Three recipes appear on this page. The first, Dale's Original Recipe, is fairly easy to prepare. The second, the Pressure Cooker Method, is the more economical once the pressure cooker is available. The third recipe does not include grains for dogs that suffer from allergies.
Dale's Original Recipe
8 pounds frozen ground turkey
5 pounds potatoes
2 pounds frozen broccoli or cauliflower
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans lima beans
2 cans green beans
2 cans spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can sliced carrots
1 42 ounce box of instant oatmeal
3 or 4 large cloves of garlic
3/4 cup canola oil
14 cups water
In a big pot, one that will hold at least 18 quarts, add the canola oil to the water and heat. While the water is heating, unwrap the frozen turkey and place the frozen meat in water. Then add the frozen and canned vegetables. Mince the garlic and stir it in.
Wash the potatoes and bake them in the microwave. I do two batches of two and a half pounds for about 18 minutes each on high as the other ingredients are heating. Chop the baked potatoes, skins and all, and add them to the mixture.
When everything comes to a boil, stir in the oatmeal. The mixture will be thick at this point and will require thorough stirring to get the oatmeal evenly distributed. Simmer on very low heat for fifteen minutes before turning off the heat. Spoon the mixture into smaller containers for refrigerator storage.
(Note: The 14 cups of water called for above may vary, depending on the quality of oatmeal used. I buy very cheap oatmeal. Other BML members who buy more expensive name brands find that they need to use more or less water. You may have to do some experimenting. The idea is to make a very thick stew, similar in consistency to commercial canned dog food.)
Here's what the finished product looks like. Notice the kidney beans and pieces of carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans and potatoes.
Boxers are usually given two meals a day, morning and evening. A typical Boxer will eat about three and a third cups (26.45 oz) of this stew at each meal. The old trial and error method is still the best way to determine just how much to feed.
I'm sometimes asked whether it would be better to use fresh vegetables in preference to the canned variety. Most canned foods have salt added and, as a result, are fairly high in sodium content. There's no doubt that fresh vegetables are preferable to canned from a strictly nutritional point of view. I use canned vegetables as a matter of practicality. I often eat canned vegetables myself and the same considerations apply. The bottom line is this: My Boxers and I are healthy.
The Pressure Cooker Method
The pressure cooker may take some getting used to, but once one is comfortable with it, it's a terrific tool to use for preparing dog food. The standard stew I prepare for my dogs with it is based primarily upon chicken. The details below are not in the traditional recipe format, but they're easy to read and follow.
My pressure cooker is a large one. It was designed to be a canner, but canners are really nothing more than big pressure cookers. Mine's capacity is 21 quarts. There's enough room in it to hold three whole chickens and lots of other good things.
I begin cooking a week's supply of stew for my two Boxers by placing three whole frying chickens in the pressure cooker along with five pounds of whole, washed but not peeled russet potatoes, two or three large yams and about 6 cups of water. I use the word about in describing quantities because nothing is critical here. Since the chickens are frozen when I begin, I most often get the things just mentioned into the pressure cooker the night before I plan to cook. This gives the chickens time to thaw.
I light up the stove first thing in the morning. About forty minutes later, the pressure cooker has built up a head of steam at fifteen pounds per square inch. I keep it at that for somewhere between two and a half and three hours. When I turn off the heat, it takes a while for the pressure to drop to zero. I spend that time preparing the additional vegetables. I break up a head of cauliflower and a few stalks of broccoli. Then I open a big bag of frozen string beans and a box of chopped spinach. I choose these because members of the cabbage family have been shown to fight cancer and because these vegetables are usually priced reasonably. Just about any vegetables other than onions and those with tough outer surfaces like peas and corn can be used.
When the pressure cooker is ready to be opened, I turn the flame back on, at about medium heat, leaving the top off the cooker. Using a large potato masher, one designed for use in a restaurant kitchen, I quickly mash the chickens, yams and potatoes.
One of the pressure cooker's great advantages is that the chicken bones are cooked to a soft consistency similar to the bones in canned salmon. They may be eaten without danger.
When I finish mashing, I add the other vegetables and turn the heat up all the way as I stir them in. When the mix begins to boil, I stir in the contents of one 42 ounce box of instant oatmeal.
Then I lower the flame to its lowest setting and let the stew simmer for about half an hour. Then it's ready to be packed up and put away.
Grainless Home Cooking for Dogs with Allergies
Many, in fact most, dogs do very well with grain products as an important part of their diets. Some, however, do not. My Emily is one of those who do not. If you have a dog who often busies herself by chewing on her feet, it's likely that the itchy feet are an allergic reaction to grains in the dog's diet.
Here's a version of my pressure cooked food that contains no grain. How does it taste? To my taste buds, just like a chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy with some vegetables along for the ride. My Boxers are crazy about the finished product.
Here's the recipe.
4 whole frying chickens
6 cups water
10 pounds of whole, washed, unpeeled potatoes
3 good size yams, washed but not peeled
1 head of cauliflower broken in small pieces
(or a package or two of frozen cauliflower)
3 stalks of fresh broccoli in small pieces
(or a couple of packages of frozen broccoli)
2 packages of frozen chopped string beans
1 package of chopped frozen spinach
Place the chickens and the water in the pressure cooker. I let the pot stand overnight to allow the chickens to thaw. Turn on the heat. When the pressure reaches 15 pounds per square inch, lower the heat just enough to maintain the pressure.
Cook the chickens for three hours. Then turn off the heat and carefully remove the pressure weight to allow the steam to escape quickly. When it's safe to open the pressure cooker, remove the top and thoroughly mash the chickens, bones and all with the heat on and set to its lowest point. Add the potatoes and yams to the pot. Replace the top and pressure weight and bring the pressure back up to 15 pounds. When it's there, lower the heat enough to maintain pressure and cook for fifteen minutes.
Turn off the heat and, when it's safe to do so, remove the top from the pressure cooker. Turn the heat back on at a low setting. Mash the potatoes and yams, mixing them with the previously mashed chicken. Stir in the cauliflower, broccoli, string beans and spinach. Simmer the mixture for fifteen or twenty minutes.
Then it's ready to be packed and put away.