Saturday, August 11, 2018

Home Cooked Pet Food

Charlie, Jack and Marlene by the lake early in the morning!

Hi Everyone :)

I promised I would keep you all updated about how things are going with the pets and their new home cooked diet. This is a LONG post and chock-full of information. I don't expect all of my friends to get through the whole thing but anyone who may be interested in switching their pets to a home cooked diet might benefit from this post. If this subject isn't your cup of tea, that's okay! :) I'll be back to my usual blogging and visiting all of you friends very soon! :) xxx

In short: It's going really well!! 

#1: They LOVE it...I'm the best fur-mommy ever, just ask them! ;)

#2: We are weening Oscar the cat off his allergy meds a little at a time and so far, he's doing very well, no symptoms! Yahoo!

#3: Our nervous nelly of a husky, Marlene - her digestion has improved so much, we're so pleased about that.

#4: No mystery ingredients!! Though I feel like my hands smell of chicken liver and pork constantly gah! ;)

#5: I haven't spent any more money on ingredients than I have on kibble in the past. I expect that some months, depending on the prices, it will be more and some months it will be less. I just ordered a pressure canner and when the budget allows, we'll be buying lots of supplies to can when they are on sale! :) So exciting...

Research: I can't begin to tell you how many hours I spent researching home cooked, raw and kibble diets for dogs and cats. There is A LOT of information out there, but finding credible sources was a little more difficult. I suggest reading a book written by a holistic or even an enlightened veterinarian who isn't just trying to push the expensive kibble on you. There are many YouTube channels out there too from credible sources (like vets). But really...if you come across a person who has been feeding their pets a home cooked diet for YEARS...and the pets are healthy? That's a good enough source for me!

This blog post is divided into FIVE main parts:

Part One: Supplementation
Part Two: The Food
Part Three: The Amounts We Feed
Part Four: The Cost - our cost in our area of Canada
Part Five: The Recipes

I also have a section that lists all of my sources. So AWAY WE GO!!! :)

Little Marlene

Now's the time for this: 

*Disclaimer: I'm adding this paragraph because I've had some, let's say, rude, pushy, know-it-all stern advice given to me in the past regarding my pets and it's never appreciated so PUHLEEZE...any armchair "experts" out there who think they know better than me? You have the right to your opinion, but keep it to yourself okay? Thanks! But I am very open to all friendly advice, suggestions and comments! Please let me know what you do for your own pets if you like. We can all learn from each other!*

Part One: Supplementation

Calcium: Our pets need calcium and they may not get enough in a home cooked diet so supplementation is necessary to balance the phosphorus and keep them in good health (strong bones and teeth, primary body functions such as blood coagulation, muscle contraction, and nerve function...). Because our pets don't eat bones, we have opted for egg shells. Dried and ground up egg shells provide them with a good level of calcium. We never run out of egg shells!

Multi-vitamin: We're none of us perfect...so just to make sure they get all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids they need, we give them a kelp multi-vitamin powder supplement. It's not too expensive and for us, it's more like insurance to make sure they are healthy. 


Glucosamine: This isn't vital for their diets, but I wanted to mention it. Marlene and Jack are getting older so we give them a glucosamine supplement daily. We've really seen a big difference in Marlene's legs...remember Bambi? Marlene was doing that, my gosh, her legs would just give out on her...and she had a lot of trouble just a month ago climbing the stairs, now she bounces off them like she's wearing springs on her paws! This stuff really works well. For Jack, it's prevention considering the weirdness that happened to him over the winter...still shaking my head over that one. If you need to kill time, I wrote about that in three posts (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3).

Pro-Biotic Powder: Just for Marlene because of her poor digestion - we've been supplementing her diet with this for years...maybe one day we can cut it out completely. The other dogs get some homemade yogurt each day but Marlene needs a little boost.

Cranberry: Our poor Marlene came to us with a host of problems. She had crystals in her bladder which led to frequent urinary tract infections. Since we've been giving her a cranberry pill daily, she's had no issues. I also did research on what foods could make her condition worse, and the only thing I came up with was that too much spinach could exacerbate the crystal problem, so we just won't use that in their food.

A note: Marlene was prescribed the Royal Canine Urinary Formula Kibble. This quote is from the Royal Canine website: "Increased sodium chloride content encourages consumption of water"...in this kibble. Eegad.

