Recipe: Homemade dog food.

Our princess dog, Danica, stopped eating food for about two weeks till we finally figured out that the reason she had stopped was because she no longer liked the wet food we were putting into her bowl in the morning. We do a half wet/half dry mixture in the morning and all dry in the afternoon but because she wasn’t finishing the wet in the morning, we were just mixing in more dry in the evening and she would only eat about half of that too. She was only getting about a cup of food total a day.

Because Ben and I are pretty particular about the food we’ll give the pets I decided to try my hand at making it myself rather than do a ton of research on different brands of foods and hoping that our picky dog would eat. After reading a bit online it seemed that all the recipes were really similar and most sites gave the same basic directions for slow cooker food. The last site I ended up reading said “You know what your dog likes, just use that and you’ll be good” so that’s what I’ve been doing.

General directions are easy: put food in slow cooker, cook for a lot of time, stir, serve. Where a lot of people differ is the ingredients. Just make sure before you start that you read up on anything you want to add to make sure that it’s safe for dogs. Apples, for instance, are loved by a lot of dogs but the seeds can be dangerous so make sure to core them and remove any seeds first. For a great list of foods that are and are not safe for dogs go here.

Here was the recipe I used the first time:

1.2 LB Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Tenders
20 OZ Ground Turkey
2 Apples (cored and deseeded)
1/2 a 2 LB bag of carrots
1/2 a 2 LB bag of frozen peas
1 cup brown rice

It netted about 16 cups of food. This time I took pictures of the process to show you how simple it really is. I changed up the recipe a bit to see how Princess Pick Eater would do with it and she’s eating it fine but I forgot the rice so it made less food. Also, I think that I’ll probably drop the turkey next time and use all chicken. EXPERIMENT! It’s SO EASY to make and your dogs will LOVE IT and you will have total control over the kind of food they’re eating.

So here are the basic steps:

1) Gather all your ingredients (don’t forget the brown rice LIKE A FOOL ;)):

Homemade Dog Food Ingredients.

2) Throw the meat in there! Whatever your dogs like! Danica once stole an entire roasted chicken off the counter and ate half of it in less than two minutes. On another occasion she stole an ENTIRE PACKAGE of frozen turkey off the counter and ate it. Pretty sure the American Government could have bottled up the farts that occurred after that to use for the most harsh form of chemical warfare.



3) Add the veggies! Kumo LOVES carrots. We actually use them for training with him. He also LOVES apples but this time we were running low on them so instead I added two large sweet potatoes. I also add peas for a touch of color and because they are good for you!


Sweet Potato


4) Add enough water to cover the meat. I added a little more that than here and it was a bit too much, I had to remove some when it was done cooking.


5) Turn the slow cooker on low and walk away. This batch cooked for nine hours overnight while we slept and I finished it up in the morning. You will be tempted to stir it or smell it or gaze longingly at it but don’t. Just leave it alone and let it be.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

6) When it’s done cooking (I wouldn’t go less than 6 hours) turn the cooker off and start to stir the food. The meat will just fall apart as you stir. Mash the veggies into it a bit while you stir. Try to avoid the temptation to taste it. It isn’t bad but with no seasoning it’s kind of bland. Ben said it smelled and looked like chicken pot pie filling. The dogs will be somewhere near you drooling, try not to slip on it. (Since I forgot the rice there was a bit too much liquid here and I had to skim some off the top so don’t be like me and forget the rice!)

10 hours on low.

Start stirring!

7) FINISHED! We throw it into a Tupperware container and dish it out every morning for breakfast. Our dogs get a cup each so we use it all up before it goes bad but if your dogs eat less then you can freeze what you don’t need right away and pull it out as you need it.


62 thoughts on “Recipe: Homemade dog food.

  1. Thank you for posting this! Do you warm this up before feeding? I always have a tough time with cold rice being really hard but also don’t want the food to be too warm for the pup to eat!

      1. If itstoo hot after warming, plop a big spoon of plain cottage cheesebor yogurt on top. Add a couple of ice cubes like you do to the kids’ soup. I plan on freezing some low salt no msg broth to use as coolers.

  2. It really depends on the dog. I do not heat it first and our dogs both scarf it down. I know that there are some dogs that are more picky about cold food now.

    One thing you can do is adjust the amount of rice you put it. If it’s too thick to stir, decrease the amount of rice a bit so it’s thinner. I’ve been meaning for some time now to rewrite this recipe because I’ve found that they like it just as much and it’s much cheaper to drop the turkey and just use the chicken. I’ll try and get it done this weekend!

