Kiss Kibble Goodbye: Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Imagine if you had to eat the same food every meal, every day of your life. Beyond being painfully dull, wouldn’t you question whether you’re getting a nutritionally balanced diet? Welcome to a dog’s life.
Long ago before commercially produced dog food, dogs ate a lot of the same foods as humans. There’s a reason our dogs beg for our food — they’re meant to eat a variety. Table scraps anyone?
We’ve cooked up some tips on how to make dog food, nutrition guidelines and our favorite homemade dog food recipes. We guarantee your pup will benefit from your efforts and could even improve behavioral problems that stem from dietary deficiencies.
What Are The Benefits Of Homemade Dog Food?
Homemade dog food can benefit your canine companion in a number of ways — especially if you have a pet who suffers from allergies, gastrointestinal sensitivity or skin problems.
Highly-processed foods also tend to lose nutritional value, whereas making dog food from scratch maintains more of the 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 included additives and preservatives.
It’s also a good idea to have these recipes handy in case you happen to run out of dog food. Treat your dog as you would any of your other family members by preparing nutritious food from trusted ingredients.
What Nutrition Guidelines Should You Follow?
Just like humans, every dog is different, so this is not meant to be a one-pup-fits-all rule. Serving size, your pup’s weight, health conditions, size and activity level are all factors you should take into consideration when determining what’s right for your dog.
However, in general, there are six basic nutrients required for dogs 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. In addition to normal meals, you may also want to add a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews to make sure your pup is getting the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals.
Here are the benefits of the necessary nutrients and why it’s important your pup has adequate amounts of each (listed in order of priority).
Protein (chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and cooked eggs) – Helps with growth and maintenance of cells, tissues, organs, antibodies, hormones and enzymes.
Fat (from oil and meat) – Assists with the absorption of certain vitamins (see below), 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.
Minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. – Gives dogs structurally sound bones and teeth, among other benefits.
Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K – Promotes weight loss, eye and skin health, immunity and more.
Water accounts for 60-70% of dog’s body weight so it’s critical they stay hydrated in addition to eating a well-balanced diet. Dehydration can lead to a number of health issues so ensure they are drinking enough water throughout the day, too.
Before embarking on a homemade meal plan, consult with your veterinarian to make sure your dog’s diet sufficiently meets all its nutritional needs.
Low-Calorie Dog Food Recipes
A note about calories: all the recipes listed below are better for your dogs than canned dog food or kibble because they are made from natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives. That being said, they are relatively lower in calories as a result but should be consumed in moderation (serving sides similar to what they currently eat).
Homemade Dog Food Delivered
In the age of UberEats, DoorDash and having just about everything you can think of delivered, we are lucky enough to have the option to purchase fresh, natural dog food that can be shipped to our doorsteps. It can be a huge time-saver and may be worth the cost after you add up the prices of all the ingredients you’ll need to cook a recipe.
Pet Plate ships frozen so you can keep it for when you want to treat your pup or serve it every day as a part of regular meal time. No dog will complain about these tasty meals made with fresh and easy to pronounce human-grade ingredients. And you can spend your time on more important things, like belly rubs and walks!
Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Note: The recipes below do not include serving size because portion sizes will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and the health of your dog. A common recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.
Beef Stew, Doggie Style
A much healthier alternative to canned dog food, this recipe is loaded with iron from fresh protein and vitamins and can be stored in your fridge for most of the week (or frozen and heated up later).
1 pound of beef stew meat
1 small sweet potato
1/2 cup of carrots, diced
1/2 cup of green beans, diced
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Total: Makes approx. 4 cups (or 32 fluid ounces)
Nutritional Info (per 1 cup serving):
Protein: 36.7 g
Fat: 8.4 g
Carbs: 17.4 g
Minerals & Vitamins: Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, Potassium
Cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm but tender.
Set aside.Slice the beef into small chunks, about the size of a nickel.
Cook the beef stew pieces in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until well-done.
Remove the beef chunks from the pan, reserving the drippings.Dice the sweet potato.
Heat the drippings over medium-low heat.
Slowly add flour and water into the drippings while whisking to create a thick gravy.
Add the meat, sweet potato, carrots and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat.
Cook until the carrots are tender — about 10 minutes.
Let it cool and serve.
Store remaining stew in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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.
6 cups water
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 (16 ounces) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower
Total: Makes approx. 12 cups (or 96 fluid ounces)
Nutritional Info (per 1 cup serving):
Protein: 11 g
Fat: 4.3 g
Carbs: 4.7 g
Minerals & Vitamins: Iron, Potassium
Place the water, ground turkey, rice and rosemary into a large Dutch oven.
Stir until the ground turkey is broken up and evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the frozen vegetables and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool.Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Easy Crockpot Beef & Rice Meal
We love this recipe for its nutritional value, its quick prep time (10 minutes) and the easy crockpot cooking. It yields 12, cups and, like the beef stew, can be frozen for future feedings.
2 ½ pounds ground beef1
½ cups uncooked brown rice
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
1 ½ cups diced carrots
½ cup frozen peas
4 cups of water
Total: Makes approx. 12 cups (or 88 fluid ounces)
Nutritional Info (per 1 cup serving):
Carbs: 44.2 g
Minerals & Vitamins: Iron, Potassium, Calcium
Stir in all ingredients with 4 cups of water in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or high heat for 2 to 3 hours.
Stir as needed and cool to room temperature.