Tools of the homemade dog food trade

Since I committed myself to cooking for my dogs nearly five years ago, I’ve been asked a lot of questions, not just about the recipes and vitamin formulations I use, but also about my favorite kitchen tools. While you can prepare any of the recipes we publish with the simplest of tools, it is helpful to have devices that make meal preparation easier if you (as I am used to) devote yourself to home cooking on a regular basis. even child’s play. And of course, all of my tools have a dual role as I use them to prepare our meals too.

Just remember that apart from a digital scale, you don’t need any of these products to make delicious, nutritious dog food. The most important thing is that you take the time to learn how to prepare complete and balanced meals for your dog, and then do them regularly.

Here is a list of utensils, tools, and gadgets that I have found extremely helpful and reliable as I have embarked on my own path to better nutrition for our dogs and ourselves.

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Food preparation

Food processor Breville BFP660SIL Sous Chef 12 Cup Food Processor
As a first step in making dog food, I roughly cut the raw, larger, firm vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and fruits like apples into chunky pieces and then put the pieces in the food processor to further dice them before cooking. This Breville model has a nice large chute feed that makes this step easier. Other vegetables – for example, green beans and Brussels sprouts – can be added throughout the processor for fine processing. Having all of these ingredients in small, fine pieces makes mixing a lot easier and a lot easier for the dogs to digest. I also use the food processor in the final step – combining the vegetable and grain ingredients with the meat protein – to make sure everything is mixed well.

Mortar and pestle Fox Run Marble Among the myriad of uses for your kitchen, I rely on this mortar and pestle to grind some of the vitamins, such as: B. the multivitamins required in recipes.

Digital scales Escali Primo A digital scale is critical not only for measuring ingredients for preparing meals, but also invaluable for keeping portion sizes accurate every time. All kitchens need a digital scale!

NutriBullet or a Nutri-Bullet 900 high speed mixer / blender
I use my NutriBullet to grind seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and flax, and to make great smoothies for the dogs and myself.

meat grinder Panasonic MK-G20NR
Buying larger cuts of meat like beef and lamb and then grinding it yourself will save you money and prep time. And since store-bought ground beef can be very suspicious of food-borne bacteria, play it safe when grinding your own meat too. When there is contamination, most of it is on the meat surface. It is therefore best to fry it with a vegetable oil first. Internal muscle meat is practically sterile, as explained to us by a food safety expert.

Small cooking utensils

Since I usually make 16 pounds of dog food at a time, I use larger appliances like an 8-liter electric pressure cooker and a 7-liter slow cooker (also known as a crock pot). I mostly use the pressure cooker for faster cooking and can also act as a slow cooker. However, I find a large, oval slow cooker to be more convenient, especially for stirring, to mix all of the vegetable and grain ingredients together.

Electric pressure cooker Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, 8 Qt.
Truly an invaluable everyday kitchen tool. It can make oh so many recipes, including broth and bone broth, quick and easy. (And you can make chicken breasts in just 12 minutes!) This model also has a yogurt making function.

Slow cooker All Clad Slow Cooker 7 Qt Gourmet Slow Cooker with all-in-one browning
One of the best things about this slow cooker is its versatility – the inner pot can be used both on the stove and in the stove for browning – and while this feature is not typically used for preparing dog food, it is invaluable when preparing meals Worth the human budget, such as soups and stews. It also has a very handy steamer function. I use the “low” cook feature to lightly cook the vegetables and grains before mixing them with the meat protein in the final step (as detailed in my notes on the Breville food processor). The glass lid makes it easier to hold tabs.

Under vacuum Instant Accu Slim Sous Vide from Instant Pot
I did a Kenji Lopez-Alt / Food Lab experiment comparing boil shrinkage for skinless boneless chicken breasts, which is one of my favorite sources of protein for dog foods. I found that using a sous vide to prepare the meat of both poultry and red meat resulted in far less shrinkage. Cooking a chicken breast in a pressure cooker can reduce weight by 45 percent (or more). in the slow cooker it decreases by 35 percent; With a sous vide, however, it only loses 15 percent (or less).

If a recipe requires 7 pounds of cooked chicken (e.g., my recipe for Chicken and Vegetable Dog Food), you may need to purchase more than 12 pounds of chicken to get that amount, depending on the method you used. More chicken means a higher cost per serving. The other benefit of sous vide cooking is that it takes much less heat (albeit a longer cooking time) to cook food, so more vitamins and nutrients are retained. This sous vide diving circulator is one of the cheapest entry-level models and has worked well for me.

Silicone sous vide bags Platinum Pure – Large Reusable Sous Vide Bags
One of the environmental disadvantages of the Sous-Vide method is that you can cook the food in an airtight plastic bag that is submerged in water (“Sous-Vide” means under vacuum) through many bags. Better to use reusable bags like this silicone version.

Food storage

Producing dog food in large quantities requires a food storage strategy. Most homemade dog foods can hold up to four Days in the refrigerator; The rest should be frozen until ready to use. The most convenient way to do this is to put it in multiple or multi-meal containers. Both glass and plastic meet these requirements, but be sure to choose BPA-free plastic.

Glasses Weck glasses
These beautifully designed wide mouth jars have many great uses, including for food preservation. But they can also be used to freeze items like chicken broth or even the dog food itself. Its wide opening makes it much easier to pour in and out the food. If you are using the jars in a freezer, I recommend that you use the plastic lids (sold separately) in place of the glass lids. I also use these beautiful jars to make yogurt and to store my sourdough starter and even as flower vases.

Vacuum sealing FoodSaver FM2000 vacuum sealer
When the freezer space in your kitchen is tight, you can use this handy device to store the food. This vacuum sealer is simple, reliable, and actually fun.

Freezer container Cubeware 15-Pack Snap-Seal Bento Box, Meal Prep Containers These bento boxes, a start on traditional Japanese single-serving take away / take away containers, hold 28 ounces of food. (If you’d rather keep a week’s worth of groceries in a container, look for a large size.) As an added benefit, they can easily be stacked on a refrigerator shelf or in the freezer. They are also microwaveable so you can “zap” them for a few seconds to bring the food to room temperature, which will make the food more palatable to your dog. Also, remember not to feed your dog from these containers. Always use ceramic or stainless steel to feed your dog.


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