Sometimes rules are good. For example, keeping us safe, protecting us, protecting others.
So when I started looking into making my own dogfood for our totally awesome, and amazing puppy Kodiak, (who is just over 4 months old today and resembles a baboon for some reason) I realized very quickly that two things were going to conflict.
My determination to never can anything that did not follow the basic pressure canning rules, and my determination to not rely on the freezer more than absolutely necessary.
Believe it or not, that was a tough choice. I take our self-sufficiency very seriously, and I also take safety according to certain rules very seriously. It is why I am against all the unsafe canning practices out there, like boiling your meat for four hours in a watebath canner, and then putting it on the shelf and calling it good. It is why I immediately can as much of our meat in the pressure canner as I can when we get it so that I know we will not experience another serious freezer loss.
But there was NO WAY I was making two months worth of dog food for a seriously-going-to-be-huge dog, and NOT can it up. Or die trying.
So take it as you will, do it or not, I am going to tell you what I did, how I did it, and let you be the judge for your own family pet. I carefully check every single jar when I open it, and Kodie loves the food IÂ made for him with absolutely no side effects. In retrospect, it was the right choice for us. But if you feel better about it, seriously, just freeze it. 🙂
We figured our cost for doing this would be sincerely cut down if we were to do this during our rabbit breeding and gardening season, so we will hold off making more until then. I plan on giving Kodie a completely natural diet if I can help it, including heavy bones to chew that will help keep his teeth clean. His coat is gorgeous and he is handling the homemade dog food very well, in fact, is growing like a weed, and is a happy, healthy puppy, so I know it is the right choice so far. Our last dog had a huge reaction to common dry dog food and we had a hard time choosing between affording to feed him better food, or treat the symptoms. I wish I knew then what I know now, right?
Anyhow, I processed all these pint jars, 3/4 filled with food, in a pressure canner for 90 minutes at 15 lbs pressure. I know normally that pints are 75, but I felt this was a better choice and safer in the end result. I would encourage you to make sure the rice is mushy and overcooked, so add extra water. That way it will not swell and break your seals because your jars are not big enough. I also wanted to say we are a month into the food and each jar has been consistently cooked/processed all the way through, which makes me certain that the longer processing time and higher pressure was the right choice and the heat penetrated the rice mix just fine. 🙂
The recipe I used is below, and I would love to hear feedback from you on this. Do you feed your dog a natural meal? Use dry dog food? A combination of both? I had fun researching a bunch of different recipes before trying my own…and one of the neatest things I learned was being able to use the addition of dried powdered egg shells for calcium….I will be making more of this in the future.
**~Hope you all have a happy Tasty Tuesday!~**
Blessings to you and yours,
Â Kodiak’s Dog Food Recipe
Â 3 lbs cooked and shredded or cubed rabbit or chicken
1 lb cooked and cubed liver
4Â cups brown rice, overcooked until mushy
1 cup old fashioned oats, overcooked until mushy with 2 cups water
1 lb carrots, cubed small and cooked
1 can pumpkin, added
1Â tbsp egg shells, washed, dried, and baked, then powdered in a coffee grinder
Â mix all the above well, after cooking the various items, and fill pint jars 2/3 full with food. Wipe rims well with rag dipped in vinegar to clean rims for processing. Cap with warm lids and tighten rings onto jars. Place in a hot canner, and process for 90 minutes on 15 lbs pressure. Allow to cool completely, check seals, wash and store.
What do you do for cats?
Do some research on what kind of foods they eat, and google making your own cat food. Most cats are pretty strict carnivores, so if we had to feed them straight food we could provide for them, we would most likely feed them meat like rabbit or chicken. Both our cats are fabulous mousers, so that also helps.
This is a very interesting concept. I’ve not really considered making our dogs’ food, but with two large puppies, this may be a very viable option!
I really had not either, but when I realized how many pet food recalls there had been, and then the cost as well, I knew I could make something better for him for the same cost or less and know exactly what was in it.
Thanks for stopping by!
Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.
How long and what temp do you bake egg shells?
How long does it take to get shells dried adequately after washing them?
Do you assume these canned jars would be safe for 1 year on the shelf?
I wash and allow my egg shells to air dry, then bake them in the oven at 350* for about twenty minutes. Allow to cool completely. Then run through a coffee grinder or use mortar and pestle to crush to powder, which happens quite rapidly. Air drying the shells took a couple hours, but I am pretty sure you could just let them sit a little bit then bake them and be fine.
Absolutely I would assume that. I plan on stocking our pantry out about four months with his food, and keeping all the ingredients on hand to make them at any time.
I would not put it past two years for safety though, due to the consistency and the rice simply because I don’t know how it will change over time.
Hope that helps.
How long will this batch last Kodiak? and about how many jars will this recipe make?
lets see, we tripled it and he gets a pint a day, which made 32 pints. So our batch made around 8-10 pints a batch. I amended the recipe because I forgot I also added 2 cups of meat broth to the total mix before canning.
Kodiak would go through this batch in just about a week and a half, added to his kibble.
what breed of dogs do you have? Kodie is a Pyrenees.
