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:
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. 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: