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If you’re looking for homemade dog food recipes that are easy AND balanced, this blog entry is for you!
You’ll love the hack we share for making that happen, and we’ll preface this by saying that you can either make the recipes using cooked or raw meat, whichever you’re more comfortable with.
Before we share with you our method for easy homemade dog food recipes, let’s talk about the good and bad of homemade dog food.
Pros & Cons Of Homemade Dog Food
If you’re still in your research phase about whether or not to make your own dog food, know that the main benefit of homemade dog food is that it gives you full control over its ingredients.
That’s particularly helpful when you have a dog with food sensitivities who can’t eat a lot of the ingredients found in commercial dog food.
It can also help your picky eater with flavor fatigue, even if you just top their regular kibble or canned dog food off with some homemade dog food.
Beyond that, it’s a great way of supporting a healthy coat and skin as well as strengthening your dog’s immune system in general because it translates into feeding less processed dog food.
That means it’s dog food without artificial preservatives, chemical dyes and cheap fillers.
This was my personal motivation for learning about making homemade dog food back in 2015, shortly after my pup Missy had been treated for cancer.
She ended up living 2.5 years longer than predicted by her oncologist, and I fully attribute it to her homemade dog food.
These days, I’m also making homemade dog food for my pup Wally’s skin allergies.
That said, making balanced homemade dog food from scratch requires a bit more time than just pouring kibble into your pup’s bowl, so that’s something to be aware of.
You’ll also have to invest some time into learning how to properly formulate homemade dog food recipes so that they don’t have any nutritional holes long term.
….that’s UNLESS you use a specific workaround that considerably reduces the time spent on learning how to make homemade dog food.
Keep reading to find out more!
How To Quickly Make Homemade Dog Food That’s Balanced
The easiest and quickest way to make homemade dog food that doesn’t have any nutritional holes in it is to mix different protein sources with so-called “base mixes” or “pre-mixes”.
That way, you don’t need to worry about studying dog food formulas.
These mixes are a smorgasbord of dehydrated or freeze-dried whole foods, vitamins and (trace) minerals that serve as a foundation for homemade dog food recipes.
Base Mixes from Dr. Harvey’s
My favorite ones are the base mixes from Dr. Harvey’s, and particularly the Paradigm kind. That one is low-carb and features the following ingredients:
Broccoli, Green Beans, Bone Broth, Red and Green Bell Pepper, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Celery, Kelp, Alfalfa, Turmeric, Ginger, Red Clover, Dandelion, Cinnamon, Crushed Eggshell, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Nicotinic Acid, Manganese Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid
You’ll get the best bang for your buck with a 6 lb bag of Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Base Mix. That one makes 56 one pound meals.
Dr. Harvey’s also has a few other base mixes, and I personally began my journey of making homemade dog food recipes back in 2015 with their grain-free Veg-to-Bowl Premix.
Here’s what’s in it so you can compare it to the Paradigm Base Mix:
Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Green Beans, Broccoli, Peas, Celery, Beets, Crushed Eggshell, Tricalcium Phosphate, Parsley, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Nicotinic Acid, Manganese Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Yeast, Alfalfa, Dried Kelp, Lecithin, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Ground Fenugreek, Dried Ground Fennel, Dried Ground Ginger, Dried Ground Peppermint
The 1 lb bag makes 10 one pound meals, the 3 lb bag makes 28 one pound meals and the 5 lb bag makes 46 one pound meals. This premix also comes in a 6.5 oz trial size that makes 4 one pound meals.
As you can tell, the Veg-to-Bowl ingredient list is slightly longer and has several starchy ingredients such as the (sweet) potatoes and carrots.
Diabetic dogs and those on a ketogenic diet are going to be better off with a starch-free dog food such as the Paradigm Base Mix, so that’s just a little heads up if your furry loved one has some health issues.
Besides Dr. Harvey’s base mixes, there are a few other options you can choose from.
Base Mixes from The Honest Kitchen
Sweet potatoes, Peas, Cabbage, Organic Coconut, Apples, Spinach, Pumpkin, Bananas, Celery, Organic Kelp, Organic Honey, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate
Dehydrated Carrots, Flaxseed, Dehydrated Parsnips, Dehydrated Peas, Dried Organic Coconut, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Celery, Dehydrated Kale, Dried Organic Kelp, Dried Garlic, Minerals [Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite], Taurine, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement].
