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Kiss Kibble Goodbye: Homemade Dog Food Recipes

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Bowl of homemade dog food veggetablesImagine if you had to eat the exact same food every meal, every day of your life. Beyond being painfully boring, 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?

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. Treat your dog as you would any of your other family members by preparing nutritious food from trusted ingredients. Here, we’ll give you 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 Nutrition Guidelines Should You Follow?

Before embarking on a homemade diet, consult with your veterinarian to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree with your dog’s basic nutritional needs. Here are some daily must-haves with general balance guidelines. Serving sizes depend on your pup’s weight, size and activity level.

  • 40% Protein – animal meat, seafood, eggs or dairy
  • 10% Carbohydrates – grains and beans
  • 50% Vegetables
  • Fat – from oil or meat
  • Calcium – crushed or powdered egg shells; a supplement
  • Fatty acids – cooked egg yolks, oatmeal, plant oils and other foods

Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes

We’ve written up some of our favorite dog food recipes to share with you. To jump to a recipe you’re interested in, click on the link below.

Note: Serving size is not included because portion sizes varies depending on a number of factors including breed, activity level, age, and health of your dog. We recommend feeding your dog a comparable number of ounces/cups that you would normally feed your dog.

Beef Stew, Doggie Style | Turkey, Rice and Veggie Mix | Easy Crockpot Beef & Rice Meal | Pumpkin Dog Biscuits | Chicken Jerky Strips | Frozen Banana Treats

Beef Stew, Doggie Style

Diced carrots

A much healthier alternative to canned dog food, this recipe is loaded with fresh protein and vitamins and can be stored in your fridge for most of the week.

Ingredients

  • 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 or organic vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying

Total: Makes approx 4 cups (or 32 fluid ounces)

Directions

  1. Cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm but tender. Set aside.
  2. Slice the stew pieces into smaller chunks, about the size of a nickel.
  3. Cook the stew pieces in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until well-done.
  4. Remove the beef chunks from the pan, reserving the drippings.
  5. Dice the sweet potato.
  6. Heat the drippings over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour and water into the dripping while whisking to create a thick gravy.
  7. Add the meat, sweet potato, carrots and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat.
  8. Cook until the carrots are tender – about 10 minutes.
  9. Serve cool.
  10. Store remaining stew in the fridge for up to five days.

Turkey, Rice and Veggie Mix

Brown rice in jar

This is a great 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 10 cups of dog food and can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower

Total: Makes approx 12 cups (or 96 fluid ounces)

Directions

  1. Place the water, ground turkey, rice and rosemary into a large Dutch oven.
  2. Stir until the ground turkey is broken up and evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the frozen vegetables, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and cool.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Easy Crockpot Beef & Rice Meal

Kidney beans

We love this recipe for its nutritional value, its quick prep time (10 minutes) and the easy crockpot cooking. It yields 12 cups and can be easily frozen for future feedings.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 ½ cups chopped carrots
  • ½ cup frozen peas

Total: Makes approx 11 cups (or 88 fluid ounces)

Directions

  1. Stir in all ingredients with 4 cups of water in a crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or high heat for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Stir as needed and cool to room temperature.

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Textured pumpkin puree

Looking for a doggie digestive aid? Pumpkin is easy on sour stomachs and can help alleviate your dog’s digestive issues. These homemade dog biscuits are a great way to introduce an all-natural tummy aid into your pup’s diet.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extremely cold water
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or home-made)
  • 2 cups whole grain brown rice flour
  • 1 large egg (you can omit this if your dog is allergic to eggs)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoonful flax-seed oil or olive oil

Total: Makes approx 24 1 oz balls (or 24 fluid ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 320 – 350 degrees.
  2. Use two baking sheets and baking paper to avoid sticking.
  3. Mix lightly beaten eggs and pumpkin in a separate container until smooth. If you don’t want to use eggs then just smooth the pumpkin puree separately and proceed to the next step.
  4. In a larger bowl, combine flax-seed oil and brown rice flour.
  5. With constant stirring, add the pumpkin mixture to the rice mixture and slowly add water. Be sure to leave some of the rice to be used as some sort of toppings for the cookies.
  6. Hand mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  7. Using two pieces of baking or waxed paper, roll dough out to desired thickness.
  8. Remove the top baking paper.
  9. Evenly pour rice flour onto the top of the dough and lightly press it to the waxed baking paper.
  10. Remove the paper and cut to desired sizes.
  11. Place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is completely dry.
  12. Cool and store in a dry plastic or glass container until ready to be served.

