The Joys of Cooking Your Dog’s Food

How I am transitioning to homemade dog food for Jernee

Fresh Pet turkey & chicken loaf, ground beef, rice, & green beans. This initial dish was a hit with Jernee, and it inspired me to move forward with making all of her food & treats on my own. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Freshpet turkey & chicken roll, ground beef, white rice, & green beans. This initial dish was a hit with Jernee, and it inspired me to move forward with making all of her food & treats on my own. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Recently, I began cooking Jernee’s dog food after dealing with several middle-of-the-night races down three flights of stairs to get my baby the relief she needed from her bowels. Waking up at the asscrack of dawn to ensure your dog does not spew bubble gut juices all over your bedroom carpet several times a month is not the look, people. I am not built for this type of awakening. 

I like my sleep.

Jernee has always had some form of digestive issue. She is prone to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and has GERD, so I have had to maintain a strict diet for her. But as she ages; it is truly getting worse. 

We have tried several *luxury* brand name dog foods meant solely for senior dogs and their digestive health. However, The Little Monster, at times, still cannot get relief from the changes in her system.

I finally put my foot down two weeks ago after I jumped up from my bed because of her insistent whining, slipped on some clothes in a fit to pull her from her crate, and rushed outside to get her to greener pastures for business doing

I had HAD enough! I said to my sleep-deprived self, “Something has to change. I can’t keep doing this!” 

And something did. I am making her dog food myself, and so far, it has proven to be the best decision I have made for her. (And for me, too.)

Our First Batch of Homemade Dog Food

I started our new journey with the rest of her Freshpet chunky chicken & turkey roll, some ground beef, white rice, and green beans. This combination/dish (pictured as the cover photo) was/is a hit with Jernee. 

As I was making the batch, I placed two teaspoons on her dinner mat for her to taste-test, and she slurped it up as if it would be her last meal. 

I smiled. Batch #1 of homemade dog food had passed my baby’s palate test, and I could bask in the pure essence of DogMomhood knowing I was stepping into the light of something huge for both of us.

The first batch lasted for about two weeks. Knowing what she could eat and what she likes, I began to research a few other safe foods for dogs for future recipes:

  • Salmon
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pumpkin

The above foods are considered safe for dogs to eat, and I will be incorporating them into future dishes for my sweet, aging girl.

When you have a senior dog, and you are in tune with their health and well-being, you are going to do whatever you can to keep them on a healthy journey as they age. 

I am doing whatever is necessary to give my girl the relief she needs while managing to keep her active and alert, too.

The Next Batch Was Small But Jernee-Approved

On Sunday morning, February 12, 2023, I made a small batch of a salmon-based dish because I knew the first batch of food would be finished/gone later that evening.

In Batch #2 I put: salmon, scrambled eggs, white rice, and green beans. Did Jernee approve? Yes, she did! 

Jernee’s Batch# 2 homemade food: salmon, scrambled eggs, rice, & green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Jernee’s Batch# 2 homemade food: salmon, scrambled eggs, rice, & green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I prepared the salmon the night prior by simply cooking it in the oven — no seasonings — just its natural flavor. After it cooled, I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. I cooked the rice, scrambled eggs, and green beans on Sunday morning and mixed everything together. When the batch was at room temperature, I placed it in the fridge. 

I intended to have The Little Monster savor this dish Monday morning and Monday night as well. 

She has fallen prey to my luring abilities with these homemade dishes, and I think it is safe to say, she will not be reversing or converting back to actual dog food.

I am okay with this.

Homemade Treats and Batch# 3 Are Life Savers

Jernee, I’d say, isn’t too hard to please, she just has . . . limitations of which I have to be aware, and that makes cooking for her hard. However, I am making my way along this journey smoothly, and with each batch, I have made thus far, The Little Monster has enjoyed them. So, I am doing something right.

Enter sweet potato, apple, and banana treats . . . I didn’t taste-test them myself, I did not! That may or may not be a lie. 

These goodies are like candy for Jernee. I place one in her food in the morning and one in her dinner in the evening. She devours every morsel and leaves not one crumb in her bowl.

Homemade sweet potato, apple, and banana treats. Excuse the scratches in my favorite frying pan. It cooks the same! Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Homemade sweet potato, apple, and banana treats. Excuse the scratches in my favorite frying pan. It cooks the same! Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

The treats weren’t hard to make at all. I simply took some cooked sweet potatoes, diced apples (Gala), and sliced bananas, and mixed them together. I formed them into little balls and baked them in the oven at 400° for 20 minutes. I allowed them to cool for 30 minutes, then placed them in the fridge overnight.

She loves them!

