Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipe

You might not know that my grandparents have run an incredible dog rescue for more than 30 years. While that boggles my mind, it’s even crazier that they’ve been feeding a raw, homemade diet to the hundreds of pups that have come into their care instead of traditional dog food all this time. There are a ton of resources out there explaining why homemade dog food is preferable to other options, so we’ll link those below if you’d like to dig deeper. But anecdotally, my grandparents have proven again and again how the most messed-up, diseased, disordered pups can find a new lease on life with a change of diet.

So let me tell you a little story about our girl Leia. She’s an 8-year-old rescue mix Rick fell in love with at the Humane Society back when he lived with my brother. (We LOVE our rescues!) She still mostly lives at Alex’s house down the street with her best friend, black lab Vader. (He has a lot of feelings and Leia is basically his emotional support dog.) But she stays with us sometimes, too. It’s a non-traditional co-parenting situation in the best interest of the children!

Just like with humans, sometimes the easiest answer to a difficult health problem starts with diet.

Vader and Leia dogsLast summer, we were pouring money into this dog. She had horrible skin issues from seasonal allergies to potential food allergies we could never pinpoint. Her skin issues came and went, but when she had them she was so miserable. Always scratching herself raw and fussing and unable to get comfortable. We took her to the vet so many times, bought expensive medicated shampoos, bathed her every other day in that and a mixture of apple cider vinegar, got her allergy shots, gave her an appropriate dose of Benadryl every so often which made her very groggy, fed her expensive dog food and replaced her plastic cone a zillion times.

She’d get some relief but then it would come back. Nothing ever really worked for long.

All this time, she was eating the higher quality bagged dog food – the grain-free stuff around $45/bag. But even though it was better than some of the options with corn syrup and fillers, it still wasn’t cutting it. We hadn’t attempted the raw food diet before thinking it would be more expensive and too time-consuming, but we had to try. The vet bills were getting ridiculous and she was so uncomfortable.

We decided to try a modified version of the homemade dog food recipe my grandparents have been perfecting for 30 years. When they rescue pups who have skin irritation, kidney problems, etc., the first line of attack is to feed them this raw food diet. And wouldn’t you know it?! Within weeks of switching from pet store dog food to raw and homemade, Leia’s skin began to clear up. No itching, no excessive paw licking and she doesn’t stink! She doesn’t need frequent medicated baths anymore, and trust me when I say she’s just all-around in a better mood. I can see a marked difference in her energy levels, her coat and her teeth.

The only thing that’s kept her healthy consistently is this homemade dog food. Don’t get me wrong — she still gets snacks she’s not supposed to have, especially when she’s staying at Alex’s. The girl loves pizza crust and whatever she can swipe off a table. But at our house, it’s carrot sticks, pears and this homemade raw dog food.

Now that we’ve been feeding Leia homemade dog food for the past 6 months or so, everyone’s been asking for the recipe, so I decided to break with travel tradition since we’re stuck at home right now and share this peek at what goes on when we’re not traveling.

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipe – Raw & Grain Free

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Makes ~56 cups or about a week of meals for an 80-lb. pup

  • 5 pounds frozen veggies – carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, sweet potato
  • 5  pounds of raw, fatty ground beef or chuck 
  • 12-18 raw eggs
  • ¾ to 1 gallon of spring/filtered water
  • 1/3 cup Alfalfa powder
  • 1/3 cup  Kelp powder
  • ½ cup bone meal 
  • 1 squirt Alaska Salmon Oil 

Homemade Dog Food Recipe Notes:

  • Keep in mind, you always want more protein than vegetables in your recipe.
  • Alfalfa, kelp and bone meal are great sources for vitamins and minerals dogs need, so don’t skip the additives. 
  • For dogs with cancer, you can also add cottage cheese and flax seed oil. 
  • Avoid corn! It’s a big cause of allergies in pets so skip it altogether. I look for a mix of peas and carrots or the California blend with carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. If you can’t find the blends, individual bags work and you can combine when you puree.
  • DO NOT FEED DOGS: onions, garlic, grapes, nuts, mushrooms, leeks. If you are in doubt, check this list.

