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When it comes to homemade dog food, you want something that is both healthy and nutritious. But what’s the best homemade dog food recipe? We’ve put together a guide with the top vet-approved homemade dog food recipes that are both easy to make and nutritionally complete.
But, before you get out the apron and start cooking for your pup, you need to understand the risks and benefits associated with feeding your dog homemade meals and how to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements when cooking for them.
Whether you are looking for a cheap homemade dog food recipe or a homemade dog food recipe with chicken or pumpkin, this homemade dog food guide covers everything you need to know (from A to Z), so you can start making nutritious and balanced meals for Fido. Let’s get started!
Homemade Dog Food Benefits
Here are some of the main benefits of cooking for your dog.
Board-certified veterinary nutritionists and diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, MS, Ph.D., and Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., also agree that switching to homemade dog food comes with great advantages such as diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance and allergies issues, and avoid concern over food recalls.
Further benefits include preventing many conditions associated with a poor diet, such as obesity, poor skin, coat condition, pancreatitis, diabetes, and reduced immunity.
Food & Dog Health: Why Feed Homemade Food?
Dogs generally live between 10 to 15 years. Dogs’ most common health problems include arthritis, allergies, and cancer.
Diseases like dental disease, diabetes and obesity are also common in dogs.
Other less common dog health problems include vomiting, parasites and diarrhea.
How Can A Homemade Diet Help Dogs Health Issues?
Homemade Dog Food Risks
Before cooking for your dog, there are some risks you should know and avoid.
Research by the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary and two studies published in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine and The Journal of Nutritional Science found that most homemade dog food recipes lack key essential nutrients, and other recipes used dangerously high levels of some nutrients.,,
Here are the findings:
It’s vital to understand that dogs’ nutritional requirements are unique. We recommend consulting a veterinary nutritionist who can address your dog’s dietary requirements, help you make nutritionally balanced recipes, or recommend a homemade food service for convenience.
Dogs Nutritional Guidelines to Follow
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), the entity that supervises the nutritional value of commercial dog food, there are six essential nutrients all dog meals must contain to ensure a balanced and healthy diet for dogs. A proper homemade diet should also consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.
Below is a breakdown of each nutrient and its importance.
|Protein||Chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, yogurt and cooked eggs||Builds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.
|Carbohydrates||Oats, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat||Source of energy for dogs and supplies glucose needed by the brain, nervous system and other critical organs for normal function.
|Fat||From meats and oils such as olive or sunflower oil, fish oil, canola oils among others||Responsible for providing quality energy. Necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues
|Minerals||Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.||Common functions include the formation of bone and cartilage, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance regulation, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream and hormone production.
|Water||Water||Hydration is critical in dogs. A dog that loses too much water (10% to 15% of the water in his body) can get very sick and even die. Ensure they have water available throughout the day.
|Vitamins||A, B, C, D, E, and K||Keeps skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and gives them the overall energy that they need to function.
You may also want to add a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews to ensure your pup gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals.
Always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
If you need more advice on dog nutrition, an excellent resource is Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, Ph.D., a long-time expert in veterinary medicine. This book it’s considered by many pet nutritionists to be the Bible of healthy homemade dog nutrition.
Health Dietary Changes In Dogs
Dogs experiencing any of the issues below might benefit from the dietary adjustments outlined in this table.
|Condition||Dietary Needs & Adjustments
|Coat Color Changes||Increase amino acids which can be found in protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories)|
|Concurrent GI Signs||Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial
|Chronic Itching and Dermatitis||Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a dog probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial|
|Dull Coat and Scaling||Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc
|Dandruff and Crustiness||Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels
If your pet suffers from skin allergies or joint pain, adding dog fish oil may help bring relief. The AKC states that fish oil promotes healthier coats by reducing itchiness and flakiness in the skin due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. Other significant effects include promoting improved immunity (especially against cancer) while strengthening heart health in dogs.
Dogs Calorie Requirements
The caloric needs of dogs are based on their weight. An adult dog usually weighs between 6 and 150 pounds, meaning most dogs need between 236 and 2652 calories daily.
Make sure you follow the 10% rule when feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats the remaining 10%.
You can use our dog calorie calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight. Pregnant or lactating dogs may need up to 2 to 4 times the amount of food they normally need as the mother’s energy requirements increase after delivery and during lactation. Be sure to talk to your vet.
Homemade Dog Food For Puppies
A puppy’s diet is different from an adult dog’s.
Compared to adult dogs, puppies need higher protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus levels. Too few (or too many) of these nutrients can cause deficiencies, stunted growth, or lifelong complications.
According to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN), puppies need about twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an adult dog of the same breed.
Most people worry that their puppy requires more food and calorie daily because they are rapidly growing. This isn’t necessarily the truth. Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist at Nom Nom, advises that to promote normal growth, most puppies need about the same number of calories and the same type of food from 4 months to 12 months of age.
Puppies should eat 3 to 4 times a day. When your puppy is a bit older (6 – 12 months), you can switch to 2 to 3 meals daily at scheduled intervals. For proper growth and development, it is not advised to skip meals while your puppy is growing and developing. As our nutritional guidelines previously outlined, a puppy’s diet must include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, water, and vitamins.
