Food · Home and DIY · Recipes

DIY Slow Cooker Dog Food

DIY Slow Cooker Dog Food |www.pearlsandsportsbras.com|

I know, ya’ll are going to think I’m crazy. Hear me out.

I spend approximately 7.86% of my life complaining about how expensive it is to have a dog. Especially one that needs professionally groomed, and frequently, because she sheds minimally and her fur gets long, dirty, and tangled. Sigh. Ok, back on topic. Since adopting her, I noticed a little problem with diarrhea. This quickly resolved with higher quality dog foods and elimination of grains. I did my research and learned about what my dog needs in her diet and why. And along with that, I learned what she doesn’t need. She doesn’t need filler grains, weird gelatinous crap, and meat by-products. She also doesn’t need any preservative and suspicious gunk. Depending on the brand, a can of decent quality dog food can cost $1.50-$3 and, for my 20lb. dog, this lasts 2 days. I add dry grain-free blue buffalo to this and feed her twice daily. She gets about 1 cup of food a day.

A bag of dry dog food costs about $20 and lasts a month.
Her wet food costs $30 per month.

Each time I fed her, she always seemed like she was choking the food down, and when she wasn’t all that hungry, she preferred to just skip her meals together. I brushed it off “eh whatever, she’s a dog, what do I know about what she wants”. But, I pay a TON for this stuff. So, I did the human-like thing and blamed it on taste. She begs and begs for her treats. She must like these. I mix up her treats but they are usually some combo of chicken or other lean meat and sweet potato or carrot.

So, to cut costs, and provide her with completely healthy, all-natural food, I decided to make my own. Please consult your veterinarian to discuss what specific dietary and nutritional needs your dog has before changing his diet.

Slow Cooker Dog Food:

DIY Slow Cooker Dog Food |www.pearlsandsportsbras.com|

Ingredients: * This can be made using many many variations, this is what I chose for this specific recipe but I’ve also make it with pork and beef. I’ve added broccoli and spinach in different batches as well. You can check out one of my alternate recipes here. It makes 3 weeks of food for my 20lb dog, who gets fed twice a day, and together with her multivitamin and treats, she gets all her necessary protein, carbs, and fats.

– 2 1/2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs and breasts
– 1 sweet potato, cubed
– 2 carrots, sliced
– 2 c. frozen green beans
– 2 c. frozen peas
– 1 large or 2 med apples, cored and cubed (no seeds!!)
– 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

– 2 tbsp olive oil

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Directions:

1. Place meat in the crockpot and add water so that it just covers the chicken. Then, add potato, carrots, kidney beans, green beans, and apple.

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2. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, when it is about finished, add the frozen peas and cook for another 30 minutes.

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3. When finished, drain off excess liquid, add olive oil, and stir to mash (or place in a food processor).

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4. When cooled, scoop daily servings into individual ziploc bags and freeze. Each night, remove one bag from the freezer and place in the fridge to defrost overnight.

This batch makes 3 weeks of food for my dog. I mix in a multivitamin as well, for some added calcium.

If your dog loves this recipe, check out an alternate version here!

Not only is it all-natural, healthy, and fresh, she LOVES it! She races to the bowl when I set it down and licks it CLEAN! Here she is after scarfing her first serving down and asking for more:

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Again, always consult your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s specific needs before changing her diet.

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Thanks for stopping by!
-A

141 thoughts on “DIY Slow Cooker Dog Food

      1. 1/2cup a day? You should be feeding at least 1 cup a day I have a 19lb Pekingese and that’s what I’m told nothing less.

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      2. My vet told me to cut my Chug’s (20 lbs) food down to 1/4 cup 2 times per day and if he gets treats subtract that from his food. He does fine on this. I also give him a meat ball size dog food frozen to help keep his teeth clean.
        Thanks for the new recipes.

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      1. I figured out what she needed a long time ago and don’t quite remember how. She’ll basically require as much as what is recommended for her weight in wet dog food. I switch up the veggies and meat all the time. I have an alternate pork version which I linked in this blog that has different veggies as well. Last week I made it with a beef roast.

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      2. Yes, I often have to cook it on high (for at least part of the time due to time constraints). It’ll take about 5-6 hours on high. When the chicken shreds easily and the sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples easily mash it’s done.

