Over the past few years a lot of people have asked me how I make our homemade dog food. It’s really not difficult once you get into the swing of it. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with any past-their-prime veggies and fruits that are not really ready for the compost pile or if you end up with tons of baseball-bat sized zucchini abundance you can use those in your dog food!
Joey (our 11 year old pit-dane rescue) was having a lot of allergy issues, which was a prime motivator for us to find alternative food solutions for him. At one point, I needed to put him on an allergen elimination diet to figure out if he was allergic to some common foods we’d been giving him. Found out that he was allergic to beef! So we stick with frozen organic ground turkey or chicken that we source from our local pet food store.
Beyond that, we use organic brown rice and dog appropriate veggies and fruits (Remember that not all produce is good for dogs. Things like onions and raisins are even highly toxic. So be sure to check with trusted online sources or your vet when introducing any new item into your dog’s diet.) and a few supplements. We prefer to use whole food sources to add additional vitamins, probiotics, herbal medicines, etc., so we don’t use any processed pills or powders in Joey’s diet or our own.
We source much of our organic food bulk from Azure Standard to save money since organic items can be pretty expensive. Brown rice is under $35 for 25 lbs. generally.
Our most common recipe for dog food includes:
3 Cups brown rice (uncooked)
4 Chopped greens like kale, chard or collards
2 chopped apples
2 handfuls berries like cranberries, blueberries, blackberries (Optional: we do this in season when it’s inexpensive and we have an abundance)
1/2 Cup coconut oil
1/2 Cup dried nettles (optional: for additional minerals and as a natural antihistamine)
2 Tablespoons turmeric powder (anti-inflammatory)
8 or more cups of water
Put all into a big pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium-low, put the lid on and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour (yes, rice will be a little mushy.)
When it’s done, let cool until lukewarm.
Mix in 3 lbs. raw, ground turkey or chicken meat and any extra supplements that are best when unheated. We commonly use:
2 Cups raw yogurt (or raw whey from raw cheese or yogurt making)
3/4 Cup nutritional yeast (we like this kind and use it for the humans too!)
2 Tablespoons powdered kelp (especially if you don’t have nettles to add to the rice mixture)
1 Cup crumbled egg shells
You can also swap out 1 lb of the raw meat for an equal amount of chopped boiled eggs. We buy locally sourced pastured eggs which are higher in nutrients (pastured means the chickens roam freely on pastureland and forage for greens and bugs.)
After we mix everything together we freeze weekly amounts in large yogurt containers or ziplock bags.
Joey weighs about 75-80lbs and we feed him 2.5-3 Cups of food 2x a day and also supplement with several frozen, raw bison marrow bones every week to keep his teeth clean and white. (We found that even though he’s allergic to beef, he tolerates bison just fine.)
Here’s a short list of fruits and veggies we commonly use in Joey’s food:
Kale, Chard, Collards, Parsley and other greens
Yams or Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes (in limited amounts)
Here’s some ideas for “finding” fruits and veggies to add to your dog food:
If you juice carrots, celery, cucumbers, melons, greens, etc. don’t throw away the pulp! Mix it into the dog food after cooking for raw nutrition!
If you like to make Greek strained yogurt or cheese at home use the leftover whey instead of water in your dog food (make all raw/unheated products? Stir that in at the end, unheated, to retain the probiotics!)
Slightly tired-looking veggies and bruised fruit can be saved for the next dog food batch.
Too much zucchini? Leave on the vine until the skin hardens and store like winter squash to use in your winter dog food recipes.