Homemade Dog Food

Since we’ve been focusing on our bff’s (best furry friends) this week (see our posts here and here), I wanted to share with you my recipe for homemade dog food. Yup, I make my dog’s food. Crazy right? But there’s a good reason why I do it!

Please note that this is a diet that has been designed specifically for my dog, with the guidance of her veterinarian. By no means am I suggesting that you change your dog’s food, or am I suggesting that any other food (store bought, dry, wet, raw, etc.) is wrong. This is simply my story about the cleanest eater in our household. If you are interested in changing your dog’s diet, please consult a licensed animal care practitioner before doing so.

I never used to make our dog’s food, and I had absolutely no intention of starting. I mean, I could barely figure out what my husband and I were going to eat during the week, when would I have time to meal plan for a dog?

When I lived in Canada, I fed my miniature-dachshund, Lucy, a store bought, dry food from a company called Acana. She loved it, her weight was stable, she was healthy, and all was good. Then we moved to Barbados and that all changed.

We found out that the food she ate wasn’t available on our tiny little island. And it’s not easy to pack a big bag of dog kibble in my luggage every few months, and sneak it through customs! With the advice of her vet, I slowly transitioned her to a food that was available. Unfortunately, within a short time of being on the new food, Lucy had some issues in the bathroom department (no need to go into detail). Good times. So we tried another brand. Same thing. By the time we got to the third brand of food, she refused to eat altogether. I could hear her stomach rumbling from across the room! She wouldn’t eat her food, she refused to drink water, and then she refused to get out of bed in the morning. My poor pup! If you’re looking how to switch dog foods a little easier you may want to get in touch with a veterinarian or keep researching around on the web.

One night I noticed that she showed a lot of interest in the chicken I was cooking for dinner. Desperate to get some food into her, I gave her some cooked chicken and she gobbled it up, and then, of course as any dog would, begged for more.

Homemade Dog Food ~ delicious ingredients ~

The next day I called her vet, and asked them about a homemade diet. They provided me with recipes and suggested serving sizes, and I went about making my first batch of dog food. That was almost three years ago and I haven’t looked back! I’ve had to buy a slow feed bowl for Lucy as she gobbles the lot in an instant without it and this may not be the healthiest for her stomach. If you think a slow feed bowl could benefit your dog, visit https://www.puppywire.com/slow-feed-bowl/ for a guide on the best bowls.

Lucy’s food is very clean and pretty easy to prepare!

homemade dog food
a clean, homemade dog food
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  1. 1 cup of diced baked chicken, turkey or beef (boneless, or bones removed)
  2. 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  3. 1 cup of mixed vegetables (ie. corn, carrots, green beans, lima beans, peas, sweet potato, broccoli, brussels sprouts)
  1. Combine ingredients in food processor.
  2. Portion them out in freezer bags.
  3. Thaw as needed.
  1. Drizzle food with coconut oil at feeding time.
  2. Every two weeks add some sardines to the bowl, for added calcium.
  3. NOTE: Before changing your dog's diet please consult with their veterinarian or animal health care provider.
  4. NOTE: Certain foods are toxic for dogs. Double check that the ingredients you use are safe.
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I am considering increasing the amount of protein as it seems a bit carb heavy for her current activity level. And I always use the same frozen mixed vegetable medley, consisting of green beans, carrots, corn, peas, and lima beans. Then I cook and add whatever veg we have leftover in our fridge. I’ve used broccoli, brussels sprouts, and sweet potato, and she loves them all.

Please note that there are certain fruits, vegetables, and other items that are either not recommended, or are toxic, for dogs. Go here for a full list of items to avoid.

Homemade Dog Food

~ a big bowl full of dog chow! ~

Once the ingredients are cooked, I blend them up in the food processor and that’s it! The food gets portioned into freezer bags and thawed as needed. Without preservatives, the food will spoil if left in the fridge for too long.

Homemade Dog Food~ freezer ready ~

When I’m dishing out her evening meal, I’ll drizzle it with coconut oil, and every two weeks I’ll open up a can of sardines and portion that out over the week. Homemade dog food can be lacking in calcium, and I was advised to use either bone meal or sardines, to supplement. Let me tell you…sardines do NOT help puppy breath! Whew! Finally, she gets a doggy multi-vitamin every second day.

After almost three years, Lucy’s coat is shiny, her skin, teeth, and eyes are bright and healthy, and her weight has been consistent.

While this may not be the right approach for everyone’s four-legged friend, it’s one that’s worked really well for us. We have a happy, healthy pup, and that’s what matters!

Lucy approved!

Lucy approved!

What do you feed your pet?

Have you made any food or treats for you pet? I’d like to try making homemade dog treats one day.



  1. 1

    I feed my cats an organic kitten dry food. Every now and then, they get a can of Newman’s Own wet food as a treat. I spend forever in Petsmart reading the back of all the bags.

    I love that you make your own dog food! Your dog is probably the best fed dog around!

    • 2

      Sounds like you have some happy cats in your home 🙂 Our dog is definitely the healthiest eater in our household! I miss having the store-bought options though, a downside to living on a small island.

  2. 3

    Omg this is amazing. I had a friend who did this for her dog, and I thought she was crazy at first but then when I read up on dog food and the fillers, etc. that are in many of them I realized that it makes so much sense. I’m totally going to use this recipe one day when I get a dog again.

