Homemade food for your dog can be cost-effective for you and healthy for him. Dogs are meat-eaters by nature, so natural, lean venison is a good source of protein. Whether you are a hunter or just purchase venison from your butcher, it makes a healthy food your pooch will enjoy.
Venison provides ample amounts of protein and is much leaner than beef, so it is especially nutritious for dogs, who don't need large amounts of dietary fat. In fact, venison contains about 75% less saturated fat than beef.
In addition to lean protein, venison also provides several key nutrients to keep your dog healthy. Vitamins B6 and B12, niacin and riboflavin are all present in deer meat.
Start off by cooking 1 pound of ground or chopped venison thoroughly and then placing it into a large mixing bowl.
Protein is an extremely important part of your dog's food, so adding a secondary protein source is suggested. Protein keeps your dog's muscles healthy.
A secondary protein source can be a non-meat-based source like plain low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese or cooked eggs. All of these foods contain ample amounts of protein and other nutrients.
Cook 8 to 10 eggs either alone or with the venison. You can scramble the eggs or chop up boiled eggs to add to the dog's food and mix well. Alternately, add two cups of low-fat plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and mix into the meat.
Carbohydrates will give your dog the energy he needs to stay active and playful. One cost-effective carbohydrate that is easy to add to homemade dog food is cooked brown rice. Brown rice is recommended because it contains fiber that will keep your dog's digestive tract healthy, but white rice will also serve as a healthy carbohydrate.
Other carbohydrate choices include cooked sweet potatoes or white potatoes and pasta, so long as your dog does not have wheat or gluten sensitivities.
Add in 4 cups of cooked rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes or even plain pasta, such as macaroni elbows or penne, to the meat mixture and stir well.
Fresh or frozen vegetables help to add extra fiber as well as vitamins and minerals to your dog's food. Many dogs will not eat vegetables alone, but will eat them when they're mixed into other food. The vegetables should be cooked, as dogs do not have enough enzymes in their digestive tracts to digest raw veggies, which may lead to gas and abdominal discomfort.
Good vegetables to add to your dog's food are cooked chopped carrots, green beans, peas, squash, pumpkin, broccoli and cauliflower. Never feed your dog onions or garlic, however, because these are toxic to dogs.
Add 2 cups of cooked vegetables to your dog food mixture and then stir well.
In addition to food, you may wish to add vitamin and mineral supplements. These can be purchased at your local pet store. Follow the directions on the supplement's container when adding it to your dog's homemade food.
In addition, placing an entire egg shell in the food processor and adding the powder will contribute natural and necessary bone-building calcium.
Once prepared, this food can be portioned into plastic freezer bags and either frozen or refrigerated until ready to use. If your dog prefers, you can heat the food slightly in the microwave before serving it. This food can be served in conjunction with kibble or alone.
The amounts of food mentioned here will sustain an 80-pound dog for one day. According to Founders Veterinary Clinic, a dog will require a quarter pound of venison or other lean meat, three eggs or half a cup yogurt or cottage cheese, one cup of carbohydrate such as rice, potatoes or pasta and half a cup of vegetables per 20 pounds of weight. Adjust the recipe as needed based on your dog's weight and how much food you want to have on hand.
Leeann Teagno has been writing professionally since 2006. An English major, she continues to study information systems management at American Public University. Teagno is an organic gardener, cook and technology buff with past employment in mobile communications. She also volunteers at an animal shelter and operates a home bakery.