National Cook For Your Pets Day

Hi all, Tinamarie here...

It’s National Cook For Your Pets Day!


We got to thinking here at Tails of the City, and asked ourselves, "how feasible is it to cook for your pets in today’s fast paced world?" As we thought about this, we sat down and asked ourselves these 5 questions:

  1. Is it cost effective? 
  2. Is it time efficient? 
  3. Is it really healthier? 
  4. Is it safe for all pets? 
  5. Is it necessary? 

We also asked our money monitor, Kristina Marie with Better Bookkeepers... but more on that later.

In an effort to answer the above questions, I experimented with the idea by researching a recipe, setting a budget, shopping, preparing and cooking for my dog, Farrah at home. Here is what I found...

I used the below recipe, however I did substitute the brown rice for sweet potatoes and/or yams because my Farrah has a grain allergy. The recipe ended up yielding about 12 cups, which is a good amount (it's almost a weeks worth of food if you're only cooking for 1!).

DIY Homemade Dog Food


  1. In a large saucepan of 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
  3. Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely.


1 1/2 cups brown rice*
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds ground turkey
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen

If you'd like to see the full recipe, click here.

While doing some research for the recipe, I stumbled upon an article to help calculate dog food portions. According to this formula, and based on my dog's weight, Farrah should be getting 13 ounces per day. As mentioned above, the recipe yielded about 12 cups so I ended up with about 7.5 portions of food at a cost of $8.14 in ingredients. Overall it took me about an hour to prepare, cook and portion out the food into baggies which I then placed into the freezer after dating and labeling them. Overall, it came out to be about $.60 a serving. Not bad!

Once all said and done, I gave the pup a taste and she loved it!

MY PRO TIP: Shop at a local discount grocer for more savings.


A little more food for thought...

Our money monitor, Kristina Marie at Better Bookkeepers also weighed in on this fun experiment to help answer our questions. Her feedback helps provide further insight on this topic before you decide to cook for your pet, or not...

  1. Is it cost effective?
    For our clients who love their furry friends, the average cost they experience per month for dog food can be up to a whopping $60 a month. However, as we know—fresh ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and other whole foods you would use to meal prep for your pup would equate to more than that $60…More like $160 for $40 of meat and veggies per week. That can get pricey.

  2. Is it time efficient?
    Meal prep involves more than just cooking the meals—research, shopping lists, trips to the market, standing in line, elderly grocery store clerks who scan at a glacial pace—if you were to use a stopwatch and track how much time it would actually take to feed your pup these carefully crafted meals, you might be surprised, but there’s a BIG BUT here. If this activity brings you joy and you truly love caring for your pup in this way, you should feel no shame in spending that large amount of time it would take to do it. If it’s important to you, go for it.

  3. Is it really healthier?
    Undoubtedly, there’s no question that meal prepping with fresh and whole ingredients for your dog is much healthier than pouring them a scoop from a bag of processed food. Please note: again, your research here is key. Things like onions, leeks, chives and avocados can be toxic for your pup among other unassuming items so in order to truly improve your dog’s health with meal prep, research is of the utmost importance!

  4. Is it safe for all pets?
    All dietary changes for your dog should be approved by their regular vet. Predispositions of your dog’s unique health or breed can play huge factors on what foods are safe for your pet and which can cause major problems.

  5. Is it necessary?
    This is a question that’s answer is truly up to you: the dog parent. A dog is a consistent part of you and your family’s life. What works for one family, may not work for yours. Refrain from comparing yourself to another pup mom or dad and decide what is uniquely best for your furry friend and you.

Whether you decide cooking for your pets is right for you or not, you now know what your options are for a healthier pet diet.

Want your pet to try what I cooked up? Stop by the salon for a sample, available now until 11/04.