Coconut Oil: We all know the benefits of coconut oil for us humans and I wanted to make sure it was okay for the pets too. I read an article by the American Kennel Club that stated the many benefits of coconut oil for dogs...they had me at "eliminates doggy odour" lol...but it's also very good for the coat and the skin. I found the same information out there for cats, and a bonus is that it helps with hairballs. The only downside is that if you feed them too much, it could result in diarrhea. So, we don't overdo it.

Part Two: The Food

Meat

This is the first time I've ever fed cats a home cooked diet. From all of my research, I came to the decision that the cats need 90-95% of their diet to be meat, so that's what I'm following. 

The dogs...well it varies depending on what expert you refer to.

Spencer and Winston, my late great Pugs - miss those boys!


I used to have 2 pugs and their diet consisted of 30% meat with an egg each day. I switched them to a home cooked diet when my little fella Winston was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Failure. I was told he likely had about 6 months to live. He was nine years old when diagnosed. With my home cooked diet and a good pro-biotic, he lived another SIX years and his Stage 4 downgraded to a Stage 2. My other pug Spencer lived to the age of 19. So for me, the proof is in my own experience, the diet I cooked for them worked to keep them as healthy as they could be.

Why Kibble Scares Me: My pug Winston had been eating the kibble that was recalled in 2007, the Melamine contaminant recall where melamine was found in the vegetable protein sources that were imported from China.

Definition of Melamine: A white crystalline compound made by heating cyanamide and used in making plastics.

Tens of thousands of dogs, cats and farm animals developed and/or died of organ failure due to this poisoning (**these are statistics I found on the FDA website). It was never proven that this was the cause of my Winston's kidney failure, but what a coincidence... More reason to avoid kibble...we just don't know what's really in it. There are horror stories out there that I will not share, but they are disturbing.

So...what meat do they get? Whatever is on sale is what they get. Anything under $3 a pound is what I buy and so far it's been a mix of chicken and pork. I slow cook the meat after taking the skin and fat off. With the broth, I cook the brown rice (thanks Joyce!) so that nothing goes to waste. The cats also get a wee bit of chicken liver in their meat ration (too much liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity).

Cat Days of Summer

Brown rice

This is a good source of energy and fiber for them. It also contains some protein and they just love it. As I mentioned, I cook it in the bone broth and they get so many good things from that. If you want to read an article on the benefits of bone broth, I'll add a link in my sources section. We should all be drinking it!

Vegetables

There is a long list of vegetables (and fruits!) that the pets can eat. Again, there is a lot of conflicting information out there, so I took my source from my books. We feed the dogs sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green and yellow beans, peas and carrots. Again, whatever is on sale and in season is what I'm going for so this list may change. Eventually I would like to grow enough vegetables to feed them year round so I don't have to buy them anymore.

As for the cats, they really don't need vegetables as they are true carnivores. Any vitamin, mineral or amino acid they may be lacking in their diet will be fulfilled by the Kelp supplement that we give them. Plus...I TRIED...they do NOT like veggies, finicky felines.


Eggs

These are SO good for your pets, as long as they are cooked! I poach the eggs each morning for the dogs. So far, the cats aren't getting any but that again, may change.

Keep those egg shells! Rinse, dry and bake for about 20 minutes at 300F. Then grind them up into a powder for that calcium supplement.


Part Three: The Amounts We Feed

Dogs (1/3 meat, 1/3 brown rice, 1/3 veggies + extras and supplements):
Charlie (65 pounds)...she weighed 90 pounds last winter...big girl was a little overweight. Her ideal weight is 65 pounds so we are feeding her accordingly. She gets a generous 3 cups of mixed food a day.
Marlene (55 pounds)...she gets a level 3 cups of food a day.
Jack (25 pounds)...he gets a level 1 1/2 cups of food a day.

Charlie and Marlene get 1/2 tsp of egg shell and Kelp each day. Jack gets 1/4 tsp of egg shell and Kelp each day. They all get a little homemade yogurt and a small 1/8 tsp of coconut oil. Charlie gets a whole egg. Jack gets a half. (Plus all of the other supplements)

Oscar the Cat

Cats (90% meat and organ meat, 10% brown rice + supplements):
Dana, Leo and Oscar all weigh about the same. Most cats between 10-15 pounds will eat between 4-6 ounces of food per day.

