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I love my dog very, very much, and I just want what's best for him. Please do not take offense, but I think in my heart I truly think home-made is best for my dog, but I need guidance in the right direction.

I have so many questions, so I'd appreciate it if anyone patient and with enough knowledge could answer me in the best way possible, with information on both foods with no bias whatsoever to dog food or homemade food. Just 100% truth - when you say what's right or wrong, if you could, back it up or give your sources.

I'm so lost on a lot of things... Such as, if there are pet food recalls for some foods, how come the rest of the other types of foods these companies churn out aren't also brought off the shelf? There are people that believe dog food (or commercial at least) is harmful, but what's the differences between the recalled foods and foods that are still on sale?

On the other side of this, homemade food - I have to be very cautious about this. I've noticed there are so many foods you can NOT feed your dog, yet many recipes I see will ask for these (such as grapes which are supposedly TOXIC). So, is there a definite, complete list out there that lists every single, or at least close to every single thing to not feed your dogs along with reasons why - a book, website, anything?

So I have to wonder... Who am I to trust? Under what circumstances? Veterinarians who are supported by dog food companies help them form opinions that dog food is good, especially that specific brand, but what if some vets truly believe it is good not because of that but because they see no harm from the food? Also, I've always heard human food was bad for a dog and I wouldn't doubt some are...? I just want some truth in this that I can believe in, and I want to be able to feed my dog GOOD FOOD. Let me tell you - I was feeding him apples because I no longer had any food I'd made the week before, and I couldn't go get anymore because Hurricane Ike passed by and wal-mart had no more meat - otherwise I would have made something for him. I don't think this is that bad - for one, I knew apples were healthy. I have to ask you, even though it probably wasn't sufficient enough and didn't give him all the nutrition he needs, was it better to feed him that than Purina? Or would it have been better off to feed him the dog food? Whichever one is right, please tell me why exactly. Also, my mom left some hamburger meat that wasn't put into patties for my dog, Sheldon, but it was also seasoned, and I checked the ingredients of the spice and the first one was salt. Because of this, I don't think I want to feed it to him.

Thank you for reading all of this. I'd like to point out I mean no offense to ANYONE - not veterinarians, not any dog lover whether they feed him/her dog food or make their own food. I read in the 'natural' food topic and there was some heat and guilt over raw meat if I recall and I didn't want that to happen here. I appreciate any information I can get, and if anyone is interested in helping me or just talking to me about dog food in general, because I would like that so much -***never include email in a post, use forum PM instead***

Forgive me, I was so urgent to go to a dog community.. I will read the rules, don't worry.
 

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First I would do some reading on our food section of the forum, look for threads about home made food, there are plenty of them. There are also plenty of websites and books about making your dog's food.

I would have fed Purina vs apples because at least it is known to offer a complete balanced meal for a dog. Purina isn't always the best choice of dog foods but it is developed to meet the "basic" needs of a dog. Apples do not meet the basic needs of a dog. Apples in moderation are healthy foods for humans, that doesn't mean it is healthy to feed them as a meal to a dog. Dogs are carnivores, meat eaters.

Also giving a dog meat with spices in it could cause stomach upset, so I wouldn't feed that either.

The reason that not all dog foods from a certain company are not recalled is because the different flavor choices of kibble have different ingredients in them and are often made at different manufacturing plants. In the recalls over the last few years it is usually just one ingredient or problems with production at a particular plant that has caused the recalls.

There are still plenty of good commercial dog foods out on the market. However if you decide after doing the research that you want to do home made food then do the best job you can.
 

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Thanks for the advice. :)

I plan on buying a few books and rereading websites, though I'd like to say the book, "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats", I'm not sure about the rest of the book... but one reviewer at Amazon.com said one of the recipes mentioned grapes. I don't think all books will make this mistake but I just wanted to voice my concerns, especially since it's from two veterinarian specialists, I don't know why they would have recipes with questionable things in it...
 

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I have so many questions, so I'd appreciate it if anyone patient and with enough knowledge could answer me in the best way possible, with information on both foods with no bias whatsoever to dog food or homemade food. Just 100% truth - when you say what's right or wrong, if you could, back it up or give your sources.
Hehe, I don't think you will find anybody with no bias.

I've noticed there are so many foods you can NOT feed your dog, yet many recipes I see will ask for these (such as grapes which are supposedly TOXIC). So, is there a definite, complete list out there that lists every single, or at least close to every single thing to not feed your dogs along with reasons why - a book, website, anything?
Feed your dog raw meat, bone, and organs only and you won't have to worry about the others.