Organic Oats, Flaxseed, Organic Barley, Organic Quinoa, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Carrots, Dehydrated Parsnips, Dried Apples, Dried Cranberries, Dehydrated Green Beans, Dehydrated Broccoli, Dehydrated Kale, Dried Organic Kelp, Turmeric, Minerals [Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite], Taurine, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate (vVitamin B5), Riboflavin Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement].
Base Mixes From Grandma Lucy’s
Pinto Beans, Hemp Hearts, Carrots, Coconut, Pumpkin, Kale, Blueberries, Turmeric, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement
Potatoes, Flax, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Garlic, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement
Chickpeas, Flax, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Papaya, Spinach, Garlic, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement
Base Mix From Sojos
Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Apples, Whole Egg, Cranberries, Flaxseed, Tricalcium Phosphate, Dried Kelp, Carob Powder, Dried Basil, Parsley Leaf, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Acetate, Ferrous Fumarate, Copper Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid
How Do Base Mixes Work For Making Homemade Dog Food?
Since base mixes require liquids to rehydrate, you’ll be adding water or bone broth to the mix.
Let it sit for 5-10 minutes so it can rehydrate.
Next, add your pick of cooked or raw protein as well as some healthy fats like oily fish, bottled oils or pastured butter.
The fats provide your pup with anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, so don’t skimp on those, especially if your dog eats a lot of chicken which is naturally rich in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids.
That’s all it takes to make balanced dog food at home!
You can either make individual portions right before your pup’s mealtime, or you can premake a batch of base mix that lasts for 3-4 days.
If you go that route, you can store the premade base mix in the fridge and add fresh meat and oils at feeding time. That’s to prevent the oils from going rancid.
As far as how much to feed your pup, just follow the feeding instructions that come with the respective bags of base mixes.
They tell you exactly how much to scoop out for your dog’s individual weight as well as how much protein and oil to add.
Easy Homemade Dog Food Recipes
The foundation for these homemade dog food recipes is always going to be your choice of base mix or pre-mix.
I personally love Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Base Mix, but remember that there’s a variety of options from other brands as well.
Here’s what you can feed a 40 lb adult dog per day:
- 1 cup of base mix
- 1 ½ cups of filtered warm water or bone broth
- 1 ½ cups of ground or chunked meat
- ½ cup of chicken hearts & gizzards
- 1 teaspoon of oil
Meat Sources For Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Go ahead and alternate the ground or chunked meat sources on a weekly basis.
For example, you can rotate between:
You can also feed duck meat and rabbit meat if your grocery store carries these protein sources or if you have a farm nearby that raises these animals.
Because meats from different animals have varying nutrients, so rotating between them ensures that your dog eats a balanced diet.
You can keep adding the chicken hearts and gizzards on a weekly basis unless your dog has a chicken allergy.
Oil Sources For Homemade Dog Food Recipes
As far as oils, you can rotate between olive oil, flaxseed oil or fish oil.
You can also add healthy fats in the form of pastured butter.
An alternative to bottled oil is oily fish from the grocery store, such as:
- Canned sardines (either in water or olive oil)
- Atlantic salmon
Note: Tuna doesn’t count as oily fish and due to its size, it’s also richer in heavy metals, so I don’t recommend feeding canned tuna. At least not on a regular basis!
Another option is to add fish oils. Dr. Harvey’s carries two that are super convenient to add to your homemade dog food:
- Health & Shine Fish Oil (Mackerel, Herring, Anchovies, Sardines)
- Health & Shine Salmon & Krill Fish Oil
As you could see, our homemade dog food recipes are not very hard to make and don’t require taking courses in dog nutrition.
Best of all, they provide peace of mind as far as knowing what makes it into your dog’s body, especially when they’re intolerant of specific foods.
Remember to rotate your protein sources when you’re making homemade dog food and to add a source of healthy fats for those Omega-3s.
Combined, they promote a healthy coat and boost your dog’s immune system.
Now have fun making your pup’s very own dog food in the comfort of your own kitchen!
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