I always believe in being fair and presenting both sides of any argument. Therefore, since I've blogged about how awesome I think it is to make our own dog food, how much our dogs love it, how great they look, etc., I think it's only reasonable to be honest about the ways in which homemade dog food is not always my favorite thing to do. Here goes; in no particular order:
1. The expense. Buying quality beef and eggs is not cheap and neither is the supplement, Dinovite. While I know it's all for the best, my bank account sometimes wishes we were back on a more affordable commercial kibble. That being said, we haven't done our research on buying beef in bulk to lower the cost. I bet we could skim if we tried.
2. The time commitment. Making dog food takes time. It is exhausting, really. I start the night before by boiling the rice and eggs and making the egg paste. Then, it takes me about 2 hours to mix the ingredients together and portion out each meal. It's a huge time investment.
3. The stares and begging. It's inevitable that our dogs immediately figure out what we're up to when they smell the eggs; my husband and I rarely eat eggs ourselves. So, we spend the hours we invest in making dog food yelling at our dogs to "get out of the kitchen" and "go, go, go" while pointing at the living room. This is yet another exhausting part of the process.
4. Meaty fingers. As vegetarians, the smell and sight of raw meat is pretty gross. Even when I ate meat years ago, I hated the way it looked and smelled before I cooked it.
5. Clean up. After hours of prep, mixing, storing, then it's time to clean up the pots, measuring cups, utensils, bowls, and huge pan involved in making this task a reality.
6. Defrosting. We keep about 3 days worth of food in the fridge and freeze the rest. To avoid food-borne illnesses, we aim to defrost the frozen portions in the refrigerator but it takes forever. Our dogs eat the food faster than we can defrost it so we have to do our best to break it down when still slightly frozen before feeding it to them.
7. The pacing. While preparing their food at mealtime, the dogs pace and stare (again) and it makes me so nervous to be watched. And, if I pull out the food and it's frozen, they pace and stare the whole time I'm trying to somehow make it edible for them.
8. The controversy. Our dogs eat raw meat. Everything else in the recipe is cooked but the meat is raw. You wouldn't believe how much controversy there is around raw pet food. I can't even mention it to most veterinarians because they insist it's dangerous. But, if you do research, many veterinarians and veterinary dietitians say it's perfectly safe and extremely beneficial. Who are we supposed to believe?
9. The fear. Because the controversy exists, I'm always afraid that our decision to feed our dogs raw may one-day backfire on us. I would feel terrible if we ever caused our dogs pain, discomfort, or illness. I keep reminding myself that kibble is not free of its own dangers including recalls, carcinogenic ingredients, etc. The truth is, nothing is 100% safe.
10. Washing dog bowls. As it is, most pet parents don't wash their pet bowls enough. We really should be washing bowls every three days (max!) to keep our pets safe from food-borne illnesses. But, since they are on raw food, we feel like we have to wash our dogs' bowls at least once per day. When you have five dogs, that's a lot of bowls to wash.
As with everything in life, there are trade-offs. We can only do so much to care for our loved ones and protect them from harm. As dedicated pet parents, my husband and I are doing the best we can. And, whether we love or hate parts of the homemade dog food process, we're happy to try and do what we believe is best for them.
The opinions, recipes, and experiences shared on this blog do not constitute the practice of medical or other professional health care or behavioral advice, diagnosis, prevention or treatment. Always talk to your veterinarian before considering alternative diets, supplements, etc.