So I have to wonder... Who am I to trust?
Ask questions, look at the answers. Go with the ones that make the most sense. Check out this web page http://www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

Under what circumstances? Veterinarians who are supported by dog food companies help them form opinions that dog food is good, especially that specific brand, but what if some vets truly believe it is good not because of that but because they see no harm from the food?
The greatest majority of vets have very little training in nutrition and you are right, most of what they have comes from the dog food companies.

Also, I've always heard human food was bad for a dog and I wouldn't doubt some are...?
Raw meat, bones, and organs. It's all they need and it's simple.

I just want some truth in this that I can believe in, and I want to be able to feed my dog GOOD FOOD. Let me tell you - I was feeding him apples because I no longer had any food I'd made the week before, and I couldn't go get anymore because Hurricane Ike passed by and wal-mart had no more meat - otherwise I would have made something for him. I don't think this is that bad - for one, I knew apples were healthy. I have to ask you, even though it probably wasn't sufficient enough and didn't give him all the nutrition he needs, was it better to feed him that than Purina?
If you are talking about a few days, it makes no difference what you fed him. Going a day or two or even four or five days without proper nutrition isn't a big deal for dogs. BTW: Apples are healthy for humans but not for dogs. Dogs are carnivores and have no ability to extract nutrients from apples.

Also, my mom left some hamburger meat that wasn't put into patties for my dog, Sheldon, but it was also seasoned, and I checked the ingredients of the spice and the first one was salt. Because of this, I don't think I want to feed it to him.
It depends on how much is in there. I can't imagine hamburger meat being real heavy in spices. You will have to use your own judgement on that. I would probably feed it if it didn't smell spicey.
 

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I think feeding your dog homemade food is a great thing. I don't, because I don't have the time (or, let's be honest, the desire -- I don't cook much at all for myself either!).

My suggestion would be to go out and purchase a bag of good quality food (better than Purina if you can find and afford it) and start reading. I think you should have all of your research completed before you start feeding homemade, and it'll probably take a lot of reading before you start, because you have to make sure to get your dog all of the nutrients he or she needs on an ongoing basis.

And, after you switch to homemade food, consider keeping some kibble in your home for those days when you don't have the resources/time/energy to prepare meals.
 

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Love that site briteday! Sheldon, go read it. Wonderful information.

Just wanted to say grapes are very new to the banned list for dogs. I remember all the outcry at dogs getting sick from them. Since dogs HAD been eating them for centuries I suspect the problem isn't the grapes themselves it is something added to them, some pesticide perhaps. Perhaps a flaw in the dog's systems even/

Next time you are out of meat think eggs. A couple eggs cooked or raw are very good quality protein. I wonder if you could have cooked the hamburger and rinsed it to remove the salt and spices? That is done to remove fat, perhaps it would help remove salt and spices as well?

I don't have any of the lists of banned foods for dogs bookmarked. Dogaware has a sensible list posted.

Hope you find the info you need to cook for your dog. I have been very pleased with the results of home cooking and raw feeding. I feel my dogs are healthier and happier eating a more natural type food.
 

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In my opinion, I would go the raw route or if you are not comfortable with that, homecooked food. Kibble is obviously the easiest and quickest way to get all the nutrients your dog needs but as you said, you feel that homemade is the best.

The problem with homecooked food is that it is difficult to find one that is balanced. I feed mine Canine Life which you probably won't be able to find but you will get the idea. It's a mix with organic barley, herbs like rosemary, oregano, and garlic...other ingredients I don't remember offhand. To this mix, I add safllower oil, eggs, meat, a green veggie like broccoli or green beans, an orange veggie like sweet potato or butternut squash or carrot, an apple and blueberries. I mix this all together and bake into muffins. They say you can just bake the mix and everything except the meat and feed raw meat along with the muffins. To me, it's convenient, I can make a big batch and freeze them. Plus, I can switch up the meat and veggies. I also give her an omega 3 capsule every day and vitamin E capsule twice a week. I'll give her a raw egg once a week as well. I'm not saying that this is the best diet; it just is the best one for me right now.

There are a number of these types of mixes or already made frozen foods out there. One is Urban Wolf which is just mixed with oil, egg and raw meat and served. It is grain free.

My point is that there are a lot of options out there. If you are going to make your own from scratch, I would make a few recipes to make sure the diet ihas enough variety to be properly balanced. One thing, you have to make sure the calcium and phosphorus are in the correct ratio ( I think it is 1:2 -calcium:phosphorus - I may be wrong on this though).

You will get a lot of opinions and facts on this forum but from people who are quite knowledgable. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable but I find the best thing about this forum is that people are talking from their personal experience...something that is not always included on internet articles or books.
 

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I hate commercial dog food. Its label feed grade, not food grade. And there is always some kind of recall.

