Top 10 Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Imagine if you had to eat the same food every day of your life. Beyond being painfully dull, wouldn’t you question whether you’re getting a nutritionally complete and balanced diet? Welcome to a dog’s life. Long ago, before commercially produced dog food, dogs ate many of the same foods as humans. There’s a reason our dogs beg for our food — they’re meant to eat a variety. We’ve cooked up some tips on how to make dog food, nutrition guidelines, and our favorite homemade dog food recipes.
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What Are The Benefits Of Homemade Dog Food?
- Homemade dog food can benefit your canine companion in several ways — especially if you have a pet who suffers from allergies, skin problems, or gastrointestinal sensitivity.
- Highly-processed foods also lose nutritional value, whereas making dog food from scratch maintains more vital nutrients during the cooking process. With fresh food, you know exactly what your dog is getting versus reading the label and being confused by all the additives and preservatives.
Complete Nutrition From A Veterinarian
That said, homemade dog foods can require a significant amount of time and effort to get right. Homemade dog food needs to contain nutrients dogs need to be healthy. But those nutrients should be right amounts so as not to get too much or too little of any nutrient. A veterinary nutritionist has specialized training to help pet parents like yourself make nutritionally balanced meals for your dog. The recipes in this article have all been reviewed by our veterinary consultant with this goal in mind.
It’s a good idea to have the recipes in this article handy in case you run out of dog food. Treat your dog like any of your other family members by preparing nutritious food from trusted ingredients.
Homemade Dog Food Delivered
- In the age of UberEats, DoorDash, and having just about anything you wish delivered, you also have the option to buy fresh, natural dog food for doorstep delivery. It can be a huge time-saver and may be worth the cost after adding all the ingredients you’ll need to buy to cook a recipe.
- The Farmer’s Dog ships frozen, allowing you to keep it on hand or serve it daily as a regular meal. This food is made with fresh, healthy, and easy-to-pronounce human-grade ingredients. And you can spend your time on more important things, like belly rubs and walks.
What Nutrition Guidelines Should You Follow?
Like humans, every dog is different, so this is not a one-pup-fits-all rule. Serving size, your dog’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level are all factors you should consider when determining what’s suitable for your dog.
However, in general, dogs need six basic nutrients to maintain a healthy, balanced diet: water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. A mix of these nutrients provides energy for your dog’s body to metabolize and grow.
To ensure your dog is getting all the vitamins and minerals he needs, you may want to add a fully balanced nutrition blend, like one of these blends from Just Food For Dogs. And in addition to meals, you may also want to add a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews to ensure your pup gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals.
Here are the benefits of the necessary nutrients and why it’s essential your pup has adequate amounts of each (listed in order of priority).
- Minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. – Give dogs structurally sound bones and teeth, among other benefits.
- Fat (from oil and meat) – Assists with absorbing specific vitamins, protects and insulates internal organs, and promotes good skin and hair growth.
- Carbohydrates (rice, corn, and beans) – Keeps intestines healthy and supplies glucose to critical organs, including the brain.
- Protein (chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, and cooked eggs) – Helps with the growth and maintenance of cells, tissues, organs, antibodies, hormones, and enzymes.
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K – Promotes eye and skin health, immunity, and more.
Water accounts for 60-70% of a dog’s body weight, so it’s critical that your dog stays hydrated and eats a well-balanced diet. Dehydration can lead to some health issues, so give your dog access to plenty of clean, fresh drinking water throughout the day.
Low-Calorie Dog Food Recipes
The recipes listed below are low in calories but should be consumed in moderation (serving sides similar to what they currently eat). Work with your vet to ensure that the amount you feed matches your dog’s daily caloric needs.
Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes
To jump to a recipe you’re interested in, click on the link below. We also have some yummy organic dog treat recipes and treats made with Thanksgiving leftovers. You may wish to have a collection of pet food recipes on-hand at all times, making a cookbook an excellent choice. Dinner PAWsible is one of our favorites.
- Turkey, Rice, and Veggie Mix
- Beef Stew, Doggie Style
- CBD-Infused Treats
- Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
- Easy Slow Cooker Beef & Rice Meal
- Grain-Free Chicken Jerky Strips
- Frozen Banana Treats
Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes
I’ve broken my top 50 list of best homemade dog food recipes into five separate categories, with ten recipes in each section. Let me start with my recommendations for what I consider some of the overall best dog food recipes.
These are the ten recipes I’d recommend more than all others for standard, non-specific situations.
