Porridge, a meal of cereal grains boiled in milk or water, is a suitable source of protein and carbohydrates that are essential to your dog's diet. Blended with a variety of meats and veggies, porridge becomes a nutritionally complete meal your pooch will love for its taste and texture.
Your dog's homemade meal may be up to 75 percent old-fashioned rolled oats, one of the most popular grains made into porridge. Oats are a warming grain that calms the nervous and reproductive systems, strengthens the immune system and heart muscle, and keeps the spleen and pancreas healthy. Rich in silicon, oats help strengthen bones. Most dogs tolerate this least allergenic of grains well. As a carbohydrate, oatmeal porridge provides energy that helps build the tissues and regulates how much starch and fat the body will break down and utilize.
Quick and Nutritious Doggy Porridge Recipe
To prepare a quick and delicious porridge, bring about 10 cups of water to a boil. Add 5 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the oats sit for about 15 minutes. Do not stir, otherwise the oats will become too soft and mushy. Pour the cooked oats into a large casserole dish and gently fold in 6 cups of raw or cooked ground turkey, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of finely chopped raw or cooked carrots, 1/2 cup of finely chopped raw or cooked zucchini, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, 400 IU vitamin E and 4 teaspoons of bone meal powder or finely ground egg shells. Let the porridge cool completely before serving.
This healthy porridge recipe is made in large batches of 18 cups for convenience and provides satisfying meals for one or more dogs for a couple of days, depending on your dogs' sizes and intake requirements. Amounts to feed depend on a variety of factors, including your dog's activity level, state of health, age, appetite, climate and ingredient substitutions. Based on weight alone, generally accepted recommended daily allowances are as follows: up to 15 pounds, 1 to 2 cups; 15 to 30 pounds, about 4 cups; 30 to 60 pounds, 6 to 7 cups; 60 to 90 pounds, about 8 cups; over 90 pounds, 9 or more cups. Consult your vet for a more specific allowance based on breed, size, weight, age and other factors.
Grain and Meat Substitutions
You can substitute oats for other grains. Consider quinoa, barley, cornmeal, bulgur, brown rice and couscous. Each of these has a different level of protein. Adjustments in cooking times and proportion of liquid to grains is required for each and directly correlates to the amount of processing of that particular grain; specific cooking recommendations are normally on the packaging of each grain, or available as handouts in bulk food stores. You can substitute lean ground chicken, lean ground beef, mackerel or other fish for the turkey in this recipe. It is a good idea to rotate your sources of meat protein, as well as the grain you use to make the porridge, on a daily or weekly basis.
More Ingredient Ideas
Herbs are a powerhouse of nutrients; in addition to parsley and rosemary you can use a variety of herbs in your meal rotations. Try oregano, sweet basil and mint. Cooked veggies, such as green beans, squash, cauliflower and parsnip are delicious additions or substitutions for the carrots and zucchini in this recipe.
Store individual meal portions in the refrigerator for up to three days, and freeze additional daily portions in plastic zip-top bags. Thaw at room temperature before serving. Add a little warm water to help thaw the meal quicker and give the porridge a more souplike consistency, which may slow down dogs who eat too quickly. Save money on your home-prepared dog food by shopping for grains in bulk food stores and sourcing your meat and veggies at farms and farmer's markets. Taking advantage of sales at your local supermarket on meat and produce also helps cut costs. Add canine multivitamins to your dog's home-prepared cuisine or powder supplements, such as the healthy powder prescribed in "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats," to ensure your homemade diet meets all his nutritional requirements. It's wise to consult with your dog's veterinarian before embarking on a home-prepared dog food diet.