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Discussion Starter #1
I've been home cooking for my dog since we got her (and all her itching stopped). She's in great shape, super healthy, and we're doing the same with the new guy. I sometimes supplement with a frozen 'home cooked' brand available locally here too, and will add ground eggshells to their meat/veggie/pumpkin meals. I'm not ready for 'raw', partly due to possible bacterial issues.

Two issues though, hoping for help on:

1) I want to make sure their diets are properly balanced, so they aren't missing something that causes issues later in life.

2) While I'm happy with our vet, I can't go without being grilled (politely) about the food issue. They feel strongly there that home food is not proper, and only commercial food (like what they sell) is appropriate. One of the vets has a background in nutrition and has warned that non-commercial can up the chances of cancer and bladder issues later (even though we have no issues now) and that I'm endangering our dogs.

One of the vets suggested a nutritionist, a specific one they recommended - great! I checked them out, and they make a food that the vet sells. :eyeroll:

I can't help but feel it's just a money-maker for the vets to push the food they sell, even if it's 'balanced'. I know processed food is terrible for humans, and that cancer rates in dogs have skyrocketed over the last 50 years - along with the popularity of kibble. I know it's not necessarily due to diet, but for me it seems logical that 'real' food will be healthier.

Is anyone familiar with a website that offers 'balanced' ideas for cooked food, instead of winging it? Preferably dog-nutritionist approved? I'm not concerned about it being breed-specific, as vet-recommended kibble certainly isn't. I just want to make sure what I'm doing is correct.

Any other thoughts on this is really welcome, too.
 

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If you want to homecook for your dogs long term you really should contact a veterinarian nutritionist to help you come up with the most balanced recipe possible. The problem with cooking is that it destroys some vitamins and minerals, so it's actually harder to get correct then a prey model raw diet.

What is your recipe now?
Are you including different organ meats?
Are you rotating through proteins?
What carbs are you using?
How are you cooking the vegetables?
What ratio of meat to carb to vegetable are you using?
Do you include raw bones? Raw, never feed cooked bones?
Are you using a vitamin mineral supplement?

Back when I home cooked I use to use Nupro Nupro All Natural Dog Supplement, 5-lb jar, 80 scoops to cover any missing vitamins and minerals. I still use it if I have to put my dog on a home cooked diet, like when he had colitis.

DogAware.com Articles: Introduction to Homemade Diets for Dogs
DogAware.com Articles: Homemade Cooked Diets for Dogs
DogAware.com Articles: Sample Homemade Cooked Diets for Dogs
 

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If you want to home cook I believe it is so much healthier then kibble of any kind. You do need to use a supplement of some kind to ensure that your dogs are getting all they need. Kibble is put through this process and heated at a very high heat which I think kills all the vitamins and minerals in the food. You could also choose Honest Kitchen that is freeze dried and you reconstitute it with warm water that includes vitamins and minerals.
How Dry Pet Food Is Made - Pet Food Institute
This is the good supplement if you want to check into it.
Supplements for Complete Dog and Cat Health from Platinum Performance | Platinum Performance® for Pets
This may help you balance your diet
Home-Prepared Dog Food: How to Make a Balanced Diet - Whole Dog Journal Article
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rain, I do a few different things to change up the meals, so the variety covers different nutritional needs:
1) I make a 'stew' of chicken breast, thighs, and hearts; carrots; green beans; an apple; ground eggshells. This is my 'go to' meal, I make a huge batch and freeze it, it's mostly protein by far.

2) a premade & frozen local food (Koko's) that is turkey or beef with: Short Grain Brown Rice; Vegetables; Organic Atlantic Kelp; Calcium; Sunflower Oil; Norwegian Cod Liver Oil; Vitamin C - one package lasts for 5 meals

3) cooked chicken breast, steak, or salmon, or canned low-salt salmon, along with cooked broccoli/green beans/carrots, and ground eggshell. Mostly protein for these too.

When serving each of the above, I'll add a teaspoon of organic pureed pumpkin, ~1/4 cup water, and (morning only) 1/2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar.

I'll also give different treats/snacks that don't have added ingredients, mostly: dehydrated salmon skin, dehydrated beef lung, dehydrated sweet potato slice, assorted dehydrated protein jerky. I have a frozen bag of chicken necks (raw) in the freezer, and want to start giving one to each of them 2-3 times a week.

Sometimes they get additional fruit/vegies when I've made a meal with them, mostly cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, peas and apple. The only 'supplements' are a daily Brewer's Yeast for dogs, and every 2 days a Zukes Hip-Action snack.

The dog nutritionists here all seem to have their own food that they sell - I'd rather make our own for the most part, especially if the goal of the business is just to get me on their buying list, y'know? I'd love any suggestions you might have.

*Kokos info is here for details INGREDIENTS
 

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@Cynna

You should be including organ meat in the diet like liver, and kidneys. If I'm remembering right, and I might not be I can double check tomorrow it's after 12am here and I'm not up to researching atm LOL, organs should make up 5% of the recipe. You need them because they provide a lot of the vitamins and minerals in the diet. It's best to feed it raw since cooking does destroy some of the vitamins, but lightly cooking it will work.

I'm not sure which carb you are using, but a good one is quinoa. It's a carb but also a complete protein. If you try it make sure to rinse it before you cook it. Sweet Potato is also good to use and most dogs like the taste.

Aim for at least half, if not more, of the recipe being meat and use a kitchen scale, not a measuring cup. I started out using a measuring cup, 1 cup meat / 1 cup carb seemed right to me :p and was quickly told that the measurement was likely off since meat didn't fill the cup the same as the carb. Weighing the ingredients eliminated that problem, 1/2 pound meat to 1/2 pound carb. It's alright to have the recipe be more meat then carb but not more carb then meat. Generally the vegetables are added after the meat and carb are measured, and not included since they provide so few calories.


