If you’re like most people, you probably think of dog food as a simple, one-dimensional thing. You might picture a kibble or can of wet food, and that’s it. But the truth is, there’s a lot more to making your own dog food than you might think. In fact, there are many different ways to do it, and each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about making your own dog food, including the pros and cons of each method, what ingredients you’ll need, and how to make sure your pup gets all the nutrients they need. By the end, you’ll have a good idea of whether or not making your own dog food is right for you and your pet.
What Type of Dog Food Should I Make?
The first thing to consider when making your own dog food is what type of food you want to make. The most common options are kibble, wet food, and raw food. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Kibble is a type of dog food made by baking dry ingredients, such as grains, meat, and vegetables, into small biscuits or pellets. It’s a popular option because it’s affordable, easy to store and feed, and relatively healthy. Kibble also has a long shelf life, making it a good option for people who want to make their dog food in advance.
However, kibble does have some drawbacks. It’s not as nutritionally dense as other types of dog food, so your pup may need to eat more of it to get the same nutrients they would from wet or raw food. Kibble can also be dusty and cause respiratory problems in dogs with allergies or asthma.
2. Wet Food
Wet food is another type of dog food made by cooking ingredients in a broth or gravy. It’s typically high in protein and moisture, making it healthy and palatable for dogs. Wet food is also relatively easy to digest, making it a good choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
A drawback of wet food is that it’s often more expensive than kibble or dry food. Wet food can also be messy to feed and doesn’t have as long of a shelf life as other types of dog food.
3. Raw Food
Raw food, as the name suggests, is made with uncooked ingredients, such as raw meat, vegetables, and bones. It’s a controversial option because it can be dangerous if not prepared properly, but proponents argue that it’s the most natural and nutritious way to feed dogs.
Raw food diets are typically very high in protein and fat, which can be beneficial for some dogs but may also lead to weight gain or other health problems. Raw food can also be expensive and requires careful handling to avoid contamination.
Is Homemade Food Better for Dogs?
So, is homemade dog food better for dogs than commercial food? The answer, unfortunately, is that there isn’t a clear consensus on this issue. There are pros and cons to feeding your dog homemade food; ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your pet.
Some people argue that homemade food is more nutritious than store-bought food because you have more control over the ingredients. For example, you can choose to use organic ingredients or add supplements to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients they need. You can also tailor the recipe to your dog’s individual needs, such as switching to a grain-free diet for dogs with allergies.
On the other hand, some people argue that store-bought food is just as good as homemade food, if not better. This is because commercial dog food is regulated by the government to ensure that it meets certain standards for nutrition and safety. Additionally, most commercial dog foods are made with high-quality ingredients carefully selected to provide optimal nutrition for dogs.
7 Healthy and Delicious Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Now that you know a little bit more about the different types of food you can make at home, here are 7 recipes to get you started.
1. Beef & Veggie Crockpot Creation
Beef & Veggie Crockpot Creation is a great recipe for dogs who love meat. This dish is packed with protein and nutrients, and it’s easy to make in a crockpot.
The beef content of this recipe makes it a bit higher in fat than other recipes, so it’s best for dogs who are active and have a healthy weight. On the other hand, the vegetable content helps keep this recipe low in calories.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup chopped butternut squash
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 can kidney beans
- In a slow cooker, combine ground beef, butternut squash, brown rice, celery, peas, and kidney beans. Add 2 cups water to cover the ingredients, then stir to combine.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
- Let cool and serve with a side of fresh fruit or vegetables, if desired.
2. Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
Pumpkin Dog Biscuits are excellent digestive aids, and they’re also a healthy and delicious treat for dogs. These biscuits are low in calories but high in fiber, making them a good option for dogs who need to lose weight.
- 2 eggs
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup grain-free flour or oats
- 3 cups brown rice flour, gluten-free flour, or whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, peanut butter, and pumpkin puree.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, and oats.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until everything is well combined. The dough should be thick but not too sticky.
- Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.
