Sunday, August 19, 2018

Home Cooked Pet Food - Revised...It's Canning Season!!! :)

Oscar, Dana and Leo


Hi Everyone :)

I want to send out a BIG THANKS to everyone who contributed to my last post about home cooked pet food. It's a learning curve and I'm STILL learning. Some of your comments had me doing more research. I want to share more information that I learned over the last few days, such as:

- Taurine amino acid supplement for the cats
- New cat food recipe
- Information on struvite bladder crystals in dogs (our Marlene has them)

$11.99 at Amazon, should last a few months

Cats and Taurine

As I've mentioned, Taurine is an ESSENTIAL amino acid that cats need in their diet for proper functioning of their bodies. Among so many scary conditions, the scariest condition due to lack of Taurine is heart failure and blindness.

Taurine is found mostly in muscle meat and organ meat. Problem is, when it's cooked, it leaches out of the meat and into the cooking water. If that cooking water isn't used, there isn't enough Taurine in the meat left for the cats to benefit from.

I'd been slow-cooking their chicken and chicken livers...but a lot of the broth wasn't used specifically for their food. Taurine is water soluble so I am quite sure that most of that amino acid was just sucked out of the meat in the cooking and only minimal amounts were left over. This worries me.

There are debates on which way to cook the meat to keep the most amount of Taurine in it etc...I'm not going to get into that here, but suffice to say, by reading my "Sources" list at the bottom of this post, you can form your own opinion! If you feed your cat a raw organic food diet, the likelihood of needing added Taurine is low if unnecessary. I'm not going to take any chances with our furry felines, so I've decided on a Taurine supplement. I found a reputable one, and it's not very expensive at all, so it's better safe than sorry here in this house. (Thanks for the heads up Deborah Harvey!!) xx

New Cat Food Recipe

Picky Oscar the Cat decided he didn't like chicken anymore...grrrr...so out of desperation, I just mashed up some of the dog's pork for him and he ate that up like it was nobody's business! Pork is a good meat for the cats and they all love it, so I'm not going to bother with the chicken anymore for them. I'll still add some chicken liver but their main meat will be pork from now on. Also, I've cut out the veggies completely from their diet, and only give a minimal amount of brown rice to bind their food - being the true (obligate) carnivores that they are, they simply do not need veggies and starch.

But again, to be safe, I give them a vitamin/mineral supplement. They absolutely LOVE that Kelp Help Supplement I give them so we've had no issues at all with picky eaters. Thank goodness!

I've made life so much easier on myself too. Instead of meticulous preparation...I have a container of pork in the fridge and a container of cooked brown rice. Each meal (twice daily), I measure out 3/4 cup of pork, a small 1/4 cup of brown rice and blend that up with some water. I divide it by three and add a half 1/8 tsp of coconut oil, the egg shells, Kelp Help and Taurine. 

They gobble it up.

Easy Peasy!

Marlene, Charlie and Jack - There's Always Room On The Porch!

Dogs With Struvite Bladder Crystals

I mentioned in my last post that Marlene has bladder crystals. She was doing fine for the last few years on the prescription kibble. But since I started the home cooked diet, I've noticed she seems irritated and has to pee a lot more in small quantities. This troubled me, I was thinking that maybe she was getting another urinary tract infection...or worse, that the crystals were forming again.

She was prescribed the Royal Canine S/O Urinary formula for her crystal problem a few years ago. It "encourages water consumption due to high levels of sodium chloride" (from the Royal Canine site). I wasn't too thrilled about that, though she was drinking a lot of water, which is good to keep her urine at a more acidic PH (which is what I want). 

This week I learned something else from a great, reputable ENLIGHTENED vet out there, Dr. Judy Morgan. Firstly she said if your vet tells you that your dog needs to be on prescription kibble for life, get a new vet. These foods were designed to treat a problem short term because they are not nutritionally sound. This is what Dr. Morgan says:

"Royal Canine S/O is made with inferior ingredients (Brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, natural flavors, salt, egg product, wheat gluten, potassium chloride, vegetable oil, powdered cellulose, monocalcium phosphate, fish oil, calcium sulfate, DL-methionine…) The reason this diet dissolves struvite crystals lies in one ingredient: DL-methionine, which is a urinary acidifier. You can feed your dog a higher quality diet and add a tablet of DL-methionine to achieve the same results." (I've paraphrased a little, but the link is in my "Sources" section below)

Marlene With Her Treasures

A Rain Rant is imminent.....

