Making Your Own Dog Food

Feeding your dog the best diet you can will keep him healthier. Statistics show he will live longer than he would if given the typical American dog food diet. The typical American diet for a dog is dry kibble it’s packed full of preservatives, food coloring, foods unfit for human consumption even drugs from euthanized animals. Learning what a healthy diet is will help keep your vet bills lower and your companion by your side for a longer period of time.

A raw organic diet is considered to be best. I have used Nature’s Variety and more companies are making a raw organic food available for pets. Nature’s Variety comes prepared and frozen. It can be purchased in 2 lb. single chubs, 3 lb. bags of medallions (medallion = 1 oz.), 6 lb. bags of patties (patty = 8 oz) and 12 llb. cases of chubs. A 10 # dog serving is about 3.7 oz. If you choose to feed medallions, give 3 ½. A patty would be a little less than ½ for a 10 # dog. Nature’s Variety offers lamb, duck, chicken, turkey, beef and even rabbit.

1 oz. of Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Beef for Dogs and Cats = 65 calories. The ingredients are: Beef, Ground Beef Bone, Beef Liver, Beef Hearts, Beef Kidney, Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseeds, Chicken Eggs, Montmorillonite Clay, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Kelp, Salmon Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Persimmons, Olive Oil, Duck Eggs, Pheasant Eggs, Quail Eggs, Inulin, Rosemary Extract, Sage, Clove, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid.

I use the above list of ingredients as a guideline when making my own dog food. If you do not know what an ingredient is, let the internet tell you, enter the word in your search bar. Example: What is Mixed Tocopherols? The answer is vitamin E and is good to include in the recipe or food you chose to purchase for your pet. To check dog food ingredients online just enter pet food direct in the search bar and take a look at the different brands’ ingredients you are considering.

Keep in mind the activity level and age of your dog. More active dogs need more calories. Older dogs need less fat and protein. Lamb would be a better choice instead of beef with a dog that needs fewer calories. A rotation diet help prevent allergies from forming to one food type. Feed tuna then chicken then beef or some other combination.

To make your own dog food a food processor is very helpful. If making large batches have freezer space available. Only store the homemade dog food in the refrigerator for 3 days or less to avoid bacteria. The advantage of making your own dog food is that it is fresher, has limited or no preservatives and results in a healthier diet for your dog.

The dog food should be about 40 % meat, 30 % vegetables and 30 % starch to ensure a well balanced diet. The recipe below is for 1 lb mixture. The recipe equals about 4.3 servings for a 10 # dog. Purchase a fish scale and use the hook to spoke a hole in a plastic bag and hang to measure amounts. Simply put the ingredients in the bag, hang the bag from the scale and weigh. Toss the bag.

Basic Recipe
To figure 40 % protein, take 16 oz. and divide by 10. Take 1.6 * 4 = (40%) = 6.4 oz. of protein. You can choose organ meat (liver, heart or gizzards), lamb, chicken, turkey, tuna (fish), eggs, venison (deer) or mix a couple of different meats together. Weigh 6.4 oz of protein, use the food processor to ground the meat and lightly brown it. I choose not to use pork since it is one of the meats that can be full of parasites and needs to be cooked fully.

You can choose to mix all the ingredients together and bake it like a meat loaf instead of browning. It is healthier to only brown the meat and mix in the remaining ingredients to keep more enzymes alive. The reason for cooking is to avoid bacteria like salmonella and parasites. I cook store bought meats since I do not have control over how it was handled. I trust Nature’s Variety and feed it raw as directed on the label.

To figure 30 % of vegetables (shredded), take 16 oz. and divide by 10. Take 1.6 * 3 (30%) = 4.8 oz. of vegetables. Lightly steam the vegetables. Choices can be carrots, broccoli, peas, beans, spinach, and zucchini or combination of any. Put all vegetables through the food processor to make the vegetables more digestible. Dogs can break down meats better than plants due to their digestive system.

To figure 30 % starch, take 16 oz. and divide by 10. Take 1.6 * 3 (30%) = 4.8 oz. of starch.
Choose brown rice, oatmeal, barley, oats, grains, whole grain or vegetable pasta. Brown rice is healthier than white rice since it has not been stripped of its nutrition. Cook the starch as package directs. Potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes are from the night shade family and can cause health issues over time for your canine.

Other ingredients to mix in with the recipe are: ¼ cup – Cottage cheese, shredded cheese or peanut butter. Include ¼ cup of fruit, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, cranberries, bananas or combination. Use 1 teaspoon of brewer yeast or wheat germ, 1 clove garlic minced (use food processor) or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Choose1 tablespoon of one of the following oils: cod liver, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, or olive oil. Add 1 teaspoon oregano. Bone meal adds calcium, read the label to add the correct amount. Add in 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey. Milk thistle can be purchased in capsules, open a capsule and mix into recipe. Add water if necessary (can substitute chicken or beef broth).

Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Make mixture into patties or balls equal to one serving for your pet. I like to offer it twice a day so I make ½ servings. A 10 # dog would get about 4 servings from a 1 # mixture show above. I feed twice a day so I would make 8 ½ patties for a 10 # dog.

Let the dog food cool and serve dog food at room temperature. You do not want to burn your pet’s tongue or throat. Freeze what is left if you will not be feeding it within 3 days otherwise store in refrigerator. If you have frozen it let it thaw in the refrigerator over night.

There are foods to avoid. Do not use soy products they cause health issues for canines. Chocolate can cause canine heart arrhythmias (irregular beat) and tachycardia (heart beating too fast). Raisins/grapes can cause acute kidney failure in dogs. The following ingredients are dangerous to your pooch: nutmeg, caffeine (coffee, tea), raw eggs, onions, macadamia nuts, fruit pits, yeast dough, mushrooms, or other moldy foods.

Corn is difficult to digest. If you use corn you should notice that your pet’s stools are larger and that means the corn wasn’t adsorbed (digested). If purchasing a dog food and corn is listed on the ingredients label as one of the first three ingredients I chose a different brand. I use the same rule with soy.

When switching from dry kibble or canned food to a homemade diet, it is important to do it slowly. Start by mixing it in with your dog’s current food. It is best to feed 2 to 4 times per day. This keeps your dog’s blood sugar level and prevents bloating. Dogs with certain health issues (thyroid) may not require as much food.

I leave out dry food as snack and I want my dog to like to eat dry food. If your dog ever needs surgery and required to stay that is when it needs to eat the most. Conventional vets will not feed a raw diet to your pet. Most vet businesses do not have the freezer or time to feed the raw food. All the other dogs/cats patients want it. When it is healing this is the time when your pet needs to eat. Only a few boarding kennels will feed a different diet and it will cost more to have it done. That is why I keep dry food available for my dogs.

Love does not equal food. Do not over feed your dog or you will develop health issues you are trying to avoid.

Ardy Livermore is a Minnesota breeder of bichons, shih tzus and poodles (toy, tiny and teacup). Uses the better healthier method of the grate/crate kenneling instead of the traditional kenneling or puppy pads. View video on the advantages of using grate/crate method at

Ardy teaches the alpha method of dog training and shows you how to have a well behaved dog. Ardy shows you how to keep your pet healthy as naturally as possible. Ardy’s website has videos to show you easy methods of care for you pooch and articles to help you know what to look for when purchasing a dog.

Author of Ardy’s Professional Tips for Companion Dogs. The eBook can be puchased at website. Her eBook is packed full of great information to save time, effort and money. You can sign up for free tips and learn the secrets.

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