In the morning, I feed 1) the baby, 2) the dog, and 3) myself (if time allows). This morning my kiddo dove headfirst into the pantry. Seeing she was content, I went to the fridge to feed our dog Max. There was no dog food in the fridge and none in the freezer. I filled his bowl with dry food and told him that he would have to eat like a normal dog today (spoiler alert: he has waited all day for me to make him some food).
Max has always been a picky eater. He hates most dry dog foods, although he will tolerate them for awhile as long as we switch them periodically. I noticed a shift in his behavior when the baby started sitting with us at meals and eating table food.
After what seemed like an eternal hunger strike, I started cooking for Max. I realize he is a dog and that dogs will eat when they’re hungry. There is no excuse to spoil him except that it makes me happy to see him happy. Spending a bit more time and money on food that he loves to eat is no big deal compared to the unconditional love and friendship he gives me every day. At first it was a bit time-consuming, but now I keep the ingredients prepped in the freezer and I can toss them in the slow cooker and let them cook for a few hours. He’s a tiny guy, so one pot of this recipe will last him for 2 weeks.
Want to make your own? Research the ingredients or ask your vet to make sure this recipe will meet your pet’s nutritional needs. Other recipes have suggested adding beans, but Max always picked them out so I omit them. He has a healthy build, good energy, and a shiny coat.
Max’s vet approves of the recipe but noticed that he reached his ideal weight fairly quickly on this diet (he was underweight before, thanks to the ongoing hunger strikes). His vet recommended feeding him 15% less than I would typically give him in dry food.
Dog Food (in the slow cooker)
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup barley
3/4 cup butternut squash, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, chopped small (or run them through the food processor)
1/4 cup peas
2 cups water
Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours. For easy clean-up, I recommend a slow cooker liner.
Allow the food to cool and then package it into plastic bags. You can toss them in the freezer and then just keep one in the fridge. Heat it for 15-30 seconds before serving.