Monday, April 11, 2011

Cooking your own dog food: It's easier than you might think

A sample of what home cooked dog food looks like

As regular readers of the blog know, Liam has skin problems. He has reddish fur between his toes. He often develops brown rashes on his belly (and those seem to itch, as he scratches often). And he developed an infection in his facial fold that was difficult to get rid of, even with expensive antibiotics.

All of my research on the nasal fold problem lead me to an unfortunate discovery: It's likely that Liam has a food allergy and the food we've been providing isn't nutritionally adequate. He was on a buffalo diet, no grains included, and this was might spendy food that should have taken care of the problem.

My first dog, a Boston terrier, had very similar problems. I attempted to put him on a commercial diet for allergic dogs, but he got no better, either. In the end, I cooked his food for him. I figured he must have been allergic to some sort of trace ingredient in commercial food and this was the only way to solve the problem. I'm putting this theory to the test with Liam now.

There are many dog food recipes available online and in books. Many recipes call for the inclusion of grain, which I am reluctant to give. Many other recipes include no vegetables at all, which I also find a bit strange. The recipe I am beginning with includes: a scoop of canned pumpkin, a scoop of canned peas or spinach, a scoop of lowfat cottage cheese, a multivitamin powder sprinkle and a topping of canned sardines. (Yummy, eh?)

I will likely vary the ingredients included (maybe using egg or beef for the protein, sweet potato for the starch and carrots for the veggie) and I will likely switch from canned ingredients to fresh, cooked ingredients when summer comes and I can buy these things.

It's much to early to tell if this will work for Liam and his allergies. These things can take months to clear up. But in the interim, I can say that this home-cooked food seems much more tasty to Liam and it is cheaper, too. Here's hoping everyone wins.

For another pug owner's take on the home-cooking idea, read this article.