I don’t remember exactly how long ago it was, maybe about 7 years or so, but time is funny so it could have been 4 or 10 too, who knows! But there was a recall on one of the dog foods (dry, as they were also getting wet) we gave the dogs. We were giving them expensive stuff- grain free mixed with real ingredient wet food because Bell had decided she was bored of the dry stuff. It wasn’t like we were giving them garbage. But, we asked ourselves, why aren’t we cooking for our pups, our babies??
At first it started out as a real project. It was something new we were trying, so the novelty hadn’t quite worn off yet! We pretty much made a chicken soup with rice minus most of the liquid and spices. First the whole cleaned chicken would go in the water. After that cooked a little we’d add a mixture of brown and white rice. We’d chop up carrots, celery, and whatever other veggie we wanted to add. After everything was cooked (the good thing about cooking chicken for dogs is it is okay to have it a little under-cooked. Obviously if you are handling it, you want to be very careful about your working surfaces and keeping your hands clean, but the pups won’t get sick from eating it if it is a little underdone) we’d let it cool a little and wrestle the chicken out with tongs on to a brown paper bag opened on a cutting board to prevent too much “dripage” on the counter. We’d let that cool a little longer and then we went on in! We’d break down the chicken, getting every last bit out and shredded, to go back in the pot with the rice and veggies. We usually walked away with a couple of finger burns because we’d never have the patience to wait until it really was cool enough.
And so we went for quite a while making the food this way. It was hard to tell at first if they were eating enough or not enough. There’s no suggested serving size when you are cooking from scratch! But, the dogs naturally really enjoyed it. Their energy level seemed good…even when we’d run. They did appear to lose a little weight, but that wasn’t a bad thing! We were a little nervous when we first went to the vet after our new culinary design. But, all looked good and the bloodwork came back great for their age. I think I remember the exact words being something like… “It looks perfect, usually with dogs their age there’s something a little off, but theirs both look perfect.” That was a great feeling hanging up the phone after that call…. tears of joy for sure!
We’ve since made the process more user-friendly. At first, we changed to exclusively brown rice. Then after Sahara got sick we took out rice completely. We’ll talk more about that another time. But, don’t worry, Bell gets her carbs in when we have pizza and the like! Now we use mostly frozen vegetables and we rotate from combinations of ground beef, chicken (usually boneless thighs), ground turkey, salmon, and occasionally some kind of steak. Sometimes we’ll add a berry or apple or something to switch it up. If we juice, she gets all the pulp mixed in. Now that everyone is gaga over pumpkins in the Fall, Bell gets a little taste of it too with fresh pumpkin mixed in her food.
Most nights, she also gets a couple dollops of the really good cottage cheese https://www.amazon.com/Good-Culture-Organic-Cottage-Classic/dp/B01M2XG9N7?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 (full fat as she doesn’t get too much fat in her regular food) I’ve told you about before on top of her food. Sometimes, she’ll get a nice sunny-side up egg on top. As much as I am sure she likes a little variety, it is good for us too to change it up a bit instead of getting in the same old cooking rut.
I’m not going to lie, there have been a couple of nights where we may have briefly contemplated being lazy and not cooking dinner for us and eating the dog food instead. But, as of the writing of this, we have not done so yet ;).