Kitchen Essentials You Need to Make Healthy Homemade Raw Dog Food:

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipe

For variety you can top with one of these at mealtime or offer as a snack between meals:

Yield: 56 cups

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Simple recipe for healthy, grain-free, raw homemade dog food you can experiment with for your pup's individual needs.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds raw ground beef (70/30 or 80/20)
  • 5 pounds frozen veggies (broccoli, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower)
  • 3/4 - 1 gallon spring water
  • 12-18 raw eggs

Supplements

  • 1/2 cup bone meal
  • 1/3 cup Kelp Powder
  • 1/3 cup Alfalfa Powder
  • 1 squirt salmon oil

Instructions

    1. Puree the vegetables in a food processor or blender to very pulverized consistency. Add water as you go to make a thin, soupy mixture. You don't want it too chunky; pups' systems don't break through the cell wall of the veggie so they need to be pretty churned up for best results.
    2. Put the veggie mixture in a stock pot or similar big container. Add the raw meat and mix well with a potato masher or sturdy wooden spoon, adding water to make it like thick chili.
    3. Add Alfalfa, kelp and bone meal powder to the mix.
    4. Add raw eggs to pot, with or without shells. If adding in whole, make sure to mash the shells up as small as possible. We do a few with shells and the rest without.
    5. Once mixed, spoon into individual containers. Leave some out for the next couple of days and freeze the rest. Don't forget to thaw the next day's meals as you go along.

Notes

  • Before your pup digs in, add 1 squirt of Alaska Salmon Oil to the bowl. (Just one little pump will do it - you do not want to over-oil your dog's digestive system or you will find out why soon enough.)
  • Do not warm or microwave! Remember, this is RAW food on purpose. It does not need to be cooked - dogs have very different digestive tracts than we do.

About Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Something interesting to note with this is everyone I know who feeds homemade dog food has their own variation, so this is not the be-all, end-all of homemade dog food recipes. It is, however, a great place to start if you want to get your pup on a healthier diet.

  • Don’t be alarmed when your dog drinks less water from the bowl and has smaller poops. This is all normal.
  • If they don’t eat it all in 20 minutes pick it up and refrigerate until the next meal. It’s true that dogs are more resistant to Salmonella and E. coli, but to be extra careful, always practice safe food handling and make sure they eat it all. 

How much do I feed my dog?

There’s not a stock answer for this, as all dogs are different. Leia is about 80 lbs. and she gets two cups in the morning and two cups in the evening. I know a 100-lb. Great Pyrenees who gets 3 cups twice a day. For a 45 lb. pup, start with 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 and night. Itty bitty dogs could do with less.

A general rule is 2-3% of an adult dog’s body weight taking into account their activity level and life stage. Puppies might need more because they usually expend more energy. Don’t be afraid to experiment. 

Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Is homemade dog food more expensive than bagged dog food?

Well, it all depends on what you feed your dog now! The bargain basement stuff is definitely going to be cheaper than the raw food diet, but what we spend now on ground beef, frozen veggies and eggs is comparable to the big bags of fancy dry food from the pet store. And it’s saving us big in the long run on vet bills.

Do I need to wean my dog off the dry food?

No! The great thing about switching to fresh food is the dogs don’t need to gradually shift. You can go all in, all at once, unlike when you switch brands of processed dog food.

How long does it take to make this homemade dog food recipe?

Once you get the hang of it, it takes 15-20 minutes to whip up a batch and spoon it into containers. If you have a ton of pups like my grandparents, it’s probably easier to keep a couple days worth in a large container in the fridge vs. individual ones and just spoon it out as you go. 

Links to additional information about healthy, homemade dog food:

As I’ve said, we’re not dog nutritionists, so this is just one of many homemade dog food recipes out there. Your dog may need more or less meat or vegetables or supplements. It’s a process! Let us know of any tweaks that worked for you in the comments.

 

Thanks to my awesome grandma for sharing her expertise for this post! If you have more questions about homemade dog food recipes, please ask them below. I’ll run them by the experts and add them in.  

 
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  • Avatar
    May 30, 2020

    I just know a person, who would love this, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Avatar
    June 09, 2020

    I will try my best to share the best information. Thank you.

  • Avatar
    June 09, 2020
    Peggy Winburn

    Peas have no nutritional value to your pups meal. Instead I would consider green beans.