Chicken and Rice
- 1/4 pound of cooked, skinless chicken
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 1 cup of peas and carrots
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of potassium chloride
Turkey and Vegetable Dinner
- 1/2 cup of green beans
- 1 cup of cooked brown or white rice
- 1 pound turkey meat
- 1/2 cup of carrots
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil
Simple Raw Dog Food
- 1 cup of mixed vegetables (carrots, romaine lettuce, squash, Brussel sprouts, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil
- 1.5 cups of raw meat (whichever your dog prefers)
- 1 tablet supplement
- 2 tablespoons of bone meal or another calcium supplement
Cheesy Dog Biscuits
- 1/2 cup of chicken or beef stock
- 1 egg
- 2.5 cups of wheat or oat flour
- 1/2 cup of cream cheese and bacon bits
Healthy Pumpkin Balls
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour or oats
- 1/4 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
- 4 tablespoons of molasses
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1/4 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Apple Crunch Cupcake
- 1 medium-sized egg
- 4 cups of whole wheat flour or oats
- 2-3 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of applesauce (non-sweetened)
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1/8 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of dried apple chips (non-sweetened)
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
Ground Beef Recipe
- 1/4 cup of kale
- 1/2 cup of yellow crookneck squash
- 1 cup of lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup of the beef kidney (trim the fat)
- 1 cup of drained black beans
- 1 cup of carrots
- 4 cooked chicken breasts (remove the fat)
- 1 cup of drained kidney beans
- 1/2 cup of tomato paste
- 4 cups of chicken broth
Mixed Meat Goodness
- 1 pound of broccoli stalks
- 1 pound of red leaf lettuce
- 1/2 pound of chicken liver
- 3 pounds of cooked whole wheat macaroni
- 2 pounds of chicken thighs (remove fat)
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound of beef heart
- Egg white from 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons of eggshell powder
- 1 tablespoon of kelp meal
- 10+ drops of vitamin E
Leftovers Trail Mix
- 1 pound of other vegetables (no onions)
- 1/2 pound of fruit (no grapes or raisins)
- 1 pound of meat (turkey, chicken, lamb – not seasoned)
- 1 pound of potatoes
Fish Patty Dinner
- 1 egg
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 can of salmon
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- frying oil
Homemade Veggie Smoothie
- 1/4 cup of fruit juice (not grape juice)
- 4 tablespoons of yogurt
- 1/4 cup of combined carrots, squash, zucchini, green beans, spinach, collards
- 1/4 cup of apples, peaches, pears, bananas
- 1 tablespoon of cream cheese
Raw Fish Dinner
- 4 tablespoons of parsley
- 2 tablespoons of oregano
- 2 pounds of fish fillets
- 1 can of pink salmon
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of bone meal
- 1/2 cup of cooked rice
Beef Stew, Doggie Style
This recipe is loaded with iron from fresh protein and can be stored in your fridge for most of the week (or frozen and heated up later).
- 1/2 cup of carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup of green beans, diced
- 1 pound of beef stew meat
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Turkey, Rice, And Veggie Mix
This is an excellent, low-calorie, and low-fat recipe for pooches who may need to keep the pounds off. With a good balance of lean animal protein, healthy carbs, and veggies, it yields 12 cups of dog food and can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 6 cups water
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 (16 ounces) package of frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower
Easy Slow Cooker Beef & Rice Meal
We love this recipe for its nutritional value, quick prep time (10 minutes), and easy crockpot cooking. It yields 12 cups and, like the beef stew, can be frozen for future feedings.
- 1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
- 1 ½ cup diced carrots
- 2 ½ pounds of ground beef
- 1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice
- 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 4 cups of water
Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
Are you looking for a doggie digestive aid? Pumpkin is easy on sour stomachs and can help alleviate your dog’s digestive issues. These homemade dog biscuits are a great way to introduce an all-natural tummy aid into your pup’s diet.
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten-free flour
- 3 tablespoons of peanut butter (make sure it’s xylitol free)
- 1 can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup oats (optional if your dog is on a grain-free diet, sub an extra 1/4 cup grain-free flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Grain-Free Dog Food Recipe: Chicken Jerky Strips
Don’t trust store-bought rawhides, which often have a ton of additives and preservatives? Homemade chicken jerky strips are a perfect replacement. This grain-free recipe is a much healthier alternative and very easy to make. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (if they last that long!).
- 2 to 4 boneless, 3-oz skinless chicken breasts
- Total: Makes approx. 10-20 strips
Frozen Banana Treats
After a long walk in the hot sun, what pooch wouldn’t want a refreshingly cool treat? We love this simple recipe – yogurt, banana, and peanut butter. It’s a frozen smoothie for your dog. Need we say more?
- 4 cups plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (make sure it’s xylitol free)
- 3 ripe bananas, peeled & mashed
Homemade Puppy Food
Puppies need twice as many calories than what an adult dog needs per day. This means that they need more fat, minerals, proteins, and vitamins.
A portion of homemade puppy food should contain the proper balance of:
- Vegetables, such as peas, green beans, carrots
- Carbohydrates, like rice, pasta, potatoes
- Protein, such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef
- Fat, often in the form of vegetable oil
- Vitamin/mineral supplements (purchased from a reputable company)
Once you have chosen a recipe, it’s time to make your own dog food. DIY dog food helps owners in setting a feeding schedule for their dogs.