Homemade Dog Food Delivery Service
Are you tired of cooking? Don’t know where to begin? Unsure about how to properly go about cooking balanced dog food?? Are you confused about dog nutrition?
If you answer yes to one of these questions, a homemade dog food delivery service like The Farmer’s Dog is an excellent alternative to home cooking for your pitty. They customize their food to your dog’s breed-specific needs (including health conditions, allergies, and more) and will ship directly to your door. They make fresh, human-grade, all-natural ingredients (meats, veggies, grains, etc.) and are vet-designed for optimal nutrition.
It’s convenient, a huge time saver and the cost adds up to the prices of all the ingredients you’ll need to cook a recipe.
Our readers have access to save 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog. Just use this link to get your dog’s first homemade meal.
Dogs Homemade Food Tips
Here are some general tips when cooking and planning your dog’s homemade meals.
How To Cook Homemade Food For Dogs ( Video)
Check out this video on cooking a delicious meal for your dog.
Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Browse our favorite recipes for a dog that will make your pup beg for more.
We’ve also added a special treat recipe for your dog that is tasty and packed with remarkable health benefits. This recipe has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil. CBD oil can help with seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, wellness and other health problems.
Note: Please consult your pet’s veterinarian and use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portions will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and dog’s health. A common recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.
CBD-Infused Dog Treats
Treat your dog with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD dog treats. They are made with Pumpkin, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and iron). Pumpkin also aids with digestion and hydration. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion and helps reduce allergic reactions.
Just be sure to check with your vet before to ensure CBD is safe for your pup and that you are giving the correct dosage.
You can also purchase already-made CBD dog treats so your pup can experience CBD’s benefits without the cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
- Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix completely. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
- Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion the dog biscuits and press them into the dog treat baking pan. Bake for 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown on the outside.
- Store in an air-tight container.
Recipe from: Truth Theory
Vet-Approved Dog Food Recipe
A complete dog food recipe using whole fresh food ingredients – similar to the classic chicken and rice recipe. This recipe has no fat but is still high in protein and nutrient-dense. Getting started with cooking for dogs is easy with this recipe.
Homemade Dog Food In The Crockpot
Using the crockpot to make homemade dog food for your furry friends couldn’t be easier. Your dog will love this healthy recipe.
Healthy Recipes For Busy Dog Owners
These healthy dog food recipe ideas are perfect for you if you’re busy. It’s quick and easy to prepare and tastes great!
Beef Gourmet Dog Food
The liver is a favorite food of dogs! Considering they are carnivores, it is a perfect addition to their meal. Enjoy this tasty and easy-to-make mixture with your dogs.
Turkey Dog Food Recipe Vet-Approved
Here is a simple Turkey and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe that your dog will love.
Complete and Balanced Homemade Dog Food
Your dog will love the following food because it is complete and balanced.
Anti-Inflammatory Homemade Dog Food
Veterinary-approved and gluten-free homemade anti-inflammatory dog food. It will be a hit with your dog!
There are plenty of healthy dog food recipe ideas out there that are perfect for busy people like you. You can prepare them quickly and easily, and they taste fantastic!
Fish and Rice
This simple Fish and Rice Dog Food Recipe include cod, salmon, rice, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, and supplements.
If you are interested in more homemade dog food recipes and cooking options for your dog, cookbooks can come in handy for various dog food recipes. Our top pick is Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.
Best Dog Cooking Practices
With these tips, you can ensure that your dog’s meals are safe and nutritious.
Monitor Weight And Health
A dog’s weight is an essential indicator of its health, and you need to track it when switching to a new diet (i.e., homemade). Maintaining a healthy weight is easier when your dog is fed the right food. If your dog’s weight increases or decreases rapidly, it might be due to food-related health issues.
Skin or coat issues, excessive tiredness, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, and obesity can be caused by unbalanced and insufficient meal plans. If you detect any of these symptoms while feeding your dog meals, stop doing it immediately and seek expert advice.
What Foods Should Your Dog Never Eat?
Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients dogs need to avoid.
Here is the complete list of toxic ingredients your dog should never eat. Please print it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.
Dogs Raw Diet (BARF)
Raw dog food is meant to mimic dogs’ diet in the wild millions of years ago. Raw dog foods, organs, muscles, whole or ground bones, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are usually included. Several raw dog foods are available, including homemade raw dog food and store-bought (frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated).
As the risk of contamination and nutritional imbalance is higher when handling raw foods, preparing a BARF diet for your dog requires a lot of extra care and planning.
Raw dog diets are gaining popularity because of their fantastic health benefits for teeth, coats, digestion, and allergies. Read our raw dog food diet article to learn more about the benefits and risks, and get the best commercial raw food diet for your dog.
Should You Feed Homemade Food to Dogs? Alternatives
If you have the time to cook for your pup and are confident in creating a balanced diet, home-cooked meals can be an excellent way to provide your dog with optimal nutrition. Just consult with your veterinarian to get approval and guidance when cooking for your dog.
However, if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen or don’t have enough time to prepare fresh meals daily, a fresh dog food recipe delivery is your best alternative. Ultimately, the decision of what to feed your dog is up to you and depends on many factors, including your lifestyle, budget, and pet’s individual needs.
For instance, if your dog is prone to food allergies or food-related health issues, vegan dog food is becoming increasingly popular for dogs with food sensitivities and other health issues.