Homemade Dog Food
How to Make Natural Homemade Dog Food Recipes
You may be surprised just how easy it is to adapt your dog’s diet by introducing him or her to a homemade recipe. Not only can you control the ingredients much more closely by creating homemade dog food, but you may also be able to save money and your pet's longevity.
What ingredients to avoid when making homemade dog food
There are some ingredients you should never feed your dog, whether you’re making your own dog food or buying it at the store. These are some of the most troublesome ingredients for your dog’s health and should never be used in your homemade dog food recipe:
- Macadamia nuts
- Greasy foods
- Spicy foods
- Mustard seeds
- Moldy foods
Healthy ingredients for your homemade dog food recipe
Ensuring that you have all of the vital ingredients in your dog food is essential for keeping that spring in your pup’s step! Always check with a vet before making a change to an all natural homemade dog food regimen by showing him or her your recipe and analyzing it for nutritional completeness. In particular, you’ll want to make sure to have enough of the following components:
- Animal fats: Necessary for a variety of bodily functions, essential fatty acids (omega 3s and omega 6s for instance) are needed by dogs just like humans and should make up at least 5.5% of your dog’s food by weight (but don’t use too much - you don’t want an obese dog!). You can add olive oil, fish oil, or flaxseed oil to your homemade dog food to ensure enough of this ingredient.
- Carbohydrates: This is a bigger portion of a dog’s diet and will account for about 50% of your homemade dog food. Choose from things like cooked pasta, rice, potatoes, quick oats, and black-eyed peas.
- Minerals and vitamins: Dogs have very specific mineral needs, including calcium, chlorine, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. They also require adequate quantities of vitamins C, B-comlex, A, D, E, and K. To get adequate amounts of these, you may consider adding a vitamin and mineral supplement or powder to your dog food recipe.
- Proteins and amino acids: Like most animals, dogs are not able to make their own essential amino acids (that’s why they’re essential), but unlike cats, dogs can be healthy with both animal and plant-based proteins in their diet. Your dog will need a minimum of 10% protein by weight in his or her diet. Just be sure they’re high-quality proteins such as whole meat, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, soybeans, or lentils.
- Water: Necessary for life, water is important for your dog’s overall health. Although there are no specific requirements for water content in your dog’s food, having some in your dog’s food is beneficial.
BornFreeUSA.org has a great list of Sample Diets for Dogs and Cats that includes helpful tips and ingredients lists.
Vegan and vegetarian dog food recipes
Unlike cats who are obligate carnivores (they generally cannot live without animal protein), dogs are more adaptable to a vegetarian diet. Though you should always consult with your vet regarding a switch from a meat-based diet to a veggie-based diet, it is not nearly as complex as the same transition for cats. For guidance of creating vegetarian dog food recipes, check out PETA’s guide to Cooking for Our Vegetarian Dogs.
A homemade, healthy dog food recipe
Though there are many options for making your own dog food naturally, here’s one recipe that will give you an idea of just how simple homemade dog foods can be:
- 1/2 cup each carrots, green peas, and pumpkin
- 1/4 cup each squash, unsweetened berry juice and sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon barley juice powder
- 1 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended and almost creamy. Serve in a bowl or with cooked rice or pasta.
Resources for homemade healthy dog food recipes
Be sure you’re feeding Fido the healthiest diet by doing further reading on the nutritional needs of your canine. Here are several good books that will help you navigate your way to the perfect dog food recipes you can make at home:
- Barker's Grub : Easy, Wholesome Home-Cooking for Dogs
- Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
- Pet Food Nation: The Smart, Easy, and Healthy Way to Feed Your Pet Now
- Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome
- The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious & Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love
- The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats
- The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
- Woofing it Down: The quick & easy guide to making healthy dog food at home