I would like to start feeding my dogs real food – meats, veggies, fruits (whole food/clean eating for dogs?) because I feel our mid-grade dog food formula has changed and ‘high-quality’ foods seem way too expensive for my large breeds. I really don’t know where to start or how much to feed. I’ve done boiled chicken or beef and rice when one was sick as a puppy and it worked really well for her. We have a 95 lb chocolate lab/possible great dane mix who is 5 years old, and a lab/mastiff mix who is 1 year old and about 75-80 lbs. The older dog has always seemed like he’s starving by the time dinnertime comes around, although that could be a behavioral issue since he is a rescue who was found roaming the woods and finally captured after several weeks. The younger dog has suddenly taken to eating the other dog’s poo (sorry, so gross). I just feel they aren’t getting the proper nutrition. They really like carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato!
Thanks! Looks interesting.
I use this as a guide, for supplements I add a dog multi vitamin, fish oil supplement, and other things depending on the dogs individual needs
I also use a quality dry food as a base, tried to get away from it, but they seem to like a little kibble here and there.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by Anonymous.
I make a home made stew of ground turkey, 85% lean, chopped frozen spinach, frozen or fresh green beans, frozen carrots & peas, Sw potato(occasionally)cook I low sodium broth until all is soft ( I cook turkey first & mash it up) . Then add 1 tsp of cinnamon & turmeric, those are both good spices that are anti-inflammatory. Then I add 1/2 c oatmeal for fiber. I have a part breed Rotty, 13 yrs old with bad teeth ( soft food needed) missing a back let and hip dysplasia in the other back leg. She doesn’t get much exercise, therefore, the oatmeal, for fiber. I also have grain-free kibble in the 4-5 star cat short from dog advisor.com,for the additionals vitamins and pro biotics. I mix it half & half. She also get Rimadyl & an maintainer joint supplement for her dysplasia. We freeze 3 containers and work out of one. I just have to make it once a week. Then get another container out and warm the portion (1/2 c) in microwave ( mixed with the 1/2 c of kibble) We feed her twice a day.
I also give her Adequan shots once a month.
I am a medical doctor, not a vet, but after much research, I believe the cheaper brand dog foods some are giving their pets are causing Cancer….. Just like the foods, you hear about that can cause cancer in humans.
My dog still gets around even though she has bone grinding on bone. We do all this to keep her lean, so she can ambulated better. She’s right at 47/50 lbs.
I wanted to get a cart for her, but she keeps living longer than we’ve expected. She was a rescue & had to have her back leg amputated. Hope this helps!
Hi, Aj k.
I am an RN, I lean toward a homeopathic approach to my dogs diet and healthcare.
Especially since I lost a dog to hemangiosarcoma and I am very suspicious about vaccines and pesticides…..
Anyway, I agree with you, I think most kibble is junk, no matter how much they charge for it, lol.
I just wish the homeopathic vets and the traditional veterinarians would agree on some things. It can get confusing.
Interesting opinions over here http://www.vitalanimal.com check out the blog section.
Sometimes “The truth lies somewhere in the middle”
I used to feed my dog commercial dog foods, but now i want to switch to homemade food. Need help in this regard whether is it safe for my pet? He is 8 month old. Thanks is advance.
Hope this helps.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by anonymously.
I purchase my raw dog food products from http://www.happeedawg.com, they have tripe sometimes and beef and chicken formulas.
I believe in a rotational diet this is what I feed my dog below on a weekly basis I aim to balance on a weekly basis when it comes to the nutrition components:
High end kibble 3 meals a week- Origen. Usually chicken flavor since I don’t feed raw poultry.
The rest of the days for the week I feed as follows:
Since my dog is 60lbs I feed 2lbs a day with 80% meat 15-20% bone and 5 % organ of the follows:
Raw hormone free grass fed bison- from grocery store or fom Real Raw Dog food online
Raw or lightly cooked hormone free Venison- from Hare today Gone tomorrow
raw or lightly cooked hormone free elk from haretoday gone tomorrow
Raw or lightly cooked hormone free organic beef- fom grocery stor
Grass fed hormone liver, kidneys, and thymus from grocery store- every meat meal
On weekends he gets 2 meals of fish. Fresh caught whole sardines, or fresh caught salmon with skin, or whole Mackeral. Always cooked and these fish have the highest concentrations of omegas 3. I never use fish pills. Fish pills are crap
Green tripe from real raw once a week
for each meat meal I rotate on a daily basis the calcium to get 15-20%. Either ground rib or pork bones, or calcium seaweed, or egg shells. Never neck bones as I fear hypothyroidism.
