Several years ago, after my dogs came back from a relatively long visit to Grandma’s house in Ohio, they refused to eat their dog food. I have always bought decent dry dog food for my dogs – not the cheapest kind you can find, but not break-the-bank expensive either. They had always liked their food just fine, until they came home from that trip. I couldn’t figure out why, until my mother-in-law told me – she made them homemade chicken, rice and vegetables to mix with their dry food. Of course she did. Grandmas are just the best!
After that point, we started making batches of homemade chicken, rice and vegetables for the dogs. They LOVE it. Of course they do.
Sometimes I feel bad when I make it because I know they are eating better food than lots of human beings out there. Sometimes when I make it, I want to just add salt and pepper to it and eat a bowl of it. They really are lucky dogs. Someone told me once that if she was reincarnated, she wanted to come back in her second life as my dog. I think I do, too.
Anyway, I don’t always make it exactly the same, depending on what vegetables are available – but this is how I made it this time. Our dogs (and I think all dogs) LOVE squash and pumpkin, so I often add that to it, and/or spinach – but didn’t this time. Basically if you put chicken with anything else, our dogs will eat it.
For this batch, I used:
- 4 pounds chicken legs and thighs
- Water to cover chicken (about 2 quarts)
- 1 cup brown rice (Uncle Ben’s long grain brown rice is the only kind I buy, and they aren’t paying me to say that.)
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1 package frozen peas and corn
- 1 package frozen cut green beans
- 1/4 cup parsley flakes
- 1 Tbsp turmeric (optional)
Put the chicken legs and thighs in a large dutch oven pot, and cover with water. Put lid on pot and bring to boil – gently boil for 30-45 minutes until chicken us done. When it’s done, take chicken pieces out of pot to cool on a baking sheet. Reserve broth in pot and add rice, return to boil and cook rice per package directions (except the broth is already there, so don’t add more water.) When chicken is cool, de-bone and shred chicken, and return to broth/rice mixture (rice is probably done by this point.) Stir in the frozen vegetables, parsley, turmeric and cook for awhile longer to blend everything together and heat vegetables through. That’s it!
The dry food that our dogs currently eat is from Sam’s Club, I alternate flavors between Member’s Mark Exceed Chicken & Rice Grain-Free Dog Food and Member’s Mark Exceed Lamb & Rice Grain-Free Dog Food. They also have a salmon and pea flavor, but my dogs refuse to eat that one for some reason. I don’t get to Sam’s Club too often, but I stock up when I go. Sometimes I order it online and just pay the shipping charge, because even with that it’s cheaper than any other grain-free food I can find. Walmart has a similar kind that is under a different brand name but I’m pretty sure it’s the same food. Mattie (our beagle) has some allergy issues and we aren’t entirely sure what they are from, but when she eats grain-free food she doesn’t have an issue.
Now, when she sneaks in the cat’s bowl and eats his food, that’s a different story. Dogs really don’t understand the concept of consequence.
“If you eat the cat’s food that has stuff in it you are allergic to, you will be itchy for 2 weeks and scratch all of the hair off your back,” I say.
“Stop looking at me, turn around and go in the other room so I can go eat some more of the cat’s food,” Mattie says.
Anyway – when the batch of food is done and cooled, I just put it in quart-size freezer bags and freeze it. We take out one bag at a time, and give them each 2 Tbsp or so mixed with their dry food. I usually just do this with one meal a day, at dinner time. They dance all over and drool on the floor. It’s their favorite.
All of the ingredients to make this cost less than $10, and the chicken wasn’t even on sale the day I bought it. This batch made about 1 month’s worth for our 2 medium-sized piggy dogs.
Disclaimer: Please make sure you are aware of foods that can be harmful (and in some cases, fatal) to your dogs – so you make sure you aren’t putting any ingredients in things like this that could harm them. The whole reason we make things like this for them to begin with is because we love them, so we definitely don’t want to feed them something that will hurt them. A good resource is here from the ASPCA.
- Edit: This post was originally published on May 2, 2018. In June 2018, I made a batch and threw everything (including the rice) in my Instant Pot. The rice got really gummy and sticky. The dogs liked it anyway, because well, they are dogs. Last night (July 22, 2018) I made a batch and again used my Instant Pot, but put only the chicken, vegetables, water and parsley in it – on high pressure for 25 minutes. I cooked the rice separately on the stove and stirred it all together when done. Perfect! This saved so much heat in the kitchen (and time!) by using the Instant Pot.