What size dog is she? If she's small breed then a chicken neck will be great, if she's larger then a turkey neck would be a better choice since she's liable to get through the chicken neck way to fast. They'll be a great source of calcium along with some minerals and as an added benefit they are terrific for cleaning teeth.

A supplement is necessary, even the most carefully prepared home cooked diet is going to be deficient in at least a few vitamins and mineral.

This article has more of a rundown on what percentages to use and what each food group is good for DogAware.com Diet Critiques: You Can Make It
 

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Rain read my mind. Your home-cooked meals appear to be void of the organ requirement so it seems. Perhaps, some of the other adjuncts you include might supply some of the nutrients which the organ requirement provides. My understanding and practice in a homemade diet, raw in my case, is the addition of 10% organ components with 1/2 of the 10% being liver while the other half is another organ component such as kidney, liver or spleen.
 

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Rain read my mind. Your home-cooked meals appear to be void of the organ requirement so it seems. Perhaps, some of the other adjuncts you include might supply some of the nutrients which the organ requirement provides. My understanding and practice in a homemade diet, raw in my case, is the addition of 10% organ components with 1/2 of the 10% being liver while the other half is another organ component such as kidney, liver or spleen.

I have read that the organ portion for a cooked diet can be as high as 10% and as low as 5%, with the new school of thought stating the 5%. PMR diets are just so much easier to do following the 80% 10% 10% rule.
 

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I have read that the organ portion for a cooked diet can be as high as 10% and as low as 5%, with the new school of thought stating the 5%. PMR diets are just so much easier to do following the 80% 10% 10% rule.
I did not know that about the new thoughts regarding the reduction in organ percentage, I'll have to check into it and see if there are any significant reasons as to the reduction to 5%. I noticed that you cited " cooked diet ". Does the same "new school of thought" apply to PMR diets? Thanks.
 

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I did not know that about the new thoughts regarding the reduction in organ percentage, I'll have to check into it and see if there are any significant reasons as to the reduction to 5%. I noticed that you cited " cooked diet ". Does the same "new school of thought" apply to PMR diets? Thanks.

As far as I know the 10% rule still holds for PMR diets. I think the difference is that cooking destroys some vitamins and minerals so it's strongly recommended that people who home cook for their dogs use a vitamin and mineral supplement so feeding less organ meat is O.K., whereas PMR feeders aren't losing any vitamins and minerals through cooking so feeding more organ meat is necessary to make sure the dog is getting enough of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@Rain @DriveDog
I thought Heart was considered an organ? I'll sometimes sub liver for heart, but heart is my go-to. As for carbs, does the pumpkin not meet that requirement? Are you saying a grain is required?
 

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@Rain
1) 11 month old Jack Russell x Chi or Doxie, 12lbs.
2) 4 year old Chi mix. currently 8.5 lbs should be 9-10 (adopted a month ago).

Both have voracious appetites, and could probably bite through a concrete block if there was food inside it. ;) I'm hoping the chicken necks work well for them size-wise, and are not upsetting to their tummies (I've been warned they might vomit/have diarrhea the first couple times).
 
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@Rain @DriveDog
I thought Heart was considered an organ? I'll sometimes sub liver for heart, but heart is my go-to. As for carbs, does the pumpkin not meet that requirement? Are you saying a grain is required?
Like @crazy said, it's fed as a meat, but it is more nutrient dense then regular muscle meat.

I usually see pumpkin used for fiber rather then carbs. I most often see it used when a dog has an upset tummy, or used in dog treats, not so much as a main ingredient in a home cooked dog food recipe
 
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that i saved from the facebook group raw feeding community because as Jessie is on pre made prey model raw we are going to whole pieces and so i need that for reminders!
 

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@crazy
That's great - thank you! The recipe I was following specified using heart and I've seen some list it as an organ, so it's good to see something specific. I think the ratio would have worked out as 1:8:1 for heart to thigh/breasts to vegies, so they were probably using the ratios mentioned on here.
 

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@crazy
That's great - thank you! The recipe I was following specified using heart and I've seen some list it as an organ, so it's good to see something specific. I think the ratio would have worked out as 1:8:1 for heart to thigh/breasts to vegies, so they were probably using the ratios mentioned on here.
No worries! i personally these days in the last few months especially have terrible memory and coming to terms with some old and new very possible disabities and doing the 80-10-10 prey model raw ratio having to balance it out myself well i thought be useful if i downloaded them and put in a folder to refer to :) i remembered it was in downloads folder so thought id share it! i can see why you got confused for us humans our heart is a muscle that keeps pumping blood and oxygen yet for dogs its considered meat and not organ. I am not sure i will fully understand why but thats how it is.......

one thing i can assume is the heart is easy to eat and doesnt require much chewing so its classed as meat? i dont know but i know thats the correct one :) i wonder if organs are more chewier for dogs.
 
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@Rain @DriveDog
I thought Heart was considered an organ? I'll sometimes sub liver for heart, but heart is my go-to. As for carbs, does the pumpkin not meet that requirement? Are you saying a grain is required?
Heart is considered a muscle meat nutritionally speaking, so I wouldn't substitute it for liver or even kidney.

Dogs have no biological need for carbs or grain.
 

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@Rain @DriveDog
I thought Heart was considered an organ? I'll sometimes sub liver for heart, but heart is my go-to. As for carbs, does the pumpkin not meet that requirement? Are you saying a grain is required?
Heart is generally not considered an organ component in regards to dietary needs for a dog/cat etc. when it comes to the organ requirement. Heart however is still a good item to add to their diet as it contains Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), zinc, phosphorus, selenium, collagen and other quality nutrients.
 
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