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Are you completely, hopelessly, madly, unapologetically in love with your dog? Same. Many dog owners consider switching to homemade dog food to give their dog the ultimate mealtime. If you’re in that boat, keep scrolling for 10 dog food recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.
But first, before switching from store-bought to homemade dog food, we strongly encourage you to have a conversation with your vet about the move. You want to make sure that your canine’s nutritional needs are met. Depending on their breed, age, and current health, these needs might be unique. Make this transition slowly so that their digestive system has time to adjust.
If you’re considering cooking your dog’s meals, there are a few vital elements to include:
Not unlike humans, all of these things are important for keeping your dog healthy. For example, you might think it’s nutritious to feed your dog a plate full of veggies. However, while these will provide certain vitamins and minerals, your dog won’t be getting any fat or protein. The recipes listed here are well-rounded, but again, talk to the vet to make sure your dog is getting everything they need for optimal health.
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10 Homemade Dog Food Recipes
1. Gobble, Gobble
For homemade dog food with a little bit of everything, try this one on for size. It yields several servings that you can pack up and use throughout the week.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 3 lb ground turkey
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 tablespoon plant oil (like olive, avocado, flaxseed, or hemp)
Cook and combine all ingredients and allow them to cool.
While both brown and white rice offers nutritional benefits, one might be better than the other.
“If your dog is an adult or a puppy, then brown rice may be a better option for them,” says Melissa M. Brock, a board-certified veterinarian and the brains behind Pango Pets. “Brown rice is higher in protein and fiber — two things that are good for growing dogs. However, when your dog is older or overweight, white rice may be a better option. Brown rice has more calories than white rice and can make an older or overweight dog gain weight if fed regularly.”
Sophie Whoriskey, a veterinarian and senior writer for Floofy Doodles, emphasizes it is essential the rice is cooked properly.
“Overcooked or undercooked rice can be difficult for dogs to digest,” she says. “Moreover, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog rice that has been flavored with spices or other seasonings. These can cause stomach upset in some dogs.”
2. Taco Bowl
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup cooked rice (brown or white)
- 1/3 cup corn
- 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped romaine lettuce
Cook and cool the beef and rice. Combine with the other ingredients. Be mindful of adding any other fat to this dog food recipe, especially if the beef you’re using already has a significant amount.
“While beef is not necessarily a fatty food, it contains more fat than other types of meat,” Whoriskey says. “This means that if your dog is eating a diet high in fat, eating beef could contribute to weight gain.”
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3. Keeping It Simple
If your pet is dealing with an upset belly, this homemade dog food is a must-try. Plain chicken offers the protein they need and is gentle on digestion. White rice is also commonly given to dogs who are having gastrointestinal difficulties. They get a nice balance of the three macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat (plus some additional micronutrients from the veggies).
- 1/2 cup shredded chicken breast
- 1/4 cup shredded green beans
- 1/4 cup cooked white rice
- Drizzle of oil
Cook and cool the ingredients, drizzle with oil, then serve to your hungry sidekick.
4. Meatless Monday
When you’re looking to cut down on the amount of meat your dog consumes, give this one a shot.
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 chopped zucchinis
- 2 chopped sweet potatoes
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
Cook and cool the vegetables, then stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is a mushy consistency.
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5. Beef ‘n Beans
This hearty meal is perfect for a high-energy pooch with a big appetite.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Cook the meat, rice, and spinach, then combine with the beans. Allow food to cool completely before serving.
6. Something Smells Fishy
Salmon is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats for both humans and dogs. Always be sure to remove all bones from your fish.
- 3 pounds salmon
- 2 handfuls kale
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (note: not pumpkin pie filling)
Cook and cool the fish and veggies. Mix with the pumpkin puree, then it’s ready to serve.
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7. 100% Animal-Free
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 2 grated carrots
- 1 cup peas
- 1/3 cup apple sauce
- Drizzle of avocado oil
Cook the lentils, carrots, and peas. Mix in the apple sauce and oil.
Whoriskey is a fan of lentils for dogs.
“Lentils are an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates for dogs,” she says. “They are also a good source of fiber, which can help with digestion. Lentils are low in fat and contain no cholesterol, making them a safe and healthy food for dogs. Still, they need to be cooked properly and eaten in moderation.”
Do be mindful that there are certain nutrients your dog gets from meat and cannot get from plants, like taurine and vitamin B12. Supplementation might be necessary.
“The best way to do this is by seeing a holistic veterinarian who will work with you and your pet’s individual needs,” Brock says. “They will help guide you through the process of switching over from a traditional diet.”
For the beef-loving dog, give this one a shot.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 8 ounces beef stock
- 1/3 cup cooked white rice
- 1/2 cup broccoli
- 1/2 cup spinach
Cook the rice in the beef stock. Add the cooked ground beef and cooked broccoli. Lastly, stir in the spinach until it’s wilted.
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9. Breakfast Scramble
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 chopped zucchini
- 1 shredded carrot
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cooked rice
Cook all of the ingredients, cracking the egg and stirring it in last. Allow the mixture to cool, then serve.
10. Meat-Lover’s Delight
For an extra boost of animal protein, serve up this homemade dog food to your very best friend.
- 1 cup ground meat of choice (chicken or beef are good options)
- 1/4 cup liver
- 1 tbsp fish oil
- 1/2 cup cooked rice
- 1 egg
- 1 handful spinach
- 1 handful kale
Combine and cook all of the ingredients, leaving the egg and vegetables for last.
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Is Homemade Dog Food Right for Your Pet?
It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and reaction to their new homemade meals.
“You’ll know if the food you’re feeding your dog isn’t the right fit for them because they’ll start having digestive issues,” Brock says. “If your dog is having issues with diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting, it could be a sign that they don’t love their food.”
She notes that some ways to determine whether or not this new diet is working out include:
- Look for any changes to their teeth or fur.
- Keep an eye on their weight, whether they are losing or gaining.
- Is their skin dry or flaky? This could be a sign something isn’t working for them.
“There are several benefits to making your own dog food at home,” Whoriskey says. “First, you can control the ingredients and the quality of the food. Second, you can tailor the food to your dog’s specific needs.”
She notes, however, that if you make your own dog food at home, supplements may become a necessity.
“This is because you may not be able to add all the necessary nutrients and vitamins your dog needs to their diet,” Whoriskey adds. “By supplementing your dog’s diet with the necessary nutrients, you can help to ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy.”
Remember that many of these recipes yield multiple servings. You should be able to freeze any leftovers that are not eaten within a few days. Always wash your produce thoroughly before feeding it to your dog. When cooking meat, make sure it reaches the appropriate internal temperature for consumption.