Leo eats 1/2 cup of food per day. Dana and Oscar eat a generous 1/3 cup of food per day. Oscar gets some fish broth on his food because he's so darn picky. That gets him eating his entire portion!

We feed them twice a day. All of these amounts are based on their activity levels too which is L for LAZY. :)

It's difficult to find information on how much to feed each critter. It's case by case depending on their weight and activity level.

We will weigh them monthly to make sure we are not over or under feeding them. We will be watching them and adjusting the amounts accordingly if needed.

Part Four: The Cost - our cost in our area in Canada 
(our budget for kibble/meds was $290 a month for the 6 pets - not including the Glucosamine, Pro-Biotic Powder, Cranberry pills and Coconut Oil)

Here is August's example:

Pork roasts ($2.99/pound) - 56 pounds $168
Chicken thighs (skin on , bone-in)  ($1.88/pound) - 25 pounds $47
Chicken liver - 2 pounds $12
Eggs - 4 dozen $8
Veggies - 25 pounds $23
Brown Rice - 11 pounds $12
Kelp Supplement - $28

Total: $298.00 

NOTE: I bought too much rice for one month...I may need more veggies though...I have more meat than I needed for the month of August so some of this cost will roll over into September. But basically (for now) I need about 70 pounds of meat each month for all of the pets. The meat is the big cost. And we are lucky enough to have access to a year-round market with very reasonably priced fresh vegetables.

Jack: The Apple of My Eye

I know how expensive this can be for people, especially those who have big dogs (Dianna!)...and all we can do is our best for them. Up until recently, we were kind of drowning in vet bills. Every few weeks it seems we had to call or go to the vet, it was getting to be way too much. And by the way? In March we were told that Jack would never be able to climb stairs again...JACK IS VIBRANT and bolting up and down the stairs like a puppy...trusting the vets blindly is not ever a good idea. It's the same with doctors. WE know our own bodies, we know our own pets. I'm not knocking modern medicine, but sometimes the fine line between profits and pet care is messed up.

Another Scary Kibble Bit: Taurine is an essential amino acid found in animal protein that is VITAL for the cat's health. In the 1970's many cats were dying of heart failure or going blind. After years, this was traced back to the deficiency of taurine in commercially-made regular and premium cat foods. Now, many companies manufacture taurine chemically to add to the cat food. Instead of using REAL meat protein, they can fill up the food with soy, corn, starches and chemicals as long as they add that taurine, they can label the pet food "complete nutrition".

We personally believe that health starts with what you eat. We are happy and proud, knowing that our pets are getting the best food we can afford to feed them. We hope that they continue to thrive and remain healthy and happy! After all, they are our fur-kids. :)

Part Five: The Recipes

Dog Food

I cook every three days or so. These ingredients make enough dog food for 3 1/2 days:

6 1/2 pounds meat (fat/skin trimmed)
9 cups cooked brown rice
9 cups mixed veggies (washed chopped, peels left on)

I slow cook the meat, remove any bones then use the broth to make the rice. I steam the veggies and use my hand blender to mush them up for better digestion. I have three containers in the fridge (meat, rice, veggies), enough for about 3 days of food, then I cook some more.

Leo and Dana on MY (former) porch love seat!

Cat Food

I cook every three days for the cats too. These ingredients make enough cat food for 3 days:

2.2 pounds meat (fat/skin trimmed)
1/4 cup chicken liver
1 cup cooked brown rice

I slow cook the meat, remove any bones and use the broth to make the rice. I mix the meat and rice together and add 2 1/4 tsp of egg shells, 1/4 tsp coconut oil and a large tsp of Kelp. This stays in the fridge and is good for about 3 days.

If you read all of this BRAVO AND THANK YOU! :) I hope the information I've shared is helpful! If you have any questions, ask me!!! :) Just remember I'm not any type of nutritional expert...just a gal wanting to do her best for her fur-kids. :) On my side bar under "Other Posts and Pages", I'll make sure to add a link to this post so it's easy to find.

Miss Charlie

Sources:

Books:
You Can Heal Your Pet, Elizabeth Whiter and Dr. Rohini Sathish
Holistic Pet Care, Shannon Hines
The Holistic Dog Book, Denise Flaim

Articles:

Products (that I'm NOT promoting, but that I am using)

YouTube Channels and Videos

33 comments:

wisps of words said...

