This is my recipe for the homemade dog food, that I feed to Charlie (my Jackalier / Cavajack) and my mature dog. It is based on the principals and recipes from one of my favourite health books, Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions”.
As I have two large stockpots, I double this recipe.
4 kg chicken legs (human grade)
1/4 Bragg apple cider vinegar
3 cups white rice
1/4 cup whey (alternatively, you could use water kefir or kombucha)
1. Wash chicken legs under cold running water. Place in a stock pot, fill with filtered water to about one inch from the top. Add in the apple cider vinegar.
2. Bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to as low as possible and leave to simmer very gently for at least seven hours. ( This length of time is required to extract as many nutrients as possible from the bones.)
3. Use a sieve to separate the chicken pieces from the stock. Place the stock in a suitable container and refrigerate overnight.
4. Process the chicken pieces by removing the skin and bones from the meat. Use your fingers to gently break off the end of the bones that contain the marrow. Reserve the meat, soft marrow bone ends and any cartilage. Keep refrigerated overnight. Throw away the skin, sharp bones and hard bone sections.
5. Before bed, place the rice in a bowl. Cover with filtered water and add in the whey.
6. Take the stock out of the fridge and skim off the congealed fat from the top. Discard the fat.
7. Strain the rice.
8. Bring the stock up to the boil. Add in the rice and cook on a gentle boil for about 40 mins, stirring regularly. Add in extra filtered water as needed. At the end, the mixture should resemble a thick congee. Take off the heat.
9. Mix through the reserved chicken pieces from the fridge. When mixture is cold, weigh up portions and store in zip lock bags. Label and store in the freezer.
10. Place the required bag(s) in a bath of hot water in the sink. When warm, add contents to the dog bowl, along with some human grade calcium powder. I use about half a teaspoon of “Lifestream natural calcium powder” per serve for my mature dog (who weighs 6.2kg).
That’s it for the basic recipe. Of course, you could also add in some cooked veggies if you wanted to. Or use different cuts of meat, or even different grains, such a buckwheat.
In addition to this food, I also feed my mature dog a raw egg yolk once or twice a week. Both dogs also eat raw chicken necks. Hopefully, in the future, Charlie will also eat other raw, meaty bones too.
Today is cooking day in order to make another batch of my homemade dog food.
It all started with my mature dog a few years ago. For the first 8 years or so of his life I had fed him the best commercial food that money could buy. Despite that, he had horrible problems with his teeth and the smells being emitted from his bottom weren’t any better. After some research on the internet, I thought I had found the answer in a raw food product called “barf”. I diligently fed that product to my mature dog for another couple of years, along with a raw chicken wing every day. However his health was getting worse, not better. He suffered from continuous bouts of diarrhea and vomiting (was possibly a condition called pancreatitis) which was leaving him miserable and lethargic. He also developed an allergic reaction to all red meats, which would leave his skin red and terribly itchy and that he would need vet treatment for.
Finally, my vet gave him a course of antibiotics and in desperation suggested I put him on some canned food, that was for dogs with highly sensitive digestive systems. This change produced a miracle….and within ONE DAY he was back to his old self….back to wanting to interact with the other dogs and have fun at the park.
The issue I then had was this. Firstly this special canned food was $5 a can. Given my mature dog ate 3/4 can per day, this was too pricey for me and something I could not sustain financially long term. Secondly, the canned food contained rice and pork…and the label explicitly recommended only feeding this product for short periods of time, as it did not contain adequate nutrient levels for dogs. All of this led to applying the cooking methods I used for myself, to be able to create homemade food for him.
This homemade food has made such a positive difference to his health. His hair is soft and silky, his nose is glossy black, his eyes sparkle and he has bursts of frivolity and fun. The difference in his demeanor is so striking that other pet owners have often come up to me at the park to ask about what has changed.
So, now that we have Charlie, he too gets fed my same home cooked dog food too. The only variance I have made, is that they now both get fed one raw chicken neck each day in addition to this food.
Gradually, I hope to introduce more and more raw meaty bones to Charlie ( though probably not to my mature dog) as I think they will be beneficial to Charlie’s teeth and bring greater variety to his diet.
But in the meantime, I have just started cooking another batch of their food for them…
Charlie and my mature dog seem to play fight continuously when they are together. Ninety-five percent of the time it is instigated by Charlie. He just can’t seem to help himself and seems to view my mature dog as a moving, fluffy toy. When the fighting becomes too annoying for my mature dog, he usually leaps onto the couch and out of the reach of little Charlie. That way, my mature dog can still have some peace and quiet…
That arrangement worked well for my mature dog up until yesterday.
Yesterday, Charlie managed to scramble up onto the couch for the first time. Therefore, my mature dog no longer has his safe haven, as Charlie now can follow him up there (even if it takes him a few attempts to be successful). This now leaves me with a bit of a dilemma too. As I will now have to more carefully monitor their interactions.
Onto a different topic…
A talented friend of mine recently put together a video of Charlie and loaded it up onto utube and vimeo. The relevant links are:
Additionally, I have just learnt that Jackalier’s are called different names in other parts of the world. I guess that is bound to happen with cross breeds. So whether you call Charlie a Jackalier (as I do) or a CavaJack, or even a Cav-a-jack….I hope watching the video will make you smile as much as it makes me smile!
…to celebrate his 12 week old birthday, I took him to the vet to have a thermometer poked up his bottom and to receive his second lot of vaccinations. He didn’t seem to mind too much actually (well presumably not the thermometer bit)… But given it was the first time he had seen an environment other than the backyard and the inside of the house since first arriving nearly 5 weeks ago, he thought it was pretty good despite spending most of it inside his travel crate.
Now we only have to wait a final few more days until he can be taken out into the big and fascinating outside world…..full of other dogs, birds, people, children, plants, etc etc…..
I should also add that for the past four nights, Charlie has not used the training pad. When I have arisen, I have found him sitting on the training pad, waiting for me to pick him up and take him outside to the garden. Both dogs then do what they need to do before rushing back inside to start play fighting. So we are progressing…
I have an old sleeping bag, which is kept scrunched up in the corner of the lounge room. It might not look very pretty for my visitors but its purpose is to keep my mature dog warm and comfy, which it does effectively. He treats this sleeping bag as his territory, sleeping on it a lot and joyfully digging on it after he finished his dinner (it’s the only place he is allowed to dig).
Since Charlie has joined our little pack there has been an issue. Charlie has taken to weeing on my mature dog’s sleeping bag. Given Charlie is mostly toilet trained, this seems to me to be a jealousy thing. Each time I have reprimanded Charlie and then dutifully washed the sleeping bag. In fact, after the first incident, I have actively tried to remove the sleeping bag when my mature dog might not need it.
However, Charlie has still managed to wee on it FOUR times !!
Well this afternoon, my mature dog must have had enough. While Charlie was on his bed for an afternoon siesta he trotted over to Charlie’s favourite ball. Rolled on it a number of times in glee and then took it over onto HIS sleeping bag. From the photo above, I think you deduct what happened next…..