Love From the Kitchen: Tail-Wagging Dog Food Recipes

Key Points

  • Homemade dog food recipes are perfect for small and large dogs.

  • A dog with food allergies has better health and fewer symptoms with homemade dog food.

  • Creating a nutritional recipe for your dog helps with stomach problems.

Ensuring your dog's nutrition is challenging. Finding a good homemade dog food recipe is a tricky task if you've relied on commercial dog food. There are many blog posts and articles on how to select the best food for your dog, but finding the right approach to your dog's diet takes time.

The main thing to consider is what to put in your homemade dog food recipe. What ingredients are best? What types of meats and vegetables make your canine companion healthier?

It's crucial to meet your dog's daily nutritional needs. Although it takes time to find a reputable website with the necessary information, finding the right resources is worth the investment. It's important to remember that some suggestions may not work for your pup, especially if they have specific health or nutritional needs. If your dog has serious health considerations, be sure to talk with your veterinarian.

However, answering your many diet-related questions is not as hard as you think. Read on to learn the do's and don'ts of making fresh meals for your dog.

Benefits of Homemade Dog Food

You want the best for your dog. After all, your canine is your best friend and part of your family. They rely on you to give everything they need to thrive in this world. This includes proper food to keep them strong and active throughout their entire lives.

In pursuit of that goal, you may ask, "What are the benefits of homemade dog food?"

Dog with fruits

For one thing, preparing homemade dog food gives you complete control over what goes into their food. This means no fillers and no ingredients you can't pronounce or need a Google search to find out what they are.

You are the one who knows your dog best. You know what foods upset their tummy or provoke an allergic reaction. Being in charge of the food preparation ensures those items are not in your dog's meals.

Another benefit is that making dog food at home allows you to replace fillers in kibble with whole foods, which provide your dog with carbohydrates, natural dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Common Homemade Dog Food Mistakes

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), many recipes online are inadequate and could prove dangerous to your pet. An inaccurate recipe causes deficiencies or leads to an excess in their nutrition. It's best to avoid generic recipes.

One of the best online resources is, run by board-certified veterinary nutritionist Sean Delaney. Delaney says, "One of pets' daily joys should be eating, and I personally am thankful that I can help pets feel better through their food — they deserve to be well as they do so much good for people."

Here are some tips to avoid the common mistakes dog owners face when making dog food at home:

  • Ensure meals are nutritionally-balanced. Unbalanced meals never meet your dog's needs and can lead to malnutrition or obesity.

  • Know which ingredients are unsafe and unhealthy. Use only ingredients that are safe to keep your pup healthy.

  • Consider your dog's weight, age, and overall health before deciding to make food at home. All dietary changes affect your dog, for good or bad.

  • Allot time and money for at-home food preparation. Aim to buy fresh fruits and veggies in bulk, and be sure to set time aside each week to prep.

  • Follow the correct feeding ratio. Every dog is different, and proper portion size is essential to your dog's health. Do this first to ensure proper feeding and see how well your dog adapts to the new diet.

Dog Food Ratios

Every dog is different. Like you, they have specific needs and tastes. This is especially true if your dog is a picky eater.

Before making your first batch of dog food, ensure you consider these ratios. This general rule varies depending on your dog's age, weight, breed, and health issues.

Start with a good balance of proteins, grains, vegetables, and fruit. Yes, there are some fruits and vegetables your dog loves. Begin with a protein percentage of 50 percent, vegetables at 25 percent, and grains at 25 percent. This is a good start and keeps your dog healthy.

To get a good idea of how much to make and feed your dog, multiply their weight by 2-3 percent. Split this up into two meals daily. For example, the amount for a 50-pound dog is 1-1.5 pounds of food, divided into two meals.

Dog bowl of fresh food

It's important to double this amount and spread it over a few meals daily for puppies. After all, they're growing and need that extra nutrition to get big and strong. This ratio also varies based on your dog's activity level, but you can easily feed less or more.

Take into consideration that the rules for feeding your dog aren't written in stone. These ratios and percentages are more of a guideline that you can adapt to your dog's needs.

Ingredients and Nutrients for Dogs

Lucky for you, having the proper nutrients for your dog food recipe is as easy as going to your grocery store. For meat protein, stick with a fat percentage of less than 20 percent. Eggs with the shell are also a great protein choice, as are peanut butter (xylitol-free) and cooked beans (non-canned).

Coconut, olive, and fish oils are significant sources of fats. Omega-3 fatty acids work at keeping your dog healthy.

Use fiber-rich vegetables or fruit full of vitamins and minerals. These include broccoli, zucchini, green beans, carrots, kale, spinach, and cauliflower. There are many suitable fruits, such as bananas, apples, pears, pitted peaches, blueberries, and watermelons.

Your recipe isn't complete without whole grains. Like humans, your dogs need their carbs! Grains are a great energy source, as those zoomies happen when you least expect them. Use whole grains like barley, brown rice, and oatmeal. Sweet potatoes are also a tasty carb source.

