Frugal DIY: Homemade Dog Food Recipe

This is an oldie, but it still get’s a lot of traffic and fresh comments weekly. I guarantee your little furry friend will LOVE this Homemade Dog Food recipe!

Please Note:  Take a minute to read through the comments, there are some great suggestions, tips, and warnings when it comes to making your own dog food.  This is something I’m new to, my dogs are loving it but just know that you’ll likely need to supplement with dry dog food (or add in specific nutrients to the food) for the various needs they may have.

I’ve been really enjoying my new-found love for DIY projects lately, specifically when it comes to cutting costs on everyday products. It’s been fun to investigate what we can do to save money outside of clipping coupons and scouring the deals.  Not that deal hunting and coupons aren’t an incredible way to save – but learning to make things from scratch is fun and in some cases can be much cheaper!  The catch is though that you are going ot be investing more time.  With that said, clipping coupons and deal hunting can also be very time consuming.  The main benefit I’m seeing is that you know what is going into the products you’re using such as the Homemade Laundry Detergent and the Homemade Dishwasher Detergent.  There are no surprises this way.

With that said, dog food is a big expense in our household.  We have a Border Collie and an Australian Shepherd, while I wouldn’t consider them large dogs they are very active dogs and eat twice a day.  Our Australian Shepherd (collie mix) has a very sensitive stomach and we’ve tried many different brands of dog food, some of the specialty ones are upwards of $40 a bag!  When I was visiting with my husband’s aunt over the holidays we began chatting about this issue and she said very matter-of-factly “Why aren’t you making your own food for him?”  Ummmm….that’s a great question, I have no idea!  So I came home eager to try out this recipe and test it on the dogs.  It’s a HUGE hit, they both licked their bowls clean.  I hope your pups enjoy it too.


  1. 1lb Ground Beef (Chicken, Turkey, etc)
  2. 2 Cups Brown Rice (you can use other grains such as Barley or Oats too)
  3. 5 Cups of Water (I used 2 cups Beef Broth 3 Cups of water, but just because I had it on hand)
  4. 1 Package Frozen Veggies (Fresh would be better!)
First you’re going to brown the meat, then add the veggies to the pot.  Since dogs don’t chew their food up like we would it’s good to break up the veggies into smaller portions.  Not because they could choke, but to get the more of the nutrients.  I used a food processor to simplify it.
Next you’re going to add the rice and water to the post.  Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
 When the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked it’s done!  I let it cool down a bit then I separated the pot into 9 (generous) 1 cup servings.  I formed each serving into a ball shape and placed them on a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Then you just stick it in the freezer so they stay in that form, then into a ziploc bag.  Now you have ready to serve meals, just thaw them out and serve!
A few things you should note:
I learned upon serving these dinners – 1 cup was quite a bit of food even though that’s how much dry dog food I’d normally serve.  I was able to split 1 cup between both dogs (one is still a puppy so I mixed hers with puppy food too) and they were happy as can be.  Whether it’s cheaper or not is still to be determined.


  1. I came across this article after doing some research on dog food. It seems like every week there is some news story about commercial dog food harming dogs. So, I thought why not make my own dog food? To me it makes sense, you know exactly what your dog is eating and you can prepare large amounts and freeze for the future. It seems like it would also be more cost effective, especially for larger breeds.

    • Anna, you hit the nail right on the head. Most (not all) commercial dog food is terrible for your dog. I personally think of my dog, Jake, as a member of the family. I’m not willing to risk poisoning my dog with food that is potentially bad. The Salmonella scares a couple of years ago was bad but the real tragedy is what is being put into dog food on a daily basis. I’ve switched Jake over to homemade food and have found that I’m saving money month after month. I find a recipe that he likes by making small batches and then I make a big batch to freeze. I’ll never go back to commercial dog food. If anyone wants to find out what they’re feeding their dog with the major food companies, check out: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I make my own dog food , I use 60 % roo and 40 % beef , mixed veg , yogurt, eggs , seaweed and brewers yeast , my dogs love it .

      • Anonymous, this is IMHO a more sane and safe diet for canines than the one with grains or starches (white rice also contains mercury and brown rice is high in phytic acid which is an anti-nutrient) Like humans, dog breeds or individual dogs can thrive very differently. I have a 6-year old Retriever and was warned never to give raw meats. I of course made home made raw dog food since he was a puppy and he is happy, healthy, shiny coat and never ever stunk. He also doesn’t have plaque, and poops are consistently low volume. When I feed him even the highest quality no grain kibbles his poop volume increases and poops more often.

        We live in the part of the world where the butcher or slaughtered animal is within miles from where we live so the moment I get the meats, I make my mix and freeze them in containers. There’s an Australian brand called B.A.R.F. that is really good and very balanced if you do not have access to a reliable fresh and safe source.

        Just today, I saw a dog that got heavy within just months and I asked the lady what she has been feeding her dog. Boiled chicken, rice and vegetables. I asked how much rice she gives him daily (this is tiny terrier mix) she said oh only a cup. I told her she has to adjust his diet accordingly because he is balooning and I noticed the poor dog is having a hard time running. Obviously this dog was having a hormonal effect from too much starch just like humans, some can take starches in higher proportions some less some can’t. At the end of the day, if your dog is not manifesting proper body composition this is a hormonal effect from the diet it’s currently eating which is it’s not suitable/adapted too, lack of proper nutrient-density, potential allergens and anti-nutrients so the dog starts the degenerative process of dis-ease the way most people end up and ended up medicating instead of looking for the cause. As the saying goes, look at what’s the end of your fork and your health-the answer and solution are all there.