If a dog like Marlene eats too many grains and high carb veggies, it makes her urine PH too concentrated (alkaline) and this leads to the formation of struvite crystals in her bladder - which in her case, leads to UTI's. The added chemical in the S/O formula (DL-methionine) counteracts the high grain count in the kibble - so basically Royal Canine gets away with selling a kibble that is only about 30% meat "meal"...stuffing it with grains and crap because the DL-methionine does its job. Does this sound GOOD or even responsible or nutritional to you my friends??? The more I learn, the more I cannot stand industries, especially the profit-making veterinary industries...and as I always say, I KNOW there are some very good vets out there, I've met a few in my lifetime...but let me tell you, times have changed...if you have a good vet, it's like a good mechanic...KEEP THEM IN YOUR LIFE...I'm so passionate about my pets and I really want the best for them. It disgusts me how some companies/vets take their health so flippantly...(end of rant)

The way to control crystal formation isn't with expensive non-food from Royal Canine...it's to put Marlene on a high protein and low-carbohydrate diet. This means that for Marlene, I am now feeding her 75% meat and 25% veggies that are low-carbohydrate. Of course, she still gets all of her supplements as well. The brown rice is SO high in carbs, I've cut that out completely.

Generally speaking, low-carb veggies are all veggies grown above ground...root veggies contain higher amounts of carbs. Carrot is a root veggie with a lower-ish carb count, so I'll be feeding Marlene a mix of carrots, green beans and peas. She can also eat lettuces, asparagus, broccoli, peppers...but for now I'll stick to the basics.

I read on another site that if your dog shows signs of urinary discomfort, you can put her back on the Royal Canine S/O for a month or so to help dissolve the crystals, then start the high protein diet from scratch. This should keep her safe from crystal formation in the long run.

I am going to monitor my troubled little husky gal and in a week's time if she doesn't improve, I will put her back on that kibble to help her; then in a month or so, ease her back to a high protein home cooked diet.

I also have PH strips to monitor her urine. Wish me luck with that! :)


Another thing...I've changed the way I feed the dogs too. Instead of preparing a mix of their food all in advance...I do the same as the cats. I have the meat, cooked rice and blended veggies in three containers in the fridge and I just measure it all out at each meal and add the supplements. It makes life SO much easier on me!

******************************* PART DEUX *******************************


IT'S CANNING SEASON!!!

I bought a pressure canner!!! Woo hoo!! An investment into my frugal future! :)


I used it for the first time during the weekend and canned 14 jars of beans. It was a little scary at first...you've likely heard the horror stories of pressure canners exploding and other such fables lol...Okay, I'm sure it's happened - but if you follow the instructions you'll be fine - I was! :)

I could easily go nuts on the canning right now...but I have to remember that there is a big move in my near future and I don't want to haul cans of food with me on the move...so I'm trying to only can what I will use for the winter months! 


Having said that, I also got my annual EIGHTY pounds of tomatoes canned in the water bath canner too! 48 jars for the winter!


I canned today too! Strawberry jam, marinara sauce and nectarines! I bought 8 pints of strawberries and it made 8 little jars of jam. I would love to make more jam, but yikes, the price of strawberries is NOT cheap this year! And so far, my failed strawberry "crop" has yielded THREE, count 'em THREE strawberries! I'm keeping my eyes open when I go to the market to see what fruits I can get to can this year for the winter too.

I have some more plans for canning. Once the potatoes are harvested, I'll be canning those since I don't have a root cellar. I'm also going to get another 40 pounds or so of tomatoes next time I go to the market, to make Marinara sauce for pizzas, spaghetti sauce and salsas.


My green tomato count so far is 66 on the plants. When they're all ready to pick, which I'm assuming will be all at the same time (!!), I may have to can some of those too. I'm getting lots of nice sweet cherry tomatoes right now as well!

The canner is such a good investment. This will save a lot of money during the winter, that's for sure. And it's fun to do! :) The next thing I want to try canning is chicken, spaghetti sauce with meat, chili and some home made soups. 

I'm excited about building my future pantry and stocking up! :) My dream for the future is to never leave my home all winter and just eat from the window garden, hopefully a nice greenhouse and the pantry! :) Wouldn't that be nice??? :)


Sources:

Articles About Taurine


Articles About Struvite Bladder Crystals 

24 comments:

Harry Flashman said...

Hey, great to see you blogging again. I came by to check just 11 minutes after you posted! ;-)

You're learning a lot about animal care. I'll have to pay attention and see what we can apply down here from your experiments and work. With all our cats, that's the biggest animal species we have number wise now. Rufus and Belle died, so we only have Tuggy left in the canine arena. But we still have a multitude of chickens, and the two ferrets.

Looks to me like the canning is working out great. That must be tremendously satisfying for you both.

Harry

Mama Pea said...

I'm so impressed with your researching skills. That's an area my dear husband is strong in (thank heavens) because I simply don't have the patience to delve into and ferret out enough information to get the whole picture as you do. Once again, kudos to you for caring enough about your animals to give them the happy, healthy life they all deserve to have.

Wow, what a canning machine you've become in short order! And the produce you've gotten from your container garden qualifies you to write a book on same. Actual, honest-to-goodness, hands-on experience such as you've had is invaluable. But how would you have time to write a book with EVERYTHING else you're doing?? Hugs.

Christine said...

wow you are all set for winter!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm impressed by your dedication to canning. It's a lot of work! My Mom used to can garden produce when I was a little girl. No meat though. She was scared to death of botulism.

wisps of words said...

