You probably think we are crazy, but…

We cook for our dog.

A couple of months ago I ran across a list of several companies that test on animals. One of them was the food we were feeding Oreo at the time. Thinking it was kind of silly that people would be upset about “testing on animals” when it came to food FOR animals, I did some research and found out that there are 2 ways to test animal products on animals.

1. In a cruelty-free home environment which would be similar to someone asking me to try out a new product on Oreo and keep close tabs on him. If something bad happened then I could take him to the vet and get him proper care. And 2. actual animal testing where animals who react badly to the product are discarded like waste. I came across a website and some video footage that turned my stomach. I did further research and read rebuttals claiming that our dog food wasn’t part of all this mess. Christopher and I talked about it and he has a real soft spot when it comes to animals so in the end we realized that we just couldn’t justify continuing to support a company that might be mistreating animals.

So I did more research looking for cruelty free dog food. I found several brands/companies that use  non-invasive, nonlethal, and cage-free “in-home” testing (here’s one such list). However, we had been paying $20/month for dog food for Oreo. If we switched to one of these other dog foods, we would be paying a minimum of $50/month for his food. I decided that there had to be a way to make food cheaper than that so I started looking for dog food recipes. I was right.

Since this is getting long, let’s switch to bullet points:

– A couple of months ago, this past spring, we began making Oreo’s food at home.

– Currently it costs us about $15/month to make Oreo’s food (less than when we were buying the commercialized dog food).

– We no longer have to worry about unintentionally hurting other animals with our spending power.

– We now know everything that Oreo eats.

– He is never bloated or gassy like he was on commercial dog food.

– His coat shines and he no longer scratches like he did before we switched his food.

– He has mellowed out tremendously.

The only two downsides to making his food homemade is that it requires refrigeration which is a bit difficult if we travel with him (though, we bought a cooler so it’s not too much of a hassle anymore) and it takes time to make his food. However, 30 minutes of chopping, tossing it all in the pot, bringing to boil then leaving it alone to simmer for an hour is not a high price to pay for all the pros. 🙂

Oreo’s Dog Food


3 cups brown rice
2 cups barley
2 cups green beans, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 beet root, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 lb chicken liver, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
2 eggs, whisked or boiled and chopped
1 egg shell, ground very fine (this adds calcium)
10 cups water
2 tsp sage
1 tsp garlic powder


Toss all ingredients in a large pot and mix together. Bring to boil then lower heat. Cover pot and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Let cool before serving to pet.

Note: Oreo is 50 pounds so we feed him between 16-24oz a day which usually averages out to about 10 ounces twice a day. So this batch of food lasts approximately 8 days. :)

And how does it taste? Well, according to Tony, really rather good. A bit on the bland side, but tasty. Yes, he actually ate some. Though, in his defense, Christopher also came home thinking it was dinner because it was just finishing up on the stove. And I did forewarn Tony that it was Oreo’s food, not our dinner, but he still wanted to try it. 😉

We also make homemade treats for Oreo (like the doggy dinos and a biscotti recipe I need to share with you guys!) so making his cake on Sunday wasn’t much of a stretch for us. Speaking of the cake, here’s the recipe for those of you who asked:

Peanut Butter Carrot Cake for the Pup


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 heaping cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a small baking dish sprayed with a nonstick spray for 30 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Dog Treat Recipe Exchange

Whew, this was a long post. I’ve put it off for such a long time because I don’t want to bad mouth a company (especially if I don’t know for a FACT that they are participating in this sort of thing – hence why I didn’t name them) plus I get enough “you are crazy” looks when I tell people that we make his food homemade as it is. But you guys will love us anyway, right? 😉 If not, you’ll at least still love this adorable guy:

I mean, c’mon, he’s 5o pounds and thinks he is a lap dog… that’s just plain adorableness. 😉

45 responses to “You probably think we are crazy, but…

  1. My pitbull totally thinks she is a lapdog as well! It makes me laugh sooo much! I love that you cook dog food for your dog! 🙂

  2. I think it’s fabulous that you cook for your dog. We would consider that for our dog, except, well she likes to eat cat poop so her tastes are not that quality..and she must have a stomach of steel.