Chicken Jerky StripsRaw chicken breast in slices

Don’t trust store-bought raw hides, which often have a ton of additives and preservatives? Homemade chicken jerky strips are a perfect replacement. This recipe is a much healthier alternative and very easy to make. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (if they last that long!).

Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Total: Makes approx 10-20 strips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Trim all excess fat off the chicken breasts
  3. Cut into 1/8 inch thick strips using a paring knife
  4. Bake for 2 hours on a baking sheet until strips are dry and hard
  5. Cool completely before presenting to your pooch.

Frozen Banana Treats

Creamy peanut butter

After a long walk in the hot sun, what pooch wouldn’t want a refreshing treat? We absolutely love this simple recipe – yogurt, banana and peanut butter. It’s a frozen smoothie for your dog. Need we say more?

Ingredients

  • 4 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 bananas, ripe, peeled & mashed

Total: Makes approx 8 1 oz treats

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together into a puree.
  2. Pour into 4-ounce plastic cups (ice trays or toddler popsicle trays work well).
  3. Freeze until firm.
  4. Can be kept in freezer for up to two weeks.

Tips on How to Make Dog Food

It’s important not to stray from homemade dog food recipes or substitute ingredients as you might for yourself and your family. Dogs have different nutritional needs that require cooking recipes exactly as instructed. Be sure to cook all animal products thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria and cook all grains, beans and starchy vegetables to make them easier for your pooch to digest.

When in doubt, an excellent resource is Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD, a long-time expert in veterinary medicine. First published in 1999, the book is now free online and is considered by many pet nutritionists to be the Bible of healthy homemade pet nutrition.

For even more cooking options, be sure to check out Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.

What About BARF?

No, we’re not implying your new canine culinary skills will cause your pet harm; we’re referring to the raw diet, more affectionately known as BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), which has gained a lot of popularity among dog owners over the last few years. The basic idea is to feed your dog raw meats, grains and veggies just as his canine ancestors did millions of years ago. While you can find a lot of raw dog food recipes online and some veterinarians may recommend it, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is not on board with BARF. Citing a number of studies, the AVMA’s policy discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal proteins as they contain potentially deadly pathogens that not only can sicken your pet but also can be secondarily transmitted to humans. Yikes!

What Foods Should Your Dog Never Eat?

As a dog owner, you’ve likely come across this essential list before, but it’s always good to have it on hand as a reminder, especially if you’re cooking dog food from scratch. The major toxic foods include:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol

For a more extensive list, check out this article.

Don’t Feel Like Cooking?

If you want your pup to experience homemade food, but you just don’t have time, give TopDogDinners a shot. With this service, you can have customized, fresh dog food sent right to your house!

Cooking for Canines: Online Help

There’s no shortage of homemade dog food recipes you can find online. We stumbled upon this fun and informative video series that gives you weekly recipe tutorials, tips and more. Check it out in case you want to subscribe through YouTube.

Most of all, have fun with your new status as your pup’s chef. We hope we’ve given you some good places to start and tasty recipes for your pooch to appreciate. Even if you’re not a master in the kitchen, homemade dog food sure beats every day of kibble!

Do you have any homemade dog food recipes to recommend?

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About Sally Jones
Sally grew up in a feline-only home, but cat allergies in her early 20’s made it an easy transition to dog ownership. And she couldn’t be happier with her canine shadow, who’s been at her side (literally) for years. No longer a cat person for obvious reasons, Sally is now a true bone-ified dog lover.
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44 Comments on "Kiss Kibble Goodbye: Homemade Dog Food Recipes"

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Beth
Beth

Do you recommend any supplements, ie vitamins and minerals?
I started feeding my cats a high quality homemade diet, and it’s been an eye opener- much easier than I expected, but there are a LOT more supplements involved.
If I make the switch, I want to be sure she’s getting all she needs.
Thank you!

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

We haven’t researched any supplements and it can vary based on breed. I suggest asking your vet about any deficiencies your pet may have and what supplements you could add to the food to help him/her. Hope that helps!