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    1. I’m totally agree with you, I feed my dog also like you, but If you boíl the ingrefients so many hours you loose all the vitamins, try to grill it in a pan, its better a bit raw, so you conserve all vitamins.

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  1. This looks great and I am pretty sure my pup would love it. Your beautiful dog looks just like my Cooper! Thanks for the great idea, he already loves all these any way!

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  2. This is great! We just adopted a dog and he is not excited about his (expensive) food, has very loose stooles, and gets the hiccups a lot. What resources did you use to figure out your dog’s nutritional requirements based on weight etc? Thanks again for posting this!

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  3. I have been feeding my dogs home cooked food for years. Please be careful feeding your dog’s peas and beans as there is a hard shell around these vegies that the dogs tummies are unable to digest. They simply end up ‘passing’ these vegies whole which means they are not getting any nutrition out of them. I use a lot of steamed broccoli, sweet potatoes, asparagus….diced very, very small…..
    Also be sure to supliment your dog’s diet with a good daily vitamin to be sure they get all of their necessary vitamins/minerals.
    Always consult your veterinarian before starting a home cooked diet, mine really helped with ideas and the creation of a perfect healthful blend for my 90 lb labrador.

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    1. Thank you for the tips! I always mash the food, including the beans and peas after they’ve cooked in the slow-cooker for several hours, to break open the casing/shells.

      As I’ve mentioned, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian before making changes to your pets diet.

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    2. How much do you feed your dog? I have 3 large black labs and a boxer/basset. I have started giving them homemade food but it seems that they are getting tummy aches. Tried to ask my vet but he disapproves of a homemade diet. (I found it odd).

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      1. She get’s about 3/4 c. per day but she’s 20lbs. My vet wasn’t really for or against a homemade diet but suggested I get in touch with an animal nutritionist to make sure the diet was well balanced. I posted some resources and suggestions here in the comments. My dog is is 100% better on this diet, I’m sorry yours are getting tummy aches 😦

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      2. I know this is an old comment, but for anyone else, try getting your dog allergy tested. Our last family dog had reactions to tons of different foods and we couldn’t figure out why, until our vet told us that she might have an allergy to grains. We tried a grain-free food and sure enough it all cleared right up. 🙂

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      3. Kristin, good thought! My pup had been grain-free before I started cooking for her and still had symptoms so I knew that wasn’t the case. You’ll notice I don’t add grains to this recipe, intentionally, because I do notice diarrhea is worse when she does get some.

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    3. How much do you feed your 90 lb lab a day? My baby is less than 9o, but won’t touch hard food any more. He’s 14 and being picky. Just trying to make sure he’s getting enough protein.

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      1. I have 3 “good sizers” so I don’t freeze often 🙂 My vet recommended some calcium for bone health. I usually go with about 1/3 chicken or turkey, 1/6 veg, carrots, spinach or pumpkin, 1/6 yogurt (or cot cheese, whichever is on sale) & 1/3 “filler” of oats or very over cooked white rice. I am going to start using my gigantic crock pot, that’s the best idea of all 🙂

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  4. Thanks for the good recipe! My husky / shepherd needs something to tempt her appetite and this looks like a good one to try. My vet has recommended adding finely ground eggshells (or calcium pills) for the calcium, and also pointed out that using livers, chicken / turkey gizzards, or other organ meats are great sources of protein, iron, and vitamins while being less expensive. Organ meats are probably the dog’s idea of a delicacy, too…that’s the part of the animal the wolf goes for (ew!)!

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  5. I have cooked for my dogs for years. A really great resource is a http://www.naturaldogfood.com. Carole Boyle has written a book on her EXTENSIVE research on cooking for her dogs and I have followed her advice for years. Give it a look if you’re serious about getting away from commercial dog food.

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    1. Actually, after reading the reviews for her book on Amazon, I’ve decided against it. For instance, she has raisins, onions, and garlic as suggested ingredients. All known to be hazardous to dogs. Many of her ingredients are not what I would consider healthy in any way.

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  6. My dog is the pickest eater of all. Unfortunately, he broke his leg (twice) and the only way to get meds in him was by making him chicken (on the advice of our vet). Since then he has been awful about dog food. BUT THIS….he loves it!!!! I have the same sized dog as you and I agree I get about 3 weeks worth of food. Besides knowing what ingredients he’s getting this is so much less expensive than canned dog food. The whole crockpot full of food cost me about $7.00. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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    1. Donna, hearing this made me so happy! I’m so glad your little guy loves this too! $7 is about what I pay too. As my vet and some commenters suggested, I do add some fresh yogurt or cottage cheese every now and then to the top if I don’t feel like giving her a vitamin, for bone health. That might be a great idea for your dog since he’s broken his leg 😦

      Thank you again for letting me know that you had success, I love feedback!

