From the first day I switched to real food, the difference in Zeus’ nature at dinner time could not be anymore different. Now, he watches joyously as I put food in his bowl and by the end of his meal he’s licking his bowl wanting more. Admittedly, home cooking meals for the doge is a bit more effort, but what is a bit more effort for your furry friend and all they bring into your life. I started cooking his meals early this year and it quickly became another part of my weekly routine. Zeus’ meals consist of chicken, beef organs (usually liver), a dog nutrition supplement (NUPRO), and a mix of brown rice with veggies (spinach, kale, broccoli). Chicken quarters were the easiest and most cost effective cut of meat I could find at my local grocery store and I use bags of frozen vegetables for the same reason. If you’re buying premium dry dog food, you’ll end up paying about the same amount monthly feeding your dog human-grade food.
Once you have all the ingredients, the meal is easy to make. The recipe below can be adjusted to cook different amounts of servings. I usually cook one week’s worth of food at a time, so the quantities are as follows:
28oz beef liver (package I buy comes in 4-4oz slices, I do a slice a day)
1 ½ cups brown rice
36oz frozen veggies total
7 scoops of supplement
NOTE: CUT OFF EXCESS FAT FROM CHICKEN, SOME IS FINE, BUT TOO MUCH WILL LEAD TO DIARRHEA (ZEUS FOUND OUT THE HARD WAY)
In a big pot, start the brown rice (I add a little bit off beef broth for flavor)
Cut chicken quarters in half, you’ll end up with the drumstick and thigh
In a large hotel pan or baking sheet, lay out the chicken quarters and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes
Once the rice has cooked, add more water and add the supplement, stir until the powder is dissolved, add a little more water and add the frozen vegetables and beef liver, leave on low heat for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring
Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool off a bit and proceed to remove the bones (this step is a reason I switched to a raw diet)
Once everything is cooked, now it’s all portioning meals for the week; this doesn’t have to be exact, as long as your dog eats the entire batch, they’ll get their nutritional needs, so don’t worry if some meals have a little more meat or veggies than others. I personally use old takeout containers that have been kept over the years to portion meals, roughly one full container is a meal for Zeus. Roughly, distribute the food evenly between 7 containers, and BOOM! there ya go, 7 delicious and nutritious meals for your fur baby.
I recently switched to a raw diet for Zeus and the reasoning was two-fold, first I was moving cross-country on my own and questioned my ability to consistently cook and debone 7lbs of chicken each week and secondly the raw diet allows your dog to eat the bone and bone marrow is extremely beneficial. The measurements stayed the same, if anything you can cut back a bit on the brown rice because the bone and marrow adds to the meal. The only cooking involved is the pot of brown rice and veggies which is simple to do and requires little effort compared to deboning chicken. The steps for the raw diet are:
In a big pot, start the brown rice
Cut chicken quarters in half (cut off excess fat)
Once the rice has cooked, add more water and add the supplement, stir until the powder is dissolved, add a little more water and add the frozen vegetables, leave on low heat for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring
Portioning out the meals is the same, eye it out to be even and place in containers, I usually freeze 3 meals and keep 4 in the fridge, removing one from the freezer as I use one in the fridge. The meals can take at times at least 2 days to thaw. When it’s dinner time just flip the container over into the bowl and make sure all of it gets into the food bowl, your dog will likely have their mouth watering!
Since I’ve been home cooking meals and now with the raw diet, Zeus has never been happier or healthier. At his usual vet check-up, everything was great, healthy weight, healthy coat, and all the rest. You’re feeding your dog what nature intended them to eat and you know what exactly is going into the food! But as with anything pet-related, you must continuously monitor your furry friend and make sure they are responding well to the dietary change. Over time, you’ll see the benefits to your dog. And we all know a happier dog leads to a happier you!
So let’s ditch the dry dog food and commit to better for our dogs!