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.