10 Best Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipes: Nutritionally Complete, Easy & Cheap

vet approved homemade dog food recipes

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This content was reviewed and fact-checked by veterinarian Dr. Sandra Tashkovska, DVM.

Are you looking for the best, easy-to-make and most nutritionally complete homemade dog food recipes? Look no further! Our guide provides an extensive range of vet-approved homemade dog food recipes, ensuring your canine companion gets all the nutrients they need.

However, you must also understand the risks and benefits associated with feeding your dog homemade meals. We cover that in this article and guide you on how to cook balanced homemade recipes that meet your dog’s nutritional needs. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, 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!

Nutrition, Benefits & Risks
Jump to: Recipes & Cooking

Homemade Dog Food Benefits

Here are some of the main benefits of cooking for your dog.

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Quality control
  • More affordable
  • Healthier
  • Portion size control
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Dietary requirements can be met

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., state that feeding homemade dog food comes with significant advantages, such as diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance and allergies issues, and avoid concern over dog food recalls.[1] Further benefits include preventing many conditions associated with a poor diet, such as obesity, poor skin, coat condition, pancreatitis, diabetes, and reduced immunity.

Why Feed Homemade Food to Your Dog

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. A fresh, homemade diet may help prevent or improve these health problems.

Top Reasons to Consider Homemade Food For Dogs

Increased lifespanResearch shows that dogs eating fresh food diets are linked to a 20% longer lifespan than those that don’t. A year-long study of 522 dogs found that dogs fed high-quality, freshly made, real food had an average life expectancy of 13.1 years versus just 10.4 years for dogs fed commercially processed pet food.[2]
Obesity & jointsHomemade dog food cooking allows you to easily calibrate the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity in dogs can increase their risk for bone and joint problems (i.e., hip dysplasia) and subsequent osteoarthritis. Studies show that dogs maintaining their ideal body weight live almost 2.5 years longer (with significantly fewer diseases) than their overweight siblings.[3]
Cancer preventionWhen it comes to cancer, homemade dog food removes the highly processed food from the equation, which is often linked to cancer issues in dogs. Food processing has been shown to cause free radicals and carcinogenic chemicals to be released. With homemade, you no longer have to worry about oxidative stress due to processed food.[4],[5]
Easy digestionHomemade dog food is easier to digest than those hard-kibble mystery balls. Feeding your pet freshly made food puts less stress on their digestive system and liver, reducing the likelihood of bloating or other digestive issues.
Avoid allergiesCooking for your dog lets you pick ingredients that won’t trigger allergies in your dog. If you are unsure what ingredients may cause sensitivities or allergies in your pet, we advise doing an at-home dog food allergy test before selecting the ingredients for your dog’s next meal.
BioavailabilityHome-cooked dog food is easier to digest — more digestible food means dogs can absorb nutrients more efficiently and faster. Quicker nutrient absorption means minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids act quicker in the body to carry out different functions, such as decreasing inflammatory responses that can help prevent allergies or help boost overall health.
Fresh ingredients with no chemicalsHomemade meals ensure your dog always eats fresh, wholesome, and chemical-free foods without additives, fillers, high-glycemic carbs, or colorants commonly found in kibble.
Excellent taste, smell & varietyDogs love the taste, smell, texture and variety of fresh ingredients.
Avoid unsafe commercial dog foods While commercial dog food is generally healthy, studies show that feed-grade kibble may not always be the healthiest option compared to human-grade dog foods.

Homemade Dog Food Risks

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.[6],[7],[8]


of homemade dog diets had an imprecise determination of ingredients and quantities


didn’t use any recommended vitamins, minerals,
or amino acids.


of the pet parents admitted
to purposely change
the recipe.


of owners didn’t measure the proportions of the ingredients well enough.

Key Considerations When Feeding Dogs A Homemade Diet

  • Understand your dog’s breed nutritional needs
  • Do not use inadequate or dangerous recipes
  • Ensure your dog’s meal is balanced
  • Do not use toxic ingredients
  • Understand the impact of food and dietary changes
  • Do not neglect your dog’s health conditions
  • Switch to homemade gradually
  • The diet must be based on your dog’s life stage nutritional needs (puppies, adults or seniors)
Always work with your vet before changing your dog’s diet.

