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How to Make DIY Dog Food From Scratch

Audrey is a medical transcriptionist, instructor, writer, photographer, and dog trainer who writes on a variety of topics.

Learn how to make dog food from scratch!

Learn how to make dog food from scratch!

How to Make Your Own Dog Food

If you are concerned about the fillers and additives that are going into your dog's food, here are some pretty simple methods for whipping up a healthy alternative for your dog. These recipes take minimal ingredients and are not hard to prepare.

Make sure that you follow the storage guidelines to keep them fresh. Most supermarkets now sell freshly made dog food that you can buy in the dairy case, and it costs a fortune. Here is an economical way to do it yourself.

All About Homemade Dog Food

Why make dog food from scratch? Because you are eliminating all the possible allergens and additives that are in so many of the pet foods available today. I know several people who have switched their dogs to homemade pet foods and they have seen a remarkable decrease in skin conditions and also improvement in bone and joint health, overall endurance, and exuberance.

There is no evidence to support that a raw diet is beneficial or recommended. Although, I know from experience that many breeders highly recommend it for certain breed dogs. I prefer my dogs to have cooked food products; however, there are many views on the subject. Ultimately, you have to research it and decide on what diet is best for your individual pet and likewise, even in the same household, one dog may thrive on one diet and another do poorly.

The only downside is that you have to prepare it—but most of the recipes are not that time-consuming and are highly nutritious. BirkDale Pet Mix is recommended for certain dogs with extreme health issues and is easily prepared by combining water with the mix and meat.

The rule of thumb for dog food recipes is they should be 1/3 protein (from meat, eggs, or dairy products) and 2/3 grains and vegetables.

Basic Dog Food Recipe #1 (Meat, Rice, and Vegetables)


  • 1 pound ground meat—antibiotic and hormone-free if you like. You can use beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, etc.
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 pound bag or an equivalent pound of mixed vegetables (I favor carrots, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes—I know people who use kale, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • 1-2 pounds of plain yogurt


  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet if you desire, and drain the fat. Set that aside.
  2. Steam vegetables in a vegetable steamer or steam in a pan with a veggie steamer device until tender. Remove from steamer and allow to cool a bit.
  3. Chop the vegetables to the desired size by hand or add vegetables to a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are coarsely chopped.
  4. Mix the chopped vegetables with the rice and ground meat.
  5. Store refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Basic Dog Food Recipe #2

First set of ingredients

  • 4 cups uncooked rice
  • 9 cups water
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Second set of ingredients

  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
  • 3 ounces liver, chopped fine
  • 8 ounces ground beef, chicken, lamb, turkey (you can buy any kind of meat whole and grind your own)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 cups vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc in any combo) chopped fine


  1. Combine the first set of ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil (rice through salt).
  2. Once the mixture is boiling, add the second batch of ingredients (milk through the 2 cups of vegetables).
  3. Stir, turn heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes until all water is absorbed.
  4. Spread out in flat containers, cool, and cut into 1/2 cup squares.
  5. When feeding, add cottage cheese or yogurt.

What You Should Never Feed Your Dog

  • Chocolate
  • Any candy containing the sweetener Xylitol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts and walnuts
  • Moldy foods
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard seeds
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Garlic (raw, cooked, and powdered)
  • Yeast dough

*List provided by AllRecipes Staff

The Other Side of the Coin—Advice From UC Davis

Sources for More Dog Food Recipes

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


whisperingsage on June 20, 2013:

I got tired of the very high priced meat based dog foods- we just can't afford it anymore, but I also can't afford for the deteriorating health on the corn based foods.

I add a vitamin powder.

The author doesn't think raw is needed, but I would encourage anyone to look up Pottenger's Cats. He did the research for a few years, and after the research was over, he also noted the type of weed growth in the cats' pens from their manure.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on April 15, 2013:

Thank you, Pet Artist~

Pet Artist on April 15, 2013:

Brilliant article and ideas!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on April 10, 2013:

Dogfond--good luck~~~ They sure make us jump through hoops sometimes but it's all worth it~

dogfond on April 10, 2013:

Very good recipes. My beagle is a picky eater and I'm running out of homemade recipes for her. I'm sure this will help.

Mark dos Anjos DVM from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 21, 2012:

Nice article and some great alternatives to the junk for sale at the supermarkets/pet stores. I am putting this on my twitter.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on April 01, 2011:

Thanks Whitney~!

WhitneyNZ from Christchurch, New Zealand on March 31, 2011:

Great recipes!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on April 22, 2010:

No kidding! I don't think I have big enough pots so went back to a different dog food for the Griff.

Holle Abee from Georgia on April 22, 2010:

I'd have to use a side of beef at the time! Great info!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 04, 2010:

I would suggest you modify the dog food to use or not use ingredients that you know your dog or dogs are not tolerating.

LISA on February 04, 2010:

If dogs dont process vegetables and they get no nutrition out of them why are we mixing them in their food. they also are lactose intolerant and we are giving them cheese and yougurt?

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 21, 2009:

Thanks - more to come one of these days - and loved reading about you! OTL - one talented lady! I will check into the hubnuggets thing as soon as I can. Thanks so much for the congrats and for stopping by! Audrey

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on November 20, 2009:

Dog food for dog lovers, alright! Congratulations for being a Hubnugget Wannabe! Follow the trail and sniff your way to the Hubnuggets lair where you can vote and see what's going on in space? Hahahah

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 19, 2009:

Thank you so much! Yes I will check that out - I'm always on the 'scent' so to speak for any and all recipes, canine and otherwise! And thanks for the congrats!

Duchess OBlunt on November 19, 2009:

Well done akirchner. I think you might enjoy some hubs from lmmartin, you should check out her hubs. Here's one I think you might enjoy

Congratulations on the HubNugget nomination and good luck!

judydianne from Palm Harbor, FL on November 19, 2009:

These are very good recipes for dog food. Rachel Ray also has one recipe every month in her magazine. Check it out.

Congratulations on your nomination for HubNugget!