Do-It-Yourself DOG FOOD

DOG FOOD PREP

The ABC’s of Preparing Dog Food at Home

MBARQ Solutions promotes a cooked, fresh, whole-food diet. Because dogs have a shorter and more acidic digestive system than humans, they need a little support to help aid in digestion. We utilize a cooked diet over a raw diet, because it is an easier transition for most healthy dogs. It is also essential for dogs with unhealthy digestive systems.

As a result, meats are boiled and shredded with the exception of supplemental organ meats and/or canned salmon. Other than bananas, all fruits are steamed and slightly pureed. We also steam and puree all vegetables to break down the collagen. We do not recommend you use canned vegetables, beans or pumpkin, as the processing often removes vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

We do aim to use organic products when economical and available. Unfortunately, depending on your geographical region, organic products may not always be readily available on a regular basis. If your wallet can afford, buy organic, free-range, pesticide-free and/or grass fed products. This is especially true for eggs and meats. For any food item, the fresher the better.

Transitioning your dog from commercial dog food (kibble) to a fresh, whole-food diet can take up to three months. We highly recommend you slowly introduce each ingredient one-by-one. During the introduction of new foods it is essential you watch your dog for signs of an adverse reaction (scratching, diarrhea, hives, etc). You will also need to become a poop expert. Your dog’s poop will show you if your dog is properly digesting the new foods you are introducing.

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QUALITY FOOD SOURCES

We select foods based on their nutritional content and your dogs caloric needs. We recommend utilizing “superfoods” which are nutritionally dense, such as blueberries, avocados, etc. A good rule of thumb is to select fruits and vegetables based on the depth of their colors. For example, select sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, spinach, eggplant, etc.

All ingredients we recommend for your dog’s diet should be readily available at your local grocery store. If you have a large dog(s) or are a multi-dog household, you’ll want to consider shopping at Costco & Costco Business Center, WalMart, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Restaurant Depot or similar. We’ve found significant differences in pricing from regular grocery stores.

MBARQ Solutions does not include corn or wheat products in our fresh, whole-food dog food, menus. If you are making a recipe that calls for flour, we recommend substituting coconut or similar flours for wheat flours.

See Dog Food Menu Ingredients for more information.

RECOMMENDED KITCHEN TOOLS

Because MBARQ Solutions promotes cooked versus raw food sources, there are a few small kitchen appliances and tools that will increase your efficiency and decrease your time commitment.

PRESSURE COOKER;
You will use the pressure cooker to steam almost every food item you prepare. Pressure cookers can be purchased for $60 and up. We highly recommend you buy an electric versus a stove-top version. They are easy to use, and safe. You may want to have both a small and large size cooker.

RICE COOKER;
A rice cooker is as nice back-up to your pressure cooker. Rice cookers can cook rice, quinoa, barley and oatmeal. You can also steam vegetables in these units, as well.

FOOD PROCESSOR;
A food processor is essential to slightly pureeing fruits and vegetables. It also does a superb job of shredding chicken quickly. 

COFFEE GRINDER;
An essential daily ingredient in your dog’s diet is calcium. The high-quality source of natural calcium we prefer is the hardboiled egg with the shells finely ground. We recommend a coffee grinder over any other small appliance to finely grind the shells. 

STORAGE CONTAINERS;
You can never have enough storage containers. Buy containers that are the same size and shape, and stack well. We recommend you store each ingredient separately in your refrigerator or freezer. This way you can customize your dog’s meals each day based on how they are adapting to new ingredients or other health issues.

FOOD PREP & STORAGE

We have several  recommendations regarding food preparation for your dog’s food in your home kitchen. Preparing the menu items that compose your dog’s fresh, whole-foods is relatively simple, but may be time consuming. You will need to plan in advance, and be continually aware of what you have cooked and ready to be served.

PRACTICE SAFE FOOD HYGIENE;
The most obvious concern is to prevent bacteria from growing in your foods, and to serve them as fresh as possible.