You can get personalized nutritional advice from a registered vet nutritionist through Vetster anytime, anywhere. You can also chat with an online vet and ask them questions about your dog’s nutritional needs. For further dog nutrition guidance, consult “Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative” by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, Ph.D., a renowned veterinary expert. This book is the go-to resource for healthy homemade dog nutrition for most pet nutritionists.

How to Cook Nutritionally Complete Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Homemade dog food must include the six essential nutrients for a dog’s proper growth, body function, and health. These nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, fats, and water. It’s also important to consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.

Below is a detailed breakdown of each nutrient and its importance.

Homemade Dog Diet Nutritional Guidelines to Follow


Protein plays a vital role in your dog’s diet, providing essential amino acids necessary for bodily processes, including the creation of blood glucose for energy. Protein also helps build and repair muscles and other body tissues. It’s needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones and enzymes. The proteins in your dog’s diet must have a balanced amino acid profile and are provided in appropriate amounts.

Protein dietary recommendations for homemade dog food:

  • Adult Dogs. 18% dry matter protein (45.0g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating Dogs. 22.5% dry matter protein (56.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Protein sources for homemade dog food include:


Dogs need energy for daily activities, growth, pregnancy, lactation, and exercise. This energy, measured in calories, comes from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Omnivorous animals, including dogs, derive some energy from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates supply glucose needed by the brain, nervous system, and other critical organs for normal function in dogs. You can use our dog calorie calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight. Ensure you follow the 10% rule if feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats the remaining 10%.

Energy dietary recommendations for homemade dog food based on life stage, weight and activity level.

Type of Dog10 lb30 lb50 lb70 lb90 lb
Inactive Dog2966749891,2721,540
Adult Active Dog4049221,3531,7402,100
Pregnant Dog5181,2741,9402,5703,170
Young Active Dog4369931,4511,8762,264
Senior Active Dog3277451,0931,4071,700
Energy Requirements for dogs | Nursing dog kcals vary depending on the number of puppies & weeks into lactation | Carbohydrates should also include 2.5-4.5% fiber

Carbohydrate sources for homemade dog food include:

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat


Fats play a multifaceted role in a dog’s diet. They are a dense energy source, provide essential fatty acids for skin and coat health, enable absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, improve food palatability, offer insulation and organ protection, support reproductive health, are critical for nervous system function, and serve as a reserve for energy storage.

Fat dietary recommendations for homemade dog food:

  • Adult Dogs. 5.5% dry matter fat (13.8g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating Dogs. 8.5% dry matter fat (21.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Fat sources for homemade dog food include:

  • Meats fats
  • Fish oils
  • Olive
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oils


Minerals in a dog’s diet are indispensable for bone and dental health, nerve function, enzymatic reactions, fluid balance, oxygen transport, and maintaining the body’s pH level, making them essential for overall health and metabolic processes. Proper mineral balance is crucial and should be carefully managed to avoid deficiencies or excesses.

These 12 minerals are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

Mineral sources for homemade dog food include:

  • Sweet potatoes and pumpkin (Magnesium)
  • Fish (Iodine)
  • Beef, eggs, and liver (Zinc)
  • Poultry, nuts, and legumes (Copper)
  • Bananas and carrots (Potassium)
  • Chicken and duck (Iron)


Vitamins in a dog’s diet are integral for maintaining overall health and bodily functions. They support vision, immune health, aid in energy metabolism and nervous system function, provide antioxidant benefits, reduce inflammation, prevent diseases and ailments and more. Dogs require vitamins, but only in small amounts, and excessive doses of certain vitamins, like vitamin D, can harm them.[9]

These 12 vitamins are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, D, E & K
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folic Acid
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline

Vitamin sources for homemade dog food include:

  • Sweet potatoes and spinach (Vitamin A)
  • Eggs, chicken, and beef (Vitamin B)
  • Broccoli (Vitamin C)
  • Kale and parsley (Vitamin K)
  • Vegetables (Vitamin E)
  • Meats and fish (Vitamin D)


Water is vital in a dog’s diet to maintain hydration, support body functions such as digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste excretion, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, ensure proper organ function, and facilitate metabolic processes. Continuous access to clean water is as crucial as providing nutritious food for overall health and well-being. Generally, dogs should drink 2 to 3 times the amount of their dry food intake daily. However, if water is readily available from various sources, dogs can naturally regulate water consumption daily.

