Healthy Home Cooking for Dogs

Since 2007 - the year of the deadly pet food recalls - many pet owners are preparing their pet’s food and/or treats at home. Being able to hand pick ingredients is a huge plus when feeding pets with certain medical conditions or food allergies. Cooking for your pet is a lot like cooking for yourself. There are just a couple of important things to remember.

• Excessive cooking robs food of essential nutrients.
• Grain is not a required component for dog & cat food. 
• Veggies should be pureed or chopped finely after removing the outer cellulose layer. Meals with high vegetable content will add bulk to the stool and can often cause gas.
• Do not worry about every meal being in perfect balance. Balance is achieved over time.
• Never, ever feed cooked bones! Cooked bones can splinter and do harm to your pet.
• Calcium to Phosphorus balance is important. For every pound of boneless meat, you should supplement with ½ teaspoon of ground eggshell powder (calcium).   

So which ingredients should you use in home-cooked doggie dinners and treats? And which ingredients should you avoid?

Healthy Foods:
Meats – Use a variety of meats, poultry and fish. Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Turkey, Rabbit, Venison and their organ meats, Salmon (no skin) Sardines, Jack Mackerel and other whole fish. 

Vegetables - The following vegetables can also be used. Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory, Green Beans, Greens (Dandelion, Kale, Swiss Chard, Parsley), Okra, Parsnips, Peas, Pumpkin, Sprouts, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Turnips, Rutabagas. *All vegetables must be put through a food processor or finely chopped. Dogs cannot digest large pieces of vegetables well*.

Other Ingredients - Use Whole Eggs (including shell), Plain Yogurt, Low-fat Cottage Cheese, Alfalfa, Kelp, Barley or Wheat Grass, Garlic, Chlorella, Spirulina, Apples, Pears, Bananas, Parsley, Nettles, Walnuts, Almonds or Sunflower seeds. 

A good vitamin/mineral supplement, digestive enzymes and fish oil for omega 3's used on a daily basis will complete the meal! It is best to add the supplements just prior to feeding.

Foods to Avoid:
-Onions can cause anemia.
-Macadamia Nuts are very toxic even in small amounts.
-Grapes & Raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs if feed in large amounts.
-Chocolate & Caffeine are toxic.
-Xylitol (a natural sweetener found in some sugar-free gum or mints) is toxic.

Foods to Use Sparingly:
-Garlic can be beneficial in small amounts (1 small clove/20 pounds). Higher doses cause anemia.
-Nightshade vegetables such as potatoes (not sweet potatoes), tomatoes, peppers and eggplant may aggravate inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.


Chicken & Rice Dog Food
Ingredients Needed:
• 1/2 cup ground chicken breast
• 1/2 tbsp olive oil
• 1/4 cup cooked brown rice or cooked oats
• 1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese
• 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
• 1/4 cup pureed veggies (spinach, carrots, peas, etc)

Directions:  Cook meat in oil until it is cooked through. Stir in remaining ingredients. Let cool before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Basic Beef Stew
Ingredients Needed:
• 1lb ground meat
• 1 1/2 cups brown rice
• 4 cups finely chopped veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes)
• 5 cups chicken broth

Directions: Fry the meat until brown. Add rice and mix well. Add 3 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for five minutes. Add veggies and remaining broth, simmer very gently for about 20 minutes, until broth is absorbed. Add a little more broth if all the liquid cooks off. Cool and serve, or freeze for later.

Lamb Cake
Ingredients Needed:
• 3 cups ground lamb
• 1 egg
• 1 cup oatmeal
• ½ cup almond meal (blend small amounts of almonds in food processor or coffee grinder, until it forms a meal)
• 1 tbsp fat-free cottage cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine lamb, egg, oatmeal, almond meal, and cottage cheese in a bowl and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased cake pan or cupcake pan. Bake for about one hour or until browned on top and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool off completely. Optional: Ice the 'cake' with cream cheese and crumbled dog biscuits.

Turkey Omelets
Ingredients Needed:
• 1 egg
• 1-2 tbsp mashed potatoes
• 1/2 cup cooked turkey meat, diced
• 1/2 cup cooked, chopped vegetables of your choice

Directions: Heat a small amount of oil in a pan. Whisk together the egg and mashed potatoes. Add egg/potato mixture, turkey, and veggies to the pan, and cook until the egg is done, stirring constantly. Optional: Sprinkle grated non-fat cheese on top, and then cook a few more minutes more. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Salmon Cookies
Ingredients Needed:
• 1 small can salmon meat
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1 cup oatmeal, ground into coarse flour
• 1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add salmon and water to food processor, and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and pulse for a minute or two, until it forms a ball. Knead the mixture on floured surface until it forms a soft ball of dough. Roll out to a 1/8" to 1/4" thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Liver Crackers
Ingredients Needed:
• 2 lbs raw liver (chopped finely or ground in food processor)
• 4 eggs (beaten)
• ~1/2 cup of chicken broth
• 3 ½ cups flour
• 2 cups oatmeal (ground in a food processor)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jellyroll pan with wax paper and spray the wax paper with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the liver, eggs and chicken broth. Stir well. Add the flour and oatmeal to the mixture a little at a time. Spread the mixture evenly in the jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked in the center. Let cool, then loosen the cookies around the edges. Turn the pan upside down, remove the wax paper, and cut into bite-sized squares. Store in refrigerator or freeze.

Bone Appetit!

Against The Grain Pet Nutrition is a company that does things differently. We are a small business that is excited about offering pet owners better choices in pet nutrition. We believe that choosing appropriate pet food (be it commercial, raw or home prepared) is the most important factor in any pet's preventative health, convalescence and longevity.  Our name - Against The Grain - reflects our strong passion to provide pet owners with the knowledge to make healthy decisions about pet care even if we go ‘against the grain' of popular thinking.

To contact us:
1024 County Road 109
Montevallo, AL 35115

Phone: 205-665-9026
Fax: 205-665-5683
[email protected]