and either cooked squash or pumpkin. Every once a while i give them a can of sardines, or some other kind of fish. They love it.
     
  15. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    The dogs with teeth are on Avoderm grain free... salmon and sweet potato I think. I make canned for the one who is down to her last tooth.

    If I were in a SHTF situation, it'd be one part rice, one part meat, one part green beans, the meat being rabbit guts, heads and bones.
     
  16. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    I wonder, being a cat owner myself, is canning your own cat food a similar process? When I had my rabbits, I used the offal from the butchering process to make a fresh ground food that I froze and defrosted for use, but I am not considering canning for long term storage.

    GREAT post!
     
  17. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Cats have different dietary needs.... once upon a time I could have quoted them to you but it's been years since I worked retail pet food. Taurine and ash come to mind. Actually we used to joke that the ideal cat food would simply be ground up mice, and we should start our own cat food company called Mouse In A Can. Which probably would not go over well with the Jackson Gallery acolytes...

    Canning meat is canning meat, so yeah if you just wanted to can up chicken heads and rabbit livers it'd be the same process as canning say, meatloaf, for yourself. Just run it through the grinder so you can pack more in the can and have at it.
     
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I don't have, and won't have cats. That said, I have it on good authority from several cat people that a mouse is a cat's most nearly perfect food from a nutritional standpoint. So all of the people were told by their vets. Dunno, myownself, just how ideal a meal meeses make, but heaved up furballs does nothing for me.

    It is safe to say that since the feral cats have taken to patrolling my property, the meese population is down. I infer that cats LIKE to eat meece, a good thing, so the cats get to live. Right up until I catch one of them eating a song bird.
     
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  19. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    I guess it is time for me to open a teeny, tiny mouse slaughter...AHEM...processing plant and start buyng them in quantity from petr stores. Hmmm mouse breeding for a profit... *wheels in my mind are turning. Ever so small as they may be, and (ha-ha!) mouse powered*
     
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  20. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Mice are a staple food for snakes. You can commonly buy live mice just for snake food, so why not start breeding you own from the feeder mice?
     
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