        BTW, when you feed your dog natural, highly nutritious food, adapted to canine nourishment, you will not only have less vet bills from allergies to chronic degenerative diseases but will gain long lived happy, healthy furry friend and a loyal companion:)

  2. What is the cost per serving? Ihave 3 dogs….. Would LOVE to feed them homemade stuff, but need to compare the costs vs buying already made expensive (the good stuff) :)

    (sorry, it says there’s 103 comments to this article, but i cannot open all but 3 of them to read)


  3. Do you think this would help my small dog lose weight because its healthier? Also how much would you feed a dog the size of a Bichion Frise?

    • I read on another site that when feeding home made diets the serving should be 2-3% of their body weight (for small dogs). Take weight in pounds x 16 to get the number of ounces total then x .02 to get the minimum they should eat, and do again x .03 to get the maximum. The amount is generally less than what would be fed in kibble because there is less filler ingredients. The calculations for my Dachshunds were right on. Good Luck.

  4. Semigourmet says:

    My dog is on prescription low fat easily digestible food. for 11 pounds I pay 35 dollars, and the canned food is like 7 dollars a can. EEK. He was diagnosed with Pancreatitis. and since I have been unable to get him off of the prescription food. Everything out there including light and diet breeds of foods are way too high in fats. I think I am going to try this and maybe change add a few ingredients. such as a probiotic, and maybe some fish oil such as a supplement or in the form of a few pieces of salmon. Question, does it need to be wild caught? I think it does. When he got sick the first time I started making him some white rice, cooked in the water I had poached his boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped the breasts and added to the rice he ate that like it was goin out of style. But the nutrients he needs is what worries me.

    • I also have a dog with Pancreatitis(Sasha) for several years now I have been making her food. She is a miniture snauzer & this is a problem with her breed. She has done fantastic but can not have treats or food that are much higher then 1% fat. Start reading labels on treats or food thats difficult to find. I started out with the white rice & ground turkey. As she got better we added veggies. Then I would switch to some noodles instead of the rice & poach the chicken breast & add a green apple or squash when in season. I will often times buy a rotisary chicken at the market when on sale take the skin off, rinse it off in hot water & use that for the chicken. A scrambled egg & toast is a good am meal when you realize your out of the norm. If your dog has gas with the beans or veggies you can always add a small amount of vinager to the food to help nutralize that. I think the biggest thing is that it is supplemnted our vet had us get her Calcium Phosphate to add to her food. It is a cheap powder that gives some of the nutrients they would usually get from the eating the ground bones. My vet has been great with calls from me “can Sasha eat this?” Wish you luck.

    • I give my dogs grizzly salmon oil and this other powder ingredient called Nutri-Pet Research Nupro Dog Supplement. The salmon oil is wild caught and it has helped tremendously with my dogs allergies as well as the powder which is full of TONS of nutritions your dog needs. I have two pitties and the one with allergies is improving greatly and the other one without has the shiniest softest coat ever! They both lick the bowl clean!

      • Hii this is in regards to the salmon comment with the person with Pits. I have a Pit Bull and we recently found out she has a food allergy to chicken. we changed her food to a salmon flavored one but her ears are beginning to get red and itchy again. I was wondering if you just use this recipe plus the salmon oil? I really want to start making her food to improve her allergies. thank you!

        • I just want to advise people to stay away from adding any salmon or fish of any kind from the Pacific Ocean to any pet food they might make for their dogs and esp for any home made cat food. The ocean is being contaminated with radiation from 3 Nuclear Plant meltdowns in Fukushima Japan and much of the ocean life (fish, mammals and seaweed and kelp) is not safe! Don’t eat it yourself and don’t feed it to your pets!

    • My Puggle had pancreatitis, I started feeding her a commercial dehydrated base that all i need to do is add a meat source. I feel better feeding her this way because the base has the nutrients she needs as long as protein is added. I can feed it with raw meat or with cooked. She has been doing well on this combination.

  5. Raw food well not quite .. I sear the outside until brown this gives off a aroma that intices. I have found that the raw meat to the bone not only cleans teeth but limits poo’s, smelly breathe and enhances a shiny coat. This works with chicken, turkey also as the bone is not cooked and can be eaten. A high grade dry food on hand at all times and lots of fresh water keeps my pooch happy.

  6. Cindy Zfountain says:

    Dogs don’t need grains so I would go easy on the rice. And I would not use any pre packaged broth. It has way too much sodium.

  7. I cook for my dogs but they eat dry kibble at breakfast so as not to get spoiled. Dinner is 80% kibble with 20% homemade. I don’t use any grain as there is already too much in the kibble. They get apples and carrots run through the blender as they didn’t always digest the carrot slices. Plain canned pumpkin since the old dog used to get constipated. I might add a little potato and zucchini, green beans or spinach from the garden. A combination of whatever lean meat, poultry or fish I have. I always keep a bag in the freezer to save meat scraps, salmon skin and vegetable peelings etc. No onions, garlic or salt. I freeze the stew in 2 cup containers.

  8. Desperately seeking advice! What do you feed a dog (basset) that is having severe ear infections? We are at the point where we are feeding her gluten free dog food (expensive) and not really seeing any benefits. I’ve been told that chix, hamburg, turkey, and even fish contain preservatives that may be contributing to her severe ear allergies. We’ve spent $$$ at the vets (antibiotics, ointments, biopsies, meds.) We’ve been to a holistic vet also.
    We are also feeding her sweet potatoes and veggies with the dry dog food.
    Any suggestions?