You want your dog to thrive. Ensuring they have the proper nutrients and micronutrients is essential to your dog's health. Balance is critical.

Remember that recipes vary with each dog. A senior dog and a puppy have different health, dietary, and nutrition needs.

Homemade Dog Food: Meat, Grain, and Veggie Meals

These recipes yield two daily meals for a 50-pound dog. Ensure you adjust the recipe to cook an entire week's worth.

Beef and Vegetable Recipe

54 grams ground beef, 85 percent lean meat

48 grams brown rice

9 grams coconut oil

9 grams olive oil

135 grams green beans

69 grams raw carrots

183 grams zucchini

124 grams cauliflower

58 grams kale

124 grams summer squash

88 grams broccoli

92 grams unsweetened applesauce

56 grams blueberries

95 grams watermelon

Add supplement of choice.

Homemade dog food

Chicken and Vegetable Recipe

114 grams boneless chicken breast

157 grams cooked barley

12 grams coconut oil

11 grams olive oil

17 grams green beans

14 grams raw carrots

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16 grams cauliflower

8 grams kale

23 grams summer squash

31 grams unsweetened applesauce

19 grams blueberries

Add supplement of choice.

Homemade Dog Food: Fish, Grain, and Veggie Meals

These recipes yield two daily meals for a 50-pound dog. Ensure you adjust the recipe to cook an entire week's worth.

Pup with homemade dog food recipe

Salmon and Chicken Recipe

95 grams ground chicken

120 grams whole eggs

87 grams salmon

123 grams brown rice

12 grams coconut oil

12 grams olive oil

12 grams green beans

6 grams raw carrots

3 grams green peas

11 grams summer squash

16 grams zucchini

8 grams unsweetened applesauce

4 grams bananas

6 grams blueberries

9 grams canned pumpkin

Add supplement of choice.

Beef and Salmon Recipe

43 grams salmon

26 grams ground lean beef, 85 percent lean meat

128 grams one-percent cottage cheese

342 grams brown rice

13 grams coconut oil

12 grams olive oil

34 grams green beans

28 grams raw carrots

20 grams green peas

35 grams summer squash

43 grams zucchini

31 grams unsweetened applesauce

19 grams bananas

19 grams blueberries

31 grams canned pumpkin

Add supplement of choice.

Tips for Making Homemade Pet Food

Proper planning allows you to cook large batches, which is easier than doing it daily. Having a large slow cooker gives you a fantastic start.

Start by browning the meat with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil to avoid sticking. While doing that, get those grains cooking. Add those to the beef and any steamed vegetables and/or fruit you choose to include.

Puppy eating carrot

Allow everything to cool before you separate the batch into individual meals.

Don't forget to add the supplements. Store in your refrigerator for up to a week. If you double the batch or more, freeze the excess in a freezer-safe container for later use. Don't keep the food frozen for longer than two months.

At mealtime, weigh the food on a scale to give your dog the proper serving size. To avoid this step, divvy up the batch into individual meal servings. Then all you have to do is watch your dog jump with excitement once they get a smell of the freshly cooked food coming their way.

Give your dog the best life possible with dog food you made with love. Avoid those toxic foods and fillers, such as grapes, cherries, avocados, certain nuts, chocolate, onions, and garlic.

Cooking squash, potatoes, starchy vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your dog food recipe aids your dog's digestion.

Supplements are essential to providing the nutrients your dog needs. There are many vet-approved supplements available on the market. A supplement in powder form is best. Some come in chewable treat form, which can prove great for training at mealtimes.

Proper Nutrition and a Dog's Mental Health

Understanding your dog's needs is critical to their health and overall mental well-being. Proper nutrients support your dog's physical and psychological health. This alleviates problems like stress, separation anxiety, and some destructive behaviors.

Using the proper ingredients in your dog food recipe affects your pet's behavior. Certain antioxidants are brain food, especially for senior dogs. A good diet aids in preventing cognitive decline, patterned pacing, and excessive licking.

A balanced diet goes far in keeping your dog healthy. Your dog food recipe needs key ingredients and must include protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. You must supplement even with a carefully prepared recipe.

Quality Care Starts With Quality Food

Proper nutrition, love, and care are important for a growing and active dog. The better the diet, the better their health and reports at vet visits. A happy dog enriches your life like no other animal.

Giving your dog the best quality care takes more than regular vet visits and walks. A proper diet improves their health, reduces vet visits, and keeps their coats looking and feeling great. Homemade food improves your dog's mood and vitality. It also means less cleaning up in the yard when your dog needs to go outside.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both homemade meals and store-bought brands.

Bowl of homemade dog food

Commercial dog food is convenient, but may not meet your dog's needs. Like any "convenience" food, it is also expensive — especially if you choose a higher-end food with no fillers.

Homemade food is better for your dog. Get the ingredients for your vet-approved recipe, whip it in your kitchen, and serve it with pride and love. You are no doubt your dog's favorite person at dinner time.

Proper nutrition shows you care for your dog, which keeps your bond growing and gives you both a happy life. 

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