Homemade Dog Food: Why IS it the best for your dog? It’s best because when YOU make your dogs food, you know what your dog is eating, without the hidden ingredients you find in highly processed foods. No fillers, preservatives, chemicals, additives or dyes. No “misc” body parts from “misc” animals, etc. You’ll only get fresh, human grade, whole foods as nature intended!
Why Choose Homemade over Commercially Processed Food?
With Commercially processed foods being the primary source of pet food for years, Veterinarians, Animal Nutritionists, and other advocates started seeing a pattern of increased cancers and other serious illnesses in our pets. Research as to WHY this was happening was done, and the results were staggering. The processed foods the pet industry had us believe were good for our pets, were actually what was making them ill.
it was proven that by just adding fresh vegetables to a kibble diet prevented, or decelerated cancer cell growth by 70 – 90%! And since our dogs are better able to optimize the nutritional value of whole foods, the benefits to them are limitless!
So they can now offer a proven alternative! One that can STOP these illnesses from invading our pets. What is this you ask?? Fresh, Homemade Food! That’s right! Forget the commercially processed pet foods and let’s give our dogs that human food we were told was so bad for them!
Homemade Dog Food Options with Tips On How To Make It
So how exactly do you define a “homemade diet?” It could be all raw, all cooked or partially raw or cooked. Or, it could be freeze-dried or dehydrated. Whichever way you choose, if it’s a prepared food using whole, human grade foods, and not a processed, commercial pet food, it’s considered homemade in my book! What about the time it takes to prepare it? The time depends on what type you are making, and if you’re making a large amount to freeze, or a single serving. And the cost?? The cost depends on if you are using grass-fed, organic or ordinary grocery store meats and/or vegetables for your meals and of course the SIZE of your dog! Another thing to consider in cost is that many people tend to put way more into these diets than is nutritionally necessary.
Below, you’ll see a few different types of fresh, homemade, non commercially processed dog food options to choose from. These foods are all very healthy for your dog, and can easily be customized to fit your lifestyle!
- BARF – (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) An all Raw diet that you prepare at 65-75% muscle meat, 10-15% bone, 5% organs, 5% liver, 5-10% fruits, vegetables, and dairy. This can be prepared with individual pieces or a grind. There would still be supplementation needed. You can also purchase pre-made raw, however, there will be some processing done to eliminate contamination bacteria, which will destroy some nutrient content. It’s still a better choice than processed food.
- Complete Freeze-Dried Raw – Freeze dried raw is a wonderful option for those who want to feed a homemade, raw diet, but don’t have the time to prepare it. With this, you just add water, and everything is there, NO basic supplementation is needed! You might also consider using this if you are traveling with your dog as no refrigeration is needed! You can also purchase this in a base only mix where you just add water and the protein source.
- Dehydrated Base Mix – The dehydrated base mix comes as a dry, 100% human grade base that, depending on the mix, contains fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, vitamins, and minerals. All that is needed for a complete meal is water and your choice of protein. Again, this is a wonderful choice for those with a busy schedule, and little time to prepare. No refrigeration needed except for the meat of course. You can also purchase this as a complete meal mix where you just add water.
- Fresh Food Delivery Services – With more and more information becoming available on the benefits of fresh food for pets, more people are wanting to make the switch. Because so many are busy with their careers, and just don’t have the time to prepare these meals, there are companies that will do the prep for you, and deliver right to your door! They will even customize (Vet Approved) each meal specific to your pet, to ensure he or she is getting everything they need for a balanced and complete meal.
- Fresh, Homemade Food – Always the best choice, fresh, homemade dog food is made with human grade meats, and whole foods fruits and vegetables. Prepared by you, it can be made cooked, or you can keep it raw. Some people may even cook the meat and keep the veggies raw or vise versa. The great part about homemade dog food is you can change it up to fit your lifestyle and or busy schedule! You could even throw it in your slow cooker or Instant Pot if you like!! Make a single serving, a week, or a months worth and freeze it! As long as you have the correct proportions of protein, vegetables, fruits, vitamins and minerals you can be creative and have fun with it!
Making Homemade Dog Food Nutritionally Balanced
So I’ve listed a few options to get you started with fresh, homemade dog food! It is extremely important that if you’re going to make the food at home, it needs to be a nutritionally balanced and complete diet. This is THE biggest worry of Veterinarians with so many going to homemade dog food. There are a couple different ways you can supplement your homemade meals (the one you prepare with whole foods), so PLEASE be sure to make this a priority!
- Veterinarian recommendation – See your Vet to discuss the homemade diet you plan to feed your dog for any needed changes, as well as supplementation customized to your dog’s needs.
- Raw and Homemade Dog Food Vitamin and Mineral Powder – This is a powder vitamin supplement that you add to your homemade food according to the dog’s weight. There are many online that you can purchase.
- Whole Dog Journal Supplement info
How Much Homemade Dog Food Do I Feed My Dog? What Recipes Are Best to Use?
How much you feed your dog depends on a few different factors. In addition to those listed below, the raw feeding guide shown is calculated as the total daily amount of raw, or fresh food to be split into 2 meals. This is only a general guide.
- How much does your dog weigh?
- Is your dog a puppy, active adult or senior?
- Is your dog over or underweight?
How do you know the right recipe to use for your dog? Maybe your dog has a health condition that requires a special diet? There are MANY things to consider when deciding to make homemade dog food. This is where doing your homework is of vital importance! There are hundreds of simple recipes out there for making your own dog food, and I know that’s what you were probably hoping to get here… But…..you want recipes that work for YOUR dog specifically! Most of the recipes I see online are FULL of starchy carbs which your dog does NOT need! Let’s do this right, and go to a trusted source right from the start like Dr. Judy Morgan DVM. She has a wonderful book that you can find on Amazon by clicking on this link called Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs, or, Dr. Karen Becker’s book called Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats that will get you started! These books have everything you need, including simple recipes! By starting here, you’re starting right! As you learn how to put together balanced recipes, you can then be amazingly creative !!
So there are my homemade dog food 101 tips to help get you started. I’ve included a basic food calculator to give you general guidelines on how much to feed an average active adult dog, as well as meat handling safety tips. I get asked all the time “how much do I feed my dog?”, when it’s really impossible to answer. What I tell people, and what I do with my dogs when starting a new diet, is go by the recommended amount for their ideal weight and watch to see if they maintain, lose or gain weight. That’s really the only way you’ll know how much is right for your dog.
I can’t say enough good about Dr. Judy Morgan and Dr. Karen Beckers books! They are both Holistic Vets with an amazing amount of knowledge in the area of nutrition! I hope my post has been helpful in giving you the information you need to get started making your own homemade dog food!! If you have ANY questions or comments, please leave them below as I would love to hear from you!!