When it comes to making homemade dog food recipes, vets and pet owners are often divided into 2 very different camps. There is somebody who claims that dogs should be fed with homemade foods, while the others believe that diet prepared at home would lack certain essential minerals and nutrients.
HEALTHY AND TASTY HOMEMADE DOG FOODS
If you are still not sure which side to choose, we will show you a couple of reasons in the next parts so that you can understand the pros and cons of homemade dog foods. All of these are based on individual and professional observations according to the kind of food that was giving to the dogs. Also, you can find a lot of tasty and healthy homemade dog food recipes to make it easier to keep a good health condition for your four-legged friend.
Benefits And Disadvantages
Of Homemade Dog Foods
For many dog owners, the best way to keep their beloved pets cheerful, strong and healthy is definitely designing a balanced diet with enough essential nutrients as well as minerals. This is especially important even when there is a wide variety of commercially processed snacks and foods available for dogs on the market. The main reason is because most of these generally contain filler ingredients, additives, and preservatives without any nutritional value, meaning that they are not nutritious for your 4-legged friends. Therefore, more and more people are turning to homemade foods to keep their dogs from possible health issues due to diet. In the following part, we have listed some of the reasons that you should consider preparing dog’s foods on your own at home.
In addition, shopping in the local can give you the chance to buy organically produced meats, fruits, and vegetables, which are absolutely healthier for dogs. Therefore, you can make sure that your homemade dog foods will not contain hormone-laden elements, steroid, or antibiotic.
On the other hand, making your own dog food recipes will allow you to vary the ingredients regularly and provide a wide variety of nutrients. Just like humans, the more the nutrients a dog gets from the diet, the healthier he would be.
Even when you are at home, making a homemade recipe will require a lot of time. And instead of putting commercial foods onto the bowl of your dog, you need to calculate, buy, cook, store, portion frequently. A good way to improve this is cooking in bulk or freezing the foods for later use.
The best way to avoid this problem is probably utilizing a recipe that is already overseen or formulated by a vet or canine nutritionist. However, it is best to inform yourself of the complete list of dangerous foods for your dog.
Homemade Versus Commercial Dog Foods
Overview Of Commercial Dog Foods
In a modern society, everybody is always busy with their daily job at the office and home. Therefore, feeding their dogs sometimes becomes a stressful task. In these situations, commercial dog foods are probably the best solutions.
In the US, dog foods are basically produced as balanced and complete products for specific breeds and ages. Commercial products could be classified into 3 main types:
1. Dry dog foods
Dry foods often come in large bags with the normal nutritional balance as following: 10 percent moisture, 10 to 50 percent carbohydrates, 10 to 20 percent fat, and 40 percent protein.
As dogs are generally able to discern the shape, size, density, and texture of foods, dry foods are often made in different colors, sizes, and shapes to attract them. The best benefit of this type is that it works as a toothbrush and helps to remove tartar as well as plaque from the teeth of a dog while eating.
2. Wet dog foods
As their name, wet foods contain nearly 80 percent water. If you want to feed your dog more without worrying about gaining weight, then this is definitely a perfect choice thanks to their high level of moisture content.
Produced in cans, this type of dog food provides the highest palatability compared to moist and dry products. However, wet foods are more expensive and also more difficult for pet owners to store.
3. Moist dog foods
Moist foods are often sold in small boxes with single-serving pouches. This type of food basically contains 30 percent carbohydrates, 10 percent fat, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent water.
Despite the expensive price, they are highly palatable to dogs and convenient to store and serve, which makes them perfect for travelling. Also, do not feed moist foods as a substitute for wet or dry foods because they are often high in salt and sugar.
In spite of their convenience and nutritional claims, the authority warns dog owners that some commercially processed dog foods are filled with unnecessary preservatives, additives and other unsafe ingredients. Therefore, you should take your time reading and researching about the details of each product. It is always better to prepare homemade recipes for your dogs and just use commercial products when you are busy or travelling.
Commercial And Homemade Dog Foods
One of the most difficult or even annoying challenges that most of the dog owners have faced when feeding their pooch is to choose between homemade and commercial dog foods.
Homemade dog food
Commercial dog food
Cheaper and money-saving
Various. More expensive than homemade recipe with the same nutritional value.
