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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, here it goes. I have three dogs, 60lbs, 43lbs and 27lbs. Kali, Sydney and Mylee by order of weight. We feed a mid grade kibble by order of my mother, and spend like 35-40 bucks on a bag every few weeks. I am only sixteen so mind that in this idea please. I want to prove to her that feeding Homecooked(because she said no matter what we will not feed raw food) is cheaper, and better for our dogs than kibble.
Here is how all of you on DF can aid my crusade. For those of you who feed raw or homecooked, how much do you spend a month or week or however often you buy good. How much is it per dog?
For you high end kibble feeders, how much do you spend on a bag of food? Do you add in any real foods? How much per dog?

Stats on my three:
Sydney gets 2 cups of kibble a day, she has a very dry coat and despite two food changes in the last six or seven months, nothing has helped that. Sometimes she won't eat, though recently I added sausage and some chicken broth to her food. That seemed to help.
Kali, 8 months old is doing pretty good. She has silky fur and no real issues, she eats 4 cups of kibble a day.
Mylee, our beagle is very overweight and has failed to loose any despite what I've tried in the past. Mother tried her on the Science Diet for overweight dogs...she wouldn't eat it.(Go mylee!)

I really want to try and convince my mother that it would be good to give our dogs real food, she gave in on feeding cooked beef last week with my argument of-
"Dogs are carnivores, therefor meat really is there food. We're omnivores, we can live without beef." Seemed to work pretty well and now they get a left over sausage pattie mashed into their kibble, and last week they got two eggs spaced fairly far apart.
Another thing I wanted to ask, can I feed eggs twice a week, once a week, or every other day? I've read all about them and honestly couldn't come up with a good answer.
 

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http://www.drmarty.com/feeding.htm

Dr. Marty Goldstein breaks it down nicely. Show your mom this. It is in order of what the ideal things are to feed your dogs. I'm sure she want's what is best for them. Remember that the healthier, and the more biologically appropriate the diet is, the less the dogs eat. Thus the less you have to continue spending.:D
 

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Good link!

You could add steamed green beans to your beagle's (and the other's) diet to help her lose weight. Substitute some of the meat for the veggies. Or just lower the portion amount by a little and see how she does. If she seems hungry, feed her green beans. REmember you have to process veggies and fruit a little before you feed them. Such as pureeing or steaming. Dogs cannot break down the cellulose in whole raw veggies.

Wild salmon oil may help Sydney's skin. plus the omega 3's help balance the omega 6's in the meat. Just get the capsules and break them and squeeze them over their food. Or get a liquid. I put mine in the fridge and use 1000 mg for a 17 lb dog.

As for the meat, add organ and muscle meats as well. You can just give them a beef back rib one day a week to help clean their teeth (raw,never cooked as they may splinter) and to satisfy their chewing needs. Get ones with the meat on them.
 

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Ditto about the beef ribs. They cost $1.50 a pound and are 1.5 to 2 ribs a pound. MUCH cheaper than buying something like a pig ear, better for the teeth and they last longer. Take away once the dog is trying to break it as it can break teeth.

How about making a topper for the kibble? Buy the cheapest meat at the market [check the clearance bin], cut it up small or in thin slices like for stir fry, sizzle in a pan so it smells good, add enough water so it looks like soup in there and add veggies. At most half the weight of the meat so it might be 2 pounds of ground turkey and 1 pound of those wilted carrot, broccoli stems and browned celery ribs from the refrigerator. Cook at a low simmer until veggies are very well done. Cooked meat can be put through my food processor, not raw if you want to make the bits very small. Blended vegetables make a better texture to the glop so it is more stew than soup. The very easiest topper would be ground meat, sizzle, add veggies ground up in the blender with a lot of water. Cook smashing up all the lumps until veggies are done. Leave on stove until cool enough to pack up. I like packing in daily containers and estimating from there. If you use 3 pounds of raw ingredients substitute this for 3 pounds of kibble as a topper to the kibble. It won't look like much compared to the same weight of kibble but the dogs won't mind a bit less in the bowl if they get real food. No clue as to how much to feed a day or how long this little bit would last, try cutting 1/4 cup kibble and adding 2 tablespoons of this a day. It would be about 16 servings if it measures 2 cups after cooking. Feel free to add more water. Water is good stuff too. Go to the dog food bag and do math to figure out calories per cup and do the same for the topper. Nutritiondata has a lot of fun tools for menu planning, try that site for the real food part.