3. Sweet Potato & Turkey Meatballs
Sweet Potato & Turkey Meatballs are a healthy and delicious way to add some variety to your dog’s diet. These meatballs are packed with protein and nutrients, and they’re perfect for dogs who are picky eaters.
Dogs love anything that’s soft and easy to eat, so these meatballs are a great option for seniors or dogs with dental problems.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, sweet potato, oatmeal, parsley, and egg. Mix well to combine.
- Roll the mixture into small meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
4. Chicken & Rice Casserole
Who doesn’t love a good casserole? This Chicken & Rice Casserole is a healthy and delicious option for dogs who need a little extra protein in their diet. It’s also perfect for picky eaters, since the chicken and rice are disguised by the vegetables.
As a comfort food, this casserole is also great for dogs who are recovering from an illness or injury.
- 1 pound cooked chicken, shredded
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 carrots, shredded
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the chicken into small pieces and place in a saucepan over low heat. Add water to cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and shred with a fork.
- In a large bowl, mix together cooked chicken, rice, peas, carrots, cream of chicken soup, parsley, and apple.
- Pour into a casserole dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.
- Take out of oven and let cool slightly before serving.
5. Peanut Butter & Banana Dog Treats
It won’t be wrong to say that dogs love peanut butter more than anything else in the world. And when you add banana to it, it becomes an irresistible treat for them.
These Peanut Butter & Banana Dog Treats are healthy and easy to make, and they’re perfect for dogs who have a sweet tooth. They’re also a great way to use up overripe bananas.
- Xylitol-free peanut butter
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1 egg
- Break up the oats into small pieces using a food processor or blender.
- In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, mashed banana, oats, and egg. Mix well to combine.
- Blend everything together until it forms a thick, smooth dough. If the mixture is too sticky, add more oats. If it’s too dry, add some water.
- Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Place the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the treats are golden brown.
- Take out of oven and let cool completely before giving to your dog.
6. Chicken Jerky Strips
Rawhide bones and store-bought jerky can be expensive, and they’re not always the healthiest option for your dog. So why not make your own chicken jerky strips at home?
These Chicken Jerky Strips are healthy and easy to make, and they’re a great way to use up leftover chicken. They’re perfect for dogs who love to chew, and they make a great training treat.
You only need one ingredient to make these treats, and you can season them however you like.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Trim any excess fat off the chicken breasts and cut into 1/8″ thick strips.
- In a large bowl, mix together chicken strips, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, and smoked paprika (if using).
- Arrange the chicken strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure the strips are not touching each other.
- Bake for 6 hours, or until the chicken is dried out and slightly crisp.
- Take out of oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
7. Fish Fillets and Veggies
A quick and easy meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights, this Fish Fillets and Veggies recipe is an excellent seafood option for your dog.
It’s packed with nutrients and healthy fats, and it’s a great way to provide your dog with a variety of different flavors and textures.
- 2 pound fish fillets
- 1 can pink salmon
- Diced vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas, corn)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup brown rice
- Cook the salmon and fish fillets after chopping them into small pieces. Remove the skin and bones, and flake the fish into small pieces.
- In a separate pot, cook the brown rice.
- In a large bowl, mix cooked salmon, fish fillets, diced vegetables, eggs, and brown rice until everything is evenly mixed.
- Let the mixture cool before serving to your dog.
Is It Cheaper and Healthier to Make Your Own Dog Food?
In most cases, homemade dog food is cheaper than store-bought dog food.
You can save even more money by making your own dog food if you buy ingredients in bulk or on sale, and if you have a garden, you can use your own fruits and vegetables.
Homemade dog food is also generally healthier than store-bought dog food because you can control the ingredients and the quality of the food.
When you make your own dog food, you can choose to use organic ingredients, and you can make sure that the food is free of artificial preservatives and additives.
Homemade dog food is a great way to save money and ensure that your dog is getting the nutrients they need. It’s also a lot of fun to make, and you can get creative with the recipes.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to homemade dog food, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Your dog will love anything you make for them, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself!