Easy Recipes for Homemade Dog Food

Dogs love “people food”—but the things we cook for ourselves aren’t always good for them! However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Some pet parents prefer to have total control of their furry friends’ nutrition and make homemade dog food. 

In this quick guide to making dog food at home, we cover what you need to know about balanced canine nutrition, plus basic dog food recipes to get you started. 

Easy Recipes for Homemade Dog Food

Should You Feed Your Dog a Homemade Diet?

There is no one right answer to whether or not you should feed your dog a homemade diet. 

If you want to try it, then go right ahead—your dog will probably love it! But if you want to consistently feed your dog a homemade diet, you need to find a recipe for home-cooked dog food that offers balanced nutrition and has all of the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs. 

When you find dog recipes to make at home, you have one major disadvantage: unlike commercially prepared dog food, you (probably) don’t have access to the food science or veterinary dieticians that dog food manufacturers do! 

Benefits of Feeding Homemade Dog Food

Homemade dog food is often made with fresher ingredients than commercial dog food, which can provide your dog with better-quality nutrition. All-natural homemade dog food recipes have fewer preservatives than commercial dog foods, and it can offer increased protein variety. Fresh dog food recipes can be made with a variety of ingredients, allowing you to switch up your dog’s diet and offer them a range of flavors and textures while also supporting long-term health. 

Another benefit of feeding your dog a healthy dog food recipe is that you might be able to meet some of their nutritional needs more effectively than with store-bought food. For example, extremely energetic, active dogs may do better when fed with high-calorie dog food recipes. A dog with digestive problems may have better gut health when fed from a high-fiber dog food recipe. Dogs with extremely sensitive stomachs or reactive skin conditions might have fewer problems with organic dog food recipes.

By making homemade dog food, you can ensure your dog is getting exactly what they need in their diet. 

Easy Recipes for Homemade Dog Food

Cost of Homemade vs. Store-Bought Dog Food

Depending on the brand of dog food you are currently feeding your dog, homemade dog food can be more OR less expensive. There are too many factors to say definitively that one is cheaper than the other. Generally, it is likely that homemade dog food will be more expensive than kibble in the long run. It may be less expensive than air-dried or fresh-frozen food. 

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To save money as you make all-natural dog food recipes, buy ingredients in bulk, look for seasonal veggies that are more nutritious and less expensive, and buy second-hand equipment like blenders and food processors to make the food. 

Possible Difficulties of Feeding Homemade Dog Food

There are some challenges to feeding homemade dog food. Nutritional balance is the biggest challenge. Creating a nutritionally balanced homemade dog food diet can be challenging, as it requires a good understanding of canine nutrition. Without proper knowledge and planning, homemade diets can be deficient in essential nutrients. This is why it’s important to do your research when looking for healthy dog food recipes to make at home– you need to make sure they are actually healthy!

Other challenges can include how much time and effort making homemade dog food takes. You have to shop for ingredients, prepare the food, and store it appropriately. Homemade dog food needs to be stored properly to avoid spoiling, which can be a challenge, especially if you are making large batches. 

Tips for Preparing Homemade Dog Food

Before you start cooking up your first healthy dog food recipe, here are some tips that can help you get started. 

Consult with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to make sure your dog’s diet is nutritionally balanced and meets all of their dietary needs.
Use high-quality ingredients, including lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Serve a balanced diet that includes a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, as well as any necessary supplements. The exact proportions will depend on your dog’s age, size, and activity level, as well as any specific health issues they may have.
Use a recipe balancer to take the guesswork out of your recipe.
Offer a variety of foods and ingredients.
Work in a clean kitchen; if you have the space, get separate tools for preparing your dog’s food.
To save time and effort, prepare the food in bulk and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Pre-portion the food out into individual serving sizes for easy feeding.
Store properly in the fridge or freezer.
Introduce the new food gradually over a period of several days to allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust.

1. Basic Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Easy Recipes for Homemade Dog Food

This basic dog food recipe from Northwest Holistic Pet Care is one of the more easily customizable dog recipes. Easy substitutions include adding a variety of veggies or using a different protein. 

Chicken is a protein that about 1 in 10 dogs are allergic to, so you might want to swap the chicken out for lean beef, lamb, or another protein.

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8 ounces ground organic turkey thighBlanch the veggies and set aside.
2 tbsp ground organic turkey organ meat (liver, gizzards, hearts)Gently cook the meat at medium-low heat. Remove when most of the meat has turned white but the meat is not all the way cooked through. 
¼ c finely grated organic veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc.Place the veggies in a food processor and pulse until finely grated in appearance.
1 tsp ground raw sunflower seedsMix all ingredients and serve when cool.
½ tsp organic coconut oil
½ tsp salmon oil
500 mg Calcium Citrate (this MUST be included for your dog’s nutritional needs)

This recipe makes one portion for a 20-pound dog.

Important Notes

This meal requires a calcium supplement. If you don’t want to use calcium citrate, you can use eggshell powder.

2. Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipe

Easy Recipes for Homemade Dog Food

Before companies like We Feed Raw started making and selling raw food for dogs, pet parents’ only option was to make it themselves! 

We have detailed information about preparing raw food for your dog here, but if you’re interested in making a raw mix for your pup at home, here is a basic dog food recipe for raw food originally created by Running To The Kitchen.

2 ½ lbs ground beefCombine the carrot, apple, and spinach in a food processor until finely chopped in a food processor, combine carrot, apple, and spinach. Process until finely chopped and well combined.
4 oz. chicken liversAdd chicken livers, eggs, yogurt, flaxseed, and olive oil and process until combined.
1 carrot, choppedTransfer the mixture to a bowl and add ground beef. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined.
1 small apple, coredForm palm-sized patties and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the freezer to set, then transfer the patties to an air-tight container or bag for long-term frozen storage.
½ cup baby spinach
2 whole eggs (with shell, if farm fresh)
½ cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp olive oil

This recipe makes about three pounds of patties.

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Important Notes

Unless you are using farm-fresh eggs, do not include the shell. Replace it with a calcium supplement or eggshell powder. This is because commercial eggs are cleaned with chemicals that aren’t safe for dogs to eat.

3. Tasty Baked Dog Food Recipe

Easy Recipes for Homemade Dog Food

This delicious baked salmon dog food recipe is one of the best fresh dog food recipes we’ve found for dogs who have allergies. 

Chicken is a very common dog food ingredient, but about 1 in 10 dogs suffers from a chicken allergy

This recipe from Where’s the Frenchie uses salmon as its protein source. Salmon is packed with nutrients including omega-3s, so this is a great recipe for your pup.

6 lbs salmonBake salmon at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
2 cups quinoaCook quinoa with water until quinoa soaks up all liquid and fluff with a fork. You’ll have over 4 cups of cooked quinoa.
3 zucchinisGrate all of the veggies.
2 yellow squashMix everything together!
4 carrots
2 cans pureed pumpkin (30 oz total)
7 oz melted coconut oil (almost a cup)

Important Notes

This recipe makes 26 cups of food and will last a 20-pound dog about two weeks. This recipe does require that you give your dog a supplement to make it complete and balanced!

Nutritional Supplements

If you make your pup’s meals from a simple homemade dog food recipe, they may need nutritional supplements to make sure they’re getting the right amount of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. If that’s the case, there are some great supplements out there that will boost your furry friend’s health and keep them feeling their best.

  • The One Made with a blend of 12 clinically-proven ingredients, it targets your dog’s physical and cognitive health. Formulated by expert vet nutritionists, it offers eight essential benefits  including support for resilient joints, heart health, mental sharpness, digestion and immunity, mental sharpness, anxiety and fresh breath.

  • PlanoPaws VitaTreats is a multivitamin chew for dogs with a chicken flavor they will gobble up. This supplement includes ingredients that support your dog’s eyes, joints, bone health, digestion, brain health, and more.

Plano Paws: 25%

Multivitamin Chews for Dogs – Chicken Flavor: B07KXCRKF1

  • PetLab Co. 13 in 1 Dog Multivitamin is a supplement chew with a tasty pork flavor that no dog can resist. This supplement has nutrients that support a dog’s immune system, skin and coat, and overall health.

Pet Lab Co: 15%

13 in 1 Dog Multivitamin: B07S461D6H

Homemade Dog Food FAQ

Have questions about homemade dog food? Here are some of the things aspiring pet chefs ask about homemade dog food.

What is a good base for homemade dog food?

This depends on your dog’s needs! If your dog can eat meat, start with a nice lean meat for protein. Then, add heart-healthy fats and carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Your dog may have specific health needs that may require a different homemade dog food base; for example, dogs with severe meat allergies might do better with a vegan diet that uses plants as a base.

What ingredients should be in homemade dog food?

When making homemade dog food, it’s essential to include protein sources such as chicken, beef, lamb, or fish. These should be accompanied by fresh dog-friendly vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and spinach. You may want to follow an organic dog food recipe to ensure that your pup isn’t getting any pesticides in their diet by accident. 

What is the healthiest food to feed your dog?

There is no one “healthiest food” to feed your dog. Dogs do best when given a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. This tool is a great way to make sure your recipe is balanced.

Do vets recommend homemade dog food?

Vets generally do recommend homemade dog food as long as it is nutritionally balanced and meets all of a dog’s dietary needs. 

Is it cheaper to make your own dog food?

That depends on what you’re otherwise feeding your dog. In addition to the cost of ingredients, it is also time-consuming to make dog food, so it may not be cheaper.

Can I feed my dog chicken and rice every day? 

No. While chicken and rice is a good food for dogs with upset tummies and can be used while a sick dog is recuperating, chicken and rice alone do not have the nutrients that your dog needs.

Can I feed my dog homemade food every day?

Yes! Just make sure it’s balanced and meets their nutritional needs.

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