    • My lab had lots of ear infections as a result of food allergies. It really might be worth the money to do the blood test to find out exactly what your dog is allergic to instead of just blindly guessing. My girl is allergic to lamb, pork, fish, peas and barley and almost every dry kibble has peas and/or barley if you start getting into the better brands. Do remember that it sometimes takes a few months before they start really showing improvement. Have you tried the hypoallergenic mix from science diet or royal canin from the vet? Many dogs react well to that (mine didn’t but many do).

      I’ve had GREAT luck with Sojos, it’s a dehydrated food. It’s a good middle step between dry kibble and home made food. It’s not exactly cheap but it’s really good.

      Good luck!

    • Sounds like your pooch may have yeast issues. You should get the vet to do a thyroid test maybe —also, a tablespoon of plain Greek style yogurt added to food once a day. My Peke was scratching quite a bit and had no fleas but since giving him the yogurt , it has stopped quite a bit. I also want to say to those that prepare their pet’s food, I have a recipe given to me years ago by my first vet—rice, ground beef, and cottage cheese. I usually mix a cooked hamburger patty (I grind myself from chuck roast) and cook a cup rice and add cup of cottage cheese when beef and rice has cooled down. I have never seen a dog that failed to gobble this up! You could use chicken , cooked , and turkey in place of beef. My Peke is tiny so he gets about 3/4 of a cup several times a week. Promotes firmer BM if you dog has loose stools.

      • Doris wouldn’t it stand to reason if your dog has loose stools constantly that he is not tolerating the commercial dog food? Why not just stop giving him the commercial food? Try a dollop of pureed pumpkin for loose stools.

        • Susan, you obviously read Doris’ comment wrong. Also, giving a dog pumpkin or sweet potato will encourage loose stools, veterinarians recommend this when a dog is constipated. Ingredients like these are fine in moderation to keep your dog regular.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually vets will also recommend pumpkin or a fiber bulk food for loose stools as well. It is beneficial for both loose stools and constipation. Sounds contradictory but true.

          • Pumpkin will make a constipated dog have easier bowel movements and it helps form-up a runny bowel movement. I use pumpkin on a daily basis. If I forget, then, my large dog (with a very sensitive stomach) will have a runny stool. I mix the pumpkin with yogurt which helps reduce his stomach sensitivity.

    • SWEAR BY IT says:

      My dog is a pit and the things that have helped me are regular baths, grizzley salmon oil (twice the recommended dose *this is key!),Nutri-Pet Research Nupro Dog Supplement, regular ear cleanings and coconut oil on her dry patches.
      I also have spent TONS of cash on all of the fancy foods and such the vet tells you to try, I even tried the $80 a 12 lb bag ziggy’s diet. None of it worked. I started doing my own thing did lots of research and started making my own things.. food, treats, even SOAP, I give her baths weekly and coat her dry patched with coconut oil, the soap I make with white vinager, glycorin, dawn, and water. After that I put an oatmeal paste all over her body, this builds a guard from allergy penetration. I also soak her feet every day in water and Epson salt. If $$$$ diets have not worked it’s most likely an environment thing, and 90% of that gets to dogs through their feet. (I read all this and it has worked for me) I tried all the $$$ medications which did not work, I recently tried atopica and that was the worst solution yet. Again this is just my experience. Every dog is different. My advice is to try everything that you are comfortable with for a few weeks at least. Keep a journal of improvement or worsening so you can get a feel of what does and doesn’t work for your dog. I also feed my dog natural balance the rabbit formula but I am looking to switch to home made here shortly. Hope this helps

    • Anonymous says:


  9. My dog is 12 years old, has no teeth, blind, and weighs 3 lbs. I’ve noticed with canned food he gets an upset stomach, so I started making him his own food. I suggest to other to google toxic foods and spices for dogs. I make him white rice, but sometimes brown because I always forget to buy white, fresh carrots, chicken or beef broth, ground beef or sometimes ill boil some chicken instead. And I use no spices or any seasoning, and always get the broth without sodium added.

  10. Our 7 yr old Westie has developed skin allergies to just about every dog food that we have tried. I have decided to try this home cooked one. Looking for suggestions.Please help!!

  11. I would avoid white rice as it is far more likely to raise the blood sugar level of your pet. This is problematic particularly if your dog is full blown diabetic or just borderline. Highly refined carbs like those found in white rice cause the blood sugar in your pet to spike. Such spikes have the same health implications for Fido as they do for humans. Brown rice is a great suggestion and far preferable to the white variety. Be aware that corn and potatoes can cause glucose spikes too, so use them sparingly if at all. Depending on what your vet recommends, I’d consider substituting legumes like peas and garbanzo beans for rice. Any fillers high in fiber will reduce the effects of carbohydrates on your pet. Be aware that adding too much has the potential for giving your pet an upset stomach.

    If you’re fortunate enough to live near a Trader Joe’s grocery, they sell a very inexpensive low sodium chicken broth. You can always make your own by roasting the unused carcasses of rotisserie chickens and throwing them into a stock pot. You’ll have more control on the amount of sodium and you can freeze what you don’t immediately use. I can’t stress enough for you to listen to the advice of your vet. Homemade pet food (while labor intensive) can be quite a bit cheaper to feed to Fido when compared to some of the more expensive prescription brands like Royal Canin e.g. It will depend on which protein source you choose. Be sure to check the close to expiration date section of your meat counter. I recently purchased 27 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken thighs at Sam’s Club for only $1.44 a pound. Make sure that you use safe cooking techniques when preparing food for your pet. Contrary to what a few posters have stated, dogs can and do get food poisoning. It’s just less likely to happen when compared to their human counterparts.

