Thursday, 25 April 2013

Make your own, cheap, but good, dog food!

A few weeks ago we got ourselves a new (to us) dog!

She is a 12 year old Kelpie happy. They called her a Kelpie cross in the ad but she wags her tail so much that she must really be a Kelpie happy!

Sue is a rescue dog and had spent 12 years tied up in some ones backyard before she went to some carers who helped her put on a bit of weight and learn a few manners before we came along and she chose to live with us.

For her first few days with us, she didn't want to eat much as she was pretty anxious. Everything was strange and exciting and she had so much to explore. Cupboards that needed examining, chickens that needed to be sniffed, drawers that needed looking into and mirrors that needed to very cautiously checked out.

She needed to learn to walk on a lead (she still needs to learn to walk on a lead mind you!) and be friendly to other dogs. She is getting there but its a slow process but fun to be part of.

The other thing that needs to be done is to find a way to feed the dog that is good for the dog as well as good for the pocket and mental health of the owners.

We played around with commercial food for a week before I decided that I would "make" some dog food for her and hope that she liked it.

Here's what I did...

I went to the butcher and bought a bag of frozen pet mince for $1, bought it home and defrosted it.
and popped it into a big pot with a couple of litres of water and set it to cook on the stovetop

I added what ever veges were handy, some garlic and a blob of vegemite as she seemed to like to lick it off my fingers... (she is an Australian dog after all!)

I had some herbs in the garden that I popped in as well - might as well make it flavorsome for her since I'm going to the trouble...

I also popped in a couple of handfuls of rice and one of pasta.
The rice soaked up a lot of the water, which was handy but unintentional once it had cooled.

Then I spooned it all into old takeaway containers, labeled them...

And put them in the freezer until they are needed.

Sue is a medium sized dog and eats about one of these containers a day on average (depending on how much rubbish she has managed to con out of people during the day) and I'm getting at least seven containers out of the kilo of meat I get from the butcher. She gets various dog biscuits with her dinner (and during the day if she is really lucky!)

I don't really know what the current thinking is on dog food is, but our last dog got table scraps (meat and veg) sandwich crusts, raw meat, cooked meat, bones, the odd bit of birthday cake, some commercial dog food, some homemade dog food, whatever he could find in the garden including, sadly, the odd blue tongue lizard. He lived to be sixteen and a half so we will be keeping the same regime for this pup (minus as many blue tongue lizards as possible)!

The butcher told me that the kilo bags of meat were the ends and scraps that they couldn't sell, just thrown through a coarse mincer. He reckoned the type of meat varies from day to day depending on what they are cutting up at the time so each bag is a bit different. I'm guessing there's a fair bit of fat in it but I didn't see much while I was cooking and I haven't got any gel or congealed fat in the cold pot of food - so maybe I'm wrong...

At any rate - Miss Sue eats it and seems to be thriving!

Score card: 
Green-ness: 3/5 I don't think its very green to own a dog but this one is desexed (as was our last one)
Frugal-ness: $1 a week for dog food...! That's gotta be a frugal way to go!
Time cost: About an hour from defrost to pack in the freezer.
Skill level:  Just making a stew! The husband thought it was for us one night and it has been taken out of the freezer, mistaken for "human food" a few times already!
Fun-ness: Good fun to watch her eat it and knowing EXACTLY what she is eating!

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