Do a lot of 'this stuff costs only $$ and if I adds some cheap rice it would be a complete meal for only $$ and the kibble costs $$ a pound and it would only cost $$ for this which is so much better for the teeth'. Sassy stopped stinking so much on cooked food, might mention that if you have a stinky dog. Her teeth got cleaner as well. Her ears were never infected but they got cleaner on real food. I didn't expect any of that, I feed her home made as the prescription canned would have cost the earth and kibble was not working well. Oh, homemade costs less than prescription kibble.

Once you get the hang of it maybe ask for the dog money and buy the ingredients youself. You will need to put a lot of your own money into the dog food though. 120 pounds of dog will need a lot of meat monthly. 72 pounds @2% if fed raw so probably 50 pounds of meat/organ/egg plus starch to make up for less meat plus maybe 20 pounds veggies. Vegetables are expensive unless you can find a market selling lesser grades. Part needs to be organ and part can be egg so you can use the egg shell for calcium. Organ around here is $1.50 a pound but I can get pork shoulder for $1 and chicken for $.60 a pound on sale. A very rough estimate of costs is 40 pounds of chicken+2 dozen eggs+10 pounds of liver + 10 pounds of rice+ 20 pounds of veggies comes to 24+4+15+5+10=58 dollars. Chicken is a pain to use as it needs to be boned and cut into bits but I understand it can be pressure cooked or slow cooked and most of the bones break down so you would go through with your hand to pick out the bits that don't break down. Do you have room to store sale meat [if you find a real score] until you need it? Do you have room in the refrigerator for cooked and frozen dog food? My largest pot holds 4 days of food for one 42 pound dog, that would be only one day's food for your crew. Do you have time to cook daily? Or a larger pot?

A lot of time but it is an interesting project. If you work up a real report showing you would be getting the same number of calories into the dogs for X amount of money and how the food is balanced and how much time and room it will take your mom will be seriously impressed. Yes it is far better for the dogs but there is more to the whole thing than that. Who is the chef? Shopper? Moneybags? Clean up crew?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I would be doing all the work for the dogs feeding, I do now anyway. I am the 'Dog Lady' of the family. My mother has been so adamant about letting me try feeding them homemade for a month, I'm going to try and convince her again tonight. I have a steady job, and I make more than enough money to pay for their food.
Love the tips guys, I'll try and remember the green bean thing. I cannot feed raw bones at all at this point. It is too cold to make the dogs take them outside, and my grandmother who lives with us is elderly and gets sick easily, so no raw meat for the dogs right now.
I'm planning on making a meat log out of hamburger(ground) and some things like steamed veggies and maybe a little bit of rice if I have any and feeding this in medallions for either breakfast or dinner for the dogs.
I'm also planning on making a trip to our local feed store that has all the vitamins and such, so I'll try and get some fish oil.
Also, we have a lot of salmon in our freezer, but I had a hard time getting the dogs to eat it last time, I thought I may try again, maybe bake it and then flake it out and use that to top kibble in the evening.
This summer I hope to get them good raw bones and maybe a little raw meat. I would love to feed them raw, but this time of the year in Alaska, and with my grandma we can't. When I move out on my own in four or so years I plan to switch to raw or at least homecooked with some raw meat.

Ok yes I"m double posting but Here's what I've done tonight.

Cooked-
3 lbs of ground beef(was in our freezer and had no intention of being eaten by us)
2 lbs of pork sausage (also in our freezer never to be eaten)
2 cans of green beans with juice
Handful of leftover corn from dinner.

Tomorrow I plan on getting a tub of plain white yogurt for them, some fish oil for Sydney and a Doggie Mutli-Vitamin for the three of them.

