All my life, I’ve been told not to feed my dogs “people” food. We’ve always been advised that table scraps are bad for dogs, and they should just stick to the dry, processed kibble made by dog food companies. We always assumed, back then, that what the kibble companies were producing was balanced, healthy, and delicious.
But that notion is both antiquated and nonsensical. In a perfect world, dog food would be made from top quality ingredients, including many of the products humans consume on their own. Our nutritional requirements, as mammals, are generally fairly similar. The differences lie in the ratios of consumption.
A dog’s diet should contain approximately 33%-50% proteins, 20%-30% carbohydrates, 15% vegetables, 10% fruits, and 5% dairy. It should also contain oils and seeds to round out the diet and ensure the dog is getting what he or she needs to digest the food it is eating.
One might think that the kibble companies would simply purchase quality ingredients in these approximate proportions and produce kibble with these kinds of ratios. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. The truth about processed dog food is much worse than this. Not only does legislation COMPLETELY ignore canine health, the industry is skewed in favor of manufacture’s profit margins. This legislation allows dog food companies to use things like recycled restaurant deep fryer fat and rancid tallow as your dog’s “good fat” and by-products, such as hooves, tails, testicles, ears and other bits of animal as protein ingredients. They also contain dyes and preservatives that many trainers believe are the source of some behavioral issues. Furthermore, the ratios are generally wrong, with even “high protein” diets containing less than 30% protein. Even worse, canned dog food can contain up to 70-80% moisture. After learning all this, The Kennel Birkline invested much time in learning what dogs REALLY need versus what we were feeding them.
So, like many other pet owners we resorted to making our own dog food. This recipe is a variety food equation. Each batch will contain several set ingredients, and then each batch will also have a few variety choices along the way to provide variety of taste and nutrition. This alternating pattern of feeding ensures that your dog never gets bored and also gets the critical vitamins and minerals necessary to properly process the food he’s eating.
Birkline Variety Recipe
Makes approx. 10 cups
Daily Serving: 1 cup per 10 lbs of [ideal] body weight.**
Proteins 40% (4 cups):
- EVERY BATCH:
- 1 cup plain chicken breast, cooked & cubed
- 2 cups hard-boiled eggs, diced
- PICK 2 PER BATCH:
- 1 cup lean ground beef, cooked & drained
- 1 cup ground turkey, cooked & drained
- 1 cup canned tuna in water, drained
- 1 cup canned sardines in water, with bones, drained
- 1 cup beef tripe
Carbohydrates 30% (3 cups):
- EVERY BATCH:
- 1 cup rolled oats, cooked
- 2 cups long grained brown rice, cooked
Vegetables 15% (1.5 cups):
- EVERY BATCH:
- ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed
- ½ cup carrots, diced
- ¼ cup canned 100% pumpkin
- PICK 1 PER BATCH:
- ¼ cup zuccinni, cooked & diced
- ¼ cup broccoli cutlets
- ¼ cup frozen peas
Fruits 10% (1 cup):
- PICK 2 PER BATCH
- ½ cup apple, diced
- ½ cup pear, diced
- ½ cup banana, sliced
Dairy 5% (½ cup)
- EVERY BATCH
- ½ cup Cottage Cheese
Supplements (Trace Amounts)
- EVERY BATCH
- 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tbs Flaxseed
- 1 Tbs Chia seeds
- 1 Tbs Hemp seeds
- 2 Tbs Pure Molasses
**If a dog is underweight or overweight (and is fully grown), adjust the amount to 1 cup per IDEAL body weight should be fed daily. For example, if an 85 lb dog should weigh 70 lbs, serve 7 cups, spread equally across the daily feedings. If a 70 lb dog should weigh 85 lbs, serve 8.5 cups, spread equally across the daily feedings.
The best part about this recipe is that it contains nothing that a dog owner wouldn’t put in their mouths (except maybe sardines…yuck!). There are no preservatives, hoofs, ears, rotten tallow or measures of used deep fryer fat. Once we learned what the dog food companies are allowed to feed our dogs, we could no longer stand behind it as the primary source of their nutrition.
Just days after switching we noticed incredible differences in the texture of their fur, their energy levels, and even their attention to our house rules. They sleep better. They shed less. (Our Labrador barely sheds at all anymore!) Our picky eater is gone and gaining weight. Our dogs are visibly healthier. It was almost as if we had stopped feeding them used fry fat and ground chicken feet!
We’re proud now, to feed our own mix of healthy, fresh food, and we’d like to share it with you. But be careful! Leftovers can confuse humans. Indeed, it looks so much like human food, we have to label it in the fridge!
For a PDF printable version of this recipe, click HERE!