Something to Bark About
Guest Author: Shannon Derstine Albritton
If you’re like me and consider your pets as members of your family, you’ll
be happy to know there are now many delicious and nutritious options for
feeding your buddy a diet filled with fresh and local foods. Many options
require far less time than you might think and often cost less than
commercially prepared pet foods. Preparing your pet a fresh and even local
diet can require as little as an 1-2 hours per month. Consider the time you
spend driving to and from the pet supply store.
Fresh meats intended for use as pet foods are now available from local
producers including grass-fed bison heart and organs from Backyard Bison
and ground turkey livers and organs from Hendrick’s Farm. To ensure a diet
of balanced nutrition, products such as Grain Free Dog Food Mix from
Sojourner Farms are available for mixing with fresh meats. Healthy
ingredients included in Sojos mix are dehydrated sweet potatoes, carrots,
broccoli, celery, apples, whole egg, flax and more.
Below is my “recipe” for feeding our 3-yr, 45 lb mix, Kallie. We have chosen
to feed her a mixture of bison heart, liver and kidney, which provides
excellent natural sources of CoQ10 and other vital nutrients. We have
observed significant changes in her skin, coat and overall health since we
began feeding her this diet. Kallie recently passed her wellness exam and
received high compliments on her thick and shiny coat, clean teeth and
Home on the Range Doggie Dinner
Use one or combine the following meats: bison heart, bison liver, bison
kidney. Place bison heart and/or kidney in large baking dish and cover the bottom of
the dish with water or stock. Cover and bake on 200-225 for approximately
2 hours. Remove from oven and cool. Cook liver in frying pan on low in a
small amount of olive oil or shorten baking time).
Cooked bison heart
Place cooled meat on cutting board and slice into appropriate bite-sized
pieces for your dog. Following the feeding guidelines from Sojos or another
food supplement product, mix fresh meats, supplement and water and soak
prior to feeding.
Cooled and diced heart
My time saving system: cook a large amount of meat at one time (cook meat
in the oven while you tend to other household tasks or just relax). Cool, cut
and freeze in 4-day serving portions. I use a Food Saver sealer for freezing
but small Ziploc bags work well. Every 2 days take one package from the
freezer to fridge to defrost slowly ensuring you have a consistent supply of
fresh meats for feeding.
Sojos or an alternate dehydrated food supplement can be made in quantity
and stored in the fridge for easy preparation.
Keep 2 containers in your fridge, one for meat and one for the veggie
supplement. Simply open your containers and place a measured scoop of
each into your dogs bowl, mix and serve. If needed, a small amount of warm
water may be added to refrigerated foods. This will warm the chill from the
refrigerator and add moisture to the mixture. I prefer to feed our dog twice a
day, morning and evening.
Sojos & Meat Mix
Give Your Dog a Bone
Additionally, raw meat bones are also available from Backyard Bison and
Hendricks Farm. Allowing your dog to chew on frozen raw bones,
especially the knuckle bone, will do wonders for their teeth and provide an
excellent natural source of calcium. These fresh bones also cost
considerably less than manufactured commercial dog bones, will save you
money and sure to keep your dog’s interest. Store bones in the freezer and
rinse with hot water prior to feeding. Do not cook or boil the bones as
cooked bones have a greater chance of splintering and causing health and
I encourage you to give feeding your pet a fresh perspective and see the
results for yourself. Your pet will experience improved overall health, live
longer and love you for it. Now that’s something to bark about!
NOTE: Changes your pet’s diet should be introduced gradually. Start with a
small amount of the fresh foods and mix it with your pet’s current diet.
Gradually increase the fresh foods as you decrease your pet’s old food.
** Sojos.com is an excellent resource for information on pet feeding
guidelines, health and education on the rising concerns of the commercial
pet food industry.
Photos by Shannon Derstine Albritton