    • 4

      Thanks Laura! It’s incredible how much junk they put in animal food. Our Lucy is definitely happier and healthier with her homemade chow. And once you get the hang of it, it’s not that much work.

  3. 5
  4. 7

    This last year I’ve been cooking my dog’s food. I have two American Pit Bulls and became concerned when so many of the commercial dog foods began being recalled which led to my cooking their food. The question I have is if they’re getting good nutrition with this diet. I use 2 1\2 cups long grain white rice, 6 cups of quick oatmeal, 1 bag each of frozen peas, carrots, and green beans, two whole sweet potatoes, and two whole white potatoes, 3 lbs. chicken breasts, and 4 lbs. chicken livers. They love it food doesn’t stay in their bowls all day long from them not eating it. My question is, is this a healthy diet for them, and are they getting enough nutrients with this?

    • 8

      I have no doubt they love it, it’s full of deliciousness! I would recommend you speak with your vet or another licensed animal care provider to ensure they are getting all of the nutrition they need. Homemade dog foods can be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals and they may suggest different ingredients or supplements.

  5. 9

    Great article. I simply love the facts that you shared about dogs homemade food. Without consulting with vet it is probably risky for making homemade food. Though your recipe looks delicious I’ll surely try to make these type of homemade food for my dog. Thanks for the great article.

  6. 11

    I also started makeling my dogs’ food a few times a year and freezing portions for use as I need it. With recent news of bagged-food-related deaths of pets, it seems a better idea than ever! Yet, I wonder IF my recipe(s) is a good, and sufficient, one, for my Shih Tzus?
    I start with “human-grade” chicken livers or chicken parts. As I cook, I add brown rice, shredded fresh carrots and sweet potato, broccoli and whatever fresh vegetable I have. I shred things because Shih Tzus have throats much smaller than their mouths. (I want to help them, not choke them!)
    If I want to add any canned items, such as peas, lima or kidney beans (but NO corn), I add these about 10 minutes before the rest of the recipe is finished cooking.
    I also add a peeled, chopped apple or two late in the cooking process.
    This has been my “basic” recipe. I NEVER add “bulbed” foods like garlic or onion. In fact, I never add ANY spices (including salt and pepper) to the recipe! “Why” would I do that?!
    I avoid the foods I know are not good for dogs, like berries (even raisins), nuts and avacadoes (<- which my dogs "LOVE.")
    I sometimes add a half-cup of oatmeal to the mixture, although I try to avoid most carbohydrates of lesser nutritious value. Those negate to point of "making" their food.
    For a treat a few times a year, I give my babies one to two tablespoons of peanut butter, topped with a dab of butter – based on their size. My 18-year-old is about 13 pounds, while my 10-year-old is just 4 pounds! Because Shih Tzus can have a problem with constipation (especially the little one), I also keep cans of pumpkin on hand and dole it out a tablespoon at a time, as needed.
    Yet, ARE MY DOGS being fed heathyily, or am I missing something they need – especially for their breed??

    • 12

      Thank you for your info Marsha!

      My pup LOVES peanut butter too!

      If you have any concerns about nutrition, I would consult with your vet. Often they will recommend a multi-vitamin to ensure they’re getting the right vitamins and minerals.

  7. 13

    BTW:. I’ve learned to AVOID adding SPINACH to my basic dog-food mixture when cooking it, before freezing. I don’t know why, but tends to spoil quickly – souring the entire batch! When I want to give my dogs spinach, I’ll cook then add it to the food right before serving.

  8. 14

    I’ve made fresh chicken stew, no spices or additives…just potatoes, a ‘California blend’ of frozen veg (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, and beans) and boiled chicken. I’ve made it for foster pups (I get from 2 day olds to 3 week olds, no moms) by my 9th litter, I figured out how to stop the ‘POOPS’, cleaned up their food! Anyway, now I’m going to start my foster fail adopted chihuahua on clean, no additives… I like that you laid out the recipient! I hate difficult!!! But I guess I’ll keep the basic blend just change out the meat options…fish, beef, poultry? Although I would like a guideline on how much of the stew to feed per meal? Feeding 2 times a day

    • 15

      Hi Diane,

      It’s amazing that you foster! Those pups are lucky to have you.

      I once switched out the chicken for beef, but it seemed to bother her stomach, so we always use chicken or turkey. I would ask your vet about portion sizes as it would vary based on your pup’s needs. We currently feed Lucy ⅓ cup twice a day, plus she gets various “treats” throughout the day, and she is at a healthy weight (15lbs).

  9. 16

    I wonder if I can ask the poster a question. I am considering this since one of my dachshunds has decided to hate his dry dog food. With your 1 cup chicken and veggies, how many days of dog food do you yield out of the prep? I am going to be feeding two but I can get an idea how long this will stretch me. I like this simple recipe. I can do this! Seems easy enough. I meal prep for my spouse weekly. Why not the dogs too. Thanks!

  10. 17

    Hi Lauren,

    Dachshunds can be so stubborn! The 1:1:1 chicken, veg, rice ratio yields 3 cups of food. Lucy is fed ⅓ cup twice a day, so we typically get 4 days out of a batch. I hope this helps!

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