Home-made diets for dogs have become a safe, viable alternative to highly processed kibble thanks to the nutrition team at JustFooForDogs®. In most cases premium pet food is just premium priced pet food. Purina is currently suing Blue Buffalo and the crux of the case is the argument that all kibble is more or less the same – feed grade, highly processed extruded dry dog food that is preserved and put in bags. Purina’s case against Blue Buffalo is essentially, “You are just like us.”
The inflated price of some “premium” kibbles have now made it relatively affordable to consider the alternative of making real food at home using actual food – meaning fresh whole food (ground beef, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrot, etc). Recent university research at Cal Poly Pomona shows that feeding JustFoodForDogs® whole food diets improved markers of immune health in 21 dogs that were followed for up to 1 year. For this reason we’ve compiled some useful tidbits, testimonials and tips for making our recipes in your own home using our DIY kits.
Shawn Buckley, CEO and Founder of JustFoodForDogs® says, “We have given away our recipes since the day we open; our lawyers thought I was crazy – but proper nutrition is so important that we knew it was the right thing to do. People should realize that they aren’t going to be making dinner for Fido every night; most of our customers make their food once or twice a month and freeze it in meal size portions – the whole thing becomes very easy. The only technically difficult part is the expertise required to make the food nutritionally balanced long-term and JFFD is proud to share the recipes and make the balancing simple with our DIY kits.”
A variety of pet parents, including vets and vet assistants are regular users of the DIY homemade recipes and have additional tips:
• Use a food processor instead of a knife to chop veggies, says Jennifer Keating, Registered Veterinary Technician and veterinary student on the East Coast. Our DIY kits are shipped nationwide.
• Most butchers will grind ingredients at no additional charge (liver, etc), says Dr. Laura Searle-Barnes, veterinarian at Estrella Veterinary Hospital in San Clemente, CA
• Get some large pots and pans for cooking the potatoes in larger quantities so that you can make food once or twice a month, and save time. In addition cooking the veggies with the protein makes clean up very easy, says Stephen Douglas, Dr. Laura’s husband – making food for their two dogs has become a fun family routine.
• It’s all about volume because you are making large amounts at a time, so buy proteins in bulk at Costco and store it in the freezer. Buy your potatoes and starches in large 5 to 10 lbs bags and store them in a dry, cool, dark place, says Sayaka Nakamura, a veterinary assistant in Southern California.
Sayaka was introduced to the DIY concept because her dog Bella has Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Unfortunately this is a condition that many of today’s dogs have developed, possibly due to some of the feed grade (animal grade) ingredients found in most commercial kibbles. She was advised to make a homemade diet using the DIY Fish and Sweet Potato recipe and her dog has had excellent results, and Bella loves the food!
When Sayaka first bought the ingredients for the recipe, they cost her about $45, mainly in the cost of the proteins (in her case white fish). However, by the time she made her second batch, she was able to get the cost down to $25, almost half, with a little shopping around:
The cost of Pacific Cod fillet is about $9/lbs in her area, but at a Trader Joe’s near her, they sell Wild Caught Cod Pieces for $3.99/lbs – a huge savings for the same quality fish, and since the fillets are cut up anyway – the chunks are a bonus! Sayaka also recommends Chinese markets for starches and vegetables!
Both Sayaka and Stephen recommend walking up to the Vons or State Bros butcher and asking for manager’s specials. These are meats that they may still have in large quantities that must be used that day or the next day, but are otherwise of great quality. Because the food is being cooked soon, then frozen – these largely discounted meats are perfect for this use.
If these tips are followed, you can achieve significant savings on the most expensive ingredient (the meats and proteins), and this can save you almost 50% on the cost of making nutritious food for your pets. Sayaka says that in the end, $25 for 10lbs of food is about the same cost as a bag of kibble, but the quality, nutrition, and love may be worth much more.
The following video will help you learn more about JustFoodForDogs recipes and how to prepare them.
Blog post written by:
About JustFoodForDogs: We started JustFoodForDogs with one simple, primary objective – to increase the quality and length of life for as many dogs as possible through the food they eat. All of our food is made from ingredients certified by the USDA for human consumption and we add all of the necessary nutrients to make our meals complete and balanced. Our recipes are developed by our own team which includes several veterinarians, a board certified veterinary toxicologist, a professor in canine clinical nutrition, a team of RVTs and veterinary assistants, and a cadre of dogs and dog lovers.