What is a DIY diet for dogs?
A DIY diet for dogs is quite simply a “Do It Yourself” diet! Understanding all the ingredients needed for our furry friends and how to get them right for optimal health. It may seem complicated but let’s go back to what a dog evolved to eat. Meat, offal, bone and some partially digested plant matter. Many years ago, most dogs ate the scraps from our plates and did very well on them!
Now we see a huge amount of commercially produced, highly processed diets that are full of unnecessary carbohydrates, which in our opinion at Barkin Bistro are unnecessary and are likely to cause a lot of health issues to our pups.
Have a look at your own diet for a few minutes and work out what you are eating.
- Is it balanced?
- Is it healthy?
We hope that your answer is “yes” BUT…
- Do you know how much calcium is in your own diet?
- Do you know how much magnesium is in your diet?
- Do you know how many vitamins you are getting each day?
- Do you know how many minerals you are getting each day?
- How much omega 3, 6 and 9 is in your dinner tonight?
The list goes on, but our point here is that we really don’t know exactly what is in each meal we eat as humans and we try to “balance” this over time, adding in things we know are good for us that are “in season” and also things we like to eat! Occasionally some “fast food” which is ok, if only occasionally as we are constantly told by Doctors and the Media!
It really does make sense and the same applies to our pups. As you may know, Vets are given very little nutritional training at university and Doctors even less. Sadly most universities are sponsored by large Corporate companies who may possibly be great at making chocolate products, but in our opinion, NOT dog food! Hence, conventional Veterinary professionals are brainwashed into feeding our dogs and cats commercial food, full of ingredients that are not fit for human consumption and the leftover waste of some pretty unpleasant so-called food items. We will not elaborate here, as the commercial pet food industry puts items into dog food which would frighten most pet owners.
- Meat is essential in your pup’s diet and it is full of protein which is high in essential amino acids. These are the building blocks of life and will give your pup energy and help to repair cells and muscles. Your pup’s digestive system needs an acidic environment to help digest their food and meat helps create this. Meat is also high in iron, selenium, zinc, copper and vitamins B12, B3 and B6 amongst many other important nutrients. Heart is included in muscle meat for your recipes.
- Offal is important in your DIY diet and we suggest between 5-10%. Kidney, liver, gizzard and spleen are all good to add in.
- Tripe (raw green tripe of course) is important for gut health (and although a little smelly) and is worth it for the pre and pro-biotics it provides.
- Fish is a great addition and you can use sardine, mackerel, herring, hake and cod or as locally sourced as possible. Mussels are also good. Tuna should be avoided as it is high in mercury.
- Eggs are also a great source of protein and can help keep the price down as they are cheaper than meat.
- Some folk like to feed vegetables and fruit and some don’t. We believe that adding some leafy green seasonal vegetables and fruit is a great addition a few times per week for your pup.
- Herbs, nuts and seeds are a great addition to your recipe and provide great omegas – walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, parsley, sage, mint, rosemary, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are all excellent and easy to grind and add in.
- Oils can be added. Flax oil, olive oil, cod liver oil and wild salmon oil are all great oils and we recommend rotating them so your pup gains nutrients from each oil.
The ingredients listed below SHOULD NEVER be fed to your pup as they are toxic and can potentially not only cause a blockage but could kill your dog.
- Macadamia and black walnuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Seeds or pips from avocado, cherries, peaches and plums.
- Chocolate – an obvious one most people know!
We have a good selection of “Just” foods on our website which is a good place to start your own DIY diet. You may also find that your butcher and fishmonger have some great deals on offal as it is not particularly popular with humans at present!
The most important thing to remember here is that you base the diet on approximately:
- 70% muscle meat
- 10% bone
- 10% organ meat
- 10% veg, fruit, seed mix
The diet can be tweaked where necessary and starting off with extra muscle meat is advised as every dog is different. Make sure the bone content is not too high as this can cause constipation, also the organ/offal ratio is not too high as this may cause diarrhoea.
To help you understand a bit more about bones:
- Chicken bones are softer and less dense as they are killed at a young age
- Turkey bones are more dense as they are older when killed
- Lamb, venison and beef are much bigger animals so the bone density is larger
- Select bones such as neck, ribs and backs
- Weight-bearing bones are for recreational use only – great for dental health but not to be added into a DIY diet
This recipe makes approximately 10 kilos and takes 20-40 mins to prepare. The cost is approximately £36-£40 if you find meats/cuts for £3.60 per kilo which is the average at present. Deals from supermarkets may be better.
- 7 kg chicken or turkey – necks, wings, meaty pieces on the bone, heart, meaty carcass etc, or our “Just range” of minces.
- 1 kg “Just Tripe”
- 1 kg organ – liver, kidney, spleen etc
- 1 kgs veg – blitzed in the blender with a little water – leafy greens, kale, broccoli and “in season” leafy greens are best. Blackberries when in season are great and free too.
Adding a few organic eggs, up to 4 in this recipe plus a few mussels and a slug of flax oil or cod liver oil are additional extras you may like to use. When in season, adding a few blackberries or blueberries to the mix is a great addition and adds variety.
Mix all the ingredients well and portion into 1 kg or 500 grams, depending on the size of your pup. Tupperware boxes are the easiest to use. Freeze and take out of the freezer when needed. Defrosting takes approximately 5-6 hours and the food will then last for 3-4 days in the fridge.