This homemade puppy food can be made in bulk and portioned, and kept in the fridge for five days.
When to Make Your Own Dog Food
- Many owners worry if commercial dog foods are enough when providing their dog with some well-balanced dog food.
- This worry is valid since some dog food is made from low-quality ingredients, although this isn’t the case for all dog foods.
- If you are one of these people, it’s best if you switch your dog to homemade dog food. There are many available homemade dog food recipes online that you can follow when making your own dog food.
DIY Dog Food: Buying Tips
Many health benefits come when you make your own dog food at home. Homemade dog food reassures you that whatever your dog is consuming is giving them the nutrients they need.
Here are the 5 DIY dog food tips for making homemade dog food:
- Vegetables may account for around a quarter of a meal’s calories and supply vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vegetables that have been briefly cooked, diced, or pureed provide extra nutrients to dogs.
- Squash, pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, peas, beets, yams, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and sweet potato are some vegetables to use.
- Onion, potato, tomato, bell peppers, spinach, raw beans, garlic, leek, chard, and beet greens are all vegetables to avoid.
- The main ingredient of homemade dog food is meat, either raw or cooked. Dogs are obligate carnivores who thrive on a diet high in protein.
- Beef, lamb, hog, turkey, chicken, venison, ostrich, buffalo, and other meats are available. Check to see if the meat is fresh and safe to consume.
- A fat percentage of no more than 15-20% is recommended. Fish can be eaten on occasion, but not as a primary source of nutrition.
Balance their diet
When a diet isn’t well-balanced, it becomes less than optimal and can lead to various inadequacies. Dogs can quickly develop health issues if their food is deficient in vitamins or minerals (particularly calcium).
It can happen in a matter of months, especially in pups. Veterinarians are reluctant to homemade dog food for this reason; they are the ones who see all of the flaws firsthand.
Avoid Feeding Carbohydrates
- Carbohydrates are difficult to break down and metabolize in dogs due to a lack of digestive enzymes. They have little nutritional benefit for dogs and just pass through their digestive system.
- Many canine disorders like obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, renal disease, and allergies are caused by carbohydrates. They are added to commercial pet food to reduce the cost of manufacture.
Have fun and enjoy the results
Experiment with various meat or vegetable combos. Find out which meats and veggies your dog prefers.
Is Homemade Dog Food Better For Dogs?
Isn’t it true that homemade dog chow is better? Do we understand that eating a home-cooked meal is preferable to fast food, but is this true for pets?
You’ve certainly tried a variety of foods for your dog, including the best dry dog food, the best-wet dog food, and even some pre-packaged best raw dog food.
But maybe you’re wondering if cooking your dog’s food from scratch at home makes a significant impact. There are many reasons and benefits for cooking your dog’s meals at home, whether because they require a special diet or they’re just picky eaters.
When it comes to dog food, there’s a lot of information out there. Still, only you can know what’s best for your dog, which comes with a lot of trial and error, especially if you’re a rookie dog parent.
It’s OK to experiment with different foods to see what they enjoy and doesn’t like, and the same applies to your homemade dog food.
One of the most significant advantages of cooking your dog’s meals yourself is knowing exactly what ingredients are used.
Homemade dog food is excellent since it’s a quick and easy method to guarantee your pet gets all the nutrients they require, but you might not have found a brand you enjoy.
Maybe one has too much salt, and the other doesn’t have enough protein. When it comes to ingredients, homemade dog food allows you to completely control every tiny detail.
How Many Cups of Homemade Food Should I Feed My Dog?
- This will vary from dog to dog, but a basic rule of thumb is that for every 10 pounds your dog weighs, 1 cup of prepared homemade dog food should be provided.
- That implies two meals a day, each including four cups of food for our 80-pound Hooch. It’s worth noting that dogs with renal difficulties generally feel better if they’re eaten multiple little meals throughout the day rather than just one or two large meals.
- So, you may need to change your feeding plan as time goes on to keep your pup comfortable!
Is it Cheaper To Make Homemade Dog Food?
The cost of homemade dog food may be a bit pricey compared to cheap dog food, but it’s just the same price if you compare it to those high-quality dog foods.
Do Dogs Live Longer on Homemade Food?
Is it true that dogs who eat the appropriate diet live longer? Canines’ health and wellness improve when fed with homemade dog food without artificial additions, preservatives, or chemicals.
It also helps people live longer lives by reducing obesity and the prevalence of illnesses (such as diabetes).
According to a Purdue University study, replacing just 25% of your dog’s food with actual food, such as high-quality freeze-dried kibble or leafy greens, can reduce cancer risk by up to 90%.
According to a study published in Belgium titled “Relation Between the Domestic Dogs: Well-Being and Life Expectancy, A Statistical Essay,” dogs fed a high-quality, homemade diet (rather than table scraps or industrial, commercial pet food) lived 32 months longer.