HI there!!!!

Glad your pets are doing wonderfully!

Glad you did all that tedious searching!

Glad you have great recipes for them!

Glad you are such a conscientious pet owner!

Glad to know you!!!!!!!!!!

Hugssssssssss.....

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What lucky pets you have! Sounds like they're eating gourmet now! And I love how EVERYONE seems to have taken over your love seat, LOL.

wisps of words said...

And lovely photos of your precious pets!!!!!

Oh your camera is wonnnnnderful!!!!!!

:-))))

Sandi said...

Rain,

You just reminded me to take my vitamins. :) Thanks! They were dangerously close to a plate of brownies, but I resisted.

I am (very) allergic to cats. I was surprised to read here that they can be allergic to things too!

I think you must be the best fur-mommy ever. I wonder what people fed their dogs back in the days before the luxury of dog food companies. They must have done something like this. I imagine a farmer saving some scraps for the pets...maybe?

They had problems with melamine in baby formula a few years back.

I noticed your Spencer's eye. What happened? He was like a unicorn in a way. :)






jaz@octoberfarm said...

i, of course, read the entire post. twice! i don't know if i told you but use the skin to make the broth. refrigerate the broth overnight and just scrape the fat of in the morning before you make the rice. it adds lots of flavor. the W's get an egg each morning and they get yogurt at lunchtime too. just a couple tablespoons. they sure love this food. i always add either sweet potato or butternut squash and this fall they will get pumpkin in their food. i add carrots and spinach and some kind of beans...sometimes garbanzo...sometimes kidney or black beans. and they love the rice! i also always freeze some bone broth and when anyone is having a problem, they get a bowl a day and it seems to help almost everything.

Christine said...

Your dogs and cats have the best care, you are exceptional with them.

Rain said...

Thanks Wisps of Words :) Glad to know you too :) xx I could have kept researching for weeks, but I had to put a stop to it lol...there really is a lot of information out there!

Rain said...

Thanks Debra :) We joked that they are eating better than we are lol...yeah...my FORMER love seat, sigh...it has permanent cat and dog butt dents in it now lol!

Rain said...

Hi Sandi :) LOL...take those vitamins!!! ;) The cats and once in a while, the dogs too, have mystery allergies. It could be winter, could be summer. Their faces swell, they get itchy, Oscar the cat gets red spots on his eye lids, in his ears...Leo the cat gets "pimples" on his chin, Dana the cat lost all of the hair on his belly...Marlene has some kind of food allergy or just a very bad digestion...Charlie's face swells up every few months, but we think that's more to do with bug bites. So far Jack (knock on wood) has shown no allergy symptoms. The vets just want to jack them up on medication. We decided no way! And so far so good! :)

I imagine the same thing about feeding the dogs back in the old days. They likely hunted for a portion of their food too. As for my baby Spencer's eye...he was born with congenital eye disease and had his eye removed when he was 2 years old (he lived to 19). The vets kept prescribing more and more steroid drops for his eye, which caused problems with his pancreas...it was a really tough decision, but it was a good one. That eye was causing him a lot of discomfort, and he had no vision in it at that point. I used to call him "lefty" ;)

Rain said...

Hi Joyce :)) The bone broth from the chicken thighs (skin removed) turned out almost like a jelly when I put it in the fridge. Easy to scrape off that fat though! Interesting about the garbanzo beans...I watched a video from a lady who fed her dogs pinto beans too. Not a bad idea. Does is make them gassy? LOL I love bone broth, when we have tummy trouble, we have a bowl of that and it's like a cure-all! :) Your W's are lucky little chows! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Christine :) They are our children, irreplaceable! We do the best we can for them. :)

Snoskred said...

I did read all of this. One thought I had as I was reading it, when you said you need 70 pounds of meat each month.. would it be worth considering a deep freezer, a food saver, and buying a side of beef or lamb or pork direct from a local farmer?

We do not tend to use a lot of meat but what I do buy, I buy in bulk and foodsave it all. It is good in the freezer for up to 6 months if we foodsave it. And I wonder if maybe you could prepare your food and then foodsave that and freeze it, whether it would lose any of the nutrients or not?

We've been thinking about buying a side of beef for a little while and sharing it with friends and family because there is no way we would be able to make use of it all, but a local farm produces the most amazing beef and they do sell it in bulk at quite a cheaper rate.

