If you want better food, fresher food, and less expensive food for your dog, then grind your own. It takes me 15 minutes to grind a month’s worth of grain and a few minutes every other morning to cook up two day’s ration. This is a professionally balanced ration made of fresh food. My B.S. was in Animal Science; I was university trained to do this. There is now a computer program that will allow any enterprising dog owner to easily do the same. It comes with a program on DVD. Spend a couple nights reading up. Animal Feeds, Feeding and Nutrition, and Ration Evaluation, by Tisch. Start experimenting with the formulas based on what you have available. It’s all you need to do. Cook up a batch every couple of days and keep it in the fridge.
I have the following ingredients readily available, most at almost no cost to myself: fish, meat (usually venison), dried skim milk, alfalfa, hard winter wheat, oats, barley, calcium carbonate, corn oil, mineral supplement, and vitamin B12 supplement, and that’s it.
No matter where you live you will be able to find them if you look hard enough. It costs me twenty cents a day for the best food your dog will ever get – you aren’t paying for preservatives, shipping, costs of running a grocery store or worse yet, a vet clinic. And don’t let your vet sell you a supposedly superior commercial product if it puts money in their pocket, all they while they’re telling you that it’s for your dog’s welfare. If they’re that compassionate and like my dog that much then they should be giving it to me for free, right?
The pet industry uses any source of feed as long as it meets needed nutritional component requirements. When a bag advertizes ‘chicken’, these are rendered chickens, birds that have died, or are diseased, or sickly, and are processed at high pressure and temperature to sterilize any disease or bacteria that they may be carrying. The same is true for beef or lamb, etc.. Dog food producers do not slaughter fresh, whole, human-destined animals for your dog. I butcher my own animals so the meat they get are trimmings off my own work.
Do your pet a favour, and make your own; do your pocketbook a favour, put your money into something that’s worth it.
According to Tisch here’s what is daily required for the age of my dog and his activity level measured in pounds:
Fish – .05, meat – .1, skim mild – .05, alfalfa – .075, wheat – .4, oats – .4, barley – .3, egg shell – .01, corn oil – .05, mineral salt – trace, vitamin B12 – trace.
My retriever firmly prefers this feed to any commercial one set before him. And why wouldn’t he?
I grind my feed with a vitamix on low so as not to heat the grain, and wait until it enters the flour stage, standing up against the wall of the container.
Good quality feed also includes fresh alfalfa. During the growing season we use fresh, first-stage growth alfalfa (10% flowers) for highest protein content.