Our Homemade Dog Food Recipe

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.

Our Story

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 his 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

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.

The Recipe

You can watch a video of us making the recipe here.

Ingredients 

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 large boneless chicken breasts  or 4.5 to 5 pounds (approx. 3 packets) of ground chicken
4 eggs, still in shell, placed gently on top
Approximately 12 cups of water
3 cups of white or brown rice*
Nutri-Pet Nupro All Natural Supplement

*We include rice because Boogie has a sensitive stomach. Feel free to exclude it – we sometimes do.

Directions

In one very large pot, place the following items: sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, chicken breasts, eggs, and 6 cups of water. Cook on medium heat. The chicken should be cooked through, with the vegetables soft to the touch when done. 

In a separate pot, cook the rice with 6 cups of water. Start on high heat until the water begins to boil, and then reduce heat to a low simmer. 

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 with the rice. 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.

Extra Information

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!

 

Click here for more DIY homemade recipes for your dog!

We’ve been feeding Boogie and Marcelo homemade dog food for years. Here’s our homemade dog food recipe, and why we decided to make the switch.
About Boogie

Hi! This is our dog Boogie, the traveling pug. He's been on over 20 flights to three continents. We're here to show you how to travel with your dog. Join us as we take planes, trains, and automobiles to different parts of the world.

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Boogie

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68 Comments on “Our Homemade Dog Food Recipe”

  1. When ready to serve do you microwave it so it’s warm or keep in refrigerator after thawing so it’s cool?

    1. Either one works! My parents make the same recipe, and they always microwave it for their small dog. We feed them straight from the refrigerator, so the food is cool.

  2. You said Boogie was allergic to grain but you include 3 cups of brown rice in the recipe. Habe you guys had any problems with that?

      1. I was looking to buy that supplement but noticed there’s wheat, sugar, corn and unnamed by products in it. Wondering if this has effected your pups with grain allergies. I’d love to find a supplement without wheat, corn and sugar!

  3. I have been reading different recipes with either brown rice or white. The recipes with the white rice say that it is easier to digest than the brown. Have you come across the same info with your research?
    Thank you for sharing your information.

  4. We have a pug puppy 13 weeks old with a liver shunt I’m wondering if this recipe will help her. She is currently on normal commercial food tinned and dry. To help her we need a low protein recipe and have looked everywhere for ideas on what to feed her.

    1. Definitely consult your vet! Bring recipes you’ve found and see which one the vet thinks will be best. You may need to add in supplements, since it’s a puppy. I’ve found that people also have a lot of success with raw diets (when it comes to health issues). Let us know how it goes!!

  5. So can I switch the protein up, like fish or turkey or ground beef? Would the amount stay the same if I did?

    1. I’ve used chicken and turkey in the past. Check with your vet, but I think switching up the protein and using the same quantity should be fine! Be careful with certain pieces however (we used to put liver in the food and our vet told us to stop because it was too high in iron).

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  7. When you say 3 large chicken breasts, are you talking about with bones and how many lbs does it average? My little Chihuahua is just over 3lbs. How long do yo guess this batch would last me? Thanks

    1. Hi Donna!

      I would use ground chicken for your chihuahua, since it’s already in small pieces and will be easy for them to eat. This recipe lasts for almost 2 weeks and feeds both our pug and chihuahua, so you can half it and cook less if you’re only feeding one dog. Ask your vet before making the switch. Good luck!!

  8. Is there a special reason you boil the eggs with everything else? And do you discard the eggshells? I know some grind them into the food as well. Thank you for the recipe! I used to feed my Pomeranian for 2-3 years just homemade food but I did not make a big batch (and didn’t freeze anything) so I had to cook every 3 days. This grew tiresome and I decided that dog food can’t be all that bad, now he is so much chubbier on dog food so I want to switch back to homemade. I have a Maltese too now, and your post inspired me to feed them better, because they deserve better! I think your recipe will work for them since they are small too!

    1. Hi! So glad this was helpful for you 🙂 There’s no special reason about the eggs, we just do it like that so we can throw everything into the same point and do it all together. If you want to do it separately, that’s fine too. We do discard the eggshells. We shared a video of our process – check it out, linked above!

  9. Oh also what Tupperware do you use and how many of them? How long does it take to defrost the food? Thank you!

    1. Hi! We use a Tupperware set that we bought from Ikea to store the food, and we feed our dogs in regular stainless steel dog bowls (never plastic!). It takes a few hours to defrost one tupperware of food (when we notice one is close to being out, we grab another from the freezer and put it in the sink to defrost).

