10 Amazing Things That Happened When I Started Making Dog Food In The Crock Pot
How To Make Homemade Dog Food Infographic
It was my rescue dog’s second time to the vet after adopting him at 8 years old, fresh off the mean streets of Tijuana. “He looks fantastic!” cooed my vet, who has a soft spot for old rescue pups, “but—” She paused and dropped her voice to a softer octave. “He’s getting a little fat.”
Fat! Precious?! No! I resisted the urge to wrap Klaus up in bunting and give him a body-positive speech, but my husband, ever the voice of reason, detailed the potential consequences of having a little porker running amok at the end of the leash.
“Mostly it’s bad for his knees, and as an older dog, he already has bad knees. Even a few pounds can make a big difference,” said the vet. And with that sage wisdom under my belt, I decided to do right by Klaus and start making his food for him.
I’ve known about the pitfalls of commercial dog food for a long time, but I assumed that cooking dog food from scratch would be timely and expensive. However, the more I investigated commercial dog food, the more I knew that turning over a healthier leaf was the best thing for Klaus.
Here are just a few quick facts about processed dog food that might make you rethink feeding it to your dog:
4D animal meat has been banned for human consumption, but is still allowed in pet food. The D’s stand for diseased, dying, disabled and dead
Even “premium” or “organic” dog food commonly uses poorly sourced meat
Processed dog food is very high in calories and carbs, leading to weight gain
The consumption of toxic meat can lead to a myriad of diseases and health problems, not to mention weight gain and loss of energy. I’ve also read that by feeding your dog a healthy diet, you could extend their lifespan. Obviously, adopting a senior dog means I want all the time I can get with my beloved Cocker Spaniel, so I was ready to throw down the time and the cash to keep him well-fed.
But what happened next came as a bit of a shock.
Crock Pot Dog Food Is Quick And Cheap
I went to a local low-cost grocery market to pick up chicken breasts in bulk, along with brown rice and chicken broth. The total cost was dramatically cheaper than the $15 bag of dry food I was previously buying. Next, I went home, threw all the ingredients together in a slow cooker, filled it to the brim with water, and left it on low heat overnight. 8 hours later I had nearly two weeks worth of dog food.
The great thing about making dog food in the slow cooker is the endless variety of recipes you can create using what’s leftover in the fridge.
Alas, my dog is a bit old, a bit fat, and a bit allergic, so I decided to follow my vet’s initial recommendation of chicken and rice to see how he adjusted to it.
Next, find out what I noticed immediately after switching up Klaus’s diet.
Slow The Doo-Doo Train With Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Yep, dog poop is one of the grosser aspects to livin’ la vida puppah. But having a dog with diarrhea is an actual nightmare. Sometimes his poops was so bad, I couldn’t even pick it up. Acting as an aircraft marshall, I once spent 20 minutes waving people through and apologizing profusely for my animal’s dingleberry milkshake destroying the sidewalk.
I was on the verge of investigating doggy diapers when we switched up his food, and lo and behold — no more lava-poo. Finally, he pooped once a walk, and it was normal! Praise the lord, it was normal! This alone was enough to convince me about the merits of home-cooked dog food, but the amazing side effects had just begun.
Reduces Dog Anxiety
If you’ve adopted a rescue dog, especially an adult or senior rescue dog, you know that anxiety comes with the territory. My dog had spent a year on the streets of Mexico, with matted fur and a broken tail, before he spent a further six months in an animal shelter this side of the border. When I came and got him from the pound, he was barking nonstop and obviously in distress.
Over time, he mellowed out, but there were still surefire signs of an underlying anxiety problem. Klaus would start to hyperventilate for no apparent reason, whining and barking, urinating if I left him alone for two hours, and generally displaying hyperactive behaviour. I cannot stress enough the positive impact that a diet change had on these symptoms of anxiety: drastically reduced hyperactivity, no more separation anxiety urination, and a generally far calmer disposition. How do I know it’s the food? Because if I run out and feed him commercial food, even more a day, these tricky patterns of behaviour return again.
The Best Dog Food For A Healthy Coat
Aside from being ravaged by fleas and matting, Klaus also had a habit of chewing on himself, causing a litany of hotspots. In fact, his tail was more like a rat’s tail than the standard feathery tail of a cocker spaniel!
Although he stopped his nervous chewing by himself, his coat was still dull compared to the pearly luster that post-slow cooker Klaus now enjoys. I sometimes add a drop of olive oil or flax seeds to the slow cooker as a booster. He even sheds less!
Related: How To Reduce Shedding In Dogs
The Best Dog Food For Weight Loss
Like many other dogs, the only thing mine is serious about is food. It doesn’t matter how well he’s fed, or who slipped him a bit of bacon at breakfast, the dog will not stop eating. If you put him in an igloo made of cheese, he would eat his way out in approximately 5 seconds, and then return to eat the rest of it. Nothing will stop that appetite. Nothing.
So, I was a little nervous about putting restrictions on his diet. I half expected him to either run away in search of a better dinner, or start leaving “gifts” in my bed as a form of protest. Luckily for me, neither happened with the new diet. In fact, he actually seemed to like his new meals far better than the old ones — even though they were smaller portions! Within a few weeks, he’d shed his extra pounds without going through the various stages of withdrawal.
It's Definately The Chicken And Rice Dog Food
How do you know that something is working? Stop doing and watch mayhem ensue. Over the holiday season, I couldn’t make it to the grocery store in time, leaving Klaus stuck with my backup supply of dry dog food for emergencies. One day on the old food, one stinkin’ day, and the anxiety and lava-poo started to flow freely once again. He also started erratically urinating all over my kitchen.
There have been a couple of times now where I’ve had to rely on backup food (which is still supposedly organic and not-horrible), but it causes the same reaction every time. Returning to simple crockpot chicken and rice dog food returns us to a blissful state of calm. Maybe my dog is extra fussy. Maybe he’s just insane. I don’t know why chicken and rice has such a powerful effect on him, but if his diet starts leaning on processed meals, it’s a bad time for everyone. And before you ask: yes, I have considered eating it myself.
Promotes Healthy Joints
By providing your dog with a healthy abundance of natural fatty oils and real protein, you can expect to see a spring in your dog’s step. Vegetables or boosters can be added to the slow cooker to add extra vitamins and minerals to your dog’s dinner, helping maintain healthy joints and slow down the aging process.
More Time To Dog
At the end of the day, I want what all dog owners want: more time with my dog to do dog stuff and cuddle. I’ve noticed a huge impact in my dog’s health and happiness since we switched to home-cooked dog food, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep those paws walking next to me for as long as possible. Also, it just so happens to be cheap, easy, and versatile.
Related: Frozen "Pupsicle" Dog Treats
Have you tried home-cooking dog food in the slow cooker? What do you like or dislike about it? Tell us in the comments!