Our Homemade Dog Food Recipe (2024)

A few years ago, we made the switch from store bought dog kibble to homemade dog food. It was an easy decision to make, but it required a lot of trial and error, a vet visit, and tons of research. But, once we fully converted, there was no looking back! It was the absolute right decision for our dogshealth, our lifestyle, and our wallet. Here’s our homemade dog food recipe, and how we did it.

You can see a video of our recipe here, if you’d like.

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Before we get started, it’s important to point out that we developed a recipe that works for Boogie and Marcelo. If your dog is a different weight, size, or breed, they’ll require different ingredients and measurements. Always consult your vet before making the switch and finalizing the recipe that works for you.

Article Contents

Our Homemade Dog Food Origin Story

When we adopted Boogie, he was overweight (a whopping 27lbs!), had frequent ear infections, and lots of face fold irritation. He was only a year old, and already had health issues.

Many people told us that it was due to his breed, and that pugs have health problems we would just have to learn to deal with. This didn’t sit well with us, and we knew there were things we could do to improve the situation.

Boogie was used to a diet of generic dog kibble. The first thing we did was to try out better food.

We bought him organic dog food brands, after researching what was on the market, like Wellness Brand and Newman’s Own.

We went to the vet and realized that Boogie was allergic to grain, so we bought grain free options that were high in protein and fatty acids, likeWellness Core.

Boogie’s issues got a bit better, but he was still having trouble with his weight, despite plenty of exercise. And his folds, despite regular cleanings, still got funky.

Plus, his dog food had a huge list of ingredients that I could barely pronounce, it was expensive, and it seemed like every week new articles came out recalling different brands we thought were good.

Something had to change.

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Reasons to Switch to Homemade Dog Food

  • You Are What You Eat:The ingredients in Boogie and Marcelo’s kibble seemed to be in another language; they were impossible to read and we had no idea what we were feeding them. Making their food at home means we know exactly what we are feeding our dogs. We can guarantee that the ingredients we use are fresh and of good quality.
  • Your Wallet Will Thank You:A healthier diet equals healthier dogs, making our trips to the vet less frequent. Once we switched to homemade food, Boogie’s weight went down and his ear and face fold infections stopped. Our vet visits became normal check ups, instead of rushed drop-ins for medicine and care. This was great for our now healthy pups, and great for our wallets too!
  • Lighter Load:Finding specific brands and formulas might be simple in some locations, but harder in others. Prices also change. That means you’ll have to pack cans or bags of food if you’re planning to travel, adding extra bulk and weight to your luggage. Our grain free U.S. brand was tough to find while abroad, and super pricey. We eliminated this issue by using ingredients that can be found in most markets. We’re flexible too, so we can swap out ingredients if they are hard to find or too expensive in certain countries.
  • No More Picky Eaters:Our two have no problem eating, but our neighbors dog played around with kibble and oftentimes left it untouched. When they made the switch, their dog suddenly welcomed breakfast and dinner, and no longer played with her food. Watching a picky eater suddenly gobble up their meal is rewarding! Your dog will thank you for it.

The Switch to Homemade Dog Food

Making the decision to make our dogs food was easy, but making the actual switch required work.

We began to research what a balanced dog diet consisted of, and which foods were best. We took things like breed, weight, and lifestyle into consideration when Googling for information.

For example, a super active large dog requires different things than an older, slower pup. There are also things like allergies, sensitive stomachs, and health conditions to take into account.

We used Google and YouTube for research, and took each recipe we developed to our vet to look over. This is super important – our first recipe had cow liver in it and was too protein rich, which can increase the workload on your dogs kidney and liver. Anexcess of nutrients that are unnecessary can sometimes be harmful.

Our vet checked over our dogs and did blood work with each recipe draft, and we went from there.

