It isn’t uncommon for a dog owner to decide to make homemade dog food. Whether you just want to save money or you want to make sure that you know what type of ingredients are going into your dog’s meals, it isn’t that difficult to do. The most important thing is to make sure they get foods that contain protein, calcium and other nutrients they need for energy. You’ll want to keep an eye on health, make adjustments when needed, and don’t overfeed them. You can also check with your veterinarian to make sure you are getting them what they need or if you need to add a supplement.
There are three basic ingredients that you need to have for your dog to have a well rounded diet: some form of meat, a vegetable or two, and something for bulk (like rice or lentils). There are also some ingredients that you should never use when make dog food at home. Stay away from bacon and ham, onion, sugar, tomatoes, grapes, chocolate or dairy products. Since the only dairy product dogs should consume is plain yogurt, it’s important to give your dog a calcium supplement as it is an important part of their diet.
You can also find other additives to toss in to ensure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs, like Nupro Dog Supplement or Wiz Pet Multi Goodness. These supplements will ensure your dog’s homemade diet is well balanced and good for them. For even more recipes than we’ve outlined in this post, you can pick up dog-specific cookbooks such as Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog and The Healthy Hound Cookbook.
One of my three dogs has a very sensitive stomach, so I’ve taken over making meals for him. My typical recipe follows most closely to the beef dinner recipe below. I combine three pounds of 90 percent lean ground beef, frozen peas, and chicken broth in an Instant Pot LUX80 and put it on the Meat/Stew setting for one hour. Separately, I prepare two dry cups of Jasmine rice. When those are cooked and cooled, I mix everything together in a large mixing bowl and add one can of no salt added green beans and a 29 ounce can of pumpkin. It might take two batches to mix everything thoroughly (at least in the bowl I have). This feeds my 70 pound husky mix for four to five days, depending on how heavy-handed I am at feeding time.
Here are five great homemade dog food recipes that your furry friend is sure to enjoy. And for those weeks when you’re just too busy to cook, consider one of the grain-free suggestions from our guide to the best dry dog foods.
1. Homemade Chicken Dinner for Dogs
Dogs love chicken, and it can be an easy meat ingredient to use for homemade dog meals. While you can swap out some of the vegetables in this recipes, avoid onions and if you use carrots cook them well. Carrots can be hard for dogs to digest.
While you can grind up the meats in any of these recipes, you don’t have to. You can also just dice up meat, into smaller bites.
- 5 pounds chicken — You can use whole chicken, and include the neck meat, hearts and livers. You can also just use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you find a better price. You can also get frozen chicken breasts, which will be best when cooked.
- 2 cups of red cabbage
- 2 apples (skinned)
- 2 cups of spinach
- 5 whole eggs, raw or cooked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
You can cook the food, or feed your dog a raw diet. However, with a raw diet you want to make sure you are buying fresh meats which doesn’t always happen at a grocery store.
If you decide to cook it, chop up the chicken and boil in a suitable sized pot for all ingredients until it is almost fully cooked. Reduce to a simmer and add the cabbage, spinach, and apples, diced up. Simmer until the chicken finishes cooking. Remove pot from stove, let cool, then add the eggs and olive oil and stir.
How long this batch lasts depends on the size of your dog and how many times you feed them each day. Two and a half cups is usually good for a large dog around 60-75 pounds, if you’re feeding them twice a day. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
Need more ideas? Try The Healthy Hound Cookbook by Paris Permenter for more recipes.
2. Homemade Fish Dinner for Dogs
Fish is a wonderful meat choice for dogs, but your dog doesn’t need to go catch them. The healthy omega 3 fatty acids found in fish are good for your dog’s skin and coat. Some dogs may be allergic to fish, so if your dog starts to itch a lot when eating a fish diet check with your veterinarian.
• 2 pounds of fish fillets — Frozen is fine. Tilapia and swai are both great options and on a lower price scale, which saves you money. You can always go fresh, too, of course.
• 1 or 2 cans of pink salmon
• 3 whole eggs, raw or cooked
• 3 cups of diced vegetables — Some great choices include cabbage, cooked squash or pumpkin, peas, green beans and kale. You can use two or more.
• 1 cup of cooked rice (white or brown) — If your dog tolerates it well. Otherwise try cooked oatmeal, quinoa or lentils.
Again, you can grind or dice the fish then cook it. Mix the chosen vegetables into a pot of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes before adding the other ingredients. Mix and let cool. Keep in refrigerator in well sealed container for up to three days, or freeze.
Need more ideas? Try Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs by Rick Woodford for more recipes.
3. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Dinner for Dogs
Broccoli is a great treat for dogs, whether you feed it as a snack or in their meals. It can promote fresh breath and it’s rich in calcium. This particular meal is great to help ensure your dog has a well-balanced mealtime.
- 5 pounds of diced chicken
- 5 whole eggs, raw or cooked
- 5 cups cooked rice (white or brown), or again substitute cooked lentils or quinoa
- 3 cups of broccoli, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Boil chicken and rice until the chicken is almost fully cooked, then add broccoli and simmer until the chicken is finished. Let the meal cool and then add the eggs and oil. This doggy dinner can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Need more ideas? Try The Healthy Homemade Dog Food Cookbook by Charlie Fox for more recipes.
4. Homemade Beef Dinner for Dogs
- 10 pounds of ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 10 whole eggs, raw or cooked
- 5 cups cooked rice (white or brown), cooked lentils, or quinoa
- 3 cups of mixed vegetables
There are a couple ways that you can do this recipe to make it more fun and interesting for you and your dog. You can either cook the meat and rice/lentils/quinoa up in a pot with water and add the vegetables near the end of cooking. The other option is to cook the rice/lentils/quinoa and vegetables until soft, mix everything together with the raw beef and form them into meatballs. Cook meatballs at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until fully cooked.
You can use these for meals or as an easy to catch snack, once they are cooled. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to five days.
Need more ideas? Try Dog Food Recipes: 101 Easy Recipes for Healthy, Homemade Dog Food by Kristina Newman for more recipes.
5. Homemade Doggy Dessert Dinner
As mentioned previously, fruit is good for dogs. While they don’t normally enjoy citrus and they should not be fed grapes, there are many other fruit choices that are very palatable for dogs. Your dog might even like to snack on fresh frozen fruits just as a simple treat. Blueberries are perfect for that!
Feed entire fruit meals sparingly, since too much may give your dog a case of diarrhea.
- 2 pounds of chopped up chicken, cooked
- 3 cups of mixed fruit
- 3 cups cooked rice (white or brown), cooked lentils, or quinoa
Simply mix the ingredients together and serve. Refrigerate for up to five days. This will only yield a small batch, since you don’t want to overdo it on the fruit intake.
Need more ideas? Try Easy Homemade Dog Treat Recipes: Fun Homemade Dog Treats for the Busy Pet Lover by Vikk Simmons for more recipes.
Naturally, most folks don’t quite have the time to cook for their dogs. You’ll see many of these high quality, whole food ingredients in the foods we’ve selected for our top 15 best grain free dog foods brands. All the foods on that list will help maintain your dog’s excellent health even when you can’t cook for them yourself.
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