  • Chicken – When cooking chicken you must wash your hands and the surfaces frequently, and use bleach to ensure you have eliminated any bacteria potential. We also advise you to not leave raw chicken on the counter prior to cooking. Immediately upon removing your steamed/boiled chicken from the pressure cooker place in refrigerator until you are ready to shred. Keep a two to three day supply in your refrigerator only, and store the rest in the  freezer until needed. Additionally, do not bring chicken to room-temperature before serving or you’ll promote bacterial growth.
  • Vegetables & Fruits – Serve room temperature.
  • Eggs – Apply same safety principles as above for chicken.
  • Tools – Do not cross contaminate your containers of menu ingredients by using the measuring cup for chicken in the vegetables or other.
  • Food Bowls – Because you are serving fresh foods, such as chicken, do not forget to wash your dog’s bowls in the dishwasher every couple days to eliminate bacteria.

Food Prep & Storage (cont)

STORAGE:

  • Three Day Maximum – We recommend you keep only a two to three day supply of any menu item in your refrigerator. Store the rest in your freezer, and defrost in your refrigerator just prior to using.
  • Store Ingredients Separately – We suggest you store each ingredient in its own container versus mixing your ingredients all together and storing. This allows you to ebb and flow based on your dog’s day to day needs.

For example, if your dog has loose stools you may want to remove an ingredient and add another ingredient. If you mix everything together during your initial food preparation, you will not be able to adjust on the fly.

This is also true if you have multiple dogs in your household. Not every dog will require the same ingredient or volume. This enables you to give your small dog the exact amount of that particular ingredient versus a one-size fits all approach.

FOOD PREP & STORAGE (cont)

This is also true if you have multiple dogs in your household. Not every dog will require the same ingredient or volume. This enables you to give your small dog the exact amount of that particular ingredient versus a one-size fits all approach.

MIXING & SERVING;

  • Pre-Mixing – As indicated above, we do not advocate pre-mixing your dog’s foods unless you are going out of town and will have a dog-sitter. This is especially important during the first three months when you are first introducing your dog to a variety of new ingredients. Typically, most dogs can transition from commercial dog food (kibble) to a complete diet of fresh, whole-foods.
  • Cafeteria Style – Using the Dog Food Formula guidelines and appropriate quantities. we serve cafeteria style. Remove all the ingredients (except the chicken and eggs) from the refrigerator that you intend to feed your dog, and allow to warm-up slightly. Typically 10 minutes is plenty, because it’ll take you a few minutes to mix your dog’s food. SERVE FOODS ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • Measuring & Weighing –  Once you’ve been preparing and serving fresh, whole-foods to your dog, you’ll be able to eye-ball quantities, such as a cup of beans or quarter cup of grains. We do recommend you occasionally measure items, especially your meat sources, as weight will vary depending on whether it’s ground or shredded, and/or white or dark meat. MEASURE FOR ACCURACY

Food Prep & Storage (cont)

STORAGE:

  • Three Day Maximum – We recommend you keep only a two to three day supply of any menu item in your refrigerator. Store the rest in your freezer, and defrost in your refrigerator just prior to using.
  • Store Ingredients Separately – We suggest you store each ingredient in its own container versus mixing your ingredients all together and storing. This allows you to ebb and flow based on your dog’s day to day needs.

For example, if your dog has loose stools you may want to remove an ingredient and add another ingredient. If you mix everything together during your initial food preparation, you will not be able to adjust on the fly.

This is also true if you have multiple dogs in your household. Not every dog will require the same ingredient or volume. This enables you to give your small dog the exact amount of that particular ingredient versus a one-size fits all approach.

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RESOURCES

Food Sensitivity Test

Use NutriScan’s Food Sensitivity Test to determine the exact food(s) your dog is sensitive to. 

Nutritional Information

For nutritional details for most foods visit USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

Other Nutritional Information

For nutritional details for foods not listed on U.S.D.A., visit Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal.