Above: Cherry, in her favorite spot on the porch, basking in the sun.
We take our dog to a holistic vet, and he insists that cooked real food is better for our dog than "dog food." He says that dog food is so overly processed that no nutritional value remains, which is why they have to add so many vitamins in order to sell it. (They do this to people food too, by the way.) Of course there are exceptions, like store-bought raw dog food, but I for one can't afford it. Also, to be honest with you, it grosses me out. I gave Cherry, our Boston Terrier, raw dog food when she was a puppy, and I had to stop. Maybe if I didn't have small children (who get licked in the face—Eeeew...) I could have kept it up.
But I think most people opt for store-bought dog food because they can't/won't do raw dog food, and they think it has to be one or the other. Like I said, our vet tells us that cooked real food is better for our dog, if raw isn't going to work for us. So that's what we do.
When I think about what my dog needs to be healthy I think about what I need to be healthy. I need purified water, essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9), probiotics, fat (like coconut oil and olive oil), protein, and good organic food with lots of vitamins and minerals.
Also, like our family, our dog is gluten-free. If you follow me on facebook then you know that Cherry recently got glutened. Oh boy was she a sick little doggie. She was a mess for a good four days. Some of you may relate.
So here is what I make for Cherry:
Ground Turkey, cooked
Eggs, lightly cooked
Wild Alaskan Salmon. I use canned that I get at Costco.
Veggies (cooked or lightly cooked):
What I add to the bowl at each feeding:
Coconut oil (Cherry adores coconut oil. She doesn't care if it's solid or liquified.)
or Olive oil (I alternate coconut and olive oil. I don't do both at the same time.)
Probiotics. I use our dairy-free people probiotics. Just open the capsule and sprinkle it on. Make sure that they don't contain xylitol—which only a chewable probiotic might. Xylitol is deadly to pets.
How I do it:
I make up one or two ingredients from each category at a time, so our dog gets different foods every week. One batch lasts me about five days, and I found it's best to keep each category stored separately, in it's own container in the refrigerator. When I combine everything (meat, grains, veggies) it doesn't last as long, and I only like to cook for Cherry every five days.
As a doggie treat, Zoe and Ashley give Cherry walnuts, which she loves.
I've also read that kelp is good to add to homemade dog food, and I was thinking about trying it for Cherry. If you make your own dog food, please tell us what you add in the comments :-)
PS It just occurred to me that Cherry is a small dog. If I had a big dog I would make much more at a time, and freeze it in meal size portions.
UPDATE: Thanks so much for suggesting calcium for Cherry! We got this one: Animal Essentials Natural Seaweed Calcium and I'm really excited about it :-)