anyone make their own pets food?

Vicky

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I have two needy animals, a cat and a dog, the cat is around 19yrs old and is not well, she's too old to bother with surgery or even the kinds of tests that would be needed to confirm the Vets suspicions of cancer, she also has something horrible going on with her gums teeth so we are just giving her the best life we can and keeping her as comfortable as possible - this means pureed food, a nice warm (electric) bed and lots of cuddles :) Still, you know, she's not getting better and is actually slowly wasting away, I guess that's what cancer does??
Our dog was bitten by a snake some years ago and had a bad allergic reaction to the anti venom and so she cannot eat any raw food.. so I started to make and cook all her food.
I have chinese silky bantam chickens that breed quite well so I butcher the roosters BUT they have a black flesh and skin that really puts me off eating them (I know, fussy huh!) so I use them for the animals food.
Today for the first time I minced up a carcass, bones and all and then cooked it as usual in the pressure cooker with all the veg that I put in their food. I used a hand crank mincer because that's all I have. As I understand it, having the bones ground up in the food is better than just meat? I also put in some fat when I ground the carcass and when I cooked it all up, some offal then after it was cooked I put in some nutritional yeast. I'm trying to make the most complete food that I can so the cat gets everything she needs in her puree.
So, my question is, is it safe to cook the bones when they have been minced up?
Is it better if you cook bones and then somehow mash/mince them to add to the food?
I wasn't sure so I pureed all the food once it was cooked and I had it going in the pressure cooker for longer than it needed thinking that the bones might soften or something?. It came out like a semi sloppy pate and so far they have both eaten it.
Is an electric mincer good to mince bones in?
There is no doubt it would be a much quicker process but I have no other option at the moment, I think the cost would be between $150 - $200 for a good electric mincer. It was a bit of an effort to put the bigger, drumstick bones through the hand crank mincer and at the end I took out a few bits of bones that didn't break down enough - they were probably the size of a small fingernail but I thought they could be a choking hazard. I figured that my silkies are smaller than any of the carcasses you would get in the shops, plus they are pasture raised, healthy happy birds so I know that is a good base for home made food.
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ClissAT

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Vicky, I like your use of the whole bird. Absolutely nothing wrong with making your own pet food.

People think meat-eating pets can have a diet similar to humans which is quite wrong. Meat-eating pets need lots of whole fat, hair, feathers, skin, bones, guts/organs, the lot. So next time put the lot through the mincer too!
Your cat has plaque around her teeth which causes a bad infection, bad breath, very sore gums, bleeding and for the teeth to finally fall out.
Chewing on bones can go some way to helping clean their teeth. Same goes for your dog. But they will only use the few front and side teeth because of how sore they all are, so the back teeth if they still have any will still have plaque so that will still cause illness throughout their whole system. Plaque causes around 50% of all illnesses our pets get because of their crappy diets not having enough to chew on. If you give them dried pigs ears, congrats. :thumbsup:
I'd attempt to cook the chook necks whole in a bit fat alone in the pressure cooker for 15mins then turn the power off and leave the pot to go cold without opening the lid.
That should give you bones soft enough for your pets to chew on without damaging their delicate systems and also give you a very good fatty broth to cook the rest of your pet food in. Be careful how many veg and rice etc you add.
Cats and dogs no matter how sick can not digest vegetables and grains in any large amount. They can have horrid poos that really stink and a lot of wind also.
Better to give them just fat and skin.
You can cook meat and bones in fat in the pressure cooker. If you make deep fried chips or chicken for yourselves, then when you are finished using the oil, use it to cook your pet food.
Having just said that you would need to be careful what sort of oil you used because all those polyunsaturated oils are 100% human-made crap which I would not be feeding to pets either. It might induce the runs and will send them blind in time.
But if you use beef dripping or similar you can then use that for your minced up pet foods in the right proportions with no water in the pressure cooker and allow the whole lot to go cold and hard. Cut it up and feed in lumps. Keep in the fridge or freezer.

One way to know if your minced up chicken has sharp bones is to run your hands through it after it is minced. I guess you wear a pair of disposable gloves to do that killing and mincing so while still wearing them, squeeze the mince through your fingers to feel for sharps.
 

Vicky

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Thanks for your reply ClissAt, very informative and I got a few 'oh bother' revelations out of that. I'll try the chicken necks in the pressure cooker, I have been using tallow for a lot of our cooking and do tend to put it in for the animals :) just cos they love it. So far, they are liking the food, I will make a few changes with the next batch as you have suggested and see how that goes.
I'll have to try something else for the dog to chew, pigs ears, raw egg, that kind of thing are out for her :( but there is plenty of choice in the shops. Thanks again.
 

ClissAT

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You can make dog biscuits as a treat or one a day because they are based on carbs like flour etc.
But still good for teeth and cooked as well.
 

Wanda

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I pressure cook fried chicken bones and egg shells for an hour with a cup or so of water in my Instapot. Let it cool down naturally till the float drops. I then cut the bones into small pieces with kitchen shears. Finally, I use the blender to grind them up like a smoothie. The puppy loves it but I only give her a little so she doesn’t get sick. I also use this bone smoothie to feed red worms, black soldier flies or add to the compost pile. A food processor could crush bones and egg shells with less liquid added.
 

The Rubber Kitty

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I have made some in a slow cooker with tatoes, celery, brown rice, chicken/oxtail/what every meat and they seem to love it ... looking at adding some things like herbs like parsley in it and as the doggo is getting oil... some condroitin stuff for their joints ...
 

Vicky

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I pressure cook fried chicken bones and egg shells for an hour with a cup or so of water in my Instapot. Let it cool down naturally till the float drops. I then cut the bones into small pieces with kitchen shears. Finally, I use the blender to grind them up like a smoothie. The puppy loves it but I only give her a little so she doesn’t get sick. I also use this bone smoothie to feed red worms, black soldier flies or add to the compost pile. A food processor could crush bones and egg shells with less liquid added.
oh thanks Wanda, I wasn't sure on times for pressure cooking bones, one of my pressure cooker books mentioned it as an option but had no guidelines at all! I will try that out.
 

Vicky

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I have made some in a slow cooker with tatoes, celery, brown rice, chicken/oxtail/what every meat and they seem to love it ... looking at adding some things like herbs like parsley in it and as the doggo is getting oil... some condroitin stuff for their joints ...
I'd not thought of adding stuff like condroitin (I don't know what that is) but I may look into that for when my dog gets older.
 
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