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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have a very, VERY picky eater on my hands. I've tried multiple, high-quality commercial dog kibbles, and even tried canned (Merrick). Every time I make a change, she'll eat the new stuff eagerly a few days, then begin leaving it to spoil in her dish. Even the canned, which she ate for a couple of weeks at least, she now refuses to eat (I don't leave it out long enough to spoil, she won't even eat it fresh from the can). However, I've learned the hard way that she is also one of those dogs who throws up bile when her stomach gets too empty, and then she REALLY won't eat. :( I've been feeding her scrambled eggs when I know she's gone more than a day without eating her food to keep this from happening.

Besides worrying that she's not getting enough to eat, I'm tired of throwing money away on the commercial foods, and have decided to try cooking for her instead. Only...I hate to cook. I rarely even cook for my DH (who truly deserves a home-cooked meal) and myself. Obviously, I have to keep this very simple if I'm going to make it work.

My tentative plan is once a week to prepare either ground chicken or ground beef, then add in a bag of mixed vegetables (from frozen, so no added salt), and portion this into individual servings and freeze them. Then, I'll mix in a good spoonful of greek yogurt and sweet potatoes or pumpkin at the time it's served. A couple of times a week, I'll substitute canned salmon for the protein. She'll also get a daily vitamin/mineral supplement. She'll probably also get a scrambled egg two or three times a week, just because she loves them.

Additionally, we are diligently working on her training, so she is getting quite a bit of high-value (i.e. roasted chicken and freeze-dried liver) treats throughout the day. And, it's just barely possible that she may get a few bites of whatever I'm eating (that is okay for dogs to eat) throughout the day. This would mostly be in the form of fruit - she loves most every kind. :)

My main concern is - how much do I feed her? I'd rather not have to figure actual calorie count - that would require more math than I feel up to! One website that I referred to suggested 5-6.5 oz. per day for a 10 lb. dog. Lizzy weighs under 9 lbs. (she's a 9 mos. old mini-poo), so I was thinking about 5 oz. a day for her? I figured I'd feed her about half of that in the form of the "meal" that I prepared for her (not counting the veggies in the weight, since they add no significant calories), and the other half in the treats she is receiving as we're training.

Does this seem like a reasonable menu plan to those of you who currently feed your dogs home-cooked meals? (Or, even those of you who DON'T feed your dogs home-cooked meals, but know more about this sort of thing than I!)
 

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Lucky is the pickiest dog I've ever encountered. He will refuse all kinds of treats but he usually does not refuse food unless there is something wrong with his health. Also, do you leave food out all day for her? It is best to only leave food out a few times a day for a limited time. They are more likely to eat when they know their access to food is only during those times. When I first rescued my pomeranian, he didn't eat often because he was used to his food being out all day. This changed when he learned he is only given food at certain times of the day. Now he eats everything and is a bit on the chunky side.
 

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Speaking from experience it's a lot of work to make home made dog food. In order to avoid cooking meat, I've been buying precooked turkey at Costco - they have one that's hormone and antibiotic free.

Since your dog will eat the commercial food, but it seems gets bored of it quickly - why not rotate what you have? My two cats refuse to eat the same food two days in a row. I rotate different flavors so the food is repeated every 4th day - when I do that they are happy and eat well.
 

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Ok so, my Tucker his ridiculously picky. He gets tired of eating the same stuff over and over. I home cooked for him-in large batches and then froze left overs to last us a while. Well he got tired of the chicken and rice recipe that took me hours on a weekend to cook up.

That was www.justfoodfordogs.com you can order the DIY packets and make your own at home and they are all nutritionally balanced-but you MUST follow the recipe.

Now, we normally do sojos. Our vet likes sojos and I can make up a batch for a few days worth and leave it in the fridge and I change the protein so he doesn't get bored. Last few days we did hamburger, soon we will do turkey, after that maybe I'll cook up a pork chop or two and it's so much easier than making huge batches of food-plus I know it's balanced. Right now we use the grain free just because that's what I accidently bought, but the grain inclusive is more affordable. The Honest Kitchen is another great brand that has base mixes that work and they also have a grain free and grain inclusive mix.

The thing is, if your home made diet is not balanced, you won't know for maybe years. Blood tests can come back perfectly normal because the body is drawing what it needs from it's own stores-next think you know, your dog breaks a leg because of brittle bones. So you gotta make sure it's balanced if you're doing it long term.

You could try a home cooked topper on some kibble but you have to make sure your topper is not taking over the majority of the portion.

Other than that you can try balanceit.com or Even purchase that book from Dr. Becker that has balanced meals for home cooking in it, but again, you have to be exact.
 