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  7. my dogs love this! However I think I want to try with the pork or beef, can you explain how you
    Made with both of those? Just not sure on what type of beef to use (ground or chunk) and same with pork.

    Thanks!

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    1. I used a pork loin (which fell apart and shred nicely like the chicken did) and ground beef. She loved the pork and “tolerated” the beef. I think because I used ground beef it was probably very overcooked, by week 3 she wasn’t dashing to her bowl for it. If you can find a thicker chunk of beef on sale that’s what I’d recommend.

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  8. Hi I have 5 dogs and in total they eat 4 cups a day, and I can’t seem to get the food to last more than 3 days. Does anyone have some advice on what to do so I’m not spending a fortune?

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    1. Most of the ingredients are already pretty inexpensive, your best bet is to scour the sunday adds for whoever is having the best meat sales. As far as making the food last, how many crock pots do you have? lol If it were me, I’d do a few things, I’d consider mixing the food with hard (I mention that I do this with my dog in my post but I now am only giving her this food, plus a multivitamin, no hard, but this is an option for you) to cut down on what you need to make. I would set aside 1 day a month, and gather as many crockpots as you can find, and shoot for making about 1 months worth of food. I’d keep 1 week in the fridge and freeze the rest.

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      1. What I ended up doing just in case people have as many dogs or feed that much food here is what I recently found that I’m doing. I use 5lbs of any kind of meat( I switch between turkey and chicken, I haven’t tried anything else yet), I use 2 cups green beans, 2 cups peas, 2 apples, a sweet potato, 2 carrots and 4 cups of rice. I put it all in my 7qt crock pot, it takes 6 hours and it made 8 days worth. So I am spending about $20 a week which isn’t too bad.

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  9. I like this idea. I feed my dogs a raw food diet and they are thriving. This would be a nice change up or if they need to go to boarding school or the like. One question, Why beans? I feed mine meat and fruits and veggies but never heard of adding beans. Also, check out dogfoodadvisor.com to see how your store bought dog food ranks. You’ll be surprised. At The temperatures dog food is cooked, there are no nurtients left. Think about it, dog food has only been around for about 100 years. It is not for the health of your dog, it’s for the convenience of humans. How many dog foods are recalled? The usda does not regulate dog food. Manufactures are allowed, legally, to lie on packaging. 🐩🐩🐩

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    1. Beans are high in protein, carbs, and fiber (I think they probably are the reason there’s no longer an issue with diarrhea) and have a ton of vitamins and minerals (folate, iron, copper, Mg, K, P, Vit K). Plus, she liked the way they taste 🙂

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  10. I love this recipe! Do you have any idea what the nutritional information would be? I have a Great Dane, so I’ll most likely need to play with the recipe a bit to make sure she’s getting the right amount of protein and fat. She currently is on a grain free kibble from Born Free, and eats about 3 1/2 cups twice a day, so about 7 cups per day.

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    1. You can easily put this recipe, or one that you create in an online recipe calculator for the nutritional info BUT you need to ask your vet what your dogs requirements are, I’m not qualified for that.

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  11. I just wanted to say thank you!! My little Yorkie just loves this recipe! It makes me so happy to know exactly what I’m feeding her and that she absolutely loves it! 😍😍 thank you!!

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  12. When I feed my dogs, I don’t bother to defrost it. I put them outside with the frozen food and they enjoy gnawing on it just like they would a bone.

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  13. Wonderful recipe! I’ll be trying this for my dog! What size slow cooker did you use? I have two different size ones and want to make sure I use the correct size for this recipe.

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  14. Thank you so much for this recipe! We have 2 puggles, one is a rescue and he needs more calories than our senior dog. He is very active and joined our family needing more food and nutrients due to his prior living conditions. The crock pot idea is the best! It will take so much of the work out of the preparation.

