At the time of writing, there was a HUGE fear in the US of dog and cat food poisoning – from contaminated dog food. Around 60 million cans and bags of ready-to-eat pet food have been recalled.
Some owners lost their dogs and cats because a type of plastic called melamine found its way into pet food! This has been attributed to contamination of wheat gluten with melamine from China. Why pet food manufacturers use wheat gluten in pet food is a mystery – it’s a VERY BAD source of protein!
We make our own homemade dog food for a number of reasons – one of which is the unknown composition of commercial dog food!
Why does canned or packaged food look and smell so similar no matter what brand you buy?
I’ve always been suspicious, the commercials show nice piles of beef or even chicken breasts and veggies etc. How COULD they put that in there, these cuts are so expensive?
Well, basic economics says they don’t! But what pisses me off is their attempts at deception!
We started making homemade dog food some time after I got an inside glimpse of what they called a “protein recovery unit.”
I nicknamed it the “Beak Factory” because this factory took scraps from a chicken processor—heads (beak and all), feet, feathers, and gizzards—and turned them into a foul-smelling, dirty brown powder that was destined to be used in pet food to be processed!
It stank so bad and this smell got into my hair and onto my clothes and I am not exaggerating when I say the smell surrounded me all day!
This protein powder is often among the first ingredients listed on the packet or can – and is called meat by-products, or sometimes meat meal. This is one of the reasons why commercial dry biscuits almost always smell the same! If you feel like it – try eating one of these cookies yourself – see what your dog has to put up with!
But you see, because this protein powder undergoes a high-temperature process during manufacturing, it’s considered safe for pets.
But the huge dumpsters I saw with heads, carcasses, feet, feathers, etc. were left at ambient temperature for who knows how long – so you can imagine what a rotten state they were in?
I REFUSE to feed this garbage for what it really is – GARBAGE – to our dogs! Because although they COULD have killed the bacteria in that junk, what they might not destroy are some of the toxins that the bacteria produce as part of their action!
In addition to the bacterial toxins? can there also be toxins produced by mold and fungus? known as aflatoxins and mycotoxins and some of these are known to be heat tolerant!
I don’t want to bore you with a lot of technical information about toxins right now – but I want you to see that I’m not exaggerating!
So here is just one article – about just one bacterium – Staphylococcus aureus. About halfway down the page you’ll see a comment about the toxin it produces and its resistance to heat when cooked:
And that’s just one bacterium – there’s a lot more! Google the words aflatoxin, mycotoxin or bacterial toxins yourself!
Also, there may be accumulated insecticide residues in the concentrated bird feathers…AND I won’t even mention the stories we’ve read about animal carcasses being euthanized by vets, or sick slaughterhouse animals – or street slaughter!
In short – it WAS ALWAYS potentially contaminated dog food! But even if you completely ignore the contamination issue – it’s STILL a very cheap and nasty source of protein!
Because it is labeled as pet food not for human consumption, there is far less scrutiny, concern and accountability! FACT: You NEED to call it UNFIT – wondering why?
Why would you feed this stuff to a pet you care about? We love our dogs – that’s why we only make our homemade dog food to avoid waste-based food, with soy protein, colorings and other additives!
And here’s the thing – not only is homemade dog food BETTER FOR YOUR DOG, it’s also a lot cheaper than commercial dog food – here in Australia we can feed an adult Staffordshire Bull Terrier for about 45 cents a day!
Today, pet food companies and some veterinarians comment that the food you make must be whole. It’s like some kind of mystery? as if we were too stupid to do it ourselves! I take offense at their attempts to manipulate us into buying their products!
Dogs have shared human lives for thousands of years (well before pet food companies) – and NEVER became extinct due to malnutrition!
Let me get this straight – anyone who can read and cook can make their own quality homemade dog food! All it takes is a little time and planning and since it’s easier to make in bulk – a little freezer space.
Also, dog nutrition has been very well researched and published, and now that we live in the information age? this information can be freely distributed worldwide!
Sure, there are some basics—when making homemade dog food, it’s important to remember that dogs are carnivores (meat eaters). Since meat consists almost entirely of protein, protein is therefore an essential part of dog nutrition!
But did you know that many canned or dried foods are based on plant-based protein sources (often soybeans — and no wonder they fart so much)? because plant proteins are MUCH cheaper than animal proteins
But plant-based proteins like those found in soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, etc. don’t contain all of the amino acids found in animal proteins like meat, fish, and dairy.
To overcome this lack of complete proteins, pet food manufacturers add that awful smelling powder I mentioned earlier!
In his book Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets, The Healthful Alternative, Donald Stromberg, speaking about commercially manufactured pet foods, said:
“The cost of pet food is reduced by not using more animal protein than necessary. Using animal protein sources unfit for human consumption also reduces costs. For example, animal meat meals are unfit for human consumption. Some meat meal proteins come from animals that died and began to decompose.” (p. 35)
Stromberg gives a figure of 13% protein for growing dogs and 19% for aging dogs. I always aim for homemade dog food to fall in this higher protein range.
Since dogs in the wild eat mostly meat, the majority of their dietary protein comes from animal or insect sources – I use animal protein.
But dogs can and do eat fruit too – foxes are known to eat blackberries and no doubt other fruits too, such as grapes or fruit from an orchard. Our Staffords love all kinds of fruit – including bananas!
I also vary the protein content of my homemade dog food according to the needs of my dogs.
One of our girls (an Australian Terrier) is now 11 years old and is diabetic so her diet is quite high in protein and very low in fat. Pregnant bitches and growing puppies need significantly more protein and also more total amount of food.
However, if you use meat as a protein source, you CAN cause problems for the dog if the food isn’t balanced with the right minerals. Red meat only? provides good amounts of protein and iron, but almost no calcium and phosphorus, for example.
Dogs in the wild feed on a variety of foods and would eat a whole rabbit, for example – fur, bone gizzard and all! When they do this, they are able to extract ALL the minerals from the animal’s bones and guts – so their diet is more balanced!
When making homemade dog food, it’s important to pay attention to this balance of proteins, vitamins and minerals! As you use my homemade dog food recipes, you’ll find that one of my top sources of protein is skinless chicken necks.
I use these for their high protein/low fat ratio and low price – PLUS – the added benefit of the minerals like calcium, phosphorous and potassium etc available in the bone!
AND skinless chicken necks are often available cheaply as fresh, food-grade meat in the deli section of many supermarkets or poultry meat shops, which means they must be fit for human consumption!
Then right here and now? Your homemade dog food is miles ahead of commercial pet food because you’re using high-quality, nutritious, and balanced protein from clean, safe food sources!
Try making your own homemade dog food. I guarantee that your dog will love the REAL food you give him – instead of the fake food he used to have to accept!