Making dog food again

Shortly after we got Boris, he ate a bunch of ibuprofen, and was diagnosed with acute renal failure and given a 50% short term survival chance.  $2000 later, he made a remarkable recovery, but we have to keep an eye on what he eats to avoid putting unnecessary stress on his kidneys.  For the last 5 years, I have made his food on and off.  Pre-preparing wholesome “raw” food for an 80lb dog is time consuming.  When we adopted Helo a few years ago, I just didn’t have it in me to prepare that much food in bulk.  We switched over to a more simple diet consisting primarily of chicken quarters with whatever veggies we had a surplus of(usually wilted bits of spinach, or huge zucchini from the garden, mealy tomatoes, etc).  It seemed to work OK, but for the last few weeks, Boris’s interest in the chicken has dropped off, and a few days ago, he totally stopped eating it.  I kind of get it, eating the same thing every day without a lot of variance sucks.  So I had to make dog food last night.  Here’s my total breakdown in terms of ingredients and cost.

Pork Shoulder(@$.99/lb) – 30lbs – $30
Chicken Livers (3 containers) – $7.50
Total – $37.50
Fresh Produce:
Red Cabbage (1 head @$1.29/lb) – $3
Kale (2 bunches) – $3
Yams (3lbs @$1.29/lb) – $4
Carrots (5lbs) – $3
Total – $13
Peas (4lbs) – $4
Chopped Broccoli (2lbs) – $1.70
Green Beans (2lbs) – $1.70
Total – $7.50
2 quarts organic lowfat yogurt – $6
18 cage free eggs – $4
Total – $10
Malt-o-meal (1 box) – $4.50
Grand Total – $73
dog food ingredients
It took me 4 hours to prep, mix, and portion all of this.  I have a 5 gallon bowl that I had to make 2 separate batches of food mixture in.  In addition to the above list of ingredients, I also added probably 3/4 cup of bacon grease to the vegetables as I cooked them, some powdered milk in a packet that I had opened over the weekend for baking, and about 2 cups of severely freezer burnt blueberries that I found in the bottom of the chest freezer, the heel of a loaf , and about 2 cups of unsweetened organic applesauce that I had in the freezer.
roasting sweet potatoes and eggs
Here’s how it all went down.  As soon as I got home, I threw the sweet potatoes in a pan in a 350 degree oven.  I also greased a large pie plate with bacon grease and cracked the eggs into it and added the powdered milk, a little water, and whisked it up.  The pie plate also went in the oven to make the shittiest dog quiche you’ve ever seen.  Then I got to making the maltomeal.  I did 4 batches in a pyrex bowl in the microwave (2 batches per 5 gallon bowl).  The frozen veggies all got opened and half of each bag went into the bowl.  
wilting kale
Carrots, kale, and cabbage all got chopped up, and I was able to fit about half of each item into my large nonstick skillet, and wilted them down with bacon grease and a little water.  I cooked everything in batches, and then threw it into the bowl.
dog food prep
It took over my entire kitchen.  Basically, I got all the veggies cooked and mixed together with the maltomeal and yogurt, then cut up my meat(I feed raw meat) and added it into the bowl.  Everything got stirred up and then portioned out into ziploc sandwich baggies.  Portions for my 80lb dogs are between .8 and 1lb, and they get fed twice daily.
dog food mixture
All in all, I ended up with about 18 days of food if they eat twice a day.  Some days I like to fast them for breakfast, so we’ll end up with about 20 days total of food for $75.  Not great, but they’ll eat it, there isn’t a ton of grains in it, and it’s all fairly decent. You may be noting that there are no bones in this mixture.  I like to feed the dogs bones (hence the chicken quarters, etc), but making this batch of food was kind of last minute, and chicken bones are my preferred bone type (easier on the dogs teeth to chew them), and I’m not sure if Boris would be willing to eat them (a nice way to portion out chicken parts is to throw a drumstick in the bottom of each baggy, then top off with your veggie mixture), and my source for $.79/lb chicken necks was too far out of the way for me to make it after work, plus, they’re sold in 30lb blocks. I will supplement with cheap calcium tablets (tums knockoffs) from Costco for the time being.

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