Your pets, make pretty pictures. :-))))))

Wonderful that you are now so knowledgeable about all their foods!

And canning! Wow you are doing great. You know how to "put away" or "put up" foods, as the old sayings go. Back when this was a way of life. Before all this big-super-market-world came into being.

Back.... When people knew, what they were eating.... Because they had prepared and "put it away," themselves. Not something which can be said, of eating from the supermarket.

Hugs....

jaz@octoberfarm said...

well, you have been one very busy woman! i'm not canning this year. i'm freezing! i find canning to be rather contagious. once i start i go a bit crazy. i made 50 cups of dog food yesterday. we are still hot here. how is your weather?

Tewshooz said...

Cats do not need, nor can they digest veggies and grain, being the strict meat eaters they are. Why would you want to bind their meat with brown rice? If they can tear a rabbit or mouse apart, they have no problem eating just meat off their plate.

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) Thanks :) Now I just have to find time to follow all of your blogs back!! It's such a busy season lately! The canning is wonderful! I wish I could can an entire winter's worth of food...that's the plan one day honestly, but it's an investment with the Mason jars. Plus you have to have enough food to can! Right now the garden isn't big enough for that, but one day it will be! :)

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :) Thanks :) I'm trying to keep them healthy. After all I've learned from reading up about kibble and canned foods...it's scary. It's like us human buying processed foods. Ha ha ha...write a book? Yes, it's on my wish list I have to be honest! ;)

Rain said...

Hi Christine :) Yes!!! All set! Though I wish I could can MORE!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Debra :) Thank you :) Oh yes, the botulism...well, I was scared too. But if you follow the instructions completely, it is highly unlikely. It has to do with the temperature and pressure in the canner, once it reaches that pressure, it kills everything and as long as your jars seal, you will be okay! :)

Rain said...

Hi Wisps of Words :) I like that, Putting Away or Putting Up my food. :) One day it will be a lot more, but for now I have to take it easy or I could very well get carried away lol...Hugs! :)


Rain said...

Hi Joyce :) Right now my freezer is full of pork for the dogs and cats!! I love my deep freezer, but I honestly feel like canning is better in the long run, things just keep longer. Oh my gosh 50 cups lol...you're better than me!! I can only do maybe 3 days worth of pet food at a time! I hope the W's are doing well!!! You would HATE my weather right now trust me, enough said lol! ;)

Rain said...

Tewshooz, the rice binds the meat to a consistency where one of the cats (Oscar) will only eat it that way. Otherwise, there would only be meat.

Magic Love Crow said...

Wow, you go girl! You are rocking it Rain!! Big Hugs to your fur babies and you!

Mary said...

Your canning photos have left me breathless sweet Rain! You are just amazing in what you get done.
Winter cooking will be fabulous in your kitchen I just know.
Hope you are well and having a great summer.

I met up with Michael last week in Fort Collins, CO before he moved to Kentucky. We had such a great time. Hopefully we'll all be together again for Scribble Picnic days once he and Alexandra have settled in.

Hugs - Mary

Rain said...

Thanks Magic Love Crow!! They are all so happy :)

Rain said...

Hi Mary :) Oh the plans I have for the pantry!!! :) It's so much fun, thanks for your comment. :) Oh how fun that you met Michael!! :) I'm looking forward to the next picnic!!! My summer is going so well, I hope yours is too! :)

Rachel said...

You're such a loving pet mom! I appreciate the info, especially on the dog food. Our Velcro was prescribed food to control his diabetes, now I'm wondering about long-term. It would be too difficult to do homemade for him at this point (we often don't have time to cook for ourselves!), but maybe in a few months this will be a possibility.:)

Rain said...

Hi Rachel! :) So nice to see your comment :)) Hope all is well with you. :) You're very welcome! If your Velcro has diabetes, I think you need to really do some research on what and what he can eat. Our pets for the most part are just fine with allergy issues...by the way, they've all cleared up completely. The only one with problems is Marlene and since I put her on the high protein diet, she is much better, not peeing so many times and not showing irritation! I hope you can do it! :)

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Rain, It looks like a full time job making the food and keeping your pets fed. Your canned stuff looks so great. I have always been afraid to use a pressure canner and now trying to figure out my fatigue I don't have much energy for that. We do freeze a lot of things but canning is best in case the electricity goes off! Nancy

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :) We have a deep freezer, but I really love the idea of having a pantry where the food can sit for years. Doesn't work like that with the freezer. I've tried every method I can find to seal the food and store it, but after about 8 months or so, freezer burn. The pressure canner was a great investment! But yes, it is intimidating at first!!! As for the pet food, I've found a rhythm...I may spend about 2 mornings a week in preparation, then it takes maybe 10 minutes to dish it all out each meal time. It feels good to know I'm doing this! :)

Stefanie said...

You have got it down! You are super owner for sure.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Wow you are doing fantastically well. Loving all the canning. Beautiful. where are you planing to move to or are you still looking. It is exciting to search and find a property that suits a person's lifestyle and then mold it the rest of the way to be your home. Very Best!!