Making dog kibble at home allows you to cater to your dog’s palate, allergies and medical conditions while providing her with the most nutritional diet possible. A slow-baking technique to making kibble reduces the risk of burning the hard food while bringing it to a dry and crispy consistency.
Before switching your dog over to homemade food, talk with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist. You want to make sure you are providing the nutrients your dog needs. Your veterinarian may recommend supplements. For dogs with allergies, homemade food ensures that you are not feeding her ingredients that will cause a reaction.
A balanced dog diet includes proteins, fats and essential fatty acids, and carbohydrates. For protein, choose from a variety of fresh meats such as beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, pork and fish. This meat should be cooked and ground for use in dry kibble recipes. For fats, vegetable oil or meat fat are your choices. Bacon fat adds flavor. Carbohydrates come from grains, fruits and vegetables. Most dry kibble recipes require some sort of grain. Use cooked and pureed vegetables. Unsweetened applesauce makes a good fruit ingredient as well as a binder and source of fiber.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and set it aside. Brown 1 pound of meat and puree it if it's not ground. Puree 2 cups of cooked vegetables. Good options include sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans or carrots. Set these aside. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of whole-wheat flour with 1 cup of dry milk powder. In another bowl, mix 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil or bacon grease and 1 1/2 cups of water or broth. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and blend well. Stir in your ground meat and vegetables. Combine well. Spread the dough onto the cookie sheet at about 1/2-inch thickness. Score the dough almost completely through with a knife or pizza cutter closely enough to end up with kibble-size pieces. Score the lines closer together to make kibble for a small dog or farther apart to make larger kibble for a bigger dog.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for one to two hours. Turn off the oven, but do not remove the cookie sheet. Leave it in the oven for another couple of hours to allow the kibble to harden to a full crunch. After the kibble cools, remove the cookie sheet and break the kibble along the score lines. Place the kibble in an airtight container. Store the containers for three days in the refrigerator or for up to three months in the freezer.
If your dog has wheat allergies, substitute rice flour for whole-wheat. Rice flour does not substitute directly: Instead of 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, use 7/8 cup of rice flour; instead of 3 cups of wheat flour, substitute 2 5/8 cups of rice flour. Experiment with different meats and vegetables to find exactly the combination that your dog enjoys.
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