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Just had the "balanced" discussion with my Vet regarding my non-poodle dog, to get her off of the urinary prescription diet. The recipe that she provided calls for brewer's yeast, bone meal, salt substitute, and hard boiled egg in addition to the protein source, rice and veggies/fruit. I'm going to try (again--because my dog refused the last batch) using quinoa instead of rice.
 

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I think if you decide to home cook you need to think carefully about balancing the diet, and plan a menu accordingly. If you are not feeding bone ground eggshell is a good calcium source - half a teaspoonful per pound of meat. You need to plan on feeding organ as well as muscle meat, at the rate of around 10-12% organ to muscle. Around half of the organs should be liver - ideally including beef liver if you can find it. Canned salmon or sardines a couple of times a week is a very good idea, as are eggs, but I think a rather wider range of meats would also help - perhaps lamb and turkey occasionally. Once you have worked out recipes it is all pretty straight forward - I cook and freeze enough meals for both dogs and cats every couple of weeks.

I reckon on around 100g/3.5 ounces of raw meat each per day - so 450g/1lb makes 4.5 meals. Poppy is around 9 pounds, and Sophy rather less, so perhaps closer to 4oz of meat each for yours. The meat I buy already has bone and organ included in balanced proportions, but when I was buying supermarket meat I bought organs seperately. If you reckoned on 6 lbs of ground chicken/beef, 5 ounces of liver, and 5 ounces of kidney or anything similar you can find, plus 3 teaspoonfuls of ground eggshell, and around 8 - 16 ounces of mixed vegetables, that would make enough food for a fortnight, with a few fish and egg meals along the way. A standard 8oz container would hold one day's food for both dogs. Freeze any extra liver etc for next time.

I found this website very helpful:DogAware.com: Diet & Health Info for Man's Best Friend
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Snow, I have tried both free feeding with the kibble, and feeding at set times only with the canned - she still refused to eat it most of the time.:(

Skylar, I tried rotating the different types of food - again, once she was done with it, that was it.

Shell, I'll check into sojos - I never heard of it before. I have tried topping her kibble with yummy stuff. She very delicately picks out the kibble and drops it beside her bowl, eating only the yummy stuff. :p

Scooterscout - good luck! I hope you're able to get off the prescription stuff.

fjm - That website is actually the one I used to get the recommended amount of food from. They made the whole thing seem fairly straightforward. As far as the organ meats go - wouldn't the freeze-dried liver I'm using as a training treat cover that? Also, the supplement I give her includes calcium.

Thank you all for your input!
 

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I agree with fjm and do pretty much the same on a larger scale for two standards. I keep some honest kitchen base mix on hand for when I just want to do up some meat, and my girls love it. If you are looking for easy home cooked making your own meat once a week or every two weeks, freeze it in portions and add the honest kitchen. I give them sardines and liver once a week, I've attached a pic of a few other things I add. I always have cooked rice, pasta or yams on hand to add.
 

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I switched to home cooking because I couldn't find a commercial diet that didn't contain at least one ingredient that at least one of my dogs tested as intolerant to in NutriScan. I cook batches of my main ingredients (chicken, chicken livers and whole wheat pasta) every couple of weeks. I add in other things when the food is served, although right now the poodles are eating complete meals that were made, portioned and frozen in advance of our current road trip.

Make sure you are providing adequate calcium and omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids. If you want to see the nutritionally sound recipe that I follow look here. http://www.poodleforum.com/29-poodle-health/220722-nutriscan-summary-interpretation-5.html The first post on page five has a well balanced completely home cooked recipe based on chicken as the protein source. The portions given there assume a 45 pound dog.
 
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I recommend you do a little research first, as I see in your description you're forgetting about calcium, iodine, organ meat, the correct ratios. It's very important that you find out what they need so you don't leave something out or for that matter, give too much of something. If you just feed meat and vegetables, you could kill your dog after a time without all he needs. It shouldn't take too long to find out.

I feed a prey model raw diet and my dogs do well on it. I don't need to cook it so it's easy once you find out what they need and get the correct balance of things. Dogs don't need vegetables but you can feed that if you want to. But what it does is make the amount of what they do need less. But some people do like to feed vegetables.

I feed fresh, whole sardines about once a week and a fish oil supplement the other days.

Anyhow, whether you decide to cook the food, feed it raw, feed with vegetables or grain...I hope you check out some articles with good sources, look around on this forum and just make sure you're including all that is needed in approximately the correct ratios. Good luck. I think your dog will love it. My dogs never refuse their fresh, whole food. I became disgusted with commercial food. So much of it is junk that I did lots of reading and talking to people and my poodles are loving it and doing well.

Best wishes and happy feeding.
 