    • Avatar
      November 23, 2020
      Kenneth W Rebello II

      Have you ever had a negative reaction to them eating raw meat and eggs? Is this first okay for senior dogs who are healthy (13 years old).

      Thank you for your time and answer in advance.

  • Avatar
    July 06, 2020

    I have always thought about feeding my dog better food but it always seemed so expensive. This is much more realistic, I’ll give it a try!
    Dan Bagby recently posted..Diving with Sharks in Bora Bora: All You Need to KnowMy Profile

  • Avatar
    July 14, 2020

    Thank you for sharing!

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    July 21, 2020
    Monica Flores

    Why don’t you cook the meat and eggs before mixing it?

    • Avatar
      July 21, 2020

      It’s a personal choice. Dogs have different digestive tracts than we do, so there’s not nearly the risk of bacterial illness. For us, cooking it would add an extra step that’s just not required. And our dogs LOVE it raw. But like I said, personal choice!

      • Avatar
        October 16, 2020
        Tonya M Newell

        Recipe sucks you can’t buy the supplement in the store.

        • Avatar
          October 20, 2020

          Sorry you didn’t enjoy this free recipe! You absolutely can buy the supplements in a store.

          • Avatar
            October 22, 2020
            Jill Young

            Some people complain about a free meal, or so I’ve been told. I guess the same can be said of free recipes. I for one am very grateful for this information and if I don’t find the additives in your recipe at my grocery store I will google the items to find out where I can get them. Just saying…..Thank you very much. I have a yellow and a black labrador retriever. Both are rescues and dogs of my heart. My black lab has a food sensitivity to chicken. He gets a horrible thick white dandruff and itches terribly. I can’t wait to make this for him!

          • Avatar
            October 22, 2020

            My brother’s pup is a black lab and he gets that dandruff issue – I wonder if he’s allergic to chicken!

        • Avatar
          October 22, 2020
          Michell Weaver

          Yes you can!! One of them is canine complete. Available at CHEWYS, Amazon, Petco, petsmart. Always add a supplement to raw feeding.

          • Avatar
            October 22, 2020

            Thank you for your thoughtful response, Michell!

          • Avatar
            October 27, 2020
            Patricia H Diaz

            this is something I’d like to try. I have 4 dogs currently on dry food. they don’t love it. I think they’d enjoy this. I’m going to share this with a friend. her homemade dog food is a 2 hour process.

  • Avatar
    July 23, 2020
    JerryExpert

    Interesting food choice! How much time per day week do you spend prepping and cleaning for his meals? Trying to weigh the pros and cons of this type of diet vs an air dried brand!

    • Avatar
      July 23, 2020

      Hey there! It takes maybe 15-20 minutes to make this batch, which is a week’s worth of food for our 80-lb. dog. A batch that big would last a 10 lb. dog much longer, and all the food freezes well. We’d make larger batches at a time, but we don’t have the freezer space!

  • Avatar
    August 01, 2020

    i am appreciating your hard-work. Thanks for sharing this awesome article.

    • Avatar
      December 11, 2020
      Andrea Wylie

      I really appreciated the Raw Dog food Recipe, also. My husband and I just lost our another fur baby a few days ago to cancer. We lost our Chihuahua 4 month ago to Cancer, and in 2018 our Catahoula to Cancer. I’m pretty sure their store bought dog food had something to do with it.
      We have one more fur baby left, a 6 year old Daniff, hopefully recipe will keep him healthy, longer.

  • Avatar
    August 04, 2020

    Thank you for the helpful information provided in this article. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    August 07, 2020

    The recipe is looking really delicious and knowing the taste of my pet pug Mack, he is going to love it. Mack has never liked the pet food I brought home, for him home cooked food was the best especially boiled eggs and bread, though sometimes he did not mind adding some portions of boiled chicken too.
    Aca Baranton recently posted..Managing your Pet’s Thunderstorm and Noise PhobiasMy Profile

  • Avatar
    August 07, 2020
    Tracey Petrie

    My dog has suffered terribly with yeast infection and chews his paws sore if he doesnt have cone on. Allergy test done. No more chicken turkey pork eggs corn. Going try raw diet with substitutes. Thank you for sharing recipe

    • Avatar
      October 20, 2020
      Mary Milazzo

      My dog had terrible allergies, vet has had us try pills, prednisone, and now shots, along with shampoos, rinsed etc…, do not like or agree with medications, would love to try this as I do add real food to her special grain free food already, just want to make sure not allergic to any of these ingredients. Can I add dried cranberries too?