Carrie
Carrie

Quick question…. I’m considering switching to homemade food for my dogs – one is a senior and one is moderately overweight – so I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. I notice there are certain ingredients listed in the Nutritional Guidelines for Calcium and Fatty Acids but none of the recipes include these things. Are these added as needed or should be part of each recipe? BTW…thank you for the great article and recipe ideas!

Kathleen Parker
Kathleen Parker

I have a 11 year old Lab/Golden mix and she wants food all the time. She is gaining weight and I din’t want to feed her more, we give her 4 cups of store bought food a day. I’m thinking of making her dog food in hopes this will help fill her up. How much food a day should I feed her?

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

How much does your dog weigh? If she weighs 80+ pounds then 4 cups of food is about the amount she should be eating. There’s a chart on this page that shows how much dogs should eat per day.

Kali Fugatte
Kali Fugatte

Hi there, I made the Crock pot Beef and Rice meal and I was wondering how many cups per day should I be feeding my basset hound? I tried home cooked dog food because she refuses to eat store bought dog food. We would just leave the bowl filled normally. I know bassets have an issue with obesity so I don’t want to start feeding her too much. She’s a year old and weighs 40 pounds currently. How much should she be eating daily? Thank you!

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

According to our chart here you should feed your dog 2 1/4 cups to 3 cups per day. If you notice she is gaining weight, lean towards the lower end of the range. Check with your vet to make sure she is getting the proper nutrients she needs as well. Good luck!

Maggie donahue
Maggie donahue

Hello. I was wondering on the turkey and brown rice recipe for dogs if anyone knows the calorie per cup count?

Gayle
Gayle

I’m trying to find out the same thing. has anyone responded to your post?

Nancy Workman
Nancy Workman

I would like ti try the crockpot beef and rice….can I use something other than squash…Cauliflower,broccoli,peas???and is it ok to boil the meat a little first to remove a little of the fat…he has had health problems in the past ….

Judi
Judi

It is my understanding that rosemary is a dangerous if not prohibited ingredient in any dog food. I have read testing results that indicate that it can kill dogs. One of the homemade recipes included here on this site contains rosemary? I would surely eliminate it from the recipe.

Tee

Rosemary isn’t toxic. It can cause stomach issues if eaten in large amounts.

Christine
Christine

Do you ever use iodized salt in dog food recipes?

Tee

Dogs do not need nor desire salt or seasonings in my research.

Alexis
Alexis

My kids ate the dog food and they were not fond of it. They thought it could be sweeter and not as mushy. I think adding some basil would be a nice addition store bought dog food is way better than homemade dog food especially this one.

Tee

The food isn’t for your kid it’s for your dog. Dogs don’t need sweets, but some foods need to be mushy for them to be able to digest it. May I suggest you take a look at the ingredients in your store bought dog food and notice all the uses of the word ‘meal’ it may taste better to your kids, but I guarantee you it’s not as good for your dog as homemade.

Akexis
Akexis

Tried the dog food and we’re not fond of it.They said it could have been sweeter and not as mushy.I think some basil would be a nice addition. Store bought dog food is way better.

Kathleen Murphy
Kathleen Murphy

How would these recipes change for an 8 week old retriever puppy? Amounts per meal? Extra vitamins? Calcium? Oils?

Thank you!

Kris Garon Dooley
Kris Garon Dooley

These recipes are grossly inadequate. They are severely short of necessary vitamins and minerals.

Tee

This is WHY they tell you to add a multivitamin.

Dawn Mello
Dawn Mello

Which is why this COULD be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.

Shannon
Shannon

Hi,
I am new to this site and I love it! Question, do the dog food recipes have all the vitiams needed or do I have to add vitamins?

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Hi Shannon, the recipes are as is. They have the nutrients your dog needs for a well-balanced diet. If your dog needs a specific vitamin you can probably add it in, but we suggest checking with your vet first. Thanks for visiting!

Kamaron
Kamaron

Thank you for this answer. I have been searching high and low for nutritional well balanced homemade dog food and advice on how to know if I’m giving my dog what she needs.