  3. This is not a balanced diet for a dog. Please do some more research before posting an article like this. Dogs nutritional needs are much different than ours.
    This said, I am not a kibble supporter. BARF raw all the way!

  4. 1) You should actually READ the post before you comment. In the first paragraph I state that we use HALF this mixture in the morning with dry food. It’s not their only food source.

    2) This recipe was approved by our vet who has published a book on dog food.

    3) Being a judgmental jerk online often just makes you look like a judgmental jerk online.

    1. Just thought I’d add this. I make my dogs’ food (plan on trying your recipe). My vet suggested I add a vitamin source to cover all bases. So they get a vitamin tab too, just like me?

  5. Looking to change this up a little, can you give me a recipe with another meat?
    Also, how much do you feed yours? Mine is only 6 lbs and isn’t expected to get much bigger. That being said her calorie intake is approximately 180/day. What is the calorie count on this? I’m looking to add eggshell powder to this recipe (2 teaspoons). should i put it in before or after?

    Sorry about all the questions. i’ve also been adding chicken stock instead of water (she LOVED that adjustment). Overall my pup and my niece-pups love this recipe!!!

  6. Glad to see this post. I made a similar recipe today using ground turkey, carrots, squash, and pumpkin. I did not add rice, I don’t want to feed grain to my boys. I also added pulverized egg shells for the calcium. I also read that you should process it all together in the food processor because dogs can’t digest the veggies that well otherwise. And yes, I also will mix it with their dry food.

    1. Vanessa, how much pulverized egg shells do you add? And Sarah do you feed you baby’s once a day? How long is this good for? My dachshund is a little fatty 17 lbs how much do you think I should feed her?

  7. My dog , Archie, will not eat anything “dog foodie”. I have tried them all – dry and wet”. I have boiled chicken and mixed the chicken and broth with dry dog food- no go. I will try this. He does like fried rice but not vegetables. We will see. Thanks.

  8. I have done this minus the turkey (bad for some dogs) and PLUS 2 tsp cod liver oil. They need this added too!! Also – if you would throw 2 eggs in the blender – shells and all – it would provide the calcium that this recipe is deficient in. I have found my dogs prefer a diced up sweet potato to the carrots.

  9. This is a fabulous idea! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve heard so much about feeding dogs raw only, grain-free, etc., etc., but I think there is nothing wrong with any grain as long as it isn’t the main ingredient, and I wouldn’t feed my dog anything raw, at least not meat, as I just think unless it’s carpaccio, it’s icky! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

  10. Almost out of mine, will try your recipe this next time. Looks good. My dogs scarfed up the beets last time so will use apples. Never used the crock pot but will definitely dust it off with this recipe. Will give my hands and arms a rest with all the mixing and mashing. Brilliant!

    1. I’m going shopping now for supplies, my 11 yr old just had two tumors removed off his gums and has become the most picky eater one of the girls in my office feeds this to her dog and I figured I’d give it a shot. sure a lot better then boiled chopmeet, rice and tomatoes. thanks for your post. from what I am learning I problalby only have 3mons to a year left with him.

    2. Hi, thank you for your recipe. I’m surprised by all the negative comments. This recipe looks just fine to me. Growing up we always fed our dogs whatever food we had around the house and they all lived long full lives. The most important thing is what not to feed them and before anyone starts with anything negative, I don’t care what you think so just keep it to yourself. Our dogs were happy and healthy since we played with them all the time. Again Thank you.

      1. Well said. This recipe makes my very elderly rescues supremely happy and healthy. I change it up and often add in a jar of toddler baby food to balance the nutritional components. I also managed to raise healthy and happy human children who are now raising their own. A little common sense goes a long way.

  11. Unfortunately your recipe is not a complete diet. It lacks calcium, phosphorus and about 10 other vitamins and minerals. You shouldn’t give advise to others when you haven’t, as you said, “done your reasearch.

    1. We made a few additions to this recipe (green beans, egg, celery, etc.) and our dog flips! Literally! She’s never been so excited, not even for a treat! We mix about 2 tablespoons with her regular dry food a couple of times a day, and she loves it! Her coat shines like a baby seal, too! Thanks for sharing!

