I am a HUGE advocate on homemade dog food. I’ve fed my girls homemade food for the majority of their lives. I started when they were around 6 months old, and they’re both now 9-10 years old. Both of my girls get rave reviews every time they visit the vet on how well their skin and eyes look, and they both maintain healthy joints and bones. I am 100% positive this is because of the homemade batches of food I’ve been whipping up over the years.
There are a lot of misconceptions about feeding dogs “people” food. If you read the back of any dog food, wet or dry, you’re going to notice that all of the ingredients are “people” food including a lot of the vitamins. After all, our sources of food are the same – the earth. There is no such thing as special food grown just for dogs. The people vs. dog food issue is this: Dogs have a different body chemistry than humans and therefore can’t have ALL of the foods or spices that we eat because they can be toxic. So dogs aren’t supposed to have things such as tomatoes, grapes, onions, bread, salt, pepper, blah blah. On the flip side, dogs are ABSOLUTELY supposed to have things such as fresh chicken, lamb, carrots, kale, blueberris, buffalo, sweet potato and the list goes on.
A great article about making homemade dog food can be found here on WebMD. If you have a purebred dog, the best source would be to read books about your specific breed. The ASPCA also has a comprehensive list of foods to avoid here: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/ask-the-expert/ask-the-expert-poison-control/people-foods?qna=1
The recipe I’m going to list below is a basic foundation for food and is considered to be a “neutral” recipe. The reason why it’s neutral is because the ingredients are usually well received by all breeds. Every breed has specific dietary requirements but not all breeds can handle the same food (ie. my pug thrives on lamb but my boston terrier is allergic.) If you have a multi-pooch household like mine, this is the best way to make food because it keeps you from having to make multiple batches. Every dog in our house (all six) can eat this without any allergy or digestive issues. And let me just say they chow down on it like nobody’s business! 😉 Be aware of what your dog’s allergies are. If you’re unsure, take your dog to the vet for an allergy test.
Also, depending on the size of your dog(s) you might find making homemade food is going to be time consuming and expensive. If this is the case but you still want to try it, work some homemade food into your dogs current kibble. Doing a half/half combination is a great way to keep the costs low but still provide them with small amounts of whole foods.
* Special note on vitamin supplements: You MUST add a high quality vitamin supplement to your food as well. If you can’t do so or forget to do so, this can lead to health problems and defeats the purpose of making homemade food. Just as humans need a daily multi-vitamin, so do dogs.
The one I recommend is Missing Link and can be found at most major pet store chains. Missing Link was developed by a veterinarian for both cats and dogs. They also give back to the animal rescue community through contributions and advocacy. It’s an all around great company run by good people. I support them 100%. Otherwise, choose one from your local pet store or ask your vet for recommendations.
Let’s get cookin!
I’m going to leave exact measurements out of this recipe because the serving sizes would greatly change depending on the size of your dog and how many you’re cooking for. Instead I’ll use percentages.
I recommend making enough to last you a week. Keep 2 days worth in the fridge for easy access and freeze the rest. Then simply thaw out as needed.
Grab a big boiling pot and add the following:
60% Protein: Ground chicken or boneless/skinless chicken breasts
20% Carb: Brown rice
20% Veg: Kale and/or green beans (fresh. not canned) and carrots. Finely chop everything into edible sizes for your dog. Sometimes this is easier to do once it’s cooked – that way things such as carrots are nice and soft.
Put all ingredients into your boiling pot and boil until everything is thoroughly cooked.
Drain any left over water once cooking is complete and make sure large chunks are chopped or mashed. Viola! This is what you’re left with:
(The brown powder is the vitamin supplement).
If you want to add an extra treat that’s also an anti-oxidant booster, sprinkle a few blueberries into the bowl. Anywhere between 4-5 is sufficient for a small/medium sized dog. Larger breeds (50lbs+) can obviously have more.
If your dog already thinks it’s Christmas every time you feed them, then brace yourself for the worship you’re going to get once they eat this. It’s doggy crack!
And yet another happy customer: