Should You Make Your Own Dog Food?

Photo (cc) by udono

Depending on the size of your dog, he may be eating you out of house and home. You can go with the store brands of dog food, inch your way up the ladder to the Purinas or Ken-L Rations, or go all the way to the top with the high-end brands. But there’s another way, if you’re crazy enough to try it: Make your own.

Will you save money on the food? Maybe, maybe not. In a provocative column at Bargaineering.com, the site points out that it takes time to make and prepare your own dog food, and it can sometimes be more expensive than the mass-produced dry dog food you can pick up in the store.

But if you’ve got the time and inclination, you may just make up for that by paying fewer veterinary bills. After all, human beings are always being urged to eat a more natural diet and lay off the processed foods, so it only makes sense that the same would be true for our canine friends.

Many owners are going this route, especially after so many dogs died from tainted food in 2007. Tom Burns of Bailey, Colo., began feeding his dogs a homemade diet when one of them became ill.

“The vet told us to use Science Diet, but after a month he wasn’t getting any better,” Burns says. That’s when he read the ingredients and thought he could develop a better recipe.

Now Burns’ three dogs subsist on a diet of ground turkey, potatoes, green beans, spinach, and garlic, combined with a homemade nutritional powder with such ingredients as kelp, bone meal, and calcium. (Recipes abound, from Buddy’s and Bubba’s Homemade Dog Food to Doggy Hamburger Helper.)

“It takes us about four hours to make it up. We do enough to last about 10 days,” Burns says. He estimates that the final cost is about $1.25 for the equivalent of a can – which compares favorably with higher-end store-bought versions that can run as high as $2 a can.

Many owners opt for the BARF diet. It may sound unappealing, but the acronym stands for “biologically appropriate raw food.” It’s based on the fact that dogs evolved eating raw foods, not cooked foods. But Burns offers a cautionary note: “If your dog is used to processed food, you’ve got to work them into it.”

Once you get them to raw foods, however, there is a plethora of goodies from which to choose:

  • Eggs and Meat: raw eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, venison, turkey
  • Vegetables and grains: broccoli, carrots, romaine lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, summer squash, asparagus, rice, oatmeal, kale
  • Dairy: cottage cheese, plain yogurt
  • Fruit: bananas, mango, apples
  • Oils: olive oil, flax seed oil, safflower oil, hemp oil

On the other hand, there are also a host of foods to keep your dog away from. Some can even be fatal…

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macademia nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Walnuts

Whether making your own dog food is really worth the trouble is up to you, but here’s one key ingredient: Consult your veterinarian first.

But Burns is a believer. The sick dog that first pushed him into homemade food lived to be 19½.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free movie streaming sites offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics. If you love free movies, online sites are where you need to look for the best list of features that are just one easy click away.

The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers
The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers

Boomers have a lot of worries as they age, but two stand out.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them
The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them

Rescuing a retirement from regret starts with these steps well before it’s time to quit working.

12 Ways to Never Pay Full Price for Anything
12 Ways to Never Pay Full Price for Anything

Stop paying retail prices. Here are plenty of ways around that.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire
The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire

I’m a millionaire several times over. I got here the same way you can — by following these simple steps.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.