My new question is:
For using this with our kibble I planned to make this half or more of their meals, how much kibble should I feed? I don't have our bag from the dog food, we keep ours in a big bin in our kitchen, though I do know how much each of my dogs for their weight should eat.
 

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Go to the food's website and figure out how many calories in the kibble. By the cup, by the pound if you have a scale. I love my little digital scale as weighing is far more exact than cup measures. Then make up a recipe at nutritiondata with the recipe of your topper. Then you will know how much kibble is equivalent to how much topper. If no scale then measure the whole recipe and go from there.

I understand you want to use the sausage but dogs don't need all the salt, sugar and 'cure' that is in there. How about splitting it up and using it in several recipes to cut down the amount of unnecessary stuff you feed the pooches? Corn isn't particularly good for dogs and unless it gets throughly pulverized it will go straight through. Dogs like it though. Rinse the beans unless they are unsalted. Off hand my smaller dog NEEDS all of 158 mg sodium a day. 158 mg=.158 grams~1/6 gm. 1 teaspoon of salt=6 grams. My dog needs 1/36 of that teaspoon a day. 1 ounce of pork sausage has 178 mg sodium, 1/2 can green beans with liquid has 311 mg, 1 ounce 25% fat hamburger has only 19 mg.

My dogs are shocked that your dogs don't like fish. Shocked and apalled. Try putting just a little on at first. Guess it is so different they don't know it is food yet. Classic test for edibility is to taste a bit, wait to see if you fall over dead, taste a little more, wait again and so on, right? Just do that for them. Feed just a bit for a couple days so they can figure out it is good stuff.

If you substitute 25% kibble for topper then don't worry about adding minerals and vitamins.

Figure out the calories in the kibble, should be online if you don't have the bag. Try Dogfoodanalysis.com. Multiply so you know how much each dog eats/4 and add in that number of calories of your topper. Lets see, old dog used to get 1 1/3 cup Wellness way back when. That stuff has 400 calories per cup so she ate about 550 calories a day. 1/4 is about 140 calories. An ounce of cooked 25% fat hamburger is 78 calories so she could have about 2 ounces plus the veggies and the 1 cup of Wellness. Note that my measure was probably not a good 1/3 cupx4. Cup measures and lumpy kibble are very inaccurate. She probably got more like 2 cups a day.

Here is a recipe minus the corn just because I hadn't any idea how much to add. This is including any juices or fats, do the recipe over if you want to see what happens if you drain the fat.http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/recipe/827235/2?nc=1&autosave=form.info.autosave Looks like my dog would get about 3 ounces of the stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The only reason there's sausage in it was because mom said we had to get rid of it before it went bad, and the mutts weren't complaining. I was stalked while I cooked ^_^. The corn was just a left over from dinner, and there wasn't very much at all. The Green beans are a temporary thing, I didn't have a whole lot to work with, but for our next one I'm making up a nice plan.
Right now we have kirkland dog food, and I can't find the nutritional info for it T__T, or the feeding guidelines. And I'm sad, but I don't have a kitchen scale.
I get to go shopping tomorrow, so I'm going to pick up a few things
Some rice
frozen green beans(unsalted)
umm...other frozen veggies?
yogurt
vitamins for mutts(our vet said it wouldn't hurt)
and some fish oil for the Sydmonster(Sydney)
 

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Sweet potato and pumpkin are a lot of bang for the pound. Not the buck unless you can find an ethnic store that sells lower grades of produce. Liver, try a little of that. Shop price per pound. Go find the canned pumpkin in the baking section of the market, might be a better price than frozen beans. I haven't fed canned sweet potatoes due to the sugar in them, checking nutritiondata the sodium is higher by 10x but the sugar is only increased by 25%.

I understand about the sausage, I wouldn't waste it either. For a topper you can have lots of fun.

The only Kirkland kibble bag I could read was this one. Looks like 342 calories per cup.
http://http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/showproduct.php?product=1031&cat=5
 
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