Various, tasty, delicious
How easy to digest
Easy to eat
Hard to eat
Combine different nutrients for balance
Loosely regulated and loss of nutrients during processing
Preservatives and additives
No additional harmful elements
Contain a lot of unnecessary preservatives and additives
Convenience and time
Inconvenient for travelling and take a lot of time for cooking
Different Types Of Homemade Dog Food
As usual, there are many ways to cook a homemade meal for your dog, but it can be divided into 2 main types: raw and cooked meals. There are basically pros and cons in both methods, but these are obviously better choices compared to store-bought dog foods.Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of those 2 types of homemade dog foods:
Raw dog foods
This is definitely the easiest method to prepare a meal for your dog. Compared to cooked foods, a raw diet helps to keep most of the important nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes. Also, not cooking would retain the natural content of moisture, making it easier for your dog to digest the foods.
To prepare a raw food recipe, you only need to mix together the ingredients and serve. Therefore, this method is highly recommended if you do not have enough time to cook a homemade dog meal.
Cooked dog foods
Cooked dog foods could be prepared by using the same methods that we use to prepare your daily meal, including grilling, boiling, steaming, frying, or baking.
Generally, cooking brings a lot of benefits to your dog. First, it makes several nutrients easier to digest for pets. For instance, it is proven that vitamin A in tomatoes or carrots would become bio-available after cooking. Also, as dogs don’t have enzymes to break down carbohydrate, cooking will make sure this process happen as usual.
Another advantage of cooked foods is the elimination of harmful bacteria or germs in vegetables and meats. However, this is not actually a major issue as dogs have strong digestive acids that are able to kill tough materials or dangerous microorganisms.
About Homemade Dog Foods
As everything in this life, just because many dog owners say something does not necessarily mean it is true. Sadly, more and more uneducated people are spreading misperceptions and myths about everything from grooming to dog foods. Below are some of these:
Basics Of Homemade Dog Foods
1. Essential nutrients
If you are often shopping for commercial dog foods, it is easy to notice that most of these are labeled as balanced and complete sources of nutrition. In other words, dog foods must have specific levels of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein, depending on each life stage of your pooch.
So which nutrients should you consider when making your own dog foods?
- MINERALS AND VITAMINS
A healthy food is never complete without the presence of water, which plays a significant part in avoiding dehydration, transporting nutrients, controlling body temperature as well as eliminating waste from a dog’s body. Also, even though a little of water could be found in some foods, your dog should always have enough amount of water along with a balanced, healthy diet.
To maintain a good health condition for your dog, essential minerals and vitamins should be included through common foods, including vegetables and fruits. For example, vitamin A is essential for keeping healthy hair and skin, while vitamin E helps strengthen the immune system of your dog.
Minerals for dogs are often provided by supplements or popular ingredients like vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, and meats. These elements are necessary for supporting the body of your dog in deficiency prevention and performances of certain functions. When it comes to the needed amount, minerals are basically divided into 2 main groups:
- Needed in large amount: potassium, sulfur, chloride, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
- Needed in small amount or trace mineral: fluorine, manganese, selenium, iodine, chromium, copper, zinc, and iron.
Probably most of us often believe that fat is not healthy, but this is actually not always true. In fact, a healthy dog diet requires a balanced combination of some fatty acids to support the absorption of several vitamins, maintain a healthy coat and skin, get enough amount of energy as well as provide flavor and taste to foods.
Common sources of fats for dog foods often come from safflower, fish oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, pork fat, or chicken. Basically, a balanced diet should provide from 10 to 15 percent of fat to help keep a good health condition for most of the adult dogs. In some cases some health issues might come in when you add an excessive amount of calories through fats (including treats and table scraps) without proportionate exercises.
Protein is definitely one of the most important elements for pets. It is basically made up of amino acids, which play an essential role in repairing body tissues and building strong muscles. An adult dog in normal condition often require from 18 to 26 percent of protein in his daily diet. You can provide protein to your dog through common foods such as fish, soybeans, lamb, turkey, beef, egg, and chicken.
This is quite simple. Dogs are omnivores and use carbohydrates as the primary source of energy. Therefore, a good diet for dogs should have anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of carbohydrates.
2. Nutrition guidelines for dogs
The common notion that dogs just need protein is actually not true. Just like us, dogs require a variety of foods in their daily meal such as meat, vegetables, and starches to get the basic requirements for nutrition. In other words, the key to a happy and healthy pooch is following a well-balanced diet.
Basically, many vets recommend that a good diet for dog should contain 50% of vegetables, 40% of protein (dairy, eggs, seafood, meat), and 10% of starch (beans and grains). The serving sizes will depend mostly on the size, weight, and activity level of your dog. By following this guideline and add necessary supplements (fat, calcium, vitamin), you will help your dog in the best health condition for a long time.