Source: We compiled the data for the table above by referencing the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines and the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs Report by the National Research Council (NRC). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilizes the information from these reports to regulate and ensure the safety of pet foods.

Homemade Dog Food For Puppies

A puppy’s dietary requirements differ from an adult dog’s. Compared to adult dogs, puppies require higher protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus levels. Inadequate or excessive amounts of these nutrients can lead to deficiencies, hindered growth, or lifelong health complications.

  • 6 weeks to 5 months puppies. 3-6 meals a day
  • 6-12month puppies. 2-3 times a day
  • Do not skip meals. Skipping meals is not advisable during your puppy’s growth and development
  • Puppy feeding needs are unique. The science isn’t exact. Fine-tune their diet. If your puppy is getting a bit chunky, then cut back a smidge and vice versa.

Homemade Dog Food Delivery Service

The Farmer’s Dog

Who It’s For: The perfect homemade dog food recipe if you don’t have time to cook for your dog or are unable to balance nutrients to provide a balanced diet.

The Farmer’s Dog is one of our homemade dog food delivery options. They offer various fresh, homemade dog food options tailored to your dog’s unique dietary needs, age, health conditions, and nutritional goals. For example, if your dog suffers from food-related health issues such as allergies or illnesses, The Farmer’s Dog can create a customized recipe that caters to those needs. Their meals are made with real, human-grade ingredients and delivered to your doorstep.

The food is developed by veterinary nutritionists who adhere to AAFCO nutritional guidelines. In our experience, using The Farmer’s Dog saves you time, allowing you to focus on more important things like walks or training your dog. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of meal planning, grocery shopping, or cooking, and you can mitigate the risks of cooking for dogs.

Our readers get 50% off their first order with Canine Bible’s link.

Recipes, Cooking Tips & More
Jump to: Benefits & Nutrition

Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Browse the best vet-approved homemade dog food recipes that will make your pup beg for more. We’ve also included a special treat recipe for your pup, enriched with the health benefits of our favorite ingredient: dog CBD oil. CBD oil might help with issues like seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, and overall wellness.

Note: Consult your vet before adjusting your dog’s diet. The recipes below don’t specify serving sizes since they depend on your dog’s breed, weight, age, activity, and health. As a guideline, consider feeding the equivalent amount you’d give in kibble, but always consult your veterinarian for proper portioning.

Chicken & Quinoa Dog Recipe

homemade dog food recipe

Chicken and Quinoa Vet-Approved Dog Food Recipe

This vet approved homemade dog food recipe is a nutritionally complete meal option that combines lean chicken with cooked quinoa for protein and carbohydrates. The inclusion of spinach and pumpkin adds essential vitamins and fiber, while blueberries provide antioxidants. Flaxseed oil is added for healthy fats, and powdered eggshell serves as a calcium supplement.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Calories 1146 kcal


  • 2 cups of chicken breast
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach (cooked)
  • 1 cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin
  • ½ cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp of flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of eggshell (or appropriate calcium supplement)


  • Cook the ground pork thoroughly until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat
  • Cook the quinoa according to package instructions
  • Steam the spinach until wilted and cook the pumpkin until soft. Mash the pumpkin once cooked
  • If using frozen blueberries, thaw them at room temperature
  • In a large bowl, mix the cooked pork, quinoa, spinach, mashed pumpkin, and blueberries
  • Stir in the flaxseed oil and powdered eggshell for additional nutrients
Keyword vet approved homemade dog food recipe

Blueberry-Banana CBD-Infused Dog Treat For Dogs

Treat your dog with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD dog treats. They are made with bananas, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6). Banana also aids with digestion and energy. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion and helps reduce allergic reactions.