Batch #3 of her actual food is probably my favorite blend of all things delicious. I bought a Freshpet Select Tender Chicken (and veggies) roll and made some ground beef, brown rice, and green beans. The tender chicken roll already has carrots and a bit of brown rice in it as well, so I did not need to add any more veggies to this batch.

Batch #3, Freshpet Select Tender Chicken, ground beef, brown rice, and green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Batch #3, Freshpet Select Tender Chicken, ground beef, brown rice, and green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

So far, this batch seems to be her favorite when gauging the excited dance she does before every single meal versus the slightly kick-step she did with the previous two batches. It is really quite a sight for sore eyes! 

This behavior proves that Jernee is benefiting from the homecooked food and treats more than the store-bought dry and wet foods.

Will This Be Our Go-to From Now On

As long as her digestive system seems to be on the up and up, I will continue to make various dishes and batches of homecooked meals for her. I doubt anything will change in the future as I have noticed taking this route is saving me some money as well. A 4lb bag of the Wellness CORE Digestive Health for Senior Dogs costs me $22.46 after taxes. 

Add her Freshpet wet foods and Blue Buffalo small biscuit treats, and I would typically pay around $52.00 as my monthly fee. With this method, I am saving close to $18.00 per month so far from my calculations. 

Listen, I will take every bit of savings I can get these days. It’s a win-win for both of us. She’s happy with the recipes I am concocting and I am happy with the results — a happy senior dog who seems to have a better digestive system from the change.

I think it is safe to say, this is our life now. 

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

43 thoughts on “The Joys of Cooking Your Dog’s Food

  • Good for you and lucky for your long time puppy buddy. Continued good luck in home cooked recipe remedy. Went a similar route with our last K-9 bestest. But I’m gonna take a shot a vets. Test for Coda’s food allergies came back listed as percentages. What the hell? Tell us either or. Here’s hoping you need to make many canine meals moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have gone down this road three times. Once when I was a nanny for a family whose dog was old and sick. I would make a huge batch of a sort of chicken noodle soup for her every couple of days. It was an honor to be a part of her last dance.
    Next with my finicky eater Vivi. We finally found a food that she loved and was healthy for her. But Wehn I tell you we tried everything….I mean we tried every-thing. Next was Ollie. He is NOT finicky, but he has tummy trouble. We battled that for about 6 weeks and finally found something that worked for him. We have to be VERY careful what he eats. I found a treat mixture he likes and that seems to sit well with him so far. Pumpkin, Peanut butter, flour and egg. They make a crunchy treat that works well for him. ALL this to say that I have been down this path of researching, experimenting, trial and error….late night running down the stairs…..stress, fear, concern, frustration, and finally RELIEF. You are a wonderful dog mama and Jernee is a lucky pup. ❤

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  • Yippee! This is great news for both of you. I have been cooking for our dogs (and any of the many dogs we have pet-sat) since the 1990s. Pumpkin or sweet potato are top-notch additions. And I prefer barley instead of rice because it doesn’t ferment as quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  • wow trE. she’s a lucky girl and you are an amazing mom! Been there…
    tell me if it’s helping. My boy is limping and has lipoma’s and I’ve added some joint stuff … i’m always open and looking for ideas. Thanks 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • The food is working so far. We haven’t had any issues with me making the food for her; in fact, this is proving to be the best method.

      I’m hopeful about the future for her because of this.

      Jernee has a few lipomas on her body as well, but none that are too serious and aren’t of major concern. *Knocks wood* I hope you find what works for your sweet boy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh this is sooo good to hear. Good for you.
        I’m glad the lipomas are ok. they always say they are nothing but I’m always hopeful to get rid of them.
        Yes, as my son says NOK on Wood.. He has a jewelry company that says that.
        I do too.. thank you! 💗

        Liked by 1 person

  • That is fabulous news and I’m so happy you’re doing that now! I was doing the same at home, but alas, there’s no room in the RV for storing large batches of completely home made food. I made it all, my own meat, veggies and starch with few seasoning…only tumeric powder and yeast flakes, and home made treats with things like peanut butter, sweet potatoes, and egg. When I did that with their food, we had no more stomach issues.
    Now after Brandy’s scare with pancreatitis, she is back on kibble in the morning and sometimes scrambled egg with it, and kibble with a spoonful of IAMs canned food (I think) at night. No table scraps except chicken occasionally and store bought 1 ingredient jerky treats.
    Don’t you think you’d save more money cooking everything, or Does the Fresh Pet have something in it she’s benefiting from? I bought either ground Turkey or beef…chicken if I could find it, and frozen veggies and threw it all in the crock pot. Stored it in the fridge in giant pickle jars. They loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She loves the Freshpet dinner rolls. I don’t mind picking those up for her and blending them into everything else. I want to keep her happy, and those dinner rolls make her happy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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