A few years ago, we made the switch from store bought dog kibble to homemade dog food. It was an easy decision to make, but it required a lot of trial and error, a vet visit, and tons of research. But, once we fully converted, there was no looking back! It was the absolute right decision for our dogs’ health, our lifestyle, and our wallet. Here’s our homemade dog food recipe, and how we did it.
You can see a video of our recipe here, if you’d like.
Before we get started, it’s important to point out that we developed a recipe that works for Boogie and Marcelo. If your dog is a different weight, size, or breed, they’ll require different ingredients and measurements. Always consult your vet before making the switch and finalizing the recipe that works for you.
When we adopted Boogie, he was overweight (a whopping 27lbs!), had frequent ear infections, and lots of face fold irritation. He was only a year old, and already had health issues.
Many people told us that it was due to his breed, and that pugs have health problems we would just have to learn to deal with. This didn’t sit well with us, and we knew there were things we could do to improve the situation.
Boogie was used to a diet of generic dog kibble. The first thing we did was to try out better food.
We bought him organic dog food brands, after researching what was on the market, like Wellness Brand and Newman’s Own.
We went to the vet and realized that Boogie was allergic to grain, so we bought grain free options that were high in protein and fatty acids, like Wellness Core.
Boogie’s issues got a bit better, but he was still having trouble with his weight, despite plenty of exercise. And his folds, despite regular cleanings, still got funky.
Plus, his dog food had a huge list of ingredients that I could barely pronounce, it was expensive, and it seemed like every week new articles came out recalling different brands we thought were good.
Something had to change.
Reasons to Switch to Homemade Dog Food
• You Are What You Eat: The ingredients in Boogie and Marcelo’s kibble seemed to be in another language; they were impossible to read and we had no idea what we were feeding them. Making their food at home means we know exactly what we are feeding our dogs. We can guarantee that the ingredients we use are fresh and of good quality.
• Your Wallet Will Thank You: A healthier diet equals healthier dogs, making our trips to the vet less frequent. Once we switched to homemade food, Boogie’s weight went down and his ear and face fold infections stopped. Our vet visits became normal check ups, instead of rushed drop-ins for medicine and care. This was great for our now healthy pups, and great for our wallets too!
• Lighter Load: Finding specific brands and formulas might be simple in some locations, but harder in others. Prices also change. That means you’ll have to pack cans or bags of food if you’re planning to travel, adding extra bulk and weight to your luggage. Our grain free U.S. brand was tough to find while abroad, and super pricey. We eliminated this issue by using ingredients that can be found in most markets. We’re flexible too, so we can swap out ingredients if they are hard to find or too expensive in certain countries.
• No More Picky Eaters: Our two have no problem eating, but our neighbors dog played around with kibble and oftentimes left it untouched. When they made the switch, their dog suddenly welcomed breakfast and dinner, and no longer played with her food. Watching a picky eater suddenly gobble up their meal is rewarding! Your dog will thank you for it.
The Switch to Homemade Dog Food
Making the decision to make our dogs food was easy, but making the actual switch required work.
We began to research what a balanced dog diet consisted of, and which foods were best. We took things like breed, weight, and lifestyle into consideration when Googling for information.
For example, a super active large dog requires different things than an older, slower pup. There are also things like allergies, sensitive stomachs, and health conditions to take into account.
We used Google and YouTube for research, and took each recipe we developed to our vet to look over. This is super important – our first recipe had cow liver in it and was too protein rich, which can increase the workload on your dogs kidney and liver. An excess of nutrients that are unnecessary can sometimes be harmful.
Our vet checked over our dogs and did blood work with each recipe draft, and we went from there.
You can watch a video of us making the recipe here.
5 – 6 large sweet potatoes, cubed
4 – 6 carrots, sliced
1 – 2 small heads of broccoli, cut from the stalk and into pieces
1 cup of frozen peas
1 can of chickpeas
3-4 large boneless chicken breasts or 4.5 to 5 pounds of ground chicken
4 eggs, still in shell, placed gently on top
Approximately 6 cups of water
Nutri-Pet Nupro All Natural Supplement
Animal organ (usually liver or chicken hearts)
In one very large pot, place the following items: sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, chicken breasts, eggs, and 6 cups of water. The water should be at about the same level as the food items, or a bit over. Cook on medium heat. The chicken should be cooked through, with the vegetables soft to the touch when done.
Once cooked, let everything cool. Remove the eggs and shell them, then cut or crumble them into bits and put them back in the pot.
If you used chicken breasts, shred or chop the meat into small pieces and put it back in the pot. If you use ground chicken, you can skip this step.
Mix everything together. Since Marcelo is a very small dog (4lbs) with few teeth, we use an emersion blender or large spoon to mix everything together very well and get rid of chunks. If your dog is larger and can handle bigger pieces, this isn’t necessary.
When everything has cooled, it’s scooped into tupperware that we keep in the freezer. Defrost as needed and store in the refrigerator. This recipe lasts our two dogs about two weeks.
When serving, we add in Nutri-Pet Nupro All Natural Supplement, a mixture with balanced doses of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The amount to add depends on your dog’s weight, and is labeled on the container.
We cook any animal organ (usually liver or chicken hearts) separately in a pot, and store in the refrigerator. We sprinkle each serving of food with the organ bits.
Making your own dog food can seem difficult, but once you start the process you’ll see that it’s pretty easy. You can grab ingredients while doing your personal shopping, and throw things into a pot while cooking your own food.
It was a long process from start to finish at first, but it’s now second nature to us, and takes a fraction of the time. Making your dog’s health a priority will always pay off – a healthy dog is a happy dog!
Treats and Chews
Healthy dogs have a balanced diet, meaning they eat a range of good stuff. This recipe is the base for what we feed our dogs, but we add in new foods too, as a treat or supplement.
Great, all natural items we add to food or give as treats include:
- Salmon skin
- Quail eggs
- Hog ears and feet
- Fruit, like banana or apple
- Animal trachea
- Beef tripe