      • Avatar
        October 20, 2020
        Mary Milazzo

        Also, not comfortable giving her raw meat, can I cook all ingredients and get same benefits?

        • Avatar
          October 20, 2020
          Mary Milazzo

          Also, not comfortable giving her raw meat, can I cook all ingredients and get same benefits?

        • Avatar
          October 20, 2020

          I’m not 100% sure if the benefits are the same with raw vs. cooked food. Our pup would eat a dead animal off the side of the road or a piece of cake or anything she could steal off the tables, so I’m not sure it makes a difference to her whether it’s cooked or raw! The real key is the healthy ingredients, no filler/no grain and all the supplements!

      • Avatar
        October 20, 2020

        Cranberries are ok for pups in small quantities. Dried ones particularly will concentrate sugar, so should be saved for treats as opposed to a main ingredient in daily food. Good luck with your pup – let me know how she does!

        • Avatar
          October 20, 2020
          Mary Milazzo

          Thank you so much for sharing, I love to cook, so i would be more than willing to experiment and see how my Molly does with this as opposed to the medications and all the rinses and drops in her eyes, etc…, I am always skeptical of just giving her regular food , being afraid she may not be getting proper nutrition if I don’t give her at least some dog food. Thank you for reassuring me its ok!I’ll let you know how she does. I really hope it works, I hate to see her uncomfortable and she is so good doesn’t even complain! Thanks again

  • Avatar
    September 08, 2020
    BW

    In the article you say more protein than vegetables, however the recipe calls for 5# Of each, meat and vegetables. Also, would Raw ground turkey or chicken be alright to mix in with the beef? Raw poultry is safe? Thank you.

    • Avatar
      October 15, 2020

      Their immune system is a lot better than humans. Raw poultry doesn’t contain bacteria that is harmful to dogs. So, no worries. I feed my dogs often and they likes it.

    • Avatar
      October 31, 2020

      Raw poultry is safe for pups! We give them uncooked chicken necks, feet and meat all the time and they love it.
      Angie recently posted..Reflections from the Road | Vol. 44My Profile

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    October 19, 2020
    Martha

    Thank you for sharing!
    I do have one question, my dog has pancreatitis and we buy a very expensive prescribed food, based on your experience, Is this diet a good option for him?
    Thanks again!

    • Avatar
      October 20, 2020

      That’s a question for your vet! I’ve never had a pet with pancreatitis, so I’m not sure about those specific dietary needs. Good luck!

  • Avatar
    October 19, 2020

    Fantastic article! 🙂 I tried these recipies with my Siberian Husky and she absolutely loved them. My Samoyed not so much, but she has had a few stomach issues recently so this could be affecting things.
    Pupperville recently posted..Whats the Best Leash for Dogs Who Pull? (UPDATED)My Profile

  • Avatar
    October 20, 2020
    Mary Milazzo

    My dog had terrible allergies, vet has had us try pills, prednisone, and now shots, along with shampoos, rinsed etc…, do not like or agree with medications, would love to try this as I do add real food to her special grain free food already, just want to make sure not allergic to any of these ingredients. Can I add dried cranberries too?

  • Avatar
    November 02, 2020
    Rose Dunnelle

    Great recipe… The only thing I would tweet is giving a mixture or different meat proteins, do seasonal vegetables like we eat and use plankton rather than oil because of the toxics in the sea. As soon as you open your bottle of oil and expose it to the air it will immediately start the process of going rancid you have about 2 weeks. Oils in capsules are better if you want to use oil as they are all in their own little capsules.
    Kind Regards
    Rose Dunnelle 😊

  • Avatar
    November 23, 2020
    Brenda

    Our Boy Max found us!! He’s a men pin Cross and has Alot of the same issues those.”Go to an Herb Store able to Buy in Bulk The Alfalfa powder, Kelp powder, Bone Meal and Alaska Salmon Oil.” Looking forward to the try. Thank You so Much for the knowledge You have Passed on. And Thanks to Your Grandparents!!

  • Avatar
    November 29, 2020

    Love this idea to make best homemade dog food. I really love your post. This is really easy to make it at home in less time. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

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