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Our Homemade Dog Food Recipe

You can watch a video of us making the recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 5 – 6 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 4 – 6 carrots, sliced
  • 1 – 2 small heads of broccoli, cut from the stalk and into pieces
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 3-4 large boneless chicken breasts or 4.5 to 5 pounds of ground chicken
  • 4 eggs, still in shell, placed gently on top
  • Approximately 6 cups of water
  • Nutri-Pet Nupro All Natural Supplement
  • Animal organ (usually liver or chicken hearts)

Directions

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Chop up the following items: sweet potato, carrots, and broccoli. Be mindful of size: if your dog is large, you can get away with bigger chunks, but if you have a small dog like me, you’ll want to chop it up well so the vegetables don’t become a choking hazard. Be sure to compost all discarded pieces.

In one very large pot, place the following items: sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, chicken breasts, eggs, and 6 cups of water. The water should be at about the same level as the food items, or a bit over.

Cook on medium heat. The chicken should be cooked through, with the vegetables soft to the touch when done.

Once cooked, let everything cool. Remove the eggs and shell them, then cut or crumble them into bits and put them back in the pot.

If you used chicken breasts, shred or chop the meat into small pieces and put it back in the pot. If you use ground chicken, you can skip this step.

Mix everything together. Since Marcelo is a very small dog (4lbs) with few teeth, we sometimes use an emersion blender or large spoon to mix everything together very well and get rid of chunks. If your dog is larger and can handle bigger pieces, this isn’t necessary.

When everything has cooled, it’s scooped into tupperware that we keep in the freezer. Defrost as needed and store in the refrigerator. This recipe lasts our two dogs about two weeks.

When serving, we add inNutri-Pet Nupro All Natural Supplement, a mixture with balanced doses of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The amount to add depends on your dog’s weight, and is labeled on the container.

We cook any animal organ (usually liver or chicken hearts) separately in a pot, and store in the refrigerator. We sprinkle each serving of food with the organ bits.

Extra Information About Making Homemade Dog Food

Making your own dog food can seem difficult, but once you start the process you’ll see that it’s pretty easy. You can grab ingredients while doing your personal shopping, and throw things into a pot while cooking your own food.

It was a long process from start to finish at first, but it’s now second nature to us, and takes a fraction of the time. Making your dog’s health a priority will always pay off – a healthy dog is a happy dog!

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Healthy Treats and Chews

Healthy dogs have a balanced diet, meaning they eat a range of good stuff. This recipe is the base for what we feed our dogs, but we add in new foods too, as a treat or supplement.

Great, all natural items we add to food or give as treats include:

  • Salmon skin
  • Quail eggs
  • Gizzards
  • Jerky
  • Hog ears and feet
  • Fruit, like banana or apple
  • Animal trachea
  • Beef tripe

Click here for more DIY homemade recipes for your dog!

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Our Homemade Dog Food Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What ingredients are best for homemade dog food? ›

Your pet needs protein (animal meat, seafood, dairy, or eggs), fat (from meat or oil) and carbohydrates (grains or vegetables). They also need calcium (from dairy or an ingredient such as egg shells), and essential fatty acids (from certain plant oils, egg yolks, oatmeal, and other foods).

What should top 3 ingredients be in dog food? ›

What are the top 3 ingredients to look for in dog food? The top ingredients to look for in dog food are high-quality proteins (named meat sources - chicken, beef, fish, and lamb), natural carbohydrates (whole fruits and vegetables), and healthy fats (animal fats or plant-based oils).

What not to put in homemade dog food? ›

There is a wide variety of unhealthy and unsafe foods to avoid when preparing meals for your dog. Potentially toxic ingredients are of special concern, including chocolate, xylitol, avocado, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and macadamia nuts.

Can I feed my dog chicken and rice every day? ›

The reason your dog shouldn't eat chicken and rice long-term is because it isn't a balanced diet.

Do vets recommend homemade dog food? ›

“Homemade food is a great option for many pets, but we recommend that owners avoid general recipes from books and the Internet and instead consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist,” Larsen said.

What is the best meat to put in homemade dog food? ›

Very lean ground beef or poultry- This is the main source of protein and has to be lean since dogs have a high amino acid requirement. Compared to ground beef, ground chicken and turkey are lower in protein, iron, and zinc, so you'll need to make up for it with extra beef liver.

Is oatmeal good for dogs? ›

Is Oatmeal Good for Dogs? Plain, cooked oatmeal can be a great addition to your dog's diet. This heart-healthy breakfast is rich in soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins that help support your dog's coat and skin. The high fiber content helps promote digestion and weight management.

What are the 3 super foods for dogs? ›

Dog experts reveal dog superfoods
  • Sweet Potato. Sweet potato is a natural source of fiber and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. ...
  • Watermelon. Watermelon is a nutritious superfood, with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins A, B and C, potassium and magnesium. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Turmeric. ...
  • Quinoa. ...
  • Pumpkin. ...
  • Chia Seeds.
Jun 29, 2023

Is it cheaper to make homemade dog food? ›

A nutritionally complete and balanced, homemade diet for a 30-pound dog costs around $3.52 per day, or if using organic ingredients – around $5.58 per day. This is about two to four times the price of commercial kibble of the same quantity. However, it is half the cost of commercial canned wet dog food.

What homemade food can dogs eat every day? ›

7 Foods to Cook For Your Dog
  • Chicken. Cooked chicken is a good source of protein for dogs. ...
  • Lean Ground Turkey. Lean ground turkey is a safe food to cook for your dog. ...
  • Eggs. Cooked eggs are a safe, healthy food with lots of minerals and vitamins. ...
  • Raw or Steamed Vegetables. ...
  • Fresh Fruits. ...
  • Boiled Potatoes. ...
  • Peanut Butter. ...
  • Yogurt.
Sep 12, 2023

Are there side effects to homemade dog food? ›

If you use raw meat or eggs, there's the risk that your dog could pick up certain parasites or become infected with bacteria such as Salmonella. There's also the risk that these bacterial infections could pass to humans through handling the food or cleaning up after your pet.

What is the healthiest food to feed your dog? ›

Feeding dogs a diet made with natural, real ingredients, such as beef, chicken, lamb, peas, spinach, carrots, and blueberries, can do wonders for their overall well-being — promoting heart health, increasing energy level, making coats shiny and breath smell better, improving eyesight, and even impacting a dog's stool.

Is sweet potato good for dogs? ›

Sweet potato is a safe, healthy, and natural treat for dogs, offering a range of health benefits (and a sweet flavor they'll likely love). For example, sweet potatoes support a healthy digestive system thanks to their high dietary fiber content. They're also low in fat and contain essential vitamins like B6, C, and A.

What are the ingredient ratios for homemade dog food? ›

Home Made Dog Food
  • Protein – 75% Beef, chicken, turkey gizzards, livers (beef/chicken/turkey), hearts (beef/chicken/turkey), white fish (flounder, grouper, cod (no bones), rabbit, oily fish (sardines in olive oil), salmon, eggs, lamb, veal. ...
  • Complex Carbohydrate – 10% ...
  • Vegetables – 15% ...
  • Snacks. ...
  • Supplements.
Mar 1, 2021

What is the best grain for homemade dog food? ›

If you decide to include grains in your dog's diet, options like brown rice, oats, and quinoa are preferable. Nonetheless, these grains should not substitute the primary component of their diet, which is animal-based proteins.

What ingredient should be in dog food? ›

The best ingredients for dry dog food are those that place a high priority on high-quality animal protein sources, nutrient-dense carbs, and healthy fats. Dry dog food should include a specific animal protein source specified as the first ingredient, such as chicken, beef, or fish.

What percentage of ingredients should be in homemade dog food? ›

Most nutritionally sound commercial diets include protein, carbohydrates, fats, and other minerals and vitamins in specific proportions. Your dog food should take into consideration the following ratio of 40% protein, 50% vegetables, and 10% starch.

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