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Homemade Dog Food Recipes

As pet food quality came under serious question in the 2007 pet food recall many of us decided to go it on our own making foods for our pooch in own kitchens.   Read about ups and downs sides of pet food making, find recipes and helpful links.

Article by: Barbara Bowman

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Making Your Own Dog Food At Home

We've have been accumulating Dog Treat Recipes for the last several years and perhaps many of you may have visited us in the past. Given the massive pet food recall in 2007 we are now providing our readers with some healthful pet food alternatives for their furry family members.

The nutritional information and recipes provided are a good starting place to begin your culinary journey into proper cooking for your pet. Our article includes some good books we recommend. Most of these books can be found at your public library, your local bookstore, or you can buy them online from our website

Important! - Your pet may have special nutritional needs based on breed, age or general health. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to making significant changes to your pets diet.

Where To Start - What Dogs Need

It is imperative that you select foods that are healthful for your pet.  Starting with fresh, natural ingredients will result in great tasting, safe pet food.  Dogs, just like humans are omnivorous and need a balance of protein, grains and some vegetables. While our dog's ancestors ate a basic diet of raw meats their meals included grasses and grains which constituted the diet of their prey.

Dogs fed only protein are susceptible to imbalances in their phosphorous and calcium ratios which can lead to joint problems, bone disease as well as other health issues. (Suzan Anson, Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking for your dog).

Basic Nutritional Needs
Here is a chart which breaks down the basic nutritional needs for dogs. Remember proteins (primarily) come from animal sources, meats, fish, poultry dairy.  Fats can be found in animal products as well as whole-grains.  The main sources of carbohydrates are vegetables and grains.

Recommended Content of Dog Foods


Young Adult
Pregnant Bitch
Working or Stressed Adult
Puppy or Lactating Bitch
Calories from protein20%24%28%
Vitamins and mineralsABC

A - Values recommended by the National Research Council
B - Values for "A" plus 10%
C - Values for "A" plus 10%
Chart from Dr. Ben E. Sheffy, James A Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University

Foods To Avoid

There are some ingredients which have been shown to cause illness (or death) in some dogs. Included in that list are:

Artificial sweeteners or artificial fats
Raw meat*

Some of these foods may be fine in small "seasoning" quantities but to be sure, always consult with your pet's veterinarian and follow his/her advise. You can also visit our ASPCA link for a list of foods you may be concerned about.

*Raw Meat - Raw meats and poultry can contain bacteria, salmonella, or parasites or viruses. Your dog can suffer from food poisoning just as humans can. Only cooking will make these foods safe for consumption.

Toxic/Safe Foods Resource

ASPCA - American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals has a good resource for learning about foods that are toxic (or not) for your pets. View Safe/Toxic Food Lists >>

Nutritious Foods For Your Dog

These are a list of some basic healthful foods to include in your pets diet. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to making significant changes to your pets diet.

Organ meats, liver (don't overuse)
Cultured dairy products such as yogurt, buttermilk, cheese
Complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, beans, legumes
Fiber sources such as bran, fresh vegetables, whole-grains.
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Hello, I have been giving my dogs homemade dog food for the past three weeks, but now they both have diarrhea. Any advise?

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hello jenny, try looking at this site to see if you are feeding them anything that might cause the diarrhea.

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We really recommend a visit to your vet before you venture off making your own dog food. Some foods are more appropriate for some breeds than others. Also you have to work a lot harded to make sure your pets are getting proper nutrition.

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The idea that dogs get the same food borne illness as humans is not only untrue but must have been posted without any really investigation. As an owner of a raw dog food company who makes homemade raw meals for dog that have owners that just don’t have time to do it themselves I can assure anyone who is reading this your dog is not going to get sick from fresh raw meat or bone. Their very nature is to eat raw food. They are designed not only to eat raw meat that they just killed but also anything they come across during their day. Also DOGS DON’T NEED grains. There digestive system is not designed for them and it is useless. From my own experience and the 50 or more dogs that I have been feeding for years you will never see a bigger difference in your dog’s life and heath than after you switch to a raw food based diet.

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I tried raw dog food for my dogs. One did get sick. It was bought from a good natural food dog food store. Also I spoke with my vet about it and she said that dogs need a balanced diet which includes grains, starches, veg.,fruit or else they will get things like rubber jaw where the jaw becomes rubbery and your dog gets very sick. Raw bones are as bad as cooked bones as far as splintering. Dogs are not the wild creatures they were generations ago when they caught their food and ate the whole animal. When they did that they got all the nutrients that other animal got plus they eat their bones, raw. Some lived some died from this. Our dogs today do not have the same digestive systems as they did in the wild so digesting raw food and bones is difficult and dangerous. We do not have the same digestive systems we had as cave men. I assume in 5 to 10 years we will here new research which says feeding your dog raw anything was a bad idea. But making your own dog food and staying away from comercial dog food you find in a typical grocery store is a good idea! I am trying it. I just do not know how much to feed each of my dogs. They are quite different in size. Do you know? They are 25 and 48 lbs. Thanks, and no harm intended.

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When changing diets its normal for pets to get dirrhea for alittle while, if it doesnt stop see your vet.

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It disturbs me that vets are giving people misinformation about raw food diets. Dogs digestive systems have not evolved and are still like those of their wolf ancestors. they are designed and equipped to process and digest raw meat and bones as well as small amount of fruit and vegetables found in the stomachs of their prey. all you have to do id to look at a dogs teeth to see that tearing flesh and crunching bones is what they are designed to do. the concept of rubber jaw is ridiculous. i assume that vet was referring to improper calcium to phosphorus ratios which is importatn but can be avoided. raw food diets, as with all diets should be balanced to prevent deficiencies. today-there are many safe and balanced raw food diets available. raw meaty bones do not splinter and are necessary to clean teeth and gums. it is importatnt to remember that the average vet is not well versed or very knowledgeable in canine nutrition. they only know what they learn in school and those classes are taught by pet food company representatives who offer %40 kickbacks for selling their products. it is normal for dogs switching to any new diet whether raw, or kibble to experience diarrhea which is why it is important to transition slowly over the coarse of a week and include digestive enzymes.

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I have given my dog homemade meals for about half a year now. I have no idea if it's nutritious enough and if it has enough meat. I use around 40% meat, mainly minced beef but chicken or pork when we run out. I also add a handful of rolled oats and a splash of water to cook the oats. For vegetables, I use carrots and sometimes potato or peas. This lasts around a week for my one year old pomerarnian. She's quite large for her breed, around 5-6kgs but she's not overweight at all! I keep the food in the freezer, thaw it and warm it a little before feeding it to her. She gets fed once a day in the afternoon but I give her some dry food in the evening in case she gets hungry in the evening. I'm not sure though if I should feed her twice a day, adding a small meal in the morning. My dog is happy and healthy but I want to know, am I feeding her correctly? Should I change anything? Please help! Thanks! Jillian

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Hi Jillian,  have you talked to your vet about your dog's diet?  I really encourage you to do this to insure your pet is getting all the nutrients it needs.

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I started feeding my dog homemade food since the pet food recall. After doing some research, I found out about the horrible practices in producing commercial pet foods. After swithching her diet, I noticed improvements in every way. I make her a variety of entrees from ingredients like chicken, beef, pork, turkey, liver, salmon, potato, brown rice, white rice, oatmeal, boiled egg, fresh vegetables (carrot, green beans, peas, spinach), milk, and cheese. I also bake her cookies made of flour, oatmeal, peanut butter, apple or pear, and honey. These are the foods that she likes.  She is always getting complimented on her appearance and her vet has remarked on how much happier and healthier she is. Even her groomer has changed her dog's diet. I think homemade diet, along with vet's advice, is best. My motto is "If I won't eat it, niether will Empress."

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I changed my dog from commercial dog food to a homemade diet after learning of the pet food recall and horrible practices by pet food manufacturers. The thought of my dog eating her own kind was enough for me. I now feed her a variety of entress. I use chicken, beef, turkey, pork, liver, salmon, white rice, brown rice, potato, fresh vegetables (carrot, peas, green beans, spinach), oatmeal, boiled egg, milk, cheese, vegetable oil and cod liver oil. I also make her cookies of flour, oatmeal, peanut butter, apple or pear, and honey. These are the food she likes. The homemade diet has definitely paid off. She eats less and produces less stool. She is always getting complimented on how beautiful she is (and she is!!!!). Even her groomer has changed her dog's diet to homemade. From my experience, homecooking is best for your pet. Just talk to his/her vet first. I am not sure about raw food, but it has to be better than the garbage sold commercially. My motto is "If I won't eat it...Empress won't eat it."

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Dog Food Recipes

Basic Dog Food Recipe

4 cups uncooked rice
9 cups  water
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture is boiling add:

1/2 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
3 ounces liver, chopped fine
8 ounces ground beef (or chicken or lamb)
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), chopped fine

Stir, turn heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Then spread out in flat Tupperware containers, cool and cut into half cup squares. When feeding, add cottage cheese or yogurt, and 1 tsp. supplement mix per 30 lbs of dog weight:

Supplement Mix

1 cup brewer's yeast
1 cup wheat germ

1/8 cup powdered kelp

basic dog food recipe nutrition 

How Much To Feed Your Dog

There are many factors to determine how much to feed your dog.  We suggest you use this basic dog food calculator to determine the correct feeding amount.  The nutritional information you need is provided above (rounded about 245 calories per cup).