Our goldendoodle, Ferdinand, has never enjoyed his kibble. He started out on Science Diet (that’s what he’d been eating when he came to us), and we’ve tried Simply Nourished, Nature’s Domain (grain free from Costco), and Halo.
It’s not because he’s “spoiled” or anything. We’ve never given him table scraps. I would (and do) make him eggs when we eat eggs, but other than that, he’s just had his dry food and dog treats. Here’s how I knew he wasn’t enjoying it. He’d sniff it, maybe eat a few bites, then walk away. His food would sit there until he’d be so hungry he couldn’t take it anymore, then he’d finally eat it. Sometimes he’d have a better chance of eating it if I mixed canned food, peanut butter, yogurt, or over easy eggs in with it. Even then, he’d try to lick everything off the kibble, and leave the kibble behind.
After some reflection, I decided that I don’t want my dog living a life where he doesn’t enjoy his food. Dogs, like people, have flavor preferences, and they truly enjoy food that tastes good to them. So, I looked into homemade dog food. I had considered a raw food diet, but we just can’t afford it. If they’re eating raw, it has to be organic, grass feed meats. That’s what I buy for my family, but it just costs too much money for a dog his size. So, for now, I’m buying the healthiest meat I can afford for him, and cooking it. I found a slow cooker recipe that’s really easy to make, and costs the same as I was spending on kibble (more than some brands, less than others).
You can find the recipe and instructions here. It makes 16 cups, which I can refrigerate or freeze in single portions. It is enough for Ferdinand for a week. It would be enough for a whole month for a chihuahua, or a couple weeks for a beagle.
Now, there are plenty of good tasting, healthy dog treats for dogs that I plan to continue to buy for him, but I wanted to try making him some treats, too. I had 2 lbs of beef liver in the freezer from the farmer’s market, so I cooked half of it for us, and half for him. The recipe is one I threw together based on several I’d seen. I didn’t want to add any grain since his dinners have all the carbs he needs.
Blueberry Garlic Liver Treats
1 lb beef or chicken liver
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup blueberries
1. Process ingredients in food processor until smooth.
2. Spread out on a piece of parchment paper on a large baking pan, and bake for 1 hour at 225.
3. Cut into pieces, lower heat to 180, and cook an additional 1.5 to 2 hours, or until they feel dry and springy.
4. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Ferdinand LOVES his treats and especially his dinner! He behaves the way a dog should behave at mealtime. He drools in anticipation when it’s being prepared, and then he devours it, leaving his bowl licked clean with not even a trace of a morsel behind. Then, he goes outside and runs laps in the yard, happy as can be. It really makes me happy to see him so content. And now you may call him spoiled. =D