Remember to consult your vet to ensure CBD is safe for your dog and that you are giving the correct dosage. Alternatively, you can buy commercially available CBD dog treats so your pup can experience CBD’s benefits without the cooking.


  • 120 mg of the best CBD oil for dogs
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional, for a hint of sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A pinch of sea salt


  1. Oven preparation. Preheat oven to 350ºF and brush a dog biscuit baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Banana preparation. Mash a ripe banana in a bowl until smooth, ensuring no large chunks remain.
  3. Dry ingredients. Blend gluten-free flour and oats in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg until beaten. Add coconut oil, water, mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, and fresh blueberries. Mix well.
  5. Combining ingredients. Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients, stirring until even. Drizzle in CBD oil, stirring again for even distribution.
  6. Mold filling. Scoop portions of the mixture with a tablespoon and press firmly into the dog-treat baking mold.
  7. Baking. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the treats are firm to the touch and slightly golden.
  8. Cooling and storage. Let the treats cool before transferring them to an airtight container for storage.

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!

Beef Stew

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.

More Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipes

If you want more vet-approved homemade dog food recipes and cooking options for your dog, check out our favorite book for homemade dog food recipes: Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.

How to Cook Homemade Food For Dogs ( Video)

Watch this video and learn how to cook homemade meals for your dog.

Homemade Dog Food Cooking Tips

Before sharing our favorite dog homemade food recipes, follow these best practices when preparing your dog’s next meal.

  • Set a consistent feeding schedule
  • Meal prep weekly or monthly
  • Measure and control portion sizes depending on your dog’s calorie needs
  • Keep meals frozen for 2 to 3 months or refrigerated for about 5 days
  • Make a new batch when the food supply is getting low
  • If you want to feed different recipes, you can make multiple batches and color code by ingredients, rotating out the different meals
  • Prepare the food in bulk and portion it into containers (one container per meal makes it extra easy)
  • Increase portions appropriately as your puppy grows
  • Monitor weight to make sure you are feeding the proper amount of calories

Monitor Weight And Health

A dog’s weight and gut health are essential indicators of their health, and you need to track them 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. A healthy gut can confirm a smooth transition to your dog’s new diet, among other health issues. However, identifying a healthy gut is not an easy task. Fortunately, an at-home dog gut health test can provide insight into your dog’s gut health.

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.

Foods Should Your Dog Never Eat

Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients dogs need to avoid.

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Raw bread dough
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol

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.

Dog Raw Diet (BARF)

Raw dog food mimics 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 about the benefits and risks and get the best raw food diet for your dog.

Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipes — Conclusion

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 uncomfortable 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.

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Canine Bible uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process and product review methodology to learn more about how we fact-check, test products, and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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  2. Lippert G, Sapy B. (2003). Relation Between The Domestic Dogs Well-Being and Life Expectancy.
  3. American Veterinary Medical Association. (2019, February 13). Study finds overweight dogs live shorter lives.
  4. Podolsky, A. (2019, November 28). Feed the dog not the cancer: The danger of processed dog food. Lyka.
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018, May). Eating highly processed foods may raise cancer risk. Harvard Health; Harvard Health.
  6. Pedrinelli, V., Gomes, M. de O. S., & Carciofi, A. C. (2017). Analysis of recipes of home-prepared diets for dogs and cats published in Portuguese. Journal of Nutritional Science, 6.
  7. Bland, I. M., Guthrie-Jones, A., Taylor, R. D., & Hill, J. (2010). Dog obesity: Veterinary practices’ and owners’ opinions on cause and management. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 94(3-4), 310–315.
  8. WebDev, I. E. T. (2013, July 15). Homemade dog food recipes can be risky business, study finds. UC Davis.
  9. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2023, February 9). Vitamin D toxicity in dogs.
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