When in a pinch, you can feed your dog just about anything, although do your research about what they cannot have. You mentioned apples. Apples are good, but not the peel nor the seeds or core. Heck, even a peanut butter sandwich will do in an emergency, just make sure the peanut butter does not contain xylitol.

With that said, here are some helpful tidbits for homemade:

Dog food should contain:
  • Protein (chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and cooked eggs) – Helps with growth and maintenance of cells, tissues, organs, antibodies, hormones and enzymes.
  • Fat (from oil and meat) – Assists with the absorption of certain vitamins (see below), protects and insulates internal organs and promotes good skin and hair growth.
  • Carbohydrates (rice, corn and beans) – Keeps intestines healthy and supplies glucose to critical organs, including the brain.
  • Minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. – Gives dogs structurally sound bones and teeth, among other benefits.
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K – Promotes weight loss, eye and skin health, immunity and more.
EASY DOG TREATS:
Ratio: 1 two ounce jar of baby food to 1 cup of flour.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour with the pureed veggies (or baby food) to form a stiff dough. If it's too sticky add flour. If it's too stiff, add some water.
  3. Lightly flour your work space and roll out the dough until it's about 1/4" thick.
  4. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.
  5. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  6. Place the treats about 1/4" inch apart on the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
  8. Store in a dog cookie canister but it sometimes makes the cookies softer.
  9. If you want them to stay hard, you might want to store them in a paper bag.
  10. They keep for up to two weeks.
OATMEAL COOKIES
  • 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce or ½ cup of water or unsalted plain broth
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350F.
  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add water and mix.
  3. Drop by spoonful onto the baking sheet. Do about 1-2 tablespoons and put 12-16 on the cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 8-11 minutes.
FREEZIES –
I make my own turkey broth and put the broth in little tiny plastic cups w/lids that I get from the Dollar Store. I then freeze them and it makes a nice low calorie treat that keeps my dog occupied for a little while. You could also fill them with baby food such as pumpkin, pureed apple, etc.

DRY KIBBLE

Ingredients - Basic recipe

1 can plain pumpkin
3 cups meat, cooked and pureed
4 cups vegetable/fruit, cooked, drained and pureed
2 ½ cups liquid (milk, water, broth)
6 cups of flour
1/3 cup oil

Add flour if the mixture is too soupy or tacky; add water or more oil if the mixture is too dry. You can increase the oil to 1.5 cups and still be OK with the fat content, depending on whether you’re using the meat’s fat.
Spread the dough on a cookie sheet about a 1/2 inch thick. You can perforate the dough in the shape you want now or just break the cooked kibble into pieces after it’s cooled. You can cook it slowly at 200 degrees for about an hour, or at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let it cool and harden.

WET KIBBLE

I boil turkey drumsticks and debone the turkey and add white potatoes and organic pumpkin.
I feed my dog (23 pounds) 1.5 cups of homemade dog food per day (I break it up into two meals)

AND
(to make sure she is getting all the vitamins/minerals/calcium she needs) I supplement my dog's kibble with
1 t. olive oil in the mornings
1T of cottage cheese
1 t. sardines every other day
1 t. salmon daily every other day
And add a grain daily: this can be in the form of cooked oatmeal, or flour if making and feeding dry kibble. Oatmeal cookies are a good way to incorporate grain into the diet.
 

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My five woggles eat both. Mid-range priced kibble, supplemented with homemade/fresh food.

Every day all five eat all of these:
kibble
stir fried chicken breast meat
grilled chicken liver
broccoli
carrot
green bell pepper
napa cabbage
low fat milk
light olive oil for cooking
turmeric
black pepper
ester-C

Three of them also have daily:
live homemade fermented sauerkraut with dill

Two of them like kiwifruit and banana.

One of them likes apple.

Twice a week they all have some roasted mackerel.

They are healthy and happy. The eldest will turn 12 next month.
 

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I feed similar to how Doglight mentioned. I feed some balanced quality kibble and a meal of homecooked stuff to supplement. My vet recommended feeding this way as she says so long as 1/2-2/3 of daily calories are from balanced food you don't have to worry about balancing the add ins. I personally am not interested in trying to make a fully balanced homemade diet so this works for me.

My dogs get turkey, beef, or chicken along with shiitake mushrooms, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and blueberries. Sometimes they get boiled egg. I don't bother with giving them all of this daily. One day it might be bell pepper with the meat, the next day mushrooms, etc. I just switch up daily, whatever I grab from the fridge basically lol. Three times a week I swap out the meat for salmon or haring. I also top their food daily with fish oil and green lipped mussel powder. Happy dogs!
 
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