Whichever diet you choose to feed your pooch, home cooking can be a great way to add enrichment to their bowl. It provides an assortment of flavors and textures but also a variety of vitamins and nutrients that you might not get in other doggy diets.
We invited our Explorer Jo, to share her experience and favourite home-cooked recipes for you to try home.
Please Note: We are not doggy nutritionists and every dog is an individual. What might be good for most might not be good for another. Always tailor each recipe to your own dog’s needs and tastes. The recipes are not meant for daily feeding and a balanced diet should be given.
If you have any questions about your dog’s diet, please contact your vet. If you notice your dog has any adverse reaction to any of the treats stop feeding immediately and contact your vet.
How I Got Started
I’m Jo, a dog Mum who makes better dinners for my dogs than I do for myself! It all started when my Pomeranian Peaches became very sick with Colitis. I wanted to make dishes that would entice her to eat and administer her medicine. My other pooch Huxley also suffers from a sensitive tummy, I tried a number of different dog foods but he couldn’t stomach them very well. After doing some research I knew that home-cooking was the way to go.
After going all-in with home-cooking, I saw a huge improvement in Huxley and his tummy troubles, while Peaches was recovering well. Since creating her home-cooked meals, I haven’t looked back to Kibble. I now cook all of my dog’s home-cooked meals and treats.
Where to start?
This is one of the most overwhelming topics on the internet. I’ve looked at so many websites, discussed the topic in many Facebook groups, read book after book, talked to the vet and other dog owners. Every time there’s been conflicting information and advice.
So my advice as a dog owner who has been in those beginner shoes is to start slowly. Use home cooking to top up their regular diet and as a treat. Home cooking does not have to be your dog’s full-time meal plan at any point and you can just use it as a way to enrich their bowls and belly’s.
As you get more confident and expand the types of food you are cooking, you can cut down on other foods.
If you are anything like me You will spend a lot of time in the supermarket Googling “can dogs eat X” or the “nutritional benefits of X for dogs”. After a while, you will start to learn what your main ingredients are, what foods your dog prefers and if they are they intolerant to any ingredients.
Pros and Cons of Home-Cooking
After home-cooking for a while, I wanted to share my experience with what I believe to be the positives and negatives of home-cooking for your pooch.
- Perfect for picky eaters
- Easier to manage their diet
- Great bonding experience
- You can pinpoint food intolerances
- You’re fully aware of the ingredient quality
- No fillers
- Variety, you can change it up daily
- Enrichment, gives your dog new tastes, smells
- Knowing exactly what is in each meal
- It is quite time consuming
- You’ll need extra space for the food
- It can be slightly more expensive
- You need to understand the nutritional balance required
- Finding recipes
- Portion control
- Getting started
The “Balanced” Meal
It’s important to make sure key nutritional needs are met. I always look at my home cooking as a balanced diet. Each meal is not exactly balanced but over time it is balanced and meets their needs. Each dog is different, so when you are home-cooking adapt reach recipie for your dog.
What you will need?
For all home-cooking recipes, you’ll require standard cooking equipment including a sharp knife, grater, peeler, large pot, scales and food containers. Then depending on how much you enjoy making home-cooked meals (and if they enjoy eating it), I recommend investing in a food processor.
One-Pot Turkey Stew Recipe
This recipe is my favourite place to start. It can be added to kibble, frozen in batches and used to hide medicine.
I made this for Peaches when she was unwell, and she ate it all up alongside her medicine. The meal is soft and does not expand in the tummy so is easier to digest. The stock that is created adds fluids and rehydrates, it’s really tasty (yes I tried it) so it also brought her appetite back.
When I first made this meal, home cooking a balanced meal regularly was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted Peaches to eat something, take her medicine and stay hydrated and well… it worked!
- 1 teaspoons coconut oil
- 750g Turkey mince
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and grated
- 3 carrots, grated
- 100g fine beans, finely chopped
- 1 Courgette, grated
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and grated.
- 1/2 cauliflower, grated
- 1/2 cup brown rice (optional)
- Boiled water
- Melt coconut oil, add turkey and cook until brown.
- Add brown rice to turkey and it’s juices. Cook and stir for 10 mins.
- Add butternut squash. Stir
- Add carrots, stir
- Add sweet potato, stir
- Cook and stir for 10 mins
- Add courgette and beans. and stir
- Add cauliflower and stir.
- Top with boiled water, approx 1 cup, until you can pay the ingredients down and it just comes to the top.
- The veg will create juices so you don’t want too much water.
- Cook and stir for approx 20 mins.
- Leave to cool, portion and freeze or serve!
To make the dumplings scoop out the juices from the stew, it doesn’t matter if you get some bits in it.
To a mixing bowl add 200g of Fine oats and add the stock little by little and mix until you have a formed mix.
Shape into balls and place on a baking tray at 180 degrees and bake for 20 mins. They should be firm balls once baked.
Place on top of stew and serve.
Keep your eyes peeled for my next blog, where I’ll cover portion control, supplements, making treats and allergy testing.
Let me know in the comments below what you and your dog thought of this recipe and whether you’ve thought about home-cooking before!