  3. I’m so glad you don’t use Iams anymore!!!

  4. You doggie is so spoiled. 😉

  5. What a great idea! My husband and I want to switch our dog to a more natural food, and you can’t get much more natural than this! How often do you make Oreo’s food?

    • For his weight, he needs to eat between 16-24oz of food a day so we normally feed him about 10oz twice a day (pending the amount of snacks/treats he gets). So with that in mind, each batch of his food lasts about 8 days. I’m glad you asked this – I should’ve mentioned it in the post!

  6. moveovercelery

    That’s awesome! I think the time investment is definitely worth the money saved and not to mention, Oreo’s health! It must help, he looks healthy and happy! I mean, I would be too if my “parents” fed me peanut butter carrot cakes. 🙂

  7. Wow, that’s so eye opening! i had no idea they tested dog food on animals. It breaks my heart that they would “discard” of an animal. it actually disgusts me. I love how you prepare meals for Oreo! I would love to do that for my dog. Maybe i can convince my mom to let me…

  8. I think that’s such a good idea! I don’t have a dog, so I didn’t know what went into testing dog food- that’s horrible!

  9. Amazing Rach. .. Oreo is one lucky dog.

  10. Lucky pup! My dog would LOVE to be catered to like that!

  11. This is such a great post! I am seriously sitting here talking to my sister about how I want to try doing this for Lucy Dog. I didn’t realize that they tested dog foods on other animals – and even though I try to buy a higher end food for her – you just never know. Thanks for this!!! 🙂

  12. Mine does too…and she’s 65 lbs!!! They’re the best lap dogs though 🙂

  13. I think that’s really neat, Rach! I can tell you guys definitely love Oreo and other animals. That animal testing thing is just sad… 😥 We usually buy Nutro or Canidae dog food..IDK if they’re part of the animal-testing companies, but I do know that their food is healthier than most. so yeah, we spend more money every month but we have four dogs – it’s gonna happen anyway, right? haha my mom used to make the dog treats and they were really super healthy – the dogs LOVED them. 😀


  14. Not crazy, this is fantastic! This shows how much you love your dog and how well you take car of him. More people need to be like you my dear

  15. its so sad what they do for testing these days. Thinks for the links. we buy our dog food at whole foods and its worth the extra $$.

  16. I don’t think that’s crazy at all! I might think it’s crazy if you serve his food on a human plate and let him eat a the table…. 🙂
    Speaking of cooking, do you happen to know any easy Chinese recipes? Or at least a site to find some? I’m completely lost without an oven and cheese over here!

  17. Oh I think it is so awesome that you make his dog food. Our nieces dog got very sick from eating some bad store bought dog food so I think you are are very smart for doing this.

  18. forwarding this to my mom!!!!

    She buys the super expensive dog food with no hormones and all that (not sure if she’s checked into non-animal cruelty, but that is super important too!).. so she will definitely find this useful.

    Awesome post.

  19. Oh my stinkin’ goodness! You’re an incredible mommy to Oreo – I have never, ever seen/known anyone to feed their puppy homemade foods. Such a beautiful act of love! Seriously, girl. You’re too sweet for words.

  20. Not crazy, but very smart and thrifty too. 🙂

    My mom always put yogurt (for coat shine) on the dog’s food then a sprinkle of garlic (for fleas). They were all super healthy. 🙂

  21. Not crazy, inspirational!! I never would have thought of doing this for my dog!

  22. I think it’s really great that you make your own dog food. My old vet totally recommended us doing that {especially with our last pup, who was older and had health issues}.

  23. This is awesome! My dogs would go crazy if I made my own dog food. I might need to give this a try! 🙂

  24. I love this idea. In moving towards convenience I think we have forgotten about quality living.

  25. I think this is a great idea! Russell and I fed our bulldog chicken and rice when she was pregnant and she loved it, and it is cheaper… maybe we should switch back too, thanks for posting the recipes!!!

  26. I think if you can cook for your pets, then why not!?!? Also of course I noticed Christopher’s tshirt – GO ILLINI!

  27. That is so amazing! I think you might have found a new business….Gourmet Food From Oreo’s Kitchen! I love it!

  28. I think that’s great you make your dog’s food. I should really start doing this for my cats.

  29. That’s great that you cook for your dog! I don’t know many people that do. What a great way to get your dog the nutrients he needs without breaking the bank! Way to go! 🙂

  30. My aunt cooks for her dogs too so you’re not alone. I think it’s a great idea. Oreo must be a very happy and healthy dog. 🙂

  31. He is SO cute, I love the pics of him on Christopher’s lap. I don’t think it’s crazy that you make his food, I am impressed! I just found out that most of our soap/shampoo/shaving/etc products are tested on animals. I watched a video about the testing they do on beagles and how the dogs NEVER leave their cages and get stuff tested on them all the time and it really upset me. I am going to start replacing as much of our stuff with stuff that is not animal tested. So sad:(

  32. I think that’s wonderful that you cook for your dog! In the same respect that people try to eat clean, I think we need to be mindful of our pets in the same way. He’ll probably have a happy and healthy life! 🙂

  33. Fantastic post, doll! Ryan and I actually attended a seminar held by our Vet about commercial dog food and all the different ways the companies tested their products. Currently happy eats Blue Buffalo, but we have toyed the idea of feeding her a raw diet. And by “raw diet” i mean raw meat…like raw chicken from the store. Apparently, the bones in the meat are SUPER good for dogs to knaw one. Have you ever thought about doing a raw diet for Oreo? It would eliminate the cooking.. but not the cooler 😛

    • One of my close friends feeds her dogs a raw diet and they do really well on it. I toyed with the idea, but in the end, it was more cost effective to go with this recipe (Oreo is a big doggie and eats lots). If he ever starts to have any issues and we think food might be the cause, we might switch him to a raw diet after that. 🙂

  34. Cheaper + better dog food = winner winner chicken dinner!! 🙂

  35. This is really interesting and I don’t think it’s crazy at all!! I’ve considered doing the same for my own pup, and this actually has got me thinking even more about it. I was feeding my pup an all-natural food but had to switch him off because he has way too many umm…intestinal difficulties… haha Now I feed him another type that he does pretty well on, but I want to do more research. Anyway, I’m sure Oreo is happy with this change – those meals look pretty gourmet 🙂

  36. This is so interesting to me! I know of people who make doggie treats for their pups, but I have not ever heard of someone making all the dog food. That just goes to show how much you guys love Oreo! I have to concur that I’m sure it’s much healthier for him overall. Just like us eating overprocessed foods has a negative effect, I’m sure it’s the same for animals. Unfortunately they just can’t speak up like we do!

  37. pawsitivelife

    My mom cooks for her dogs elaborate meals and i get PB and J sandwhiches when i visit….where is the love?

  38. I am so glad you brought this up! This is something I have been meaning to do for awhile now…just for Cooper’s own health…I had no idea they hurt other animals in the process of making the food too! Thank you so much! Seriously!

  39. I LOVE this and do not think you’re crazy!

    hi, my lovely friend Kath (right up there!) passed your blog on to me, specifically this post, because she loves my dachshund Basil almost as much as I do! 😀

    my mom has cooked for our dachshunds in the past, and I have thought about it more than once with Basil – I think it would help (he is gassy like Oreo was!) and (am I crazy?) it’d be fun. 😉

    I may have to try out your recipe… how soon after the switch did you see a difference (in things like the gas, especially)? also, did you quit commercial food all at once, or mix in to transition?

    so happy to have found your blog! have a great weekend!

    • I just emailed ya all the details, but for anyone else reading who has the same question: yes, we definitely switched his food very gradually! 1/4 of the new food to 3/4 of old food for a couple of days then 1/2 and 1/2 for a week or maybe 10 days. Then 3/4 new food, 1/4 old food until he was out of the old stuff (probably another week or 10 days). So it was slow, but better for his tummy! 🙂

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