Our oldest pug, Bam Bam, had stopped eating his dog food, was losing weight, and is sick with cancer. He was raised on manufactured dog food. We wanted to intervene by making our own dog food and treats to see if we could get him to eat better. Our veterinarian advised us to check out http://www.balanceit.com for vet-approved dog food recipes, as she cautioned that it’s challenging to create a balanced diet for your pet on your own. We found a great recipe with ground beef, brown rice or quinoa, carrots, and peas that Bam Bam gobbles up! We also made beef jerky with our food dehydrator that we all can eat, and baked beef meatballs with riced cauliflower and sweet potatoes for pug-approved treats. Now, Lucy, our other pug, prefers this to her manufactured food and we cannot really blame her. Most importantly, we have 2 happier pugs and have fun making them food that we know exactly what it is made up of. It sure saves money on dog food, too!
The tricky part can be adding the water. I can’t really find a good guide for gram ratios on cooking rice, so I measure the grams in my measuring cups, then add the suggested water. For brown rice, it is approximately 2 1/2 cups water, and for quinoa it is 2 cups water per 1 cup of dried grain (according to wholegrainscouncil.org). However, I think this is too much, I put in two (2) cups water from brown rice for every one (1) cup. In recent studies, parboiled rice (processed slightly but not all the way like brown rice would be to white rice) was found to have lower glycemic index if it was cooked less. In conclusion, if you cook the rice less (use less water), it has a superior firm texture and it digests slower reducing spikes in blood sugar. This results in your dog eating more and gaining less or losing weight.
Dog Food: (Pictured with ground beef, quinoa, peas, and carrots.)
The ratio taken off a recipe at www.balanceit.com. The recipe used is BEEF & BROWN RICE WITH VEGGIES For Dogs recommended for a healthy dog, but www.balanceit.com can also walk you through with an online guide where you provide your pets ailment and the website provides you with a custom recipe for your animal. Also, I noticed other health adult dog recipes to be heavier ratio in vegetables, so we plan on trying to sneak more vegetables in with future feedings, like one (1) of the eleven (11) trinity recipes with one third (1/3) cooked rice, veggies, and meat. We will update when we try it.
Here is the ratio for the BEEF & BROWN RICE WITH VEGGIES For Dogs recipe:
90 grams mixture of veggies, finely cut or riced. We feel like you could experiment with different vegetable combinations.
138 grams of whole grains. The recipe calls for cooked rice and measured the weight for dried rice. The recipe called for long-grain brown rice, which we use sometimes, but quinoa worked well too.
156 grams of ground meat.
The recipe called for 15% fat or less total in the dog food.
Measuring Method 1:
I weighed the ground beef on my kitchen scale. Then, I took the ratios from the BalanceIt.com recipe. There is a 58% ratio of vegetables and 88% dry weight of whole grain. I use the recommended ratio for liquid on that whole grain. Using proper ratios of meat-to rice-to vegetables is important, so your pet has a balanced diet.
If I had 1,000 grams of ground meat, I would need 580 grams of vegetables and 880 grams of dry whole grains.
Measuring Method 2:
1 pound beef
1 3/4 cups diced fresh or frozen
2 1/4 cup whole grain (If brown rice is used, add four and a half (4 1/2) cups liquid for firm rice)
Recipe using either measurement method:
- Sear ground meat, our pugs like it kept chunky. After browning approximately five (5) minutes, then add vegetables and rice. I discuss dog salt at length in our Beef or Holiday Ham Jerky recipe.
- Let heat one minute, then add liquid.
- I add a little (less than I would for human consumption) stock concentrate (chicken, beef, or vegetable) with water. I find that using stock instead of salt adds more complexity of flavor. I do this when I cook for humans and the pugs seem to appreciate it. Actually, I tried their dog food and I would eat it.
- Cook to specifications on whole grain used (Usually low heat fifteen (15) minutes, let rest ten (10) minutes, then serve and freeze).
- We store it in cheap plastic sandwich bags with no Ziploc, and put those in a big freezer Ziploc bag that we reuse. It allows us to make a lot (double or triple recipe) and pull them out of the freezer as needed. It takes about a day to thaw, so I usually move one to the fridge the night before I need it.
We feed our pugs the amount of food our dry bag of dog food says to feed, two cups a day each. We like to add a splash of water to the bowl before microwaving it approximately 15-20 seconds to keep it moist. Then give it a stir and check the temperature, as there can be hot and cold spots. If I make it too hot, then I add a little crushed ice, stir, and recheck temperature before feeding it to the dogs.