Blessings to you,
Thanks Heather. I have a 3 year Mongolian Herding dog (Bankhar) . We use to work in Mongolia and love her to pieces.. she is our “third child” and spoiled rotten according for our two footed kids. Her name is Snuggles! Thanks for the recipe.. I have already gone and bought the ingredients and need to get started on this.. for the first batch I think I will freeze it as I have not used my pressure canner in several years and it probably needs a new seal and to be checked. Thanks again for the recipe
Awesome! I made dog food a few months back, but I do not want to rely on the freezer either, so I stopped and started buying really expensive dog food for my 4 doxies.
Curious how many pints this recipe makes?
as I told other readers I think between 8-10 once all is said and done. 🙂
Doxies are hilarious and one of my favorite dogs. 🙂
Let me know if you try it.
Blessings to you,
I have made my own dog food in the past. I was just considering starting again. Thanks for the recipe. I have a few of my own, but am anxious to give your’s a try. I’ve made my own dog treats for years. They are one of my best sellers at craft fairs.
Renee, I dont suppose you have a recipe for those awesome selling dog treats do you? I would be very interested in trying them for my dog as we are doing obedience training, and he is a lover of all things possibly snacky. 🙂
thanks and would also love to try any recipes you have for dog food.
Blessings to you
Great idea! I never would have thought of canning dog food. I was wondering if you remember how many pints this recipe makes? I’m bad at preparing way too many or way too few jars for my canning session.
I was also wondering if you had any portion guidelines? We have always just fed free choice dry food and I would have no idea how much to feed based on size, age, activity level etc.
Thanks for all the work you put into the blog. It truly is a blessing!
I was asked this over on the facebook page this morning as far as amounts, and my guess is that it makes around 8-10 pints. We tripled the recipe and got quite a bit, (over a months worth) so that is why I am saying that total. I make it again in a couple weeks and will update the post as to the amounts it makes for canning.
Our big puppy, who is over 25 lbs already at 4 months, gets a full pint a day plus 2 cups of kibble. As he gets larger and full grown, he will be transitioning into a full pint per day plus raw meals.
I am quite sure that you can find the guidelines for activity/weight levels on most dog food bags…I know that my breed (Pyrenees) eats less than most dogs their size because of their metabolism being slower than say, a German Shepherd. If we were just to feed this straight our full grown dog would be getting a full quart a day. Plus good bones to chew on to keep his teeth clean, which is the eventual plan.
I hope this helps. I will also be writing an update on how well it works for our dog and family budget later this Spring, and will look for that information to add then. 🙂
Blessings and thanks for the encouragement,
I have a German Shepherd who cannot digest corn. I feed her raw food in the morning (usually venison or meaty poultry carcasses) and grain-free kibble for dinner. This way her system is adjusted to either a raw or kibble meal. I would prefer to feed her 100% raw, but since we travel and camp, kibble is more convenient. (& safer when camping!) I like your recipe-may try it.
thanks Sharon! Yes we plan on giving our dog more raw meat and carcasses when he gets older.
Hope you try the recipe and let me know how it works for you. 🙂
This recipe looks awesome . . . my old girl is sensitive/intolerant of any/all grains. Her skin dries out, she scratches herself bloody, etc. when she gets any. She just turned 15 years old, which for an American Rottweiler is a long, long life. Our vet said that for her, we’ve hit on the perfect recipe of VERY expensive wild meat foods only, half in kibble form, half in the refrigerated section at the natural pet store. If I had to do it over again, I’d be canning all of her food for her, as you are, only without any grains, or doing completely raw. She does great with fruits, vegetables and the meat, but nothing else. She particularly loves the bison and venison mix I get for her . . . to the tune of $69 for 30 lbs. Yes, my dog tends to eat better than we do! When her day comes to cross the Rainbow Bridge, we will be getting another Rottweiler, and we will be doing in the RIGHT way this time, homemade and raw all the way. Great job Heather and thanks for the recipe!
Can I use chicken or rabbit liver for the liver? or does it need to be beef?
I just found your 2014 post on Pinterest. I am wondering how your fur baby is doing and if you have made any changes to your recipe.
I have a Golden/Pyr mix (age 2) and he is very picky with food and often does not eat a full meal or may go for a day without eating anything. I also have an Aussie/Pyr mix (13) and he eats everything you give him.
Hi Brenda! Thank you SO much for commenting. 😀
I have not changed my recipe at all, and now feed it to our two rescue pups, one that is a year, and one that is still a baby.
Our beautiful Pryenees contracted something that completely stumped our amazing vet, and after trying every option available, we ended up putting him to sleep about 18 months ago, which totally broke our hearts as a family. She thinks that because we lived in an area that had many wild animals, he picked up something that destroyed his immune system, and nothing we did could relieve him of the pain and suffering he was going through.
I also ran past our vet the recipe for the food we use and she was very supportive.
Our dogs love it, and we have found it to not only replace the store bought food, but their coats, and everything are amazing.
Thank you for asking about Kodie. A day does not go by we dont think of it and are thankful he was part of our life. <3
Blessings to you and yours,