If the price was right, I guess it might be worth considering. :)

For us humans whenever chicken breast is on special for half price we like to buy 5-10kg, trim it up the way we like it, and foodsave it all for later use. It might take us 45 minutes of food prep to get that 5-10kg the way we want it, and then 15-20 minutes of foodsaving, but when it comes time to cook it, usually I take the packet out the day before and it defrosts in the fridge, and all I have to do is open the packet and put it into the pan.

Our kitties are very.. fickle. We tried feeding beef strips as advised by our vet, one will not even touch them, the other one ate a few each day for about a week and then turned her nose up.

Good on you for putting all this work in, I am sure your pets appreciate it more than you know. :)

Rain said...

Hi Snoskred :) Thanks for your comment! Yes! We do have a deep freezer and I have a food sealer (it's not a Food Saver, but it's the same idea). That's what I've been using so far and the freezer is plenty full of meat!! But our idea is that in the future we want to save electric bills; and possibly live a more off grid lifestyle, so the pressure canning is the direction I want to take.

I like the idea of buying a side of beef or pork though. We live in a little mountain village, there aren't many meat farms in this area, and I'll be honest, I haven't done too much research. The first thing I thought about is that I need to find a butcher, but the closest one is about an hour's drive. I'm still looking into saving money on meat though. We are moving out of this province next year, and when we settle, I'm going to look more seriously into finding a farm where we can purchase some better quality meat for the fur-kids.

Oh gosh yes...the kitties are really fickle here too. Well, one of ours will eat anything, he's more like a dog lol...but the other two, you have to coax a little. Thanks for the nice words...it feels good to feed them home cooked meals! I just wish we could afford organic meats!!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Your dogs are very lucky pets to have you.

deborah harvey said...

read that cooked meat for cats needs taurine supplement.
got powdered and sprinkled some on the gerber baby meat i fed to our oldest cat.
have had to switch dog to people food--allergic to eggs. as you say, you don't know what is in the commercial food.
i switched his wet dog food but it was bothering him somehow, so it is people rations for him.. with occasional butter pats for a treat.
thanks for coconut oil anti dog whiff properties. our dog is the doggiest smelling dog i think i've ever met. will try the oil in small doses in his food. we use coconut and olive mostly so it is here at hand. coconut thought to fend off alzheimer's in people. delicious in cookies in place of butter..

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

For several years I cooked our Fuzzy Pom's food, but had to quit for a while because I was having some health problems and the extra cooking was a problem. I have been thinking of starting cooking for him again, because I worry about what may be in his kibbles. We are very limited in the types of dog kibbles he can eat because he is allergic to eggs, corn, and wheat. I worry about what could end up being in kibbles, and since he is nearly 14 years old and a small dog, it wouldn't take much of a chemical or ingredient mix up at some factory to do him in.

He is only 8 lbs. So finding enough meat on sale for him was not too cost prohibitive. We also gave him a high quality low fat cottage cheese, that doesn't have bunch of chemicals in it, for calcium. He never had a problem with dairy product allergies. He is very particular about what vegetables he will eat.

Do you ever give your dogs regular (not sweet) potatoes, or do regular potatoes cause problems for dogs? I used to give Fuzzy regular potatoes (cooked) for extra carbohydrates/calories and cooked carrots because he likes them. Fuzzy loves plain potatoes, but sweet potatoes not so much.

RO said...

What a great idea, and it's pretty phenomenal that you took the time to research what's best. Pretty awesome! Hugs...RO

Rain said...

Thank you Starting Over :) It feels good to know what's in their food now! :)

Rain said...

Hi Deborah :) We use coconut oil for so many things here too...whenever the dogs have a little bite or an itch, we rub coconut oil on them. Same with the cats. I use it as a lip balm myself. And we use it to make our popcorn. Last summer one of the dogs got hives on his stomach and the coconut oil cleared it right up in a few days. I had a rash on my leg from the car seat and the coconut oil cleared that up in a few weeks too. Love the stuff! Jack is our doggiest of dog stinkers lol...I'm waiting to see if the coconut oil actually works for that doggie smell!

Thanks for the information about taurine. I'm going to do more research on this because I read that cooking doesn't affect taurine levels in the meat...but that if you cook it in too much water (boiled), then the taurine leeches out of the meat into the water...so if you discard the water, since taurine is water soluble, you discard the taurine too. I also read that dark meat and organ meat contains more taurine. Our cats get chicken thighs and some liver and I slow cook it in a scant amout of water. I use the leftover broth to cook the rice they eat and most of that cooking water gets blended into the meat again.

I appreciate what you said, because I do want to make sure they get their taurine, I'll do more research and report back! If they need supplementation, then that's what I'll do for sure! Do you just buy the human grade kind or one specific for cats?

Rain said...

Hi Susie :) Thanks for your comment! It's true that we never know what the heck is in that kibble. You're right, one screw up and it could be a disaster...I won't get into some of the horror stories I've read about, it's very disturbing.

If your little Fuzzy is only 8 pounds, maybe you could even afford organic meat. That's what I would love to be able to afford one of these days! Cottage cheese is a great idea. Our dogs seem okay with some dairy, but we give it to them very rarely.

I don't give the dogs too many white potatoes because I read they could be hard for them to digest. Our Marlene's digestion is awful. At one point she had diarrhea for a week, and it's all due to her nerves. It's firework/thunderstorm season and every summer it's the same thing. For a while I only gave her white potatoes and some chicken breast because she couldn't tolerate white rice (at that time brown rice didn't occur to me)...she seemed better but, sorry for the "too much information" here...her poops got all jelly and slimy...almost looked like a sausage casing around them. This is a sign of intestinal irritation. When I switched her from white potatoes to brown rice, her poops became normal again. They LOVE white potatoes though.

I try to get my information from credible sources. On PetMD, they say that white (cooked) potatoes are okay for dogs, but could cause intestinal irritation. I used to feed my pug Spencer white potatoes and he was fine, but again, not every day. I think, just like for us, variety is the key.

The sweet potatoes are mostly for fiber and nutrients, but you can vary the veggies. Here's a link I found of what fruits and veggies dogs can eat. It's from the American Kennel Club, so I would say it's credible: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/natural-foods/fruits-vegetables-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/

I hope that helps!

Rain said...

Thanks RO :) There are so many conflicting opinions out there...I feel like I STILL haven't done enough research on this!! :s

Kristina said...

I used to make homemade food for the dogs when they all lived here. Found a good book on it at the library. I'm just now getting around to catch up on blogs. Have a great weekend.

Rain said...

Hi Kristina :) Long time to speak :) I hope your summer if bountiful! I haven't quite caught up on blogs myself, that'll happen after Labour Day I am guessing! Have a great weekend yourself! :)

Harry Flashman said...

It's a lot of work and expense, but I am sure the animals are better off for it. We used to feed our dogs high end dog food that was dry, and we mixed it with canned food. Now that we only have old Tuggy, and she has some problems chewing anything hard, we give her the canned dog food. Not as good as what you make, but she likes it.

Rain said...

Nice to hear from you Harry :) So far the expense hasn't been too much more than what we had to buy for the prescription kibble so I'm happy about that. We are also finding that the cats eat less than I had planned for them, so we'll save a wee bit on meat each month, though Deborah Harvey has me thinking I need to do a little more research and add a bit of Taurine supplement for the cats. Luckily it's not to pricey, an $11 bottle should last months. Hope all is well on your side of the mountains!! :)

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I made dog food last month but not for any particular reason other than I had 5 lbs of chicken thighs that were out of date and green beans that had bug bites. So I cooked and ground up the chicken pieces bones and all along with the green beans. It smelled good and I think people could have safely eaten it but I decided not to eat dog food. Next I canned it in pint jars which took 90 minutes. The dog loved the left overs though seemed suspicious of why I was giving her such good stuff I guess as she usually get stuff from the store.

Rain said...

I'd be suspicious too Gill :) LOL...I just figure if I can eat it, why can't my dog and my cat? I can't wait to get the pressure canner...our freezer is getting full! Hope all is well at the farm, I'll be in touch soon! :)

Mama Pea said...

Holy moley! The time and effort you've gone through to make sure your animals are getting the best nutrition possible is mind-boggling. But just like with us humans, if you want your animals to have healthy, happy bodies and lives, you have to take the time and effort to insure the proper nutrients go into those bodies. What is sold commercially as dog or cat food these days is simply harmful. Can you believe all the health problems you've had with your fur-babies are cleared up (or almost cleared up) now? You have to spend certain amounts of your own time, energy, and effort to feed them the way you are but, as you very well know, vet bills can ring up the $$$ in a nanosecond. Plus, the animals suffer by not being in tip-top, healthy shape.