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I wouldn't rely on treats or supplements to balance the diet without first working out what is needed - we all know that living on pizza, soda and vitamin tablets is not ideal for humans, after all! It is as easy to feed a balanced diet as an unbalanced one, once you know what needs to be in it. I think we all tend to start out over complicating things (I even bought a set of micro scales for weighing fractions of a gram of taurine for the cats), and then realise we just need to get the basics right (the scales are still in the box, and I work on the basis of a pinch when needed). I just adapt the well known advice for humans for carnivores - feed real food, not too much, mostly animal. Vary the meat/fish/eggs, include all parts of the animal, and don't rely too much on supplements - if you are feeding a healthy balanced diet they should not be needed, and too much of some vitamins and trace elements can be harmful.
 

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Just had the "balanced" discussion with my Vet regarding my non-poodle dog, to get her off of the urinary prescription diet. The recipe that she provided calls for brewer's yeast, bone meal, salt substitute, and hard boiled egg in addition to the protein source, rice and veggies/fruit. I'm going to try (again--because my dog refused the last batch) using quinoa instead of rice.
Is she on urinary diet because of kidney stones or kidney disease?

I ask as either of these two health issues require low phosphorus in the diet. Cooked Quinoa has around 28% more phosphorus than cooked white rice or cooked potato, so wouldn't be the best option.

Cooked egg white rather than whole boiled egg is the best as it contains all the amino acids required and all are digestible by the dog, but again the egg yolk is high in phosphorus. Of course it does depend on why your dog is on urinary diet.
 

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"Is she on urinary diet because of kidney stones or kidney disease?"

Thanks for the feedback. She had a 1 cm bladder stone surgically removed 2 years ago. The diet that I mentioned addresses struvites (can't remember the mineral composition of the different stones, treatment varies--at the time I did research at the local VetMed library, but I have a different vet now and trust her resources). I wonder if it is from the Becker book--the Vet gave me just a few pages.

I'm always slightly nervous as she didn't indicate a UTI at the time, which is part of the package for this type of stone.

That is good info about cooked egg whites as I don't know how the recipe can be varied and still meet the desired end--nutritionally correct and no stones! My dog was picking out bits of the hard boiled egg white and I was advised to use an immersion blender.

One reason that I'm interested in getting away from the prescription diet is that the professionals believe that it could be exacerbating my dog's fearful nature--corn based, etc.

Any and all experience is welcome here! She's only 8 years old and deserves better food.
 

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I feel your pain Lizzysmom, I forgot to cook up the turkey for Tucker's sojos mix last night so this morning he is getting kibble with a sprinkle of hamburger on top. (not enough for a full sojos meal) I fully expect he will eat the crumbs and turn his nose up at the rest.

You might also look into Dr. Judy Morgan. She has several books out on cooking with Chinese medicine theory and balancing meals over time. She does add some supplements and does a lot of crock pot meals and a meat loaf type meal for her dogs. She sometimes shares recipes on her Facebook page too. Though she too has guidelines, I find her methods easier to follow than some of the others.
 

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I know what you mean about leaving egg white. My OH leaves egg white from boiled eggs and my boy won't eat them on their own.

Rather than mixing together component cooked parts why not mix all ingredients then cook ? I have no problems getting food down that way.

A great website is dogaware.com it has guidelines for normal home cooking and diet guides for dogs with kidney stones for prevention.
 

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snow I suspect the dogs do eat better than we do. I would happily eat what they eat if it weren't for using chicken hearts as part of the meat along with the livers.
 

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I have often thought that I would not have to miss many meals before sharing what I have cooked for the dogs. In fact when it is just chicken from the supermarket I do!
 

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I have been watching this thread, and as someone who is new to raw and home cooked food, I have been finding this conversation very helpful! So thanks to all of you who are sharing the tips and nutritional info.

I don't feed strictly raw, and often cook for the dog as well. It depends on my mood! I must confess that I really enjoy making his food for him! It doesn't take me very long whether I make a batch in advance for the week or make things every day. It never takes more than 3-5 minutes to whip something up for him. Yesterday he and Topi had a reindeer omelet! What lucky beasts!

I have also found that it is cheaper. Puffy could go through a bag of high quality kibble in just over a week at 25 bucks a pop. But I don't spend more than $10-15 a week on buying his meats, organs and bones. Then I just throw in a rotation of some veggies , egg (here and there) and some grains; Whatever we have around the house that is good for him as well. It's kind of fun and creative, and he likes it so much that it makes me happy to see him so happy!

The website that FJM shared has been really helpful in obtaining nutritional information.

Anyway, I am still learning the ropes a bit, but I was convinced by PF friends a while back to go for home made food, and I just wanted to share that I have really enjoyed it and have also seen a healthier dog.
 

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The only bit of a home made diet I find a little challenging these days is remembering to get the food out of the garage freezer in time for it to defrost sufficiently before cooking up a batch. Fortunately the dogs love the "Ooops, I forgot!" stand by meals, like canned sardines or scrambled eggs!
 
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