Also each none kibble meal I add the following organic supplements to the meat dishes. I never feed synthetic supplements:
Organic virgin coconut oil-4x week
Kefir- every other week
Apple cider vinegar with the mother-3x a week
Organic egg 4 x a week
Fresh organic blueberry smoothie with kefir
Fresh ground organic ginger
Great menu, Cannoli. Sounds like you’ve got an awesome handle on raw. Might I ask why you are still feeding Orijen when your raw menu is so good? Just curious. I know you said you believe in a rotational diet, but it looks like your raw menu is wonderfully diverse. Keep up the good work.
Hi Coonhound Mama,
Thanks for your kind compliments.
I like and believe in good quality Kibble. I am not an anti-kibble guy. I think feeding a good quality kibble a few times every other week will add those nutrients that maybe I could be missing from my meals. But I am not a fan of feeding kibble for every meal to my pup for their rest of his life. I believe in balance which is best achieved via a rotational diet.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Cannoli.
I’m new to homemade as well, muddling through.
I have been using Dr. Karen becker’s book and it’s a little complicated at first and my dog isn’t crazy about the combinations I’ve tried. So I’m still looking for the right recipe. She does stress the importance of adding the correct amounts of vital mimetals and vitamins as well as other additions.
Important to include bone meal if your cooking the meats with out bones. Cooked bones aren’t safe, hard to digest.
Real food for healthy dogs and cats is her book.
My 14 year old little one was just recently diagnosed with being diabetic. I have mastered the shots which says a lot if you knew my dog. The trouble I am having is with the food. Not only is she not liking the wet diabetic food but I can’t afford $120 a month on canned food because she won’t really touch the kibble (due to her teeth maybe). I was thinking if I could give her chicken and a non starch veggie it might help and be just as good foe her. I need guidance because I want to do what is right for my baby.
I would recommend this article for help: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_7/features/Home-Prepared-Dog-Food-Nutritional-Information_20568-1.html
For those new or novice to homemade dog food, it does take some research and a little bit of trial and error to see what your dog will eat. I’ve been doing homemade 100% for about 7 or 8 years now and I would highly recommend it. It does require some initial time and research but it’s all well worth it. I first started with several dogs and wasn’t convinced, like many here, that anything available on the market was as nutritionally dense as homemade. I started when I first adopted several dogs and they loved eating anything I bought, but the food certainly never agreed with them and they were sick all around my house. I think the last food, both dry and soft, they ever ate from the pet store was Blue Buffalo way back when. I would give them rice and chicken till they got better then slowly start working commercial food back into their diet. Every time… they got sick. That’s when I started out on the quest for something that I could rest assured was wholesome and nutritional… from my own hands.
People are right here when they warn you of feeding your dog homemade food without understanding your dogs nutritional needs. We all know our dogs will eat just about anything and you’d hate to learn the hard way that you are malnourishing your dog. I started by searching the web for a canine version of a daily nutritional requirements list that includes not only the macro nutrients (proteins, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, etc.) but also details all the micro nutrients (different amino acids, minerals, vitamins, etc.). The lists are out there if you search. It will be a long, long list of about 30-40 nutrients.
Once I found this list, I did some calculations based on my dogs activity level and size, multiples really. Then I created an Excel spreadsheet of all the target daily nutritional requirements. From there I started searching the web for natural sources of each nutrient and cross referencing them again sites to make sure they weren’t toxic to dogs. You’d be surprised to find that much of the normal fresh meats and vegetables at the store have just what your dog needs. I created a list of ideal food ingredients and Googled each ingredient’s full nutritional profile and built a tab for each ingredient in Excel listing out its nutrients per 1 gram or other serving size. Then I would build other worksheets modeling possible combinations of natural ingredients and seeing how the resulting nutrional profile compares to the target. You’ll find, just like with any animal, that you’ll never get it perfect. You may figure out that adding sweet potatoes helps you fill one nutrient you were targeting only to provide an exceeding amount of another. This is inevitable but just make sure that you aren’t creating a recipe that has far too little of one nutrient that is very important, or even far too much of another that can cause problems if ingested in large quantities like Vitamin A, etc. Its really a process or trial and error modeling a recipe that is really close. I got a few recipes and then went for it. But I do give my dog a multivitamin once a day too just to be a little safer.
The recipes I’ve been using for some time is muscle meat and some organ meat like ground beef and beef livers or kidneys, or chicken breasts and chicken livers. Organ meat is very nutritionally dense and its what dogs go for first when they find a animal in the wild. Muscle meat is a thing we humans prioritize for some reason so remember that you dog IS NOT BEST SERVED WITH FILET MIGNONS OR CHICKEN TENDERS. For veggies, I use about 3-5 different vegetables and switch them up every once in a while. My favorites are sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, squash and zucchini. For fiber and carbohydrates, I pick between a rice (white or brown) or beans (dry pinto or black beans). There’s other things I do too, like I use quite a few eggs and I boil the eggshells to sterilize them. Then I grind the dried shells into a powder for their high calcium needs. I also add some ground flax seed and olive oil to every batch. That’s really it about ingredients… now the PREPARATION METHOD becomes vitally important.
If your dog is like any of mine, they probably don’t care to eat vegetables raw or their own flavor. Also, how you cook the vegetables and beans/grains can either retain most of the nutrients or deplete most of them. Dogs have very short digestive tracts compared to humans and that means that just because they can eat a raw carrot…. it doesn’t mean there digestive tract can break it all down fast enough before it passes. Pressure cookers are great for dog food vegetables. Pressure cookers apply high heat for a very short period of time that not only softens the vegetables so they are more digestible, but it helps retain the nutrients in the vegetables much better than, let’s say, boiling them. One could simply use a steamer, but the trick I use is adding some chicken broth to the pressure cooker so that it injects a tasty flavor in all the vegetables. I chop all my vegetables and pile them into the pressure cooker and add a couple cups of real chicken broth and set it for 10 minutes, done. I pull out the finished veggies and set aside. Then I do the same flavor-injection with the beans or rice by using the pressure cooker too. I take out the beans or rice when finished and mix it into the cooked vegetables I set aside.
Next I chop up a cook the meats/organs either in a large pan or also in the pressure cooker (depends on the meat). I add a generous amount of olive oil and pour in the eggs and ground eggshells + ground flax seed. When this is all done I mix it all together with the already completed parts I set aside. A little salt and its done. I divide the food up into glass, airtight containers that hold enough for no more than 5 days of food. I keep one in the fridge and the others in the freezer. After the first container is nearing empty, I start thawing the second container. I give me 20-30 lbs guys about 1 cup of the food nuked for about a minute, morning and night.
How’s it working? Wonderful coats, plenty of energy, no skin problems EVER, all vet checkups clear and I’ve had their blood tested drawn at different times of their metabolic cycles to test for nutrients in their bloodstream (a whole lot of expensive testing just to reassure me that what I was doing was good) and not a single thing ever wrong with them. Since their food is not very hard or dry, you do need to brush their teeth or make sure they get plenty of dental chews. Their stool should be nice and loose, but not huge and frequent. Once or twice a day is normal. Their digestives tracts are using more of the food mass than was being used when feeding commercial food filled with corn and other grains. So their stool gets smaller. You can go online and find paid recipes backed by vets, but I’ve yet to see one that is truly all homemade. They typically create recipes that require using some overly priced supplement powder they distribute or co-advertise for. Don’t waste your time on them.
You may find that your dog devours the food right away or plays the hold-put game for something better. Mine play both games depending on their mood. They usually don’t eat the food right away cause it’s just been reheated and they know not to try. So they usually meander around for a while before eating it later. But when they finally eat… they eat it all… every last piece of vegetable, bean and rice, etc.
So there’s my experience and I hope it inspires you to give it a go and stick with it. I have an electric pressure cooker only for the dog food… best investment ever. It costs me about 50 cents to feed 1 lbs dog for a week. So that’s $10 a week for one 20 lbs dog. I consider that a much better ROI than commercial dog food. Since I only have one freezer, I only make food every 2 weeks and spend about 2 hours when I do. But you get used to it and you learn the process inside and out. I’d never go back. Now if only I would eat as good as these damned dogs do!! 😉
@logan W – Very thorough post, thanks! I’m curious if you’d be willing to share your masterpiece of a spreadsheet with me?
