In the wake of the March first bag ban, locals are spending their extra dollars on recyclable grocery totes to comply with the city's new regulation. It is no surprise that Austin is the front runner in the race to build and maintain a "green living" community. While going green isn't always cheaper, the World Wide Web makes the journey a lot more cost and time conducive. One example? Homemade dog food.
Internet sites such as Pinterest and YouTube make how-to and Do It Yourself crafts simple - and fun! Users can peruse the virtual "pinboard" for inspiration and ideas, or browse thousands of videos on any given subject. This week, I stumbled across a recipe for homemade dog food and decided to investigate the benefits and cost of crafting my pooches' breakfast by hand. The results? Outstanding - above my expectations.
The recipes I found via Pinterest led me on an extensive research mission to uncover all facts relating to this fast-growing practice. It is important to remember that dogs have a short digestive track, so their intake of carbohydrates and raw meats is different than that of a human. Unlike us, they are able to process raw meats without suffering upset stomach or illness. However, said meat needs to be lean or lower in excess fat. While a healthy dose of fat is good for your pup - i.e fish oil or olive oil - it isn't healthy for them to consume large quantities. I found the below recipe via YouTube and decided to give it a try. My pups devoured it, and I loved how quick and easy the process was.
The Recipe (50/25/25 - protein/starch/vegetable):
- 1 lb ground chicken or turkey meat - lean or extra lean
- 1/2 lb vegetables - carrots, kale, peas, etc.
- 1 package brown rice (boil in a bag is the most time efficient, you can also use a starchy vegetable - such as a potato - in place of a grain)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Start by browning meat in a frying pan, using olive oil. Once browned, add selected vegetables to mixture and set aside. In a separate sauce pan, bring rice to a boil - follow the instructions on the box, as each packaging is different. Once rice has been cooked, add to meat and vegetable mixture and let cool. Serve lukewarm or colder.
Approximate cook time: 15 minutes.
Homemade dog food - or homemade anything, really - has become a fast growing trend. The nutritional benefits of fresh ingredients and zero additives promote health and longevity for your four-legged pals - but you already knew that. What you may not have known, is how easy and inexpensive the process can be. Buying ingredients in bulk from retailers such as Costco or Sam's Club lowers cost significantly. Another trick is to purchase meats that are on sale and intended for same day consumption. You can cook the sale meat and store it in bulk for later-in-the-week use. If you shop smart, and shop ahead, you can lower your pet food budget while giving your furry children a healthier and better balanced diet.
Here in Austin, we love our pets. So why not offer them the same health-conscious dietary decisions that we implement on ourselves? Good food for us, good food for them.
**It is always smart to consult your veterinarian before making any major changes to your pet's diet.
© Lindsay Watson