Seven Letters Re: How Can I Make and Store Dog Food?

Mr. Rawles,
My husband’s grandmother often told about her busy days during the depression, raising seven kids with almost nothing. At the end of her busy day, while cooking supper for her family, she had to make two or three pans of cornbread to feed her husband’s hunting dogs. The dogs were valuable because they helped her husband bring in rabbits and squirrel which sometimes were the only meat the family ate. I’ve always figured if I could no longer afford dog food, I would try Grandma’s cornbread solution. – S. in Indiana

One way to feed your dogs is with vermin. Every rat you catch can be cooked and fed to the dogs. When you clean fish there are lots of leftovers such as the head and guts. All of this can be ground up in the sausage grinder and boiled. I had a big black dog who would dig up moles and swallow them whole. She would also run down rabbits. So the right dog can be somewhat self supporting, not to mention they can be a big part of helping in hunting game. A hungry dog won’t turn his nose up at much. – KJG

I don’t have a dog and am kind of afraid of them so I have no experience with dog food but I wanted to encourage the writer to use coupons if they have time. I have four cats and a HUGE stockpile of cat food. Most of it I paid only tax for or $1 per bag + tax. To get head start this coupon is $3.50 off any Purina pet food. You can also call Purina they will send you coupons for dog food and maybe a coupon for a free dog treat bag that don’t expire for a while. One nice thing about PetSmart is there deals are all month long so you have time to order coupons from a clipping service. YMMV but our PetSmart accepts competitor’s coupons. So if you went to (it’s not my site – I just find it so helpful) and printed the Target store coupons and then combined with them a manufacturers coupon with a sale you could get a great deal. (Store coupon + manufacturers is okay at many stores, you just can’t use two manufacturers for the same item.) You can get manufacturer coupons from a clipping service from a n Internet site or eBay instead of a Sunday paper.

Every store/area is different so me telling you about my grocery store pet food deals won’t help but once you learn how it works you can find the best deal for your furbabies. There are a lot of helpful people on that site who know their area stores could guide you through your first deals while you learned. I would encourage you to start out slow. See if you can find free dog treats first or a buy one get one free can of dog food.. that way you won’t waste money buying too much from a clipping service for a deal that doesn’t work out. Once you learn it’s will be giving dog food to the animal shelter. – Lisa E.

In reference to your answer on home made dog food: My grandfather used to have corn and wheat ground up at a mill
and he always referenced additional meal ground up more coarsely for “Dog bread”. They used to actually add ground up bones and leftovers as available and bake it (mostly corn meal) as dog bread. I envisioned it as something like a dog biscuit. I later did some research and found that domestic dogs differ from wolves in three key aspects:
They bark at intruders. Wolves don’t bark.
They can digest grain and starches (wolves get sick)
and dogs like people.

If you look at the ingredients on cheap dog food, it sounds almost identical to my grandfather’s recipe. – Jon

As to dog diets, I have already reverted, upgraded actually, to a post Schumer dog feeding program. I raise all of my own food for me and all of my animals including fish , rabbits, egg layers and meat chickens.. Here’s what my dogs eat on a daily basis (on most days):

Rice with 2 sunny side up eggs fried in bacon grease and one banana or plantain mixed in.
About 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of honey go in.

My butcher friend gives me his meat scraps and I save all of my rabbit and chicken innards so in the evening they get this. I make my rice water from broth made from the carcasses. Bone marrow, brains etc is great for carnivores.

Rice, about 2 cups with about 2 cups of whatever meat I have for them. A handful of finely chopped green beans, a small handful of carrot and some type of root whether it be yucca, potato, sweet potato, malanga. It depends what we are eating that night. Instead of root it may be a portion of the many types of squashes that I grow. Do not forget to include a pinch of salt. I have fish out of my pond a couple of times a week and boil the carcass after I filet them. This slurry gets mixed with their rice, and a bit of milk, on those days.
My dogs will eat oranges and bananas out of my hand and those are their daily treats ! Mine too.

The vet says the blood work is superb and all is well. He has actually added some of my items to his personal hunting dogs diet. These are 100 lb American bulldogs. I’ll never buy the “poison in the bag” [commercial dog food] again. Peace, – Mr. Orchid in Costa Rica


Mr. Editor,
We have been cooking for our dogs (Weimaraners) since the dog food contamination scare a couple of years ago. While they no longer like ‘real’ dog food they do go back and forth easily.

We cook them pretty much what we eat but our basic receipt for them is rice with mixed veggies and meat. Any meat, hamburger, scraps from leaner cuts and chicken. Thighs and legs are very cheap and boiled supply broth to cook the rice in. They also like fried ‘taters and one of our dogs really likes carrots.

When we have a surplus of eggs in the summer we scramble lots of eggs for them with old bacon fat. They love this version of fried rice. Our bitch has puppies right now and is doing very well on this diet and the puppies are fat and happy.

I’ve enjoyed your blog very much as it reflects in many ways what my husband and I have always thought/planned. I will say it can be a tad depressing on occasion. – Jeanne G.

Hello James Wesley,
Back in the day when I went to stay with my Grandparents on the farm, they never bought dog food as far as I know. The dogs were fed what was left over from the “Mush” in the morning (Oatmeal), the bacon always got finished. In the evening the dogs got a mix of potatoes and carrots or corn with a little fat, broth, or gravy from our evening meal. I would caution you against too much protein and increase the starches, just read the ingredient list on the back of a dog food bag. It is lots of grain and veggies and a little protein. God Bless, – Bucko