Many experts suggest that the kibble you buy at the store isn’t the best option for your dog, as it’s nutritionally not that valuable and it’s there only to fill your dog’s stomach. Well, that may actually be true, and more and more owners are turning to home cooking when it comes to feeding their pups. When you’re cooking for your dog, you have to understand that there are certain requirements you have to meet to keep them both full and healthy, and that’s what we’ll be covering in today’s article.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at all the nutritional values you need to keep in mind when you’re cooking for your dog, and all the recipes you have at hand to meet these requirements. Stick with us if you want to learn more.
Let’s get started!
Meeting Your Dog’s Nutritional Requirements!
The first step towards solving any problem is understanding it, and you need to understand what your dog needs to eat to stay healthy if you want to cook for your dog.
Dogs, just like humans, are omnivores – they require a balanced diet that’s focused on protein, carbohydrates and fats. Many people think that dogs need only protein, but that’s false. If your dog ate exclusively protein, it would lack important vitamins and minerals, which could lead to many deficiencies and cause thyroid problems (among many others). However, if your dog doesn’t receive enough protein, it could suffer from poor immune function, muscle deterioration and blood disorders. Having a balanced diet is absolutely essential.
Many vets recommend a ratio of 40 percent protein, 50 percent vegetables and 10 percent starch.
So, when it comes to food you should feed your dog, let’s separate it into categories!
- beef – beef should either be ground or cut into small strips
- turkey – this is very easily digested by dogs and it’s economical
- chicken – affordable and easy to find
- fish – mackerel or herring (not too often, once a week)
- beans – lima or kidney beans, but should not replace meat protein
- eggs – in moderation, good for the coat
- green beans
- broccoli – commonly causes gas
- cauliflower – commonly causes gas
- rice – cooked (obviously), dogs love brown rice
- potatoes – cooked (once again, obviously)
- pasta – without oil or salt
There are also ingredients you should definitely avoid when you’re cooking for your dog:
- walnuts, macadamia nuts
- dough from raw yeast
It should be noted that you should never use any ingredients that are spoiled or contain mold. The rule of thumb is never feed your dog anything that would be dangerous for you to eat.
There are also ingredients your dog can eat, but they should be limited:
- added salt – many canned foods already contain enough salt
- dairy foods – a lot of dogs have difficulty digesting dairy foods
- cooking oils
- corn – digestion problems
Benefits of Homemade Dog Food
Firstly, the most obvious way homemade food can benefit your pet is if you have a pet suffering from allergies, as you can avoid certain ingredients if you cook their food on your own. This way, you can also adapt the food for a dog suffering from gastrointestinal sensitivity or skin problems.
It’s also true that highly-processed foods lose nutritional value, and it’s actually better for your dog to eat homemade food. Making dog food from scratch maintains more of the vital nutrients, which ensures that your dog gets all the protein they need. You’re also always aware of what your dog is eating with fresh food that you’ve cooked yourself, which is much better than reading a label that’s surely not conveying all the conserving processes that food has gone through before it was served before your dog.
It’s also true that you can order dog food in, just the way you’d order food for yourself. This, obviously, is more expensive than cooking on your own, but if you have the luxury – feel free to order dog food. The Farmer’s Dog is a company that ships frozen food, which allows you to keep it on hand for your pup – as all you have to do is unfreeze it and you’re ready to go. No dog will complain about these tasty meals made with fresh and easy to pronounce, human-grade ingredients.
Now that you know all there is to know, let’s move on to recipes for dog food!
Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Dog Beef Stew
This is basically the homemade alternative to canned dog food, and your dog will be receiving a fine dosage of iron from fresh protein and vitamins – you also have the option of freezing it or keeping it in your fridge for a week.
The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:
- a pound of beef stew meat
- a small sweet potato
- ½ cup of carrots, diced
- ½ cup of green beans, diced
- ½ cup of flour
- ½ cup of water
- a tablespoon of vegetable oil
This will make for approximately 4 cups of stew, with 301 calories per cup, 36 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, and a lot of vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and iron.
To make this stew, firstly cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm, but tender. Then, set it aside.
You should slice the beef into small chunks, and they should be larger than a coin. You should cook these pieces of beef in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes – they should be well-done. Once you remove them from the pan, keep the drippings.
Dice the sweet potato and heat the drippings over medium-low heat and add flour and water into the drippings slowly, while whisking simultaneously to create thick gravy.
Once the gravy is ready, add the meat, sweet potato, carrots and green beans into it and stir to coat. It’s going to take about 10 minutes of cooking until the carrots are tender, and that’s when you should let it cool and it’s ready to be served. You can store this stew in the fridge for up to 5 days!
This recipe is very easy to make!
From ingredients, you’ll need:
- a pound of ground beef (the 80/20 or 85/15 version that is fatty, not lean)
- an egg
- 1 and ½ cups of oatmeal
- 1 and ½ cups of cereal – they have to be raisin-free and have minimal sugar
- a pack of unflavored gelatin
- 6 tablespoons of wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, olive oil, or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of molasses
To prepare the recipe, feel free to mix all of these ingredients in a bowl and roll them into meatballs. You can feed them raw to your pup, or you can cook them. You can also freeze them and feed them when needed.