50% of vegetable
40% of protein (dairy, eggs, seafood, meat)
10% of starch (beans and grains)
3. Ingredients to avoid or use in moderation
- Ingredients to avoid
- Ingredients to use in moderation
People often think that dogs can digest anything. But this is not actually true. Some popular foods might be dangerous to pets and should be avoided. These are:
- Spices like cayenne, paprika, and curry
- Raw yeast dough
- Onions and raw garlic
- Walnuts and macadamia
Apart from the list above, one useful rule that can help you choose what not to give your dog is that if something is considered dangerous for humans to eat might also be dangerous for a dog.
On the other hand, there are some ingredients that are not basically harmful to dogs but must be used in moderate levels:
- Corn, which is quite hard for dogs to eat
- Salt because most canned foods already contain this ingredient
- Cooking oils
- Dairy foods
Tips For Making Great Homemade Dog Foods
- Always check with your veterinarian when applying a new diet for your dog. Or ask him if your pet should take any nutritional supplements.
- If necessary, you should purchase a food scale as it is much more precise than a measuring cup.
- Do not swap ingredients as some foods seem similar but do not, in fact, offer the same nutrition.
- Fresh vegetables are often cheaper than frozen or canned. And they also have more vitamins if picked at the right time or place. If you need to buy canned vegetables, remember to check for the lowest salt level.
- Dogs do not need the seasoning that we often use. Therefore, do not add pepper, salt or any similar types of seasoning when cooking.
- Cook all of animal products to kill harmful bacteria. For starchy vegetables, beans, grains, cooking will make it easier to digest.
- Always following the recipe as a slight change can result in unintended effects.
- You should never cook bones
- Make the foods in a large batch so that you just need to prepare that recipe once a week
- Do not keep your dog foods in bright and direct sunlight. The best place for homemade dog treats storage should be dry, dark, and cool.
- Before storing, make sure the foods are completely cool to avoid condensation.
- Always pay special attention to food safety by washing your hand and clean the kitchen carefully.
How To Make
Homemade Dog Foods Affordable
Two common problems when trying to make your own dog foods from scratch are the time commitment and the cost. It is obvious that buying a good piece of meat, for example, on a daily basis is not reasonable for most of us, particularly when you have a large breed or more than 1 dog. The following are some useful tips to keep the costs down:
Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes
In the previous sections, we have listed basic tips as well as benefits of making your own homemade dog foods. Even though it may take a considerable amount of time to prepare, the results would absolutely be worth it. And seeing your 4-legged friend healthier and happier will bring more joy to your mind. In this part, you will learn some tasty recipes to make it simpler to prepare homemade dog foods. Let’s start:
1. Homemade cooked meals
DIY Fresh Veggies And Turkey For Dogs
--- by CHUNGAH from DamnDelicious.net ---
Photo by DamnDelicious.com
If your dog is suffering from an upset stomach, this healthy recipe is definitely a good choice for him. It has a balance of 25% grains, 25% veggies, and 50% protein to meet most of the nutrient requirements for dogs.
- ½ cup of peas
- 1 shredded zucchini
- 2 shredded carrots
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 3 pounds of ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 11/2 cups of brown rice
1. Cook rice in a large saucepan with 3 cups of water
2. Use a large stockpot to heat olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add ground turkey from 3 to 5 minutes, until browned.
4. Stir in brown rice, peas, zucchini, carrots, and spinach until the spinach is wilted
5. Heat the mixture from 3 to 5 minutes
6. Let the mixture cool completely
-- Damn Delicious --
If you just want a quick and easy meal for your dog every day, Damn Delicious would be a perfect choice. By using fresh, healthy, and simple ingredients, you can learn how to make an elegant and sophisticated for your dog in only 30 minutes or less.
Doggie Beef Stew
--- by Anna from Dogsaholic.com ---
Photo by dogsaholic.com
- 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil
- ½ cup of white flour
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of chopped carrots
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1 small potato
- 1 pound beef stew
1. Remove the skins of sweet potato and potato, then cut them into small chunks
2. Bake them for 8 minutes in the oven
3. Sauté the beef stew in a frying pan until cooked.
4. Remove the beef. Add water and slowly flour into the pan
5. Stir till the gravy becomes thick
6. Add potatoes, carrots, and beef. Cook for 10 minutes. It’s done.
-- Dogsaholic --
Residing in California, Anna is a Pet Nutrition Expert who is responsible for creating nutritional strategies for various dog breeds. Dogsaholic is the place where she can share with her readers the best practices and proven methods in raising and feeding dogs.
Salmon and Spinach Scramble
--- by Andrew from RachaelRay.com ---
Photo by rachaelray.com
- 2 eggs
- ½ can of boneless and skinless salmon
- ½ cup of chopped spinach
- 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
2. Add salmon and spinach until heated
3. Add the eggs, then continuously stir for about 2 minutes
4. Slightly cool and pour into a bowl to serve your dog
-- Rachael Ray --
Andrew currently works as director of special projects at Racheal Ray. He went to both the hospitality program and culinary school at Florida International University.
2. Raw recipes
Puppy Power Smoothies
--- by Sarah Lukemire from Lola The Pity---
Just 5 minutes and 4 simple ingredients, you can create this extremely-simple-to-make and healthy smoothies for your dog, which contains a lot of protein, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Photo by lolathepitty.com
- ¼ cup of fresh parsley
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of chopped carrots
- 2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1. Mix all of the ingredients in a suitable blender
2. Blend the mixture until it is smooth
3. Pour into a bowl and feed your dog
--• Lola The Pity --
With a passion and love for dogs, Sarah devotes her life in Lola The Pity to raise positive awareness as well as fight the negative stereotypes to many dog breeds. Also, you can find in this blog a lot of useful tips about dog training and ownership, accompanied with healthy dog treat recipes.
Healthwise Raw Food Cakes
--- by Maureen from Water Earth Wind Fire---
Photo by waterearthwindfire.com
- 2 cups of white or brown rice
- 4 cups of unsalted chicken broth
- 2 cups of pumpkin puree
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 8 carrots
- 1 broccoli head
- 6 celery stalks
- 4 apples
- 1 zucchini or yellow summer squash
- ½ cup of olive oil
- ½ cup of rosehips
- 1 cup of rolled raw pumpkin seeds
- 2/3 cup of nutritional yeast
- 9 eggs
1. Cook the rice in broth until done and let it cool
2. Puree all of the yams into food processor
3. Grind or chop vegetables and fruits
4. Put all ingredients onto a large bowl and stir well
5. Use a spoon or your hand to mix until all ingredients become a moist and squishy glop
6. Put parchment or waxed paper on 2 cookie sheets and freeze until they get hard.
7. Put the cakes into airtight freezer bags
-- Water Earth Wind Fire --
Maureen is a full-time artist as well as the co-owner of a gallery in Montana. In Water Earth Wind Fire, she wants to share with you healthy and tasty diets that she has been feeding her dog for nearly 20 years.
--- by Dog Express---
Just like humans, dogs also love desserts. With amazing taste, this fruit parfait recipe will be a good source of protein and vitamins for your dog in the morning.
Photo by dogexpress.in
- ½ cup of applesauce
- ½ cup of diced blueberries
- ½ cup of diced strawberries
- ½ cup of non-fat, plain yogurt
1. Put all of the ingredients in a mid-size bowl
2. Blend the mixture well until the yogurt gets smooth
3. Divide into small servings
4. Store in the refrigerator for maximum 7 days
-- Dog Express --
Dog Express is known as an all-inclusive information site dedicated to dogs. In this hub, you can find everything related to dogs, from inspiring stories, pooch breeds, news, and healthy homemade recipes.
3. Treat recipes
Apple kale chicken jerky
--- by Dog Dessert Chef---
Those chewy treats are a good choice for your dog’s health, which are packed with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and protein.
Photo by doggydessertchef.com
- ¼ cup of apple sauce
- ½ tablespoon of dried basil
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- ¼ cup of pureed kale leaves
- 2 chicken breasts
1. Mix the honey, kale leave puree, and apple sauce well, then set aside
2. Wash the chicken breasts clean, remove all fats and cut them into strips.
3. Put the strips into the mixture and let it marinate for 1 hour in the fridge
4. Preheat the oven to 180oF
5. Place on the cookie sheet a haft inches apart, then brush the mixture and sprinkle basil on the top
6. Dry them in the oven for at least 3 hours until they have dry texture and appearance.
-- Doggy Dessert Chef --
Doggy Dessert Chef is an awesome site where you can find tasty and healthy dog treat recipes. All of these have been researched carefully and tested on various dogs. Therefore, you can be sure on the safety of the jerky treat above.
Strawberry Marble Dog Treats
--- by Jodi Chick from Kol’s Notes---
Photo by kolchakpuggle.com
- 1 tablespoon of beet powder
- 3/2 cups of rice flour
- 3/2 cups of oat flour
- ½ tablespoon of baking powder
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup of strawberry puree
1. Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir together
2. Add baking powder, rice flours, and oat.
3. Divide each dough flavor into small balls
4. Cut into favorite shapes
5. Put on baking sheets, and then bake for approximately 20 minutes
-- Kol’s Notes --
Kol’s Notes is a dog-friendly blog with an increasing audience of DIY enthusiasts, crafters, bakers, and dog lovers. In this site, you will learn effective methods or tips on how to keep your dog live a healthy and happy life.
Apple Cinnamon Dog Treats
--- by Two Little Cavaliers---
Photo by twolittlecavaliers.com
- 1 egg
- ½ cup of cinnamon apple sauce
- 1 cup of oatmeal
1. Preheat the oven to 350oF
2. Pour the oatmeal into a large bowl and mix well with the applesauce and the egg
3. Scoop the mixture to the molds and use a tablespoon to make big cookies
4. Put the pan into the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
5. Let them cool and serve your dog
-- Two Little Cavaliers --
Both Indiana and Davinia come from an amazing breeder in Germany. This dog blog is dedicated to share with dog owners all over the world anything associated with raising or feeding a dog.
4. Special recipes (for special occasions)
Snowflake cookies for Christmas
--- by CHRISTINA from The Lazy Pit Bull---
If you love the atmosphere of winter and enjoy watching falling snow, this adorable recipe will definitely delight both your dog and you.
Photo by thelazypitbull.com
- 1 tablespoon of organic honey
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
-1 1/4 cups of rice flour
- 2 eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350oF, then use parchment paper to line the cookie sheet
2. Mix together honey, vegetable oil, and eggs
3. Make dough by adding and mixing the rice flour with the wet ingredients
4. Roll the rough on floured surface, about ¼ inch thick
5. Cut the cookies with a snowflake cutter, then put them on cookie sheet
6. Bake the cookies until they turn gold (about 15 minutes), then cool off on a baking rack.
-- The Lazy Pit Bull --
Christina – a stylish dog mom – created The Lazy Pit Bull in 2012. This site is an awesome place for any dog owners to connect with other dog moms and share useful tricks, tips, information, and food recipes so that our dog can live a happy and healthy life.
Seasonal Pup Pies for Thanksgiving
--- by Jessica from Beagles and Bargain---
Photo by beaglesandbargains.com
- 4 tablespoons of water
- ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup of minced oatmeal
- ¾ cup of flour
1. Spray the muffin pan and preheat the oven to 375oF
2. While mixing flour and minced oatmeal in a small bowl, slowly add applesauce
3. Slowly add water till a ball is formed, then roll out the dough
4. Use a circle cutter to cut out small circles (about 4 inches in diameters)
5. Press these circles to the muffin pan and bake for approximately 8 minutes
6. Remove the pies and crusts from the muffin pan when cool
-- Beagles and Bargains --
Jessica, currently lives in Virginia, is a software engineer, food lover, and bargain hunter figuring out how to be a good pet mom. Beagles and Bargains is a place where she can combine her love for dogs with technology. Here you can find many tricks and tips about raising and teaching pets.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin for Halloween
--- by Amanda from Dog Mom Days---
Photo by dogmomdays.com
- 1 tablespoon of oats
- 1 cup of peanut butter
- 1 cup of pure pumpkin
- 1 cup of skim milk
- 21/2 cups of flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350oF. Mix milk and flour in a bow until flakey
2. Mix oats, peanut butter, and pumpkin in a large bowl
3. Combine two mixtures. Stir and fold the combination heavily until it forms a soft and workable dough.4. Roll the rough into small balls or cut it into bone shapes
5. Put the balls or shapes onto a non-greased cookie sheet, then bake for approximately 15 minutes.
6. Wait for 10 minutes to cool off and give these treats to your dog.
-- Dog Mom Days --
Amanda created Dog Mom Days as a place to share her journey with Wynston, her lovely puppy. In this blog, you can get great information that would be helpful for taking care your dogs as well as making healthy homemade recipes for better nutrition.
It can be denied that dogs are always the best friend of us. And of course, all of the dog owners want to see their friend live a healthy and happy life. To guarantee this, it is important to invest your money and effort in making the best dog foods with essential and balanced nutrients for their growth.
Providing your dog with the best homemade dog food recipes seem like a lot of work involved but it is definitely the best way to give him a balanced and healthy diet. With various tasty and healthy homemade recipes mentioned in this guide, we believe that you can make this a simple task.
To sum up, if you are hesitating between commercial and homemade dog foods, then maybe our comparison above will help you to make an informed decision. Probably you might not sure about homemade recipes but one thing is for sure, you will never regret this choice. Try to make your own homemade dog foods and your dog will smile!