  12. Molly's Mom says:

    I have an 95 lb lab mix diagnosed with congestive heart disease. I called Blue Buffalo to see what the sodium content of their dry food is and was surprised it seemed high. So on to making my own. I will however add a small amount of Blue Buffalos freedom for large dogs since it has the least amount of salt.

  13. I’ve been cooking for my Bearded Collie since he was five months old – he’s 13 now. Home made dog food is cheaper in the long run when compared to vet bills to treat issues related to malnutrition, skin problems, tumours, pancreatitis etc. Regarding recipes, I have a few tips. I add cooked chicken liver/hearts/kidney to the cooked vegetable mix (some combination of sweet potato, mostly carrots, broccoli, green beans, spinach, parsley leaves, apple, peas) and puree it in a food processor. The amount of liver added is important, as the dog should get only tablespoon worth per meal to avoid loose stools. All in, this veg/orly mix makes up about one quarter of the meal. I alternate the carbs from brown or white rice, to oatmeal or quinoa, and limit the amount to one quarter of the meal. I make a variety of meats from chicken and turkey to lamb and beef, all cooked and finely chopped. I buy all the meat on sale to keep costs down. To almost every meal I add one or two things if available – half a boiled egg, a tablespoon of tuna or salmon or mackerel, a tablespoon of cottage cheese, minced fresh tomato slice, a tablespoon of plain yogurt, mashed kidney beans. I also provide store-bought kibble that is available to him 24/7, which he occasionally snacks on if still hungry – I use Holistic Blend which has absolutely no bad ingredients.
    Generally, I will make three weeks worth of meals at once and freeze them in used cottage cheese/sour cream/margarine containers for convenience.
    He’s 43 pounds and eats two cups of cooked food a day, split between breakfast and dinner.

    • velvetanne says:

      Thanks. sounds reasonable and do-able after reading most of the posts. going to have to get organized to do this esp on my limited budget. 2 dogs and 3 cats – all senior. Animal care is a large portion of my monthly budget but well worth it. I have experienced catastrophic changes (divorce, unemployment/underemployment) in my budget/finances and desperately trying to reduce my monthly expenses for animals without scrimping on their health or well being. I will try this.

  14. We buy 20 a pound bag of rice with 5 pound large chicken breast package. Rice will last a few weeks and chicken goes weekly with two dogs. Also mix in whatever veggies we have around, especially when backyard gardens are in full swing. About $60 or less each month and our dogs gained energy and appear healthier in a short period of time. We fed them Iams before. I think you could go round and round regarding the benefits of raw food and organic vs. bagged dog food and what we are doing. Pretty much the same discussion in humans.. If the organic or raw diet is too expensive, try our lower cost approach – chicken with rice or oatmeal – purchase in large quantities. Cook up large batches. Add in the veggies too but no need to go overboard. Switch it up when turkey is on sale. Some would say we should be giving them a vitamin supplement too – I wouldn’t argue with them.

    • velvetanne says:

      Thanks John. This sounds very reasonable and something I can do. Thanks for giving a ball park estimate on cost. I find I have been doing something similar – rice plus meat on sale plus veggies that are on sale or leftovers. My budget has drastically changed and constantly trying to find ways to stretch money but providing good food for my 2 dogs and 3 cats. thanks!

  15. Great post. Thanks John. I enjoyed your thread on this.

  16. My Schnoodle has bad gas lately. He’s always hungry. He is on Iams. He also has a skin condition, small scabs on his lower back. His treats are parsley treats. He loves fruit. My mother raised Pekingnese and fed them hamburg and rice. I wonder how nutritious store bought dog foods are. I might need to try something different. Any suggestions?

    • NicoleB says:

      My dog recently had bad gas – it was very frequent, every 5 min for hours after feeding. I thought it was food and started making his food. I tried yogurt, probiotics, nothing helped. I ultimately took him to the vet where I learned he had a bacterial infection. I love making his food and have continued, but with a round of antibiotics the gas is gone. You might try a small amount of vinegar in the interim but you might need to seek medical attention.

  17. I’ve lost my job & we are looking for ways to cut back costs, we currently have (5) dogs (two are rescue dogs that we are fostering) we currently have been feeding them commercial dog food & want to switch to a homemade diet, I need help with serving sizes. (1) German Shepherd mix, not active & overweight, she weighs 110. (1) ASBT 80lbs (solid muscle) active, (1) Chihuahua 5.5lbs, active (1) Schnauzer/Airedale Terrier mix 33lbs, active, (1) Basenji mix 35-40lbs, active. Currently, we go through a 30lb bag of dog food in about a week & a half. I also need suggestions on home flea preventative with this many dogs we can’t afford the high-end flea meds that vets recommend & I don’t like the idea of putting toxins on the dogs. Also, I know dogs need meat in their diet but do they need it in every meal, it seems cooking meat in every meal would get expensive as well, any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Jibbe, I’m in a similar situation, 6 dogs of which 2 are fosters and I’m in a very tight budget. Diatomaceous earth is amazing! Non-toxic, natural and inexpensive. It is effective for fleas and ticks but also for worming and to treat for certain parasites. Amazing stuff that can be used to treat multiple issues. Best of luck

    • Neomotodes are amazing if the flea issue is coming from outdoors/indoors.. I dont think they should be poured onto the dogs, but you can pour them into your yard or inside and they eat the fleas and other problematic bugs… when the fleas are all gone, they die. Google em!

