More dog lovers than ever have recently decided to turn to homemade dog food. Can you make a nutritionally complete homemade dog food? Yes! We believe that the best way to feed both our human and canine family members is to select the freshest ingredients and whip up meals ourselves.
While many pet parents are concerned that they won’t be up to the challenge of producing complete and balanced meals, we turned to experts who have experience with homemade dog food to find out what it takes. Read more on my journey of discovering homemade dog food.
This recipe will make approximately 15 lbs. of food, enough to feed a 40 lb. dog two meals per day for a week. It contains 1,200 Kcal/kg or 34 Kcal/oz. More nutrition details and feeding instructions are discussed later in the article. This recipe was created with the help of an animal nutritionist, Dr. Susan Lauten, and is balanced according to NRC Guidelines.
Directions reference the use of an electric pressure cooker, but a variety of other methods, from slow cookers (aka crock pots) to poaching, roasting, sous vide or steaming are also options. However, it is much easier and faster to use an electric pressure cooker.
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The ingredients are fresh and uncooked unless otherwise noted. The amounts must be followed closely, but there is leeway in the choice of fruits and vegetables that can be used, and you can use thawed-out frozen varieties too. The supplements are specific brands and provide a unique mix. It is important to use a kitchen scale to weigh each ingredient. You’ll also find that in this homemade dog food recipe, we use organ meat including chicken hearts, livers and gizzards.
Because this recipe has a large volume of ingredients, it should be made in two batches; it will not fit into one pot, even the larger sizes. These cookers should not be filled to more than three-quarters of their capacity. The recipe can also be cut in half, to make 7½ lbs. of food. Note that an 8-quart model was used in testing this recipe.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE DOG FOOD
Animal Protein Sources
Important: Chicken can shrink by up to 30% during cooking; start with 10 lbs. of raw chicken to get 7 lbs. of cooked.
6 lbs. chicken breast meat, skinless, boneless (raw)
4 lbs. chicken thigh meat, skinless, boneless (raw)
7 oz. chicken liver
3 oz. chicken gizzards
3 oz. chicken hearts
6 eggs (raw)
24 oz. chicken stock (made from cooking the chicken)
3.75 oz. canned sardines in spring water, drained
Vegetables and Fruit
1½ lbs. sweet potatoes (unpeeled)
10 oz. carrots (unpeeled)
8 oz. cabbage or broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.
4 oz. kale or other leafy greens
8 oz. butternut squash or similar squash
4 oz. blueberries (or other kind of berry, fresh or frozen)
12 oz. green beans or peas
6 oz. pumpkin purée
¼ cup parsley, stems included
8 oz. apple
Seeds and Grain
6 oz. quick-cooking oats (dry)
8 oz. cooked garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
3 tbsp. ground pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp. ground sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. ground flax seed
1 Vitamin E, 100 IU
4½ tsp. (17 g) calcium carbonate made from eggshells
1¼ tsp. taurine powder (NOW)
1 tablet zinc copper (Solaray)
2 tablets ground Up & Up Woman’s Daily Multivitamin (Target)
¼ tsp. kelp powder (NOW); comes with tiny spoon;
10 of its spoonfuls equal ¼ tsp.
- Using an electric pressure cooker, cook 4 oz. dried garbanzo beans in 2 c. of water, using the “bean/chili” setting on high pressure for 20 minutes. This will produce 8 oz. of cooked beans. Or you can use drained canned garbanzo.
- Drain and cool the beans. Empty the pot.
- Cut the chicken into large chunks, trimming most of the fat. Roughly chop the organ meat (liver, etc.). Place half of the meats into the pot with 1 ½ cups of water and cook on low pressure for 10 mins. Let the pressure release naturally. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl or pan. Reserve the broth.
- Return 1 ½ c. of broth to the cooker and add the rest of the raw meat. Repeat the cooking process.
- Reserve the broth.
- Finely dice/process the sweet potatoes and the other vegetables and fruit, including the parsley, using a food processor, or by hand. Grind the cooked (or canned) garbanzos in a food processor.
- Place half of the cooked chicken back into the pot, along with 12 oz. of the reserved chicken broth and half of the vegetables, and cook for 5 mins. on low pressure; use the manual release. (Since the chicken has been cooked, ingredients only need to be cooked lightly—hence the shorter time.)
- Add 3 beaten eggs, 4 oz. of ground-up garbanzos, half of the ground seeds (excluding the flax seed, which is heat sensitive and will be added later), half the sardines, and 3 oz. uncooked oats.
- Stir together. The chicken and other ingredients must be mixed in well.
- Keep warm in the covered pot for a few minutes (time for the eggs and oats to cook). Then remove the inner pot from the cooker and let the food cool.
Note: The oats, eggs and chia also act as binding/thickening agents.
- Move that batch into a large bowl, then repeat the cooking process for the second batch of ingredients.
- Stir in and dissolve the supplements and ground flax seed in a small amount of the stock; if using the vitamins in capsules, be sure to break or cut in half, and grind the tablets. Sprinkle half on each batch of cooled food and incorporate it well. It is very important that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Use the pulse function on a food processor to blend everything together. This will ensure that all ingredients have been equally dispersed and the food has a mushy, thickly puréed consistency. Or do it manually using a food masher, or even by hand (akin to making meat loaf).
- Be sure to break apart the pieces of chicken (which should already be well-shredded) and mix with everything else extra-well.
Note: While some commercial fresh-cooked meals have recognizable bits of ingredients, that’s done mostly for our benefit. For dogs, the mush-like consistency aids in digestion and bioavailability.
|BODY WEIGHT||DAILY KCAL||DAILY AMOUNT INTO 2 SERVINGS|
|10 lbs.||349||10 oz.|
|20 lbs.||586||17 oz.|
|30 lbs.||794||23 oz|
|40 lbs.||986||29 oz.|
|50 lbs.||1166||34 oz.|
|60 lbs.||1337||39 oz.|
|70 lbs.||1501||44 oz.|
Every dog is an individual and amounts will vary with age and activity level. This chart is based on the estimated needs of an altered, moderately active adult dog.
|Macronutrient Analysis||DRY MATTER||AS FED|
Ca:P (calcium to phosphorus) ratio 1.21:1
Energy Density 1,200 Kcal/kg; 34 kCal/oz.
Sources of Total Calories:
Chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken stock, sweet potatoes, eggs, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage, apple, garbanzo beans, acorn squash, chicken liver, rolled oats, kale, blueberries, chicken heart, chicken gizzard, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, egg shell, chia seeds, flax seeds, taurine, vitamin D3, vitamin B3, iron, zinc, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, vitamin E, riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, copper, manganese, folic acid, biotin, iodine, vitamin K, selenium, vitamin B12.