I don’t have it anymore cause I basically memorized my ingredients, but I could find time to recreate it. Mine was pretty basic as my dog has no special nutritional needs by age or breed. Mine is a 23 lbs Corgi mix. Can you share with me your dog’s weight and if there are any health issues/specific dietary needs that are beyond a normal daily nutrition requirement?
Hi Logan and Kim,
I like your preparation. One thing that I learned early on is investing in a good blender like a Vitamix. It helps cut down on the time in preparing the veggies. Just throw all the veggies in the blender with whatever additional supplements you like. It even has a setting to cook the veggies in the blender to keep the nutrients. Heck I even cooked squash and pumpkin in my blender. I just cut the pieces really thin and small. Throw them into the blender and it steams them up and cooks them.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Cannoli.
Dog Pack MomMember
Logan, how about sharing your recipes with measurement amounts etc? And then your weekly menu? Thanks for all the info.
I am new here…I need help!!!
I have a 3 lb. Biewer Terrier & she has MVD (Microvascular Dysplasia) & colitis. This AM I was cleaning up bloody phlegm and stool. I am home cooking for her & adding holistic supplements. I see where chicken is not used for dogs w/colitis, I just don’t know what to give her anymore. A nutritionist wants $200 for them to make up meals for her, I can’t afford that, as I am paying on credit cards for vet bills & I am also on SS. I feed her baked chicken breast, veggies (frozen) & angel hair pasta. Her Bile Acid test came back & her post was high (70) fasting was (3) I need help w/a diet that is low protein…but now she has colitis & I am at a loss….Can sumone please assist me….as I want my girl to feel good & be as healthy as she can be.
Have you checked out BalanceIT? They have free custom recipes that you can choose the ingredients yourself, in addition to the protein, fat, and carb levels of your choice. It was created and managed by board certified nutritionists. You do need to buy their supplement to balance the meals ensuring all the vitamins and minerals are accounted for.
Here is their link: https://secure.balanceit.com/
You may have to pay to get your vet’s approval if you choose the option that your dog has a medical condition. But, it’s probably worth it and save you a lot of money in the long run. Otherwise, you may have frequent vet visits. Good luck!
Switching to homemade dog food is an expensive investment but there is something that you can do to make it a bit cheaper and that is buying in bulk.
You should invest in a good freezer where you can store a big amounts of meat, like 200-300lb and that will save you money. If you buy huge amounts of meat you can get it at a discount.
Hi Stephanie – there is a good facebook group called “home cooked diets for dogs” which has a lot of information – the files are excellent and only well researched and scientifically supported data is included. I had tried with one canine nutritional specialist but her formula did not work for my dogs (exceptionally high in starches). I’m now “cheating” with The Honest Kitchen Preference Base Mix. It’s freeze dried vegetables and fruit and essential vitamins and minerals. This product requires you to add the meat/protein – so you know what your dog is eating. It’s a lot easier than making the meals completely from scratch, and might be a nice way to start the home cooking process. My dogs are both doing very well on this diet. One is youngster with pancreatitis and joint issues – we’ve almost totally transitioned her off prescription diet.
Hi Logan W,
I’m just starting the process of making great food for my dog and doing some research about vitamins and minerals. I found a couple of websites about RDA for dogs and i’m wondering if you think these are ok as guidelines. I am cooking the food, not feeding raw meats. The second website is university based research.
I would go 2/3rds quality kibble as a base with 1/3 cooked chopped source of lean protein (chicken, steak, scrambled egg) and added water. Measured amounts twice a day.
Lori, check out
This website helped me tremendously when one of my guys had diarrhea on commercial foods, but got constipated on raw (even boneless). Home cooked seemed to be the middle ground and he’s done phenomenally for over a year.
Cooked is more supplement heavy than raw, and I’ll say that raw is easier any day of the week but for health problems in the pet, or concern on the owners part about feeding raw meat, it’s an excellent middle ground provided it’s done correctly.
Hope this website helps you as much as it did me!
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