7 things I learned cooking and canning homemade dog food for the first time

Update: 10/30/2012
I shifted to the new food and fed my fat-intolerant boxer the new mixture all day yesterday. Sadly, he vomited this morning with whole green beans coming up. Back to the drawing board.

I also followed up with a simple recipe the dogs seem to love sans the “canning” process.

I’ve become increasingly cynical about the relationship between pet food manufacturers and the professional veterinarian community. While I didn’t actually have much of an opinion on feed makers, my relationship with the vets who care for my animals has been pretty solid. Over the last several years however, as my animals have continued progressing through the geriatric stages of their lives, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with getting the specialized food my boxer requires, and the hoops my veterinarians are forcing me through.

I had finally had enough and decided to cook / create / mix my own dog food while using standard household hobby canning methods to preserve it long enough for the dogs to eat safely. My main tool for this first attempt was a 21-quart All American pressure cooker / canner. The intention was to pressure cook the food, wash the pot, then use it for canning. What follows is a list of things I did wrong and what to avoid if you’re doing it for the first time. I won’t get into pressure canning mechanics or why you’d need to do pressure canning. I assume you’ve done your own research on this. Continue reading 7 things I learned cooking and canning homemade dog food for the first time