Easy Beef and Rice Meal
This recipe is great because it needs only 10 minutes to prepare, and after that it’s crockpot cooking.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 2 ½ pounds of ground beef
- 1 ½ cups of uncooked brown rice
- a can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups of chopped butternut squash
- 1 ½ cups of diced carrots
- ½ cup of frozen peas
- 4 cups of water
This recipe will yield 12 cups, with 400 calories per cup, including 39 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbs, and a lot of iron, potassium and calcium.
Start your cooking off by putting all the ingredients in a slow cooker with 4 cups of water. You can cover it and cook it on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or high heat for 2 to 3 hours. Make sure to stir it as necessary and let it cool down to room temperature.
This meal is made up from ingredients you’ve seen in all canned dog food, and it’s sort of the standard of dog food.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups of brown rice
- a tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 pounds of ground turkey
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 2 shredded carrots
- 1 shredded zucchini
- ½ cup of peas
Cook rice following the instruction on the packaging, and set it aside once it’s one. Following that, heat up olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. To that, add ground turkey and cook it until it’s browned, which will take about 5 minutes, and make sure to crumble it as it cooks. After that, stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through. After that, all that’s left to do is let it cool down and you have yourself a very tasty, and a very healthy meal.
Turkey and Veggie Combo
This recipe allows your dog to get all the protein from turkey, accompanied by vitamins from veggies!
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 2 pounds of lean ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons of raw turkey (chicken liver is a good substitute)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- a cup of cauliflower florets
- half a sliced zucchini
- 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
- a cup of broccoli florets
Start this recipe off by adding 1 ½ cups of water to a double boiler, and put your carrots in a steam basket over the pot and cover them. Heat it until it’s boiling, and reduce the heat to a low boil and continue steaming until carrots start to get tender, which will take about 10 minutes.
While that’s steaming, take the turkey (and/or liver) and add it to a large skillet – cook it on medium-high heat until it’s done and there’s no more color pink. Drain and discard any fat.
Now, add broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini, and continue with the steaming until all vegetables are tender, but they shouldn’t be mushy. This won’t take longer than 8 minutes.
Allow the vegetables to cool slightly, and either chop them with a knife or with a food processor. The size of the vegetables will depend on the consistency preferred. It should be similar to canned dog food, so try aiming for that when you’re chopping the vegetables.
Add chopped vegetables to the turkey and liver and stir it up, adding the olive oil and tossing it to combine with the mixture. Cool it, and you can serve it. You can also freeze it for future use!
Raw Food Cakes
These cakes make for very healthy food, and they’re not that difficult to make.
The ingredients needed are:
- 2 cups of rice
- 4 cups of unsalted, no-onion chicken broth
- 2 large yams, steamed or baked
- 2 cups of pumpkin puree
- a large bunch of parsley
- 8 large carrots
- ¼ of a cabbage head
- 1 head of broccoli
- 6 celery sticks
- 1 large zucchini
- 4 large apples
- 1 cup of cranberries
- 1 cup of blueberries
- other fruit you can add: peaches, pears, plums are all okay for dogs and are nutritious
- 1 cup of green beans
- 1 cup of snap peas, or whatever peas in the pod you have around
- 9 eggs, poached lightly then cooled
- 1 cup of peanut butter (make sure it doesn´t contain xylitol!)
- 2/3 of a cup of nutritional yeast (lots of vitamins) or 1/3 cup dog multiple vitamin powder
- 1 cup of flax meal
- 1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds or raw almonds
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- ½ cup of olive oil
- ½ cup of rose hips
Start this recipe by cooking the rice in the broth until it’s done and let it cool down. Puree the yams in a food processor, no need to clean the skin beforehand. After that, finely chop or grind the fruits and vegetables in a food processor – the finer you make them, the more digestible they will be – all of the ingredients will get mixed together, so it’s really irrelevant in which order you’ll do it, and if you have a food processor, you can freely work without cleaning it in between ingredients.
Put all of those ingredients into a large bowl and add the rest, after which you’ll stir it all well. Mix all the ingredients, either with your hands or with a spoon, into a squishy, moist glop. Put waxed paper or parchment paper on 2 large cookie sheets. Now, take out measured amounts of this mixture in cakes and place them on wax paper, close together. Freeze them until they’re hard, and put the cakes in an airtight bag in the freezer – use when necessary.
These meat cakes are surely going to bring joy to any dog!
As for ingredients, for this recipe you’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups of brown rice
- 3 cups of water
- 2 large, grated potatoes
- 4 large, grated carrots
- 2 large, chopped celery stalks
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 8 eggs
- a dash of salt
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 ½ cups of rolled oats
Start off by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease up 36 cups of 3 large muffin tins. Combine rice with water in a medium saucepan, bring it to its boiling point over high heat, and cook it for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. After that, remove it from heat and let it cool for several minutes, after which you’ll fluff it with a fork and set it aside.
