This is Your Pet. This is Pet on Pet Food…

Dog and cat food is in the news. Bad gluten. Dead pets. Too many tainted brands to count. No doubt you’ve seen at least the headlines. Pet people and animal lovers are up in arms, but here’s the thing (and the dirty secret)… Contaminated ingredients or not, most if not all commercial mass-market pet food is utter crap. Even on a good production day, I’m firmly convinced that it’s just about the worst thing for our animal co-conspirators. You don’t want to know what it’s made from. And you sure don’t want to be feeding it to Fido. (Say… what exactly is in that “meat by-product” anyway?)

My recommendation? Make your own. Really. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s guaranteed safe and healthy. And pets love it. I have a 13-year old Australian shepard

who has eaten nothing but handmade chow for the last 12 years. And of all the dogs that I know that were born around the same time, she’s the only one left. Anecdotal, yes. But all the others didn’t die of happy old age. They went early. And cancer was just about the universal cause. My pup was the only one eating a homemade diet of human-grade food. She’s still spry as you could hope for. Evidence enough for me.

I’ve used the recipes inDr. Pitcairn’s wonderful book with great success. But there are other resources out there. Like this one. And this one. And this other one. And this one, too.

People always look at me a little strangely when I tell them I make my own dog food, but that’s just because they’ve been trained to accept the commercial pet food paradigm. If they only knew how easy and how much better the DIY alternative is. I make a week’s worth all at once in a big giant pot (from ingredients that include ground turkey, black beans, brown rice, and veggies), freeze it in serving-sized containers, and thaw one per day. It costs me around $12 per batch (translation: about the same or less than commercial food), and the whole prep process takes just an hour (which mostly consists of unattended stove simmering). The dog loves it. And I love my dog. Which makes it all a beautiful thing. Try it. You won’t look back. And your animals will thank you in their way.

One note: Don’t just start frying up leftovers and tossing them in the bowl. Animals need balance in their food. Certain nutrients in certain amounts. Go with a tested recipe to make sure they get the right stuff. And make the transition slowly by adding increasing amounts of the new good food to the old not-so-good food until you’ve phased out the junk. You don’t want to upset Rover’s stomach and have today’s blue plate special end up all over the carpet.