How To Make Homemade Dog Food
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The best thing about making homemade dog food is knowing exactly what your dog is eating and if it is good for him. This allows you to have control over your dogs diet which can help if your dog has allergies, health issues, skin problems or if he is a picky eater.
With home made food, you know exactly what your dog is getting which is not additives, fillers and preservatives. Giving your dog a diet made with natural, real ingredients, such as chicken, beef, lamb, peas, zucchini, carrots, and blueberries, can promote heart health, increasing energy level, improve coat and skin, freshen breath, improving eyesight, and even cut back on your dogs poop production.
Creating a Balanced Dog Food Diet
Understanding the best ingredients for your dogs diet is important for many reasons. The following are the key ingredients for a canine diet and their benefits.
Protein – Dogs need to have protein in their diets that contain 10 specific essential amino acids that their bodies are not able to produce. It is necessary for the creation of glucose, which transforms into energy. Sources of protein include chicken, pork (limited amounts), turkey, beef, lamb, salmon and other fish like herring, whitefish, walleye, flounder, and Arctic char. These are best served after removing bones, fat, and skin
Fats and fatty acids – A complete diet supplies your dog fatty acids that his body doesn’t manufacture. The most concentrated sources of fats come from animal fats and plant seed oils in your dogs diet. Fatty acids aid in the function of cells, keep skin and coat healthy, as well as intensify the taste of the food. Sources of fatty acids include fish oil and plant-based oils, such as corn, soybean, canola, and flaxseed oil.
Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates, like sugars, starches, and dietary fibers are what give your pup energy. Sources include pasta, rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.
Fiber – Fiber keeps your dogs gastrointestinal (GI) system functioning and assists him from becoming overweight. Healthy sources of fiber include carrots, pumpkin, apples, dark leafy greens, brown rice, and flaxseed.
Water – Water is a very important ingredient for your dog’s health and dog food just doesn’t contain enough of it. Always supply your dog with fresh, clean water.
Vitamins – Vitamins are required for growth and maintenance while deficiencies can cause a host of health problems. However, too many vitamins can be bad. Vitamins dogs require include:
- A which is found in carrots, pumpkin.
- B vitamins found in liver, green vegetables, whole grains.
- C which is found in fruits and vegetables, organ meat.
- D is found in liver, fish, beef.
- E is found in leafy green vegetables, liver, bran, plant oils.
- K is found in fish, leafy green vegetables, fish.
- Choline is found in liver, fish, meats, egg yolks.
Minerals – There are 12 essential minerals for dogs:
- Calcium which is found in tofu, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower.
- Phosphorus found in meat, eggs for strong bones and teeth.
- Magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, and cell signaling.
- Sulfur which is found in meat, fish, molasses for healthy skin, coat, and nails.
- Iron in red meats, poultry for supporting red blood cells and the immune system.
- Iodine found in dairy, kelp, seafood for a healthy thyroid.
- Zinc is in eggs, lamb, liver, brewer’s yeast for the immune system, healthy skin, and coat.
- Selenium found in meat, vegetables, seafood, brown rice to help boost the immune system.
- Copper found in whole grains, seeds, and seafood for healthy bone growth.
Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes
There is so many dog food recipes on the internet and we went through hundreds to find our top 3 provided below. If you have a puppy, senior dog, sick dog or one with special dietary needs these recipes offer your pup a well rounded meal.
1. Simple Stovetop Homemade Dog Food by Clean and Delicious
This DIY dog food made at home is filled with rich protein, vegetables, and healthy grains. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Coconut oil – provides a variety of health benefits for dogs, such as improving the skin and coat, increasing energy, aiding digestion, and reducing allergic reactions, just to name a few. And just like us, your dog needs healthy fats in their diet.
- Ground turkey – will add necessary protein to your dog’s diet, as well as important vitamins and minerals.
- Veggies – this homemade dog food recipe uses a mix of zucchini, spinach and carrots. All are safe for dogs and will provide your baby with a variety of nutrients.
- Turmeric – a dog-safe seasoning that also provides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Egg – for extra protein and nutrients.
- Rice – a complex carb that provides energy and aids in gastrointestinal function.
Making homemade dog food is a cinch! Here’s a quick rundown of the process:
- Brown the turkey. Heat a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add in the coconut oil and turkey and sauté until it is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Add the veggies. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the zucchini, spinach, carrots and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Mix in the egg. Turn off the heat and and crack in the egg. Let the egg cook in the hot food, mix it around to ensure it mixed through and cooked through.
- Stir in the rice. Add the rice and stir it in with the other ingredients until everything is well combined. Cool and serve!
2. Homemade Dog Food by Delicious Table
Here’s the ingredients you will need:
- 3 pounds ground beef (7 cups cooked crumbled ground beef)
- 2 cups uncooked white or brown rice
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt (skip if using bouillon)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 28 ounces beef stock (optional) + ½ cup water 28 oz = 3.5 cups, add ½ cup water for the proper ratio to make rice
- 1 ½ cups fresh broccoli (shredded, cut finely or a 12 oz frozen bag)
- 2 cups fresh carrots (shredded, cut into small coins – 2 large carrots)
- 2 cups sweet potatoes (small cubes or shredded – 1 large sweet potato)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
Here is how you make it:
- Make Flavored Rice. Use a ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups water with beef bouillon or beef stock, you can scale up or down check your rice package instructions. Feel free to swap in beef, chicken, or vegetable broth for better flavor. I also LOVE Better Than Beef Bouillon to flavor the rice, it is totally Sassy approved.
- Boil. Bring the stock/water to a boil, add rice and salt (skip salt if using bullion). And if you want to add a pat of butter, it makes rice taste even better. Cover the pot and simmer for 18 minutes on low and don’t remove the lid. Brown rice takes 30 minutes. Check the rice, and if done turn off the heat, replace the lid, and let it rest for several minutes in the steamy pan. Use a fork to fluff it up!
- Make Ground Beef and Veggies. Brown and crumble 3 lbs. of ground beef in a large skillet. Place in a large bowl with the drippings.
- Chop, shred, or process all the veggies. My dog is a small dog and prefers the veggies finely shredded in a food processor. You can use a knife or a box grater works too.
- Sauté. In a large pot (cast-iron pan or skillet), briefly sauté carrots, broccoli, and sweet potato until just soft for a few minutes on medium. Place into the large bowl. In a large bowl, add the cooked ground beef, warm rice, warm sautéed veggies, and fresh spinach. Mix well with a large spatula.
3. DIY Homemade Dog Food by Damn Delicious
Keep your dog healthy and fit with this easy-peasy homemade recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds ground turkey
- 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen
- In a large saucepan of 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
- Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
Making your dogs meals can be labor and time intensive but meeting to your dog’s health and nutrition needs give you greater control.
Another option is to offer your dog food from a fresh dog food service, like Spot & Tango, Ollie, Raised Right and Nom Nom to name a few. These companies work with pet nutritionists to develop recipes and personalized formulas that include the vitamins and minerals that meet the AAFCO standards for dog food.
Some of these meal plans start at just $1 a day depending on your dogs breed, needs and size.