Combine the potatoes, carrots, celery, ground beef, and eggs in a large bowl, and mix those ingredients together using your hands or a sturdy spoon. Add salt, olive oil, rolled oats, and rice; mix well.
Now, take the meat mixture and fill each muffin cup with it, and make sure to pat it down so it’s firm. Bake it for 45 minutes and cool it on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes by turning the muffin tin upside down over a sheet of aluminum foil. Tap it to release the cakes.
You can refrigerate them or freeze them in sealed plastic bags.
Dinner Layer Cake
This is a cake your dog will love eating!
For this cake, you’ll need:
- 1 kilogram of chicken
- ½ cup of carrots
- ½ cup of peas
- ½ cup of sweet corn
- 1 medium apple
- 1 egg (with shell)
- 1 cup of brown rice
To prepare this meal, preheat the oven to 347 degrees Farenheight and pop the chopped carrots, peas, and sweetcorn in a pot to cook and soften. Following that, peel and chop the apple into small pieces, and mince the meat with a food processor (or buy minced meat, if you have that option).
Cook the rice, following the instructions on the packaging. Mush the vegetables mix, and pulverize a whole egg to the point where it’s completely crushed. Blend the chopped apple, egg and chicken together in a mixing bowl and mix the vegetable melee and rice together in another bowl.
Following that, grease a cake pan or line it with baking paper, after which you’ll take half of the chicken mixture and place it in the bottom of the cake pan. After that, take about 2/3 of the veggie and rice mix and place it on top of the chicken base. Top that combination with the rest of the chicken mix, and to that add anything remaining from the veggie mix.
Put that in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, after which you should let it cool down and remove from the pan. You can freeze it to keep it at hand for whenever you need it.
If you want your dog to eat kibble, but kibble that’s healthier than the one you’d get at the store, feel free to follow this recipe.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 6 cups of white flour (whole wheat or oat are also good)
- 1 cup of powdered milk
- 2 mixing bowls
- 2 wooden spoons
- 3 large or 4 medium eggs
- 1/3 cup of baking oil
- 2 ½ cups of milk
Start making this by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray a cookie sheet with a light coating of baking spray and set it aside. You should pour the flour and combine it with powdered mix in a mixing bowl, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients and set that bowl aside.
Mix the eggs together, and add baking oil and milk in the second mixing bowl – mix it with another wooden spoon until the ingredients have combined. Mix the two bowls – the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients – you should get a thick, moist dough, similar to bread. Cheese, shredded meat, pureed fruits and vegetables are just some of the ingredients that you can add to the mixture now – this will make your kibble tasty.
If you find that the dough is too dry, you can add some more milk or water, if it is too wet, add some additional flour to get a smooth consistency. Use a wooden spoon to spread the kibble dough onto the greased cookie sheet until it is approximately one-half inch thick and then proceed to put the tray in the oven.
It will take about 45 minutes to bake the dog kibble – it should be brown and firm to the touch. Take it out of the oven and allow the kibble to cool. Take the giant cookie, once it’s cooled down, and break it into bite-sized pieces that your dog will be able to eat. You can put the kibble in an airtight container in the fridge.
Who says that meatloaves are just for people? Dogs can have meatloaf too!
For this loaf, you’ll need:
- 1 pound of lean ground turkey
- ½ cup of chopped carrots
- ½ cup of peas
- ½ cup of oats
- 2 eggs
- 3 hard-boiled eggs
Start this recipe by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a bowl, and mix the lean ground turkey, chopped carrots, and peas. This mixture is actually healthy for both cats and dogs, as it gives them the nutrition they need for strong eyesight and good digestion.
Next – add the eggs and the oats, and mix that until the loaf mixture comes together. The oats and the eggs help with your pet’s coat’s shine, while eggs also offer extra protein. Lightly grease a loaf pan with olive oil and then add half the mixture to the pan.
Place the hard-boiled eggs alongside the center of the loaf and cover them with the other half of the turkey mixture. Put that in the oven – it’s going to take about 45 minutes to bake.
After that, let it cool down and it’s ready to be served. This should be kept in the fridge in an airtight bag, and you should feed it through a few days – it shouldn’t stay in your fridge for any longer than that. When you’re cutting it into slices, try to keep them no wider than half an inch!
Tips and Tricks!
Dogs don’t need the seasoning humans do – their food won’t be any tastier because of it, so don’t add salt, pepper or any other seasoning.
Most vegetables are cheaper when fresh, rather than canned, and they have more vitamins if they are picked at peak ripeness – so, buying at a farmer’s stand or picking vegetables from your own garden is better than buying them at the store.
Always manage salt content to the lowest possible if you’re using canned vegetables.
Always make as much as you can per batch of food – you can easily keep it in the fridge and you won’t have to cook every day.
Not all human leftovers are good for dogs. Do they have seasonings or other ingredients that are not good for your dog?