Beth
Beth

We got a new puppy and I decided she is going to get fed home cooked dog food. I’m very happy with the results. My dog is happy too but I had to share something funny. Here is a recent conversation between me and my husband:
Larry: Something smells good. What’s in the crock pot?
Me: Dog food
Larry: What’s baking in the oven?
Me: Dog biscuits
Larry: What’s for dinner?
Me: I don’t know yet. Haven’t given it much thought!

Geralyn
Geralyn

Too funny. I am currently making homemade dog food out of venison and chicken

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Ha! What our dogs eat take precedence over what we eat 😉 Thanks for the laugh!

Beth
Beth

When you have brown rice in a recipe is the measurement done dry or cooked?

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Dry rice, it will cook during the process.

Sam K
Sam K

Which of these recipes can help a dog diagnosed with stage 1 kidney disease, please? She’s a 10 year old red heeler. We have kibble for the kidney diet, but would like to broaden what we offer her.

irene
irene

How much food are you suppose to feed your dog? My dog is 180lb mastiff and 110 great pyrenees. I want to supplement with cooked foods and a mix of good dog food brand and gradually go into all homemade food.

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

We have a chart on this table for how much food to feed dog: https://www.caninejournal.com/how-much-food-should-i-feed-my-puppy/ We suggest talking with your vet about how much food to feed your dog.

Teresa Joudrey
Teresa Joudrey

I do not understand why you added flour to your dog food. Please explain. I know dogs do not care if gravy is thick. That is a human thing.

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

That is a great question, Teresa! From what we’ve found, there is no nutritional requirement for wheat in a dog’s diet, but there are benefits to its presence. Certain wheats contain fibers that help the grown of beneficial bacteria in the gut or intestines. Fiber found in wheat helps keep your dog’s bowel movements regular. Older dogs are more susceptible to develop constipation, so an increase in fiber can help keep things moving. Wheat also packs a burst of energy, the carbs found in wheat grain are great for fueling muscular and metabolic activities.

Clarissa Thomas
Clarissa Thomas

I made two gallons of food a couple days ago and put them into the freezer, to serve it to my dog. Do I reheat it again and cool right?

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Yes, reheating and allowing it to cool would work.

Kellie Altieri
Kellie Altieri
These diets are in no way balanced for long term use unless you add a ton of vitamins. Also, the things you said about a raw diet is 100% false. The AVMA may not be behind it but there are many vets that advocate a raw diet. I have been feeding my dog a PMR (prey model raw) diet for a year and just started my 7 month old pup on it and they’ve never been healthier. If you’re clean and sanitary in your meat handling and clean up, like you would be if it were for your own consumption,… Read more »
Dawn Mello
Dawn Mello

Why would you want to feed your dog the BARF diet? You don’t know what is being put in the meat and your dogs can get ecoli, salmonella poison and God knows what else.

Kris Garon Dooley
Kris Garon Dooley

Are coyotes and wolves dropping dead from e-cool and salmonella? You realize dogs have a short digestive tract so they can handle pathogens that humans cannot. Dogs share 99% of DNA of wolves and they should be fed as nature intended.

Dogs were never designed to eat kibble.

Jenya
Jenya

Dogs, wolves, anyone can get salmonella poisoning. It’s what they call survival of the fittest. We don’t exactly keep track of the wolves that are dying and surviving. Plus, their bodies are quite used to it. And as Dawn said below, our dogs are not wild anymore. With children around the house and the way our dogs kiss us/sleep on the bed, I would not feed our dogs raw diet because as we evolve, so do our domesticated dogs. I completely agree that kibble is a big no, but would not feed my dogs raw either.

Dawn Mello
Dawn Mello

Yes, dogs CAN get salmonella poisoning.

Dawn Mello
Dawn Mello

I agree about the kibble. But our animals are not wild, they are domesticated. I Am still trying to figure this all out.

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt
Hello and thanks for the comment! We believe that having a diet consisting of 50% vegetables of assorted colors and types provides the necessary vitamins needed for any living being. Regarding feeding your dog raw: we completely respect your position and appreciate that you are feeding raw to your dog. Canine Journal has never taken a stance on raw diets. We only shared what the American Veterinary Medical Association’s position is on the matter. We only said that the AVMA is not ok with raw. This is not misinformation this is a fact to show that the AVMA is not… Read more »
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