Again, what a wonderful thing you're doing for the animals, Rain. Just fantastically wonderful!

Pam Jackson said...

Hey, so glad it is going well with the furbabes and the diets. I am here to tell you that you have to do what you feel is right and what you can handle. Dakota don't eat much dog food, he gets chicken, pork and sometimes beef cooked for him. He gets veggies mixed with that and a teaspoon of can pumpkin. The pumpkin is due to issues he kept having with tummy pains, he tends to SUCK his food in and not chew well. The pumpkin helps. Lily gets it also with her food cause I fed it was great for hair balls. Keep on doing what you are doing...those babes are so loved.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Rain! Holy smokes you are outstanding!! :) What an incredible post - I read it right through but will read it again. And again :) I so would love to do this - I need to sit down and have a good think on all this. I would carry on with the cats and their store bought food for now due to Luna's diabetes that is in remission currently but I am so scared to change anything as I don't want that coming back. I am done with needles twice daily for her! Thank you for doing the hard research!

Rain said...

Mama Pea!!! :)) So nice to read your comment!!! Thank you so much for your words, it really feels good to take care of our pets as best we can. Up until recently we couldn't even think of the home cooked diet because of the meat cost...but when the vet bills started adding up, we went for it and we have NO regrets! They LOVE the food too...I need to take a video of them at meal time...the jumping, howling, whining, shaking from anticipation lol...Charlie has her mouth open before she gets to her plate as not to waste time when she shovels the food in there lol! :)

Alex said the other day, imagine we'd done this when S&P were here? I thought about it and wished we could have, that's for sure, but 5 dogs...4 bigs ones too, that would have been more than we could afford. And one day I really want to buy organic meat. Maybe once we move, we'll look for either a really good butcher or a local meat farm for that. Right now, the closets butcher is over a 90 minute drive away, but next time I'm in that area, I'm going to check it out.

The research was overwhelming actually, I kept getting more and more confused the more I read. I decided to only stick to credible sources first and take notes, then try to compare them to sources where I found people who had success for years. All that with my own experience and I think we've found a good plan here! But the research continues now to make sure the cats have everything they need too! :)

Rain said...

Hi Pam :)) Thank you! You are SO RIGHT...I can't be influenced by vets anymore...some of the videos I watched from former vets turned holistic vets were very eye opening. Jack is like Dakota, he swallows the food without chewing it half the time...but Jack has an iron stomach. I like the pumpkin because it's supposed to help with anal gland issues, Charlie has that issue. I wish our cats liked the veggies, but they turn their noses up. I may try to sneak in some pumpkin in their food to see if they notice!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Thanks so much! I did this mostly for you! :) I was going to email the information to you, but then I figured it would be good to share it publicly. Yeah, if Luna has diabetes...and is in remission especially, maybe a big change in diet isn't a good idea at the moment. You have to do what's in your heart too. When I switched Winston and Spencer to a home cooked diet, I'll be honest, my thought was that he is going to die in 6 months so I want him to enjoy every moment of life, and since those pugs LIVED for food, I wanted them to eat a good healthy and delicious diet. Little did I know it kept him healthy enough to fight that kidney failure for another six years! Of course, the vet was against it...I just found a new vet is all.

The key for the dogs is the meat cost. For our three, I used about 1 kg of meat a day. That's about $6.60 per day in meat alone, nearly $200 a month. But for us that's okay because the prescription food was so expensive that we aren't spending more than we would have anyway. I'm hoping I get lucky and continue to find meat for $3 and under a pound! Their protein can also be supplemented with eggs, beans and cottage cheese if they can tolerate dairy, this could bring the cost of meat down some months if the sales aren't suitable. We are hoping this will cut out all of those nasty vet bills that had been piling up for a while too. It's really a personal choice and you certainly don't want to break the bank to do this.

Like we discussed previously, there is also the idea of supplementing their kibble with SOME home cooked food. You know, for us, we'd love to feed them organic meat, now that would make their diet perfect for us...but it's the lesser of two evils. For us, kibble is evil lol...so home cooked with non-organic meat is still a step up.