The melamine scare of 2007 has left many pet owners looking for safer food sources. For those of you unfamiliar with the problem, core ingredients used in pet food were found to be tainted with melamine. Several animals were poisoned, leading to sickness and even death. The source of the melamine was determined to be China. However, since the tainted food was considered to be an ingredient, not the finished product, buying food produced elsewhere is no guarantee of safety. A canned product stamped “made in the USA” can still include ingredients produced in another country. The problem is said to have been remedied, but I am not convinced it won’t happen again.
So what is a pet owner to do? I decided to make my dogs food from scratch. Once I realized the quality of ingredients was suspect in even the top brands, the choice was easy. Mass produced dog food contains food that is not considered safe for human consumption. So why do you expect it to be safe for your pet?
There was an added bonus to switching to homemade: it costs a lot less! I don’t buy my dogs organic meats (too cost prohibitive), but I take comfort in knowing the food is at least considered human grade. This is not true when buying mass produced pet food. I buy meat in bulk when it is on sale and freeze it until it is needed.
When people find out I make my own dog food, they generally assume that I spend a great deal of time doing so. Not true! I have two large dogs (about 80 pounds each) and it takes me twenty minutes each week to prepare their food. This would not be possible without my favorite kitchen appliance: the food processor.
My dogs are on an all raw diet. This has not only helped their health tremendously, but it also makes preparation super quick. I cut the meat I am using into large chunks and put in into the work bowl of my food processor fitted with the multipurpose blade. I then pulse until it is almost ground. I use a small amount of vegetables for the fiber, usually sweet potatoes. These are shredded with my food processor shredding disc. Then I mix the meat and vegetables with ground bone meal, raw eggs and fish oil. My dogs love it!
I debated including actual recipes in this article, but in the end decided against it for one important reason. All dogs are different and so are their dietary needs. I came up with an appropriate diet after talking with my veterinarian and it works beautifully for my dogs. I would hate to have someone try to duplicate my efforts only to harm their pet’s health. Talk with a professional to determine your pet’s exact needs. If your vet is not open for discussion on this, find a new vet.