    2. I have a pet nutritionist who says that feeding this way is perfectly fine. I add egg shells that have been dried in the oven for about 15 minutes
      ( after being washed out of course) then pulverized in the blender for calcium. Our old cocker spaniel gets fresh cooked chicken, brown rice
      ( white doesn’t digest well ) zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, spinach, apples and sweet potatoes all sautéed in olive oil (2 TBLS). He also gets a doggie multi-vitamin for other essentials. Occasionally he gets an egg. The whole thing is warmed up which helps an old boy with his poops. His skin and coat and ears have never been better, his snoring has stopped and he actually eats it instead of wasting the commercial crap that’s available.

  12. Robin, I clearly state that we give them a dry/wet food mixture in the morning and then only dry food in the afternoon. So your comment is pretty pointless as they get PLENTY of those things from the dry food. Also, our vet routinely raves about how healthy they both are. I’ll take his EXPERT opinion over your ONLINE comment, thanks.

    Lastly, I NEVER say that I’m giving advice. Only that we had to do what works for OUR dog.

    1. I mean no disrespect but I would like to make a quick comment, take it or leave it as you may, I believe we should all do what we feel is right. I fully understand that you feed your dog dry food and so your dog is probably doing just fine on your diet as it is, but you may want to consider adding a small amount of ground eggshells to you home cooked food. I too have done a lot of research on this topic and many sites which discuss mixed feeding (feeding kibble and homemade) say that it is important to add calcium to the the home made portion of the dogs diet. As I previously stated, this is simply a suggestion, or food for thought lol, take it or leave it, as you will.

      1. Thanks for the comment, Tina! We actually do give them eggs and salmon now. This post is from a few years ago so we’ve modiglfied quite a bit. We discovered that out fur kids LOVE salmon. Who knew?! I thought that was just cats! I really need to find the time to get a new post made and redirect this to it.

        1. I have 3 Yorkie girls. I cook this recipe for them. I also give them a
          “Pet-Tab Plus vitamin each day.
          Everything is fine. Beautiful, healthy
          Girls. Age7, 10, and 13.
          Thank you for this. Can’t wait to make the treats!!
          Molly Colvin

        2. My vet has me making the same thing for my dog only difference was add a calcium tablet and a children’s chewable vitamin every day.

  13. Thank you Anna. Don’t sweat the negative comments. Some folks either think they know it all or just have to criticize everything. I have been researching dog food for about four hours now, and I am going to try your recipe. If I thought it was a bad thing, I would just not use it and forget it. I read about liquid vitamins for dogs. I may look into this a little further. Again, this looks like a good meal.

  14. I make all my dog’s food. I DID research and decided that I’m not going to take the chance that my dog is eating roadkill, outdated grocery store meat with plastic and styrofoam or euthanized pets. Nor am I going to wait for the next recall to find that I am too late to stop the damage already done, if she’s not dead! My family had dogs all through my life and they thrived on homemade food. I read articles and cook as balanced as I can but I know she’s much safer when I control what she eats. So, I for one thank you for your recipes and if the ones that have negative comments don’t like them, here’s a thought….don’t make them!

  15. Dianne, I was roasting veggies for myself this weekend, and dropped a beet on the floor. My dog again, literally, FLIPPED! She scarfed it like it was a t-bone! So I added some broccoli, snow peas, beets and Brussels sprouts to her normal chicken and rice, carrots, etc.

    Can you please tell me, if you know, if those things are okay? I’m new at making homemade dog food, and you seem to know exactly what you’re doing, so I hope you don’t mind if you’re my new “go to” person.

    Thank you!!

  16. I love reading new recipes. My little guy is fussy so I mix it up. I also give him a vitamin to make up for what my homemade food lacks. I have tried mixing dry in but he leaves it.

  17. You can add some green beans and a clove or two of chopped garlic. Also a tablespoon of dried kelp is good.

    1. Hi from another pug lover and owner! Garlic is fine in small doses. For a pug, depending on their weight, 1/4 clove (15-20lbs) or 1/2 clove (20-25lbs), each day should be safe. If you prefer sprinkle a small amount of powdered garlic into a batch of their food just go easy.

