Sophie and Schultz's Test Kitchen...Homecooking 101
I'm just about out of "dog" food and I'm not going to replace it...instead I'm going to try my best to create balanced wholesome meals for my dogs. I've always supplemented their commercially purchased food with homemade meals a few times a week (but because I was unsure of the vitamin/mineral, protein to carb ratios they need for a "balanced" diet I never went all the way ....so to speak).
The past few years I've been feeding The Honest Kitchen and Orijen brands and while they are highly rated pet foods, I think that maybe even the high quality isnt the best I can do for my dog's health and well being.
I've been studying 3 books: Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard H. Pitcairn, The Complete Holistic Dog Book Home Health Care for Our Canine Companions by Jan Allegretti and Katy Somers, and Veterinarian's Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs by Martin Zucker.
As we get closer to the date that I will run out of the "dog" food, I've been creating a notebook with a simple gameplan: calorie needs, foods that will be digestible and nutritious, vitamin and mineral needs, supplements/antioxidants that may be helpful, recipes with nutrition breakdowns and calorie totals, a log so that I can keep track of how our progress trends... I know both my dogs will eat anything I put in a bowl, I just want to feel confident in what I feed them.
Recently, I sent Schultz's hair sample off the the UK (at the place @karenben suggested) and his results were interesting... all this time I was convinced poultry was what was causing him trouble but it turns out that it's more likely that carrots, sweet potatoes, and blueberries (all 3 he gets in the dog food) is more likely part of his problem....homecooking allows me to tailor to his specific needs...plus a lot of what I read is that allergic response it often exascerbated by processing food from its original whole form into something that can be stored for long periods of time...also the fact that there isn't enough variety could have something to do with the development of allergies.
I'll keep track of my ingredient costs, the time it takes to prepare/serve...against the results...ie are my dogs any better off without the commercial pet food. This blog is going to, hopefully, keep me committed even when life is hectic....I honestly believe its just this set-up and organizing that's daunting, once we get into a rhythm it'll work itself out....I mean I cook for my family and I never get premade processed food...and I should offer the same to my dogs, specially since I usually like them more