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  15. I have been feeding my dog real food since January of this year but I have never thought to use a slow cooker! This is a genius way to make it and not spend a lot of time. I also haven’t used beans…again, not sure why. I have a 65 lb boxer who eats 8 cups of food a day, so needless to say it gets expensive. Beans are a great source of protein (and money saver) I haven’t tried yet. Thanks for this recipe!!

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    1. Oh my, 8 cups! You’ve probably been cooking your butt off! The beans are super great for protein (fiber, folate, and other minerals and vitamins too) and they are always on sale (LOVE 10 for $10!) happy cooking 🙂

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    2. Lentils would be another great addition because they are high in protein. As with any new food, it is advisable to try it out for a few days and see if it agrees with your dog. Also, eggs are really cheap (5 dozen for around $4 at Winco) and are an excellent source of protein.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I have a 10 year old shih tzu that just got over a stomach bug from last week so she was on the chicken n rice diet all week. After researching i found you blog and just got done loading it in the crockpot. I hope she loves it because she’s so picky and earlier this year had a tumor removed that was cancerous so I’m really trying to keep her healthy bc she’s our kid. Thanks for the recipie 🙂

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  17. I recently rescued my first dog, a three legged doberman and I have been reading on all sorts of ways to improve his life. So I am so happy I found you blog! He will be eating good tonight!

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  18. Has anyone tried making this in a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker? Just thinking about the time factor; the pressure cooker would know the time down to minutes vs hours…

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  19. I have a shih tzu who is also a picky eater. She is not eating her wet/dry food combination like she used. Her little cousin (6lb partie-yorkie) has been sick so I have allowed them both to eat chicken and rice. I am starting to become concerned with the quality of commercial foods these days.

    My question is, how is your dog’s stool? I’m runny about loose stool. I know hard food is good for their teeth. Have you had any issues with this? Now that you’ve started cooking for you dog, does your dog only eat home cooked food now?

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    1. Jakeisha, no issues with loose stool now that we’ve started the home cooked diet (we had lots of issues with diarrhea prior to starting this). She’s been almost entirely on a home cooked diet for over a year and still loves it! She gets lots of treats during the day too, especially rawhide and bones, that helps with her teeth, which are in great condition (no bad breath either) despite no hard food – so that’s how we stay on top of that.

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  20. Add a crock pot liner to your shopping list and make clean up a breeze! The dogs will love you for cooking and you’ll love not scrubbing the pot. Thanks for the recipe.

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  21. Thank you for this awesome recipe! I have 2 VERY picky eaters who both gobbled it up and asked for more! I have also become increasingly concerned with the quality of commercial dog food-so many recalls, it’s scary! My pups are my babies and it makes me so happy to be feeding them natural, wholesome food that they love!

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  22. We have a 5lb, picky little morkie. I’m so happy I found this recipe. Made it today and he knew it was for him. LoL! Didn’t have apples so we used a big pear. When it was time to eat he did every single one of his tricks, over and over, he was so excited! He licked his plate clean. Happy little guy over here. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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  23. I made this for my dog to switch it up foright him. I’ve been making his food myself a little over a year now and he loved this. I also loved the fact that it’s a crock pot meal. My fiancé thought it was our dinner that was smelling so good, and was bummed when he found out it was for our dog lol. Thank you.

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  24. If it is a by-product meal,then it is OK. But if it’s just “by-product” it’s bad. The raw diet, which this is an example, is the best thing for any dog. Thank you for sharing!!

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  25. Thank you for all the yummy recipes! My 3 pups love them. i have been giving my dogs homemade for about a year. My 13 yr old doxie has seizure disorder (since birth), with the phenobarbital he has to take 2x a day put a major tole on his body. Tried all kinds of pricey subscription diets because his liver functions were always high. When I went to all natural /homemade his fur is soft as silk and no seizures for going on a year!! His liver functions are great, well within the normal range and he is active again. The vet was extremely pleased with the results! But did recommend a multi-vitamin each day. To speed the process of making the dog food I use my pressure cooker. I can do a recipe in less than 30 minutes.It’s a time saver and it protects the nutrients better.

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  26. I like using ground turkey with carrots and pea with a little brown rice. My poodle has a very sensitive tummy. I do switch up veggies he love green beans also. I need to try the sweet potatoes. Apples is his snack food!

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  27. This looks delicious! We just adopted a pooch this passed Sunday and I’m not too confident about feeding her the bagged food the kennels had her on… I’m gonna use this recipe to transition her to homemade meals! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  28. Have to add my comments lol. My doggie is a rescue and the vet said he had a hard life. Unfortunately, because of bad teeth and gums he had to have all his teeth extracted except 4. I was heart broken and didn’t want to feed him can food. Then I came across your recipe. Made it immediately and he loved it. I feel so good knowing he is getting healthy food. thank you so much p.s. my vet was reluctant to go with homemade food also. Couldn’t give me a reason.

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  29. I made this today, in a crockpot…we’d already eaten dinner but I couldn’t resist trying a small amount with my 2 year old ShihTsu….he gobbled it all and looked for more!!! I will be using this and adding a multivitamin….I had him on Science Diet as the vet recommended and not at all happy with it. He was always hungry and his bowel habits changed so he was looking to go out in the middle of the night..I had already been making chicken and veggies and mixing with his dry but I could easily see switching over to this….I really like knowing what’s in his food and I have access to Amish raised chicken (no hormones or antibiotics).
    I’m curious if anyone has reported any gas (or I should say “Increased” gas) with those beans in there….

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    1. I have done extensive reading on homemade dog food and have fed my pugs (naturally very gassy critters) homemade meals for over 7 years. One suggestion I have, in regards to the beans, is to add a little cinnamon in with the food to help with the gas. Read that somewhere online and it does seem to help.

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  30. Hey, do you freeze the food during that time? or just place it in the fridge?! We have a 8 month old Siberian Husky that were are looking at making her meals

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  31. Thank you. My 15 year old mini-schnauzer had started refusing her food (Blue Buffalo canned Turkey & Sweet Potato 2x a day and free access to dry BB too) and walking away from her plate. She has lost weight and is very thin. We had thought this was due to being lonely as her brother passed away in July and she is an only dog now as well as I was away for 15 days too. I did some research and was shocked to find a ton of complaints about Blue Buffalo dog food on http://www.poisonedpets.com/blue-buffalo. Carly had not eaten her breakfast or dinner so night I decided to try her on some rice and chicken and a bit of pumpkin, and a 1/4 tspn coconut oil …… she licked her plate clean. I will be trying your receipe, I am sure she is going to be a very happy dog. I will let you know. Thanks again!

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  32. Love your article – it spoke to me, word for word and when I scrolled down and saw your dog’s picture I freaked out because my dog looks EXACTLY, EXACTLY, like your dog!!!! Thanks for sharing. I am working on your recipe now!:)

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    1. My Shih Tsu loves loves loves this dog food. My vet said “I’m not a nutritionist but you can certainly supplement your dry food with it” and I do…he now gobbles his dinner!!

      Like

  33. Save your egg shells, wash and dry them then give a few whirls in nutra bullet or blender. Sprinkle on food. I was leaving a shell in the water so calcium could leech out but kittens decided it made a perfect keep away toy.
    My 11# 8yr old buddy, whom we dognapped from a life of living on the mean streets, has allergies, beneful made him scratch and his feet smelled like corn chips, went through several brands finally chef michaels chicken but since it’s been discontinued I switched to little seizure wet…..Oddly forgetting how he got on certain foods he spent a miserable two weeks, mom guilt big time. I now pressure cooker his chicken, and veggies. He still has few spots on his bk legs and his tail, his Dr was concerned until I told him food allergies when he got his yrly shots today.
    If I’m feeling industrious I’ll make a bone meal by putting the softened bones either chicken leg or thigh in my nutra blender with stock thus giving him the marrow. He licks the bowl clean.

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  34. Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂
    After you take a portion out to thaw do you heat it up prior to serving or serve it straight from the fridge cold?

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    1. As my pug has aged she has become more and more picky. I have fed her home cooked meals for more than six years and until recently I always served it cold or at room temperature. One day, I went online to try and figure out what might be causing this new pickiness and I read that because dogs have such a strong sense of smell this can greatly affect their sense of taste. This resource suggested heating homemade dog food so that your dog can really smell what it is eating. I am happy to say that although my dog still sniffs her food for quite some time before eating it she is now eating her food!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Hey! I LOVE your ideas! I am already looking up home made recipes for my future dog (I am moving into a different country early next year but as soon as I move I will adopt a dog) . I was wondering if you will need any supplements with this? I know you are of course no Nutritionist but maybe you can help me with this question. Of course I will consult my future vet and talk to them about it as well but just out of curiosity! 🙂

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