  18. Thank you for the recipe! I made it with turkey and my dogs LOVED it.

  19. I just started cooking homemade for 2 dogs, a lab and a golden, both around 100# each. I’ve been feeding them a mixture of canned and NutriSource Chicken, which they liked at first but started going on a hunger strike a few days into it and the only way I could get the lab to eat the dry food was to stuff it in a king ball. So I started just cooking up a chub of ground turkey and mixing that with their canned food, which they enjoyed with gusto. Then last weekend I found an old book in my bookshelves called The Whole Pet Diet which reminded me that I used to cook for my dogs years ago. There are a few great recipes in the book for both dogs and cats.

    I’ve done like everyone else and smashed up or processed the food. They really enjoy it. One of the recipes calls for chopped garlic and kelp powder. So you really can feed garlic to your dogs. Tonight I added barley. The recipe calls for both barley and rolled oats. I’m not going to share the recipe here unless it is ok with the moderator. You’ll just have to google Spot’s Stew or The Whole Pet Diet.

    Also the author suggests brown rice only and not a lot. Large quantities of rice could have arsenic in it. No white rice. If you are dealing with diahrrea, try pureed pumpkin, its really good for your dog. I give my dogs a couple of tablespoons daily.

  20. I have a 13 year old shitzpoo. She is about 20lbs. She has these sores on here that fester and bleed. They look like ingrown hair sores but uncertain. She also has awlfull bad breath and her teeth are bad. I have seen two vets and they won’t pull her teeth because of her age. I have her on BLUE SENIOR and have to wet it for her to eat in which she is not very excited about eating. I started with hamburg and brown rice and her kibble wet….yummy for her she loved it. Does anyone know if it is safe to have her teeth removed at such an advanced age? The sore she has are awfull!! Thank you for all your post great ideas on making her food.

    • I had a really old chihuaha that had most of her teeth removed and her gums got tough enough that she could still chew hard kibble – so, not sure why the vet wouldn’t pull her teeth.

    • My 16 yr old shihtzu just had teeth removed. No reason your vet shouldnt do it! My girl has a very bad heart murmur so they didnt want to put her under anesthesia, they used a local anesthesia and removed the teeth. She wasnt in pain and it was much lower risk.

    • Sylvie Oathout says:

      U can always wet down the food to soften. I have an old Yorkie. She had teeth pulled
      She had a sore under her eye that would not heal but after that tooth was pulled the sore did heal. The vet said a dog will find a way to eat. Good luck

  21. My Dog, is a staffie Terrier, she is literally shredding herself around the Mouth..My Pug, does a “Dance” trying to chew her tail..I am at my wits end and feeling very helpless on how to help them..they are both older dogs and I can’t stand to see them suffer anymore..I have heard Chicken isn’;t good for Dogs, But maybe it will be better than the Gravy Train I give them now..Money is an issue, But I am going to try and make their food..We are Vegetarian and they gladly eat Veggies…I hope this works, I have thought the only way to end their suffering is to end them, But I am not capable of carrying that out, I also have a Male Staffie and a Pug mix, who are also itching..I am going to try this with my four Dogs..I hope it helps..Thanks for the recipe…

    • It sounds like your dog has fleas or mange mites. I treat mange mites with topical ivermectin, it also kills heartworm microfilaria. Use imidacloprid for fleas. Apply topically and it lasts over a month.
      Each of these are cheap and effective. Buy them in bulk as generic cattle dip ivermectin or termidor termite killer and its only a couple pennies a dose. you have to cut it yourself and some breeds are susceptible to ivermectin- it’s rare but limited to specific breeds. Otherwise the safety margin is huge.

  22. Do you give your dogs any vitamins or supplements? If not I’d check with your vet to make sure this stuff is good for long-term use. On another note, great job on: making a tasty meal for your doggies :)

  23. My family is vegan…can my three small dogs eat tofu,veggies whole grains. I would put eggs and cottage cheese if needed. Would really like some healthy food. Please help…

    • I am sorry but I am not qualified to answer that. You really should consult your veterinarian and make sure that your pups wouldn’t be missing out on any nutrients if they follow that diet. Good luck!

    • Vdog is a vegan dog kibble that isnt soy based.. AAFCO approved. Have tried it with my dogs and they did well on it. There are also vegan dogfood recipes on youtube.. Vegedog is a nutrient supplement that can be used in combination with a beans/rice/vege diet — but I wouldnt recommend tofu since soy can trigger allergic reactions in some dogs.

  24. Glad to see you are making fresh food for your dogs. I feed both prey model raw and homecooked. You have a good base, but organ meat is very important–especially liver. Add a little chicken/beef liver to this recipe. You really need to add calcium too. One suggestion for that is to add a half teaspoon of ground eggshell per one pound of meat.

    very long time until they are like mush–no longer brittle.

  25. I’ve been making my dogs’ food for a couple of years now. I was using 2 lbs of ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish- whatever’s on sale) with 1 lb of mixed veggies and about 3 cups of brown rice- this makes 5 day’s worth for my lab cross. But recently I’ve read that brown rice has very high levels of arsenic and this seems like a bad idea if it’s the only grain she gets. The white rice has less, but my dog got constipated because of the lack of fiber. I know I can add pumpkin to the mix to add fiber, but I think I’d like to try barley or oats. Is there enough fiber in pearl barley (which has been polished like white rice), or should I get the barley or oats from the feed store?

  26. Both my dogs loved your recipe. I had heard that white rice is easier for them to digest. What do you think?

  27. hi there just wanted to add that we make a similar recipe using chopped kangaroo meat which is SUPER cheap and my dogs love it.
    -I add the veggies towards the end of the rice cooking to preserve their vitamins.
    - I use arborio (risotto) rice and cook by absorption to save power (heat the rice and stock to boiling, put a lid on it and remove from heat. wait 15 minutes. Repeat with more stock until the rice is cooked.
    -the stock is not salted, just stuff I make week to week from the bones of the meat/fish/poultry I bought. There is always more than I can use stashed away in the freezer
    - some frozen veggies have onions, bad for dogs!
    -add garlic, dogs love it.
    I usually reserve the raw and cooked fat from day to day cooking, eg trimming raw chicken of skin and fat, dripping from the roasting pans, olive oil that’s been used for frying fish and use that to cook the meat because kangaroo has too little fat on its own.
    sometimes I pop a little surprise in the rice ball, like a whole sardine or a bit of leftover bbq. = happy doggie.

    • Kangaroo? When I saw that I knew you had to be from Australia :) Never knew it was even commercially sold. Guess you learn something new every day!

  28. I used pork neck bones .99 a pound boiled them and cleaned the meat off then using the broth as. Two cups with three cups water……will this be to fatty using the broth from the cooking of the pork neck bones…..its diluted with the water i think it should give it good flavor…….but dont want dogs with diarea

  29. Harmonious1 says:

    I tried to read all the comments, I really did. I see this same argument at almost every site where someone mentions how they are feeding their dog. The nitty gritty (in my opinion) is you can give your money to the grocery store or you can give it to the vet, and have sick, smelly dogs. I feed raw chicken (with the bones still safely ensconced inside the meat), and I’m not stupid enough to give them meat that stinks (although they would love it even more). I take it back to the store and get my money back if I would be afraid to eat it myself. In the twenty some odd years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had a sick dog from the food. We hardly ever have to see the vet. My dogs grow old and die form old age. (Still so sad.) No fleas, no ticks, no allergies and hot spots, no smelly dogs with brown teeth. They shed annually, and they smell like dirty socks because they are outside a lot. But they are healthy and happy and I love em. They occasionally get a piece of bread or a cold biscuit or a baked sweet potato if I’m feeling super indulgent.
    When you first put an older dog on this diet, they go through a lot of changes. They get a completely new coat, their teeth turn white, and they detox all the crap they’ve been eating for all the years they’ve been fed dog food. This can be a rough period because they also have to learn how to safely eat meat with bones and their immune systems and stomachs need time to start working properly again. So you have to go slow and be patient. There will be vomit. Some dogs, you have to hold the meat in your hand until they understand to crunch it and not swallow it whole.
    We all can do whatever we think is best for our own dogs and our own pocket books. It doesn’t make anyone a bad person if they don’t feed the way we feed.
    Just one thing though… Don’t listen to the dog food ads, though. They all lie, and all they care about is their bottom line.

  30. the world has only been around fo r6000 years so none of this nonsense about being 30000 years domesticated is wrong.

    • Christopher says:

      I simply cannot believe there is anyone so ignorant today as to believe the world is only 6000 years old! If you care enough about your dogs to look for a proper nutritionally complete diet for them, then you should care enough about them to recognize that their genetic history (which deeply influences what they should eat) is derived over many thousands of years more than 6000!

  31. And the battle continues.
    I fed my dogs raw for several months, both slimmed down, had really shiny coats and plenty of energy. Then we had necessary budget cuts. So now they get kibble with something added like yogurt, leftover meat, stew, soups, eggs, whatever.
    This is a decent starter recipe. I would add more protein and ditch the brown rice as it’s harder to digest (Jasmine rice is just as healthy). This recipe is also low on necessary fat. I give my old dogs a piece of fried bacon, peanut butter in a Kong, etc, for treats. Even the fat from chicken is a good fat for dogs. Do your own research, decide what is best for you and your pooch.

  32. For my little 28 lb schnoodle I’ve decided to make her food because the vet said she was a “big” girl. Plus I read the ingredients in kibbles and realized so much corn added.
    She loves cooked broccoli so for a fast meal I add a portion to dry dog food. For homemade I will cook moose or caribou burger ( hunters in the fam). I cook 1/3 cup each of quinoa, brown rice, and steel cut oats. And add cooked broccoli and 2Tbs of chia seeds soaked in water. I substitute salmon (fishers in the family too). I cook it and remove the bones, but use the skin . I also use chicken if i have left overs. As far as ratios, I use less of the grain, but plenty of broccoli and meat. I keep the meat separate and add to grains before dishing it out. She doesn’t much for dry dog food any longer . Add the broccoli and shell eat it. She hasn’t lost weight yet but have decided to for her size to give her 3/4 cup for breakfast and dinner. We’ ll see.

  33. I have had labs for the past 25years. My first was diagnosed with pancreas and liver issues so serious I was advised to put her down. I switched to cooking all her food, mostly boiled chicken w/ rice (white) and frozen mixed veggies pureed in the blender. I gave her doggie vitamins and would vary the recipe with cooked eggs, yogurt, brewers yeast, and cottage cheese. I had done some research and this mixture, with some variations worked well for her. She was 10when I started and
    lived another 3GOOD years. Now I am starting again with my current 13 year old lab. She has suddenly slowed down dramatically. I wanted to use brown rice, but
    am concerned about the reports of arsenic.

  34. Another super way to save money is to either find a meat packer during deer season and let him know you want a whole deer ground, or you can even order whole or half carcasses of pork or beef and have it cut any way you want. There are usually hunters who want to kill their limit but dont have an outlet for all the meat. You can even request the bones be saved for raw or cooked for broth, whatever you do. Deer is definitely the cheapest way to go, and talk about free range, grass fed, organic meat. It is the ultimate. Plus you get it in perfectly proportioned and frozen packages. We just had one of our older sheep done, and now i have about pounds of mutton…processing cost, 40 dollars. Beef and pork are about 50 cents a pound to process and package…around here, anyway.

  35. For those of you who want to figure if homemade is cheaper than commercial you MUST figure in your time as well. Overhead also figures into the cost of a bag of dog food. (Manufacturing costs such as electricity, machinery, rent/mortgage on factory, insurance & payroll for employees, taxes, insurance on facilities, maintenance and replacement of machinery, shipping to distributor, distributor shipping to each store, etc.). And even though you are paying these costs when you buy ingredients for the homemade food, it will probably be cheaper in the long run. Besides, you can also eat (just not the same recipe) the ingredients yourself.

    • Why? Why MUST I factor in my time? It’s my time. It costs ME exactly nothing to cook for my dog if I choose, in terms of expenses due to time spent. Yes, it will cost in ingredients, electricity, etc. but my time is my own, and if I choose to use that time to cook for a pet or for my family, or for both combined, that is my choice. Not sure if it pencils out to be cheaper with the cost of vegetables and even starches in Alaska, where I live, but I know what’s in there this way.

  36. RE: rice for dogs– there are high levels of arsenic in US grown white rice, unless you know for sure it is California organic. But even US organic white rice is still higher than Thailand organic, and some other non-US organic sources. Check the recent Consumer’s Reports article….pesticides used on cotton crops got into the soil, and now the FDA recommends (human) babies only get rice cereal a few times a week instead of daily! Rice milk from the US has high levels, too. Brown rice is definitely higher than white, so between the arsenic issues & digestability, no brown rice for my dogs! So now I am using potato (white & sweet) and kernal corn– my pups haven’t had the superfine, ground corn in commercial kibble, so the allergy problem is minimized. Also, ANY allergenic food ground too fine can cause an allergy, by getting into the bloodstream where antigens react to it. So when food processing, don’t go too ground up!

  37. when making the homemade dog food. How much does it cost per inregards to the store bought brands? Are we saving money when making our own?


    • I have 2 small dogs and make their food – basic recipe costs 3.30 for 1 lb ground turkey, 80 cents for 1 lb mixed frozen veggies, 50 cents for 1 c brn rice. I use a mixture of low sodium chicken broth 99 cents and water. This makes about 2 weeks of food, 4 oz each per day- compared to the canned cost of $2.00 per day, – homemade is about 47 cents per day

  38. This is similar to my recipe at home. But with the three large dogs, they enjoy home-made broths, left over fats, pre-cooked left over veggies and raw meat and bones as much as possible. To add oatmeal in with the rice.

    I tire of fixing their food. So, every now and then I will buy a bag of dog food to take a break and only feed them some scraps. When I set the dog food out they provide a look as if saying, “Are you kidding me?”

    I find ensuring the protein helps stabilize the bulky carbohydrates. The protein, as in humans, in correct proportions negates the sugar peak by making my dogs more aggressive and active. As most of you know, being physically active helps regulate blood sugar. These are not indoor dogs. In fact, their reaction to meat is really annoying, but it’s good for them.

    And their coats…. beautiful (from the meat and fats).

  39. Protein and Carbohydrates are essential nutrients for dogs to be healthy and active. They can get this from rice, vegetables and meat. The key to feeding your dog is to achieve a balanced diet. You need to be more creative in preparing for their food in order to stress out variety so they don’t get used to it. When it comes to budget, you will save more in cooking your dog food if you know the ingredients that are necessary and you know where to buy them in a cheaper price.

  40. UCDavis University web site tells lots about making your own dog food. They do studies and out of 200 homemade dog food recipes, only 6 were acceptable. Some recipes were from vets. They will not give the recipes because different dogs need different recipes. The problem with lots of recipes are the dogs are not getting the vitamins and stuff they need that commercial dog foods are required to put into their food. I will use both homemade and commercial food until I get this all figured out.

  41. For gosh sake to NOT feed your dog raw pork. Could end up with a BAD problem doing that. I suspect that dogs have been eating cooked meat about as long as humans have been cooking it. Dogs evolved as our pets. Wolves did not, for the most part. So I suspect that a dog’s nutritional requirements are closer to what we eat that what wolves eat. That is my theory anyway. Based on what I know and common sense.

  42. Amy Shakalis says:

    I have seen dogs that were fed a raw diet. They looked horrid. Coats were dull and lackluster, not to mention the real threat of bacteria. I have made my own dog food and my dog loves it…his stools are firm, his coat shines, and he is full of energy. Basic ingredients are: a pound of hamburger, boiled to get the fat and germs out, A cup of whole grain oats(cooked) 1 raw apple, 1 cooked sweet potato, a couple tablespoons of olive and coconut oil, and 1 cup of peas….cooked with the oats. I Do supplement with small amounts of high quality dry dog food. This pretty much meets all his requirements and the proof is in the dog. Duke is 10 yrs old and he looks amazing.

  43. Amy Shakalis says:

    Ooops! I forgot to add: I also add one cup of non fat plain yogurt to the mix…..

  44. Anthony says:

    Could I make dog food using canned chicken or tuna and adding blended veggies?

    • I don’t see why not, other than it might be a bit pricier in the end. But if this is more convenient for you,it should be fine. Just check to see that the canned chicken doesn’t have a lot of salt or preservatives …

  45. It seems people do not take into consideration that cancer and tumors are now the leading cause of death to our dogs. After losing my own to two massive tumors and re-evaluating everything, I quickly learned that the flea treatments that get applied directly to the dog are highly toxic. They do not help the dog or his immune system, no surprise since the toxins must go into the blood before it helps destroy the flea. Two add to that the fact that cancers feed on sugars and carbs, then it makes sense to be careful how much you are adding to the dogs food. Dogs’ are not set up to digest grains, as they have slow digestive systems which digest meats over many hours, so things like grains and corn are not in the best interest for the dog. There are many options for feeding your dog more nutritious food than what is available at your grocery store. There are also non-toxic flea treatments that are highly effective at killing fleas and repelling them from your dog. To keep your dog healthier and give them a longer life, I highly recommend people consider these before taking the easy, more “convenient” route and paying later in veterinary bills and heartache. I am very happy I have chosen to do so.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I put our cooked dog food in muffin tins to freeze it. Each muffin tin holds 1/2 cup.

  47. My 9 year old Jack Russell has been refusing to eat for many days. We have tried dry food, canned food and a mixture of both. He refused to eat. I found this recipe this morning and went shopping. He literally wolfed a 1/2 cup serving down instantly. Thank you!

  48. Sophie van Coller says:

    I find your blog quite interesting. I have aFoxterrier and a smal mixed breed dog, and I found hat they do prefer homemade food above commercial food. I will really try some of your recipes. Thankyoiu.

  49. Anonymous says:

    dogs are not carnivores, cats are.

  50. Hey, thanks for your recipe. I applaud your foray into making your dog’s food; I’m doing the same thing, cause I don’t trust store bought anymore.

    Unfortunately, your recipe lacks many essential nutrients your beloved companions need to remain healthy. Commercial pet foods are formulated to provide adequate nutrients, but homemade dog food must contain a protein source, a carbohydrate source, sufficient vitamins and minerals, and some fat. Recipes need to add oil, calcium, vit. D, E, iodine, plant oils if your not using dark meat of chicken and other stuff.

    A good site I found was:

    I also found a veterinary food supplement recommended by Vet schools (UC Davis, Ohio State University, and others) for Balance It. At 50$ for a pound, Balance It is a bit pricey for me now so I’m going to purchase my last bag of dog food and do full research on making my dog food.

    Thanks for your recipe.

  51. There isn’t much nutritional value in white rice.

  52. True, but it is easier to digest. Dogs have a smaller digestive track than humans, in order to absorb nutrients from brown rice you need slower longer system like humans. So the benefit for the dog for either rice is the same but white is much much easier for them to digest

  53. Dogs need the rice for carbs. White rice is an easily digestible carbohydrate which makes it a good source of energy. This is better for older dogs and active dogs.

  54. Brown rice is much healthier; white rice is like plain white sugar and can contribute to yeast issues. Most people undercook their brown rice. If you cook it properly, with 1-1/2 times the water than white rice, you can avoid the digestion issue. Brown rice retains the micronutrients, essential oils and fiber and stabilizes blood sugar.

  55. I’ve been researching the debate about rice in dog foods and found that it is basically a filler and grain that dogs don’t need. I am putting garbanzo beans in my dog food, which replaces the rice. I use organic, so they don’t get the sugar that’s in regular canned beans. My dogs do not get sick anymore, as they had with a premium canned dog food with rice.

  56. Dogs are carnivores, they do not need grain, beans, veggies, etc. In the wild, dogs/wolves ingest only very tiny amounts of anything other than meat, bone, organs, etc. This idea that 20,000-30,000 years of being around humans has caused their digestive systems to evolve is ridiculous because, 1. as another poster pointed out, commercial style dog food has only been around for about 100 years, 2. 20,000+ years is nothing in evolutionary terms and 3. evolution only occurs if a portion of the population doesn’t live long enough to breed/produce offspring. In the latter case, understand that unhealthy and improperly nourished animals of any kind can still live long enough to reproduce, especially dogs, which do have a robust digestive system. That doesn’t mean that grains and veggies are correct for them, it simply means that they are able to survive long enough to make babies. Evolutionary theory would rule that in that case, there is no catalyst for evolving to a different diet. In order to have evolved, there had to be a fairly massive death rate (before old enough to reproduce) among the population that didn’t eat grains. Possible, but unlikely.

  57. What about 1/2 white and 1/2 brown? Would that be better? Also, does a sprinkle of “nutritional yeast” work okay for them?

  58. Anonymous says:

    Jodie yes things like brewers yeast will help add extra nutrients

  59. Anonymous says:

    Not true. Dogs are omnivore to a great extent. When wild, dogs take down their prey and then go for the stomach contents. It is necessary in their diet and the broken down vegetation in the prey’s gut sustains the dog.

  60. dogs eat grass

  61. If we are going to talk about evolution, keep in mind that more and more living things are surviving that would not without medical intervention and environments created by humans. This being said, it is inappropriate for my cocker spaniel’s digestive tract to be related to a wolves, just as it is inappropriate for a human brain today to be equally compared to a neanderthal. Yes time table is off, but please grasp the concept. There is no longer an opportunity for certain proteins and genes to naturally be ruled out of a gene pool among domesticated animals (no longer opportunity for dogs with less robust digestive systems to be killed out). An experiment connected domestic traits with seemingly unrelated genes (coat patterns). The silver fox experiment showed that foxes that who displayed affection to humans had a universal coat pattern and ones that remained hostile did not.

    When you change genes (by breeding) you are not just changing coat patterns and temperament, you are changing metabolism, brain chemistry, and how the body DIGESTS FOOD. Enzymes, the ecosystem of GI tract (good bacteria/bad bacteria balance) is completely different than the digestive tract of a wolves based on the simple fact that the genes were changed.

    The fact that enzymes impact digestion can be witnessed when some people “flush” from alcohol, and others don’t. Some people are missing an enzyme to digest alcohol.

    Sooo if someone can lay out the biology/chemistry/genetic reasons WHY the average domesticated dog has the same nutritional needs and digestion abilities as a wolf then I will be more than happy to change my mind.


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