    2. We use a Tupperware set we bought at IKEA, but any Tupperware will do! Defrosting takes a few hours. We usually do it overnight or leave it in the sink during the day.

  10. I enjoy cooking homemade food for my doggies.It is a must for my Maltese! Just made a great mixture but forgot the brown rice! I can make some tomorrow and add it to their bowls. Can I get away this week without it.It’ full of wonderful things they enjoy!

  11. You keep saying to “ask your vet first’. Veterinarians are taught virtually NOTHING about pet nutrition in vet school( and the h onest ones will tell you that). They only know how to recommend the specialty prescription foods that their practice sells(at a big markup). Look at the crap and preservatives in that stuff. READ THE LABELS.

    1. Hi! It really depends on the vet. Our vet is very knowledgeable about dog diets. She helped us a lot along the way, and even told us when a prior recipe had too much protein for our two small dogs. Hopefully people are able to do research themselves, but also benefit from their vets input (it certainly helped us). If a vet keeps pushing expensive prescription food on a healthy dog, hopefully the pet parent will realize it’s time for a new vet :).

  12. Sophie, our 13 year old Beagle/Basset stopped eating her dog food about two months ago. After spending over $100 on different dog foods, including one made with tripe (ugh), she still wouldn’t eat anything but ground beef or turkey. As a last resort, I googled home-made dog food recipes and found this one. I made it this afternoon and gave her some for dinner. She snarfed it down, licked her bowl and asked for more. I am so glad I found you.

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  14. Do you have to use supplements too?? My pugs just got 1, I would rather make my own food for her. I have been feeding her dry food Step up to naturals, she doesn’t chew it so I soak put boiling water in so it soaks it up and it’s soft, she also doesn’t seem to drink much so I make sure there is quite abit of water in. Am I doing it right?.

    1. Hi! Yes, we feed them Nupro as a supplement (there is a link in the post). We also give them Golden Paste (I will be sharing a post soon with the recipe!). The food is usually quite moist, but it’s also totally find to add water to it. Let me know how it goes!

  15. Hi
    I love this recipe. Just made it for first time for my two new rescue babies. 🙂 They are some sort of small wire haired terrier mutts and I can’t wait to see how they like it 😉

  16. How do you know how much to feed your dogs? We have a 2 1/2 year old pug and a 15 year old YorkiePoo.

  17. Hi in love with your homemade doggie food/golden paste/recipe video! I am making the switch for my pug to home made food and your site has been so helpful! I noticed that you say you add nupro to their meals every day but also have said coconut oil/golden paste. Just wondering if you always give them coconut oil or golden paste with their meals or if that is an occasional thing. Thanks!

    1. Hi Abby! So great you’ve found it helpful 🙂 We add golden paste sporadically – I make a batch and use it for myself (in my coffee!) and the dogs, and when it’s done, I make another batch when I get around to it. The Nupro doesn’t have turmeric or coco oil in it, so there’s no overlap. Hope that’s helpful!

  18. Hi
    Love your site and recipe. I have two black pugs, JoDee is 13 and weighs 21#. Olie is six and weighs 27 #, like Boogie did when you got him. Want to start cooking for them. How much of this recipe did you feed to Boogey to get him to loose weight? They have been on Wellness Core reduced fat for a year. He has only lost 1 pound. (He was 28, yikes) ?. He has an arthritic auto immune disease and I need to get this weight off him. I exercise him but because of his disease, we have to go easy. Any help is greatly appreciated. I am also going to make your golden paste.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Lori! I feed Boogie 2x a day (breakfast and dinner). He gets about 1.5 cups per meal. I eyeball it at this point, but it’s about that. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!!

  19. I know u said u keep in the freezer. How much (amount) would u say each container is in the freezer, how big do u portion it for the freezer? How long does it last once it’s in the fridge.

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  22. Hi there, I have just started my pug on this diet, thank you so much she loves it.
    How much weight did Boogie lose?

  23. Oh my gosh read all articles amazing…..store brought dog food has quite a bit between grain corn meal meal / fillers etc…..then grain free suppliment other indg….amazing / read several reviews how home made dog food I’m all for Healthier pets……have 3 yr old pug weights in 26 lbs. Vet said excellent health but had to lose 8 lbs…. / pug dogs are very strong bodies an prone to weight gain……/ I apply flex oil to face folds an rub into skin. She receives convenia injection spring an fall helps skin bacterial pimples…. best stuff pricy $ 75.00 per injection / She baths in coconut shampoo an condition helps an tablespoon flex oil in food……/ after reading all these articles going to homemake her food hopefully better quality food helps thanks great story

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  25. Hi, I have a question about the weight. I purchased three large chicken breasts, but the weight is only 2 1/2 pounds- as allowed to the four pounds or so of ground chicken you said to buy. Did I get the right amount and how much does it matter (it’s already in the pot ?)?

    1. If you’re using less protein, I’d use less of the other ingredients as well. But ultimately, it’s up to you! You can make whatever size batch you like.

  26. I can’t find info on your Golden paste, can you share please ? I’m just starting to cook for my 2 Cockapoos, my first batch is cooling. It was a crock pot recipe I found but want to try yours. My boys are brothers but one favors the Cocker side more and has a bit of a weight issue, he also is having itchy skin. Ive tried grain free foods but they didn’t help. Thanks, enjoy your fur babies !

  27. Pingback: How to Make Homemade Dog Food - with Video! - Boogie the Pug

  28. Nicely done, the recipe itself is considerably easy and takes very less time prepare it. And the making process is described in such manner which ensures that it only is being prepare for pet dogs only. Thank you again.

  29. Hi there! How many pounds would you roughly say this recipe made? I’m new to the homemade food for my dog and I’m trying to figure out my grocery list/

  30. I watched the video and just have a question about the water. You didn’t drain it, but it didn’t look like soup after. Does most of it evaporate?

  31. I’m starting my 1yr old Yorkie(Harper) 8 year old pug(Harlie Jean) & 7 year old Chihuahua(Mia-Peea) on homemade diet due to Harper & Harlie’s food allergies.

  32. Awesome!
    My dogs love chickpeas, can’t wait to try this 🙂
    I’m glad you’re using supplements with your meals, I also add Azestfor for my pups.
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  34. Hi there, just made the recipe for my two little boys Basil (Moodle) and Gimli (pug). Both were waiting in the kitchen while it cooked haha and inhaled it when they ask. No tentative sniffing first. So big hit!!

  35. Hi there! Our Shih Tzu Gidgit has elevated liver enzyme levels, do you think she’d benefit from this recipe to help lower those enzyme levels because we can’t afford a liver biopsy & liver ultrasound? She is on prescription can dog food that’s $3.98 a can and she uses 1/2 can a day. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi 👋🏽 I would absolutely speak to a vet about this, they will be able to point you in the right direction in terms of diet and supplements. Best of luck to you and Gidgit!

  36. I recently found your site. We have an 11 yr old pug. He was extremely over weight when we rescued him and is around 20 lbs right now. I’m curious what your vet says is a good weight for your pug because ours wants us to put a little more weight back on him. With all the news about not feeding your dogs peas, potatoes, lentils etc we recently started feeding him both a little home cooked items and started cutting back on the good kibble we now have him on. We want to switch over to mainly home cooked meals. When we rescued him, I think the previous owner fed him 3 times a day because he always acted like he was starving. He would go to his bowl and flip it with his paw. Like he was ringing the dinner bell to remind us to feed him. So we went with feeding him small portions 3 times a day. Now that he is at what I think is a good weight, I would like to get him adjusted to 2 meals a day to make it easier for us and family that watch him when we travel. Do you think that once we get him switched over, he will have that feeling of being full and won’t want to eat 3 times a day? I also wonder if maybe we are not feeding him enough. Before we started on cooked foods, we went by the portion amount on the bag of food which is a lot less then what you feed your pug. Do you have any tips on making the switch to 2 meals a day?
    Thanks for your input?

  37. Greetings!
    I reviewed all the questions and can’t find where you list calories anywhere? I know by weight what to feed my pugs according to advice on the dry food bag but… no idea how much of your recipe I should feed my two butterballs.

    Boris is 13 and Natasha is 10 and they aren’t as active as I would like but, I am disabled and not as active as I would like to be either! They both need to lose some weight. Boris is very large (2x normal pug size) and weighs about 30lbs. Vet says get him down to 25lbs. Tasha is a rescue that was underfed and eats like she still can’t get enough. She weighs 22lbs. Vet says 16-17 would be much more ideal.

    Boris grazes and has never been a pig but, Tasha will overeat and if her dish is empty she mopes all day.

    Thanks for your help!

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