  18. I am trying this for my wire haired mini Jack Russell. I didn’t have all the ingredients, but had the chicken, rice, peas and carrots. She doesn’t like apples. Added a can of pumpkin because she likes it, and a good 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Added 8 washed and dried eggshells for calcium. Stirred it all together and set it on low to go all night and we will see what happens. Might add in a couple of eggs to punch up the protein a little more or add in a little of the high-end expensive dry food that she doesn’t like. I serve all her meals with a vitamin/mineral/omega powder to make sure she gets all she needs. Her new homemade diet has already cleared up most of the itching, biting and scratching and her wire hair has actually gotten softer

    1. Hi Dianne, I am just starting the home cooked process. I rescued a 10-12 yr old, overweight girl with allergies about eight months ago. We have tried many expensive highly rated dog foods, but she really doesn’t like it.
      So going to try to make her happy & hopefully more healthy. you sound like you have been doing this for a while. Can you share with me the exact supplements that you were using? There are so many!
      Also if you have any recipes that do not use chicken or turkey and are not too carb heavy I would love it. I need her to lose weight.
      I don’t have a ton of time to figure all this out…she is pretty old!

  19. Just found your site while looking for dog treats. Sounds good. Two of my dogs are allergic to chicken & its darn hard to find a healthy & reasonable dog food,,,,,,chicken in almost everything! I can adjust yours to fit my dogs requirements using it as you do, as an addition. Thank you for your info.

  20. My senior Miss is a very pickey eater and suffers from allergies . I have made one batch and she is loving it! However I am finding she won’t eat her dry dog food and hasn’t for months isn’t there an alternative for traditional dry dog food? She is 14 and I want her healthy AND happy!

  21. This is a great recipe. For supplementation I add “Dinovite for Dogs” for minerals and vitamins that they require and I also add fish oil or olive oil for their omega,s

  22. Thank you so much for such a simple and straight forward article. I have ‘almost’ made my own dog food several times but after reading so many confusing and conflicting information about precise mg of various minerals and vitamins, I was scared off. I wanted to make wholesome, safe and healthy food for my pup, not worry about deficiencies and suddenly start online shopping searches for weird sounding, but ‘vital’ additives.

    We have swung from worrying pup is bored with her food and not eating to worrying that the variety by constantly changing will upset her system. I splashed out on some rather lovely sounding wet dog food ‘casserole’ and he lapped it up. Rather relieved and smug, I sat down to read the box… While he obviously enjoyed it and it has all the vitamin and minerals I am so hung up about – the ingredients were scary. I am an intelligent, educated person but have no idea what over half of the ingredients are! Not only that but the ‘duck casserole’ had 43% ‘meat derivatives’ of which only 4 % came from duck! Less than 2 per cent if I read the box correctly – yet it is called ‘duck casserole’. Time for a serious rethink.

    Your recipe is approachable, simple to follow and sounds great. I love the fact you are ready to encourage variety and changes with it and acknowledge the role that dry food can also play. Thank you!. I feel motivated, calmer and less stressed. If I can feed my kids, then I should be able to feed my dog.

    After reading the comments section, adding an egg and some salmon sounds like a fab idea. Many thanks again for making this feel accessible and not reckless.

  23. Just read ur column and sounds great. When adding egg to dog food is it cooked, raw or just shells. I know this sounds dumb but excited to try this recipe

  24. Will be trying this minus the rice as not good for them – try adding a little bit of liver/offal to their diets as really good for them.
    I usually raw feed but as it’s getting cold and my dachshunds are older I like the idea of stews for them like this ??
    Thank you for a great recipe x

  25. I make this for my yorkie. I do skinless boneless thighs instead if breast, apples, shredded carrot, sweet potato, and spinach. (He doesn’t like peas.) I put the spinach in after its done cooking and still hot, I chop it and stir it in.
    Also, I forgot to get a sweet potato once and had some canned pumpkin opened and tossed it in. He loved it!
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  26. I have been making my baby homemade food now for about 1 1/2 months now. Each time I cook it I put different ingredients in. Like the last batch I made was with pork roast- she loves that! But I have used ground turkey, chicken, beef meatballs(I made myself. And baked them in the oven). So far she has enjoyed all that I’ve made!! I also change up the vegetables. With pork I used sweet potato, butternut squash,zucchini, and sweet peas! She doesn’t like Chuck peas unless I mash them. So I mash them!! It gives her extra protein. I will try using Quinoa for extra protein. But I have not been giving her extra supplements. I read about washing and drying eggshells for calcium. What else should she be getting? Uhhh

  27. Are the measurements right in list of ingredients for the meat as in picture you have four chicken breasts and two turkey packets but what u put up on the ingredient list only equals two chicken breasts about 550 grams and one packet of turkey mince 500gms

  28. I have been feeding my dog this for over 2 years now and she`s very healthy.I have never used rice in her food only Quinoa.This is what I use in hers, ground turkey,quinoa,broccoli,green beans,carrots,apples with egg shells.No fail and she loves it.I also make all her treats at home too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *