When it comes to choosing the best food for your pets, it can be so very overwhelming. Depending on who you ask, you can get a million different responses on what the best diet is for dogs. Grain-free, raw, soy-free, corn-free, Vegan, so, who do you trust? I can not tell you that one, but, what I can tell you is the route we took in hopes that it helps you decide what’s best for you and your pet as well!
For the last few years, I was feeding my dogs Acana dog food thinking it was a more “high end” and clean option, however, after watching the pet food documentary called Pet Fooled I, unfortunately, learned that even nicer brands of kibble, like my fave Acana, can become carcinogenic due to being heated at high levels that in return creates a carcinogenic effect which, for us meant, bye-bye to all kibble. I wanted to have a blog on how we make our dog food but please note, this is just our personal routine and you should look for your own holistic vet in your area to get the perfect, well-balanced diet for your pet!
Also, when reading this, keep in mind, this is for our three, large Goldens, all that weigh 65 pounds or so. Each dog eats three meals per day. We make their food every single day because of how big they are, how many we have, and how much they eat. If you had smaller dogs or fewer dogs, you could get away with making it less often. We do not always stick to the below combo, we can mix and match different veggies in, especially depending on the season and what’s in stock or on sale.
What Meats Do You Use?
Our dogs are allergy-prone so we also follow the Chinese Medicine method which believes in balancing out their inflammatory prone systems with more neutral or cooling meats. If your dog has allergies, itchy skin, rashes, hot ears, pants a lot or sits in the shade, it could be a sign they are a more hot/warm dog and they may do better on cooling or neutral meats like Beef, Turkey or Pork. If you do serve them Beef, it must be Grassfed as conventional Beef is made from cows that were fed corn and grains which means it is no longer a neutral meat.
We only order our meat from Greensbury online as their meat is Organic & grass-fed which is key! We get their Ground Beef and Beef Bone Marrow Bones for chewing. It’s also much more affordable than any others I have found. Code: BUNNYSBUDDIES will also save you $$!
Some other neutral or cooling meats you could explore are Cod, Crab, Duck, Rabbit, Turkey, Catfish, Pork or Tuna. Chicken, Ham, and Salmon should be avoided if your dog is a warm dog as they can be common allergens to many dogs.
Not sure which meat your dog would do best on? We highly suggest you skip guessing and get this at-home wellness scan that will tell you their ideal diet ingredients! If your dog is eating fresh food and still reacting this scan is a must to see why.
We follow the 50% meat, 25% veggies + 25% roots ratio. That means 5-6 cups meat to 2.5 cups veggies and 2.5 cups roots. That means, in one crockpot batch, we follow the above amounts. Each serving we give them about 2 cups, 3 times a day, depending on their activity level each day.
- 6 pounds of Organic, Grassfed Ground Beef we order online here code BUNNYSBUDDIES saves ya.
- 1 Organic Small Yellow Squash
- 1 Organic Small Zucchini
- 1 Crown of Organic Broccoli
- 1 Crown of Organic Cauliflower
- 1 Package of Organic, Grassfed Beef Bone Broth
Fruits, Vegetables + Roots We Use-
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Dino Kale
- Purple and Green Cabbage
- Dandelion Root
We avoid/limit any veggie, fruit or grain that is high in sugars or carbs. Sugar and carbs are items that can cause inflammation, and over time, inflammation is what has links to cancer so the below you want to avoid OR use sparingly. Once in a while is ok but for every day, according to our vet, should be avoided.
Foods We Limit-
- Wheat or any Flour- Avoid.
- Artificial Flavors- Avoid.
- Corn- Avoid.
- Sweet Potato- 12% or less per meal is ok.
- Potato- Avoid
- Brown Rice- 12% or less per meal is ok.
- Fruits- 12% or less per meal is ok of Banana, Watermelon, Kiwi, Apple, Blueberry, Pear…
- Pumpkin- 12% or less per meal is ok but it is a warm food so we avoid.
- Oats- 12% or less per meal is ok but it is a warm food so we avoid.
- Beans- 12% or less per meal is ok.
- Tofu- We never use but if you do, limit.
- Quinoa- 12% or less per meal is ok but it is a warm food so we avoid.
How To Cook-
Not all dogs can do raw diets. Dogs that have trouble digesting foods, older dogs, and dogs with any health problems may want to avoid a Raw diet as it can be additional work on their system when the energy is needed in other areas. If the dog is sick or old, you do not want to add additional workloads to their bellies so our vet suggests a gently cooked diet instead. If your dog is young and super healthy, you can choose to feed them a Raw diet if you wish! For us, we use an Organic Clay Crockpot on low heat and cook the above for about 4 – 6 hours until cooked.
Simply add in the above ingredients, half of the bone broth, and then layer the meat on the bottom, veggies on top, meat again, then veggies, and then top with the rest of the bone broth, then cook! You do not want to cook on too high of heat as it kills all of the nutritional benefits of the food.
Supplements We Add-In-
Because the food is being cooked, you still want to add in additional supplements from what the food loses while being cooked. We add in a daily vitamin that includes calcium which is really important for pups! Here is a list of each supplement we add into their food after it has cooked and cooled. Follow directions on the container to understand how to use each best.
- Standard Process Canine Whole Body Support– This is a multivitamin that is really important to ensure they are getting full balanced and nutritious meals.
- Peak Immune– This is awesome for boosting their immunity, this is important when adopting a dog that may have been on a bad diet prior to you.
- Nordic Naturals Omega-3– Great for shiny coats, joint health, heart health, immune system health, brain, and eye development, and healthy blood circulation.
- Healthy Gut– Helps rebalance and cultivate proper growing conditions for friendly digestive flora destroyed through antibiotics and toxins. Not only does this aid in the digestion of food and support a healthy immune system, but you may also see an increase in energy or reduction in arthritic pain!
- Calcium- Most calcium is sourced from farm animals that were raised on municipal water so their bones are likely full of heavy metals and fluoride so we use this Better Bones supplement made from New Zealand air-dried bones.
- Phyto Synergy– Phytoplankton is a whole food, not a supplement! This incredible single-celled organism offers trace minerals, chlorophyll, essential amino acids, EPA, protein, carotenoids, antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins.
- Organ Meats- Dogs should have Organ meats in their diets so you can add the Guts & Glory supplement as well as give your pups the Farm Hounds treats as a treat or meal topper!
- Jump for Joynts– Designed to support healthy joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, this spray contains beneficial ingredients like inflammation soothing Arnica and healing Calendula to support issues such as ACL injuries, arthritis, and bone and muscle injuries. We also love this Green Eggs option for similar use. Optional add on.
Overall, YES, this is a ton of work and to be honest, very expensive if you do all Organic but with the cancer rates on the rise, and knowing what I know about kibble, I couldn’t, in good faith, continue to feed my dogs carcinogenic foods. If you can not make your dog’s food daily, try to make it when you can as the less kibble, overall, the better. If you can not cook at all, I am working on some dog meal delivery services that do the work for you, however, most are not Organic.
Where We Buy Meat-
To ensure all of the meat they get is Organic, Wild, and Grass-Fed, we get all of our beef from Greensbury like I said above. They deliver right to your door and it’s the cheapest I have found for the high-quality meats they source. Save $$ with code BUNNYSBUDDIES here! If you do eat meat, this would also be the place to source it from, they have a ton of options to choose from with the highest standards around.
If you can not buy Organic, even conventional is better than kibble. If you can not buy Organic, Grassfed Beef, Grassfed Beef is better than conventional, grain-fed beef. If you can not do any of the above you can also look into meal delivery services like The Farmer’s Dog which does the work for you and we have a 50% OFF link! The point is, do what you can because we all know, they’re worth it!
48 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Dog Food”
What’s your opinion on refrigerated dog food that’s supposed to be re cooked meat with added veggies and vitamins/minerals, like the brand Freshpet for example?
Most, I have found are higher in carbs than I want but way better than kibble!!!
My dogs love Freshpet. We found this to be a good alternative till we can create a routine to cook the dog food properly. Wish I could compare costs.
What are your thoughts on dehydrated dog foods like Honest Kitchen or Dr Marty’s? I’ve used Honeet Kitchen for years but recently tried mixing in Dr Marty’s and my dog loved it!
I believe that is freeze dried and raw right? I think it’s fine as long as your dog is healthy, I mention raw food a bit in here on who can and can’t have it!
That was helpful to hear about when raw might not be the best for a dog. Big important fact is that freeze dried must be served mixed with water. Dogs can get very dehydrated per Dr Becker.
Has the bone broth been the source of calcium for the pups now?
No, their multi-vitamin contains it. We also have a seaweed form we add if they need additional!
Do the suppliments or some of your veggies supply taurine to them? We have a golden as well that we homemade feed and I have read about taurine being important for the risk of heart troubles. Thanks in advance 🙂 and thanks for all this great info!
What’s your opinion on Just Food For Dogs?
Thanks for posting! We’re dealing with a new rescue pup with gut issues (she was also on antibiotics for a month because she had pneumonia).
We’re not sure if beef is her issue but she still struggles. We’ve been cooking her food and mixing some new kibble in. I was actually going to come to your page to see if you had advice!
Do you recommend blueberries? She loves them and I usually chuck a few in her food.
Also babe you considered doing calcium from egg shells or ground up chicken bones?
There is calcium in their vitamin but we also have another from seaweed. You really don’t want to use egg/chicken if the dog has allergies, seaweed is the best form per our vet! Also, animal bones are usually raised off municipal water so their bones can be full of fluoride so that’s why we use seaweed!
Good to know!! We read online about the chicken bones and eggs. We buy our chicken from local farms and live in DC so we’re close to Maryland and Virginia but we don’t know if the farms use municipal water. Something to ask for sure!
Dont they still drink fluoride in the tap water?
We use a whole house water filter so all outlets have it removed. We then use a second Berkey Filter for drinking so double filtered <3 Code ORGANICBUNNY may still work!
Can you feed dogs deer, antelope or elk meat?
How long will this recipe keep in the refrigerator? Can you make a big batch and keep in the refrigerator for a few days? I would love to see tips for a small dogs weight loss as well as reviews for companies like Ollie.
Yes it will last in fridge a few days!
Does the beef have to be ground beef or can it be a 6 lb cut of organic grass fed beef? Thank you for taking the time to write this post for us all!
It can be any beef!
Perfect! Thank you!
Hi Amanda, thank so much for this super useful information!! Have you heard of the Freeze dry raw brand from Primal? if so what’s your thought on them? our pets have been on their freeze dry beef for many year.
Love this info, so great! Do you have a rough estimate of how much it costs you per pound? I def believe high quality pet food is so worth the investment!
What is your opinion of just food for dogs?https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/
For those who don’t have time to cook for their doggies?
Do you store the extra food in the freezer and pull it out the night before? Or will this batch be okay in the refrigerator for the duration of the week? We only have 1 dog and although we tried raw meat, I was not into having raw meat in the house and serving her outside was another task I don’t have time with because I have a small child.
My daughter sent this to me. I’m glad she did. I just had to send in a “complaint” to Organix dog food. Their kibble was black — looked like it was charred. My dog wouldn’t eat it! They sent me back a “nice” letter saying that the food may look varied at times but it was perfectly safe to eat. By the fact that the dog (who usually loves his kibble) wouldn’t eat it — tells me it’s NOT fine. At over $70 a bag, I was expecting a better experience. I’m going to need to research and cook….
Hello! Where do you buy your beef from? We just moved to San Diego and I am just getting into homemade dog food. I’m having lean grass-fed, grass-finish, ground beef shipped to us for $7.39/lb but would love to know if/where you locally get yours.
Also, how much does your homemade recipe cost per serving? I’m also looking on switching up the recipe we use from Rodney Habib because it comes it around $6 a day.
You only recommend raw for certain dogs and recommend Stella and Chewy but it appears that their kibble is raw to some degree. Does that still make it harder to digest?
Hi! My dog is in early stages of mitral valve regurgitation. The vet has prescribed us a special cardiac kibble for this. I’m definitely shocked at hearing how much carcinogens are in kibble. Is there any special diet recommendations you have for dogs who need a diet good for their heart? Thank you!
The recipe provided, is that just for one day?
Hi! So am I reading that each dog gets 6 cups of food per day? I want to give this a shot for ours- he’s a Golden around 100 pounds with moderate exercise (~4 miles walking, more running on weekends/ day). Right now he’s on around 3 cups of dry kibble per day (with goat milk mixed).
Hi there! Thank you for this valuable info! I just made the switch to feeding my golden a home-made mewl and I’m looking for a good multi-vitamin. In the herbal multi-vitamin you posted, I’m not seeing calcium. Do you use another source for calcium or am I reading incorrectly? Also, for the scoops of vitamins directed, is that for adult dogs? How would I change that for a 1 year, 4 mo old golden? Appreciate your guidance.
Good catch! Their old multi-vitamin had it but we changed to a new vitamin that does not have it so we add in Seaweed Calcium, just added it to the blog!!!! I would not know dose wise, you’d have to read the package for exact dose!
Thank you so much for your reply and the seaweed details! I’m in full agreement with you, especially after watching Pet Fooled, that kibble is a big no. However, There are so many articles out there that say it’s dangerous preparing home cooked meals for dogs…that kibble guarantees they are receiving the adequate amounts of minerals / vitamins and dog parents may not know how to nutritionally balance home cooked meals. This frightens me for my little guy; I’m not dietitian/nutritionist. I’m not confident how many vitamins/minerals are in the meat and vegetable combo we are preparing for him. How do you guys make sure the scoop add-on vitamins are enough and/or not too much because evidently the meat/veggies have their own amount as well. The fear of underdosing or overdosing is challenging for me. Thank you SO much for your time!
You have to add in the supplementation we listed, as directed on the bottle 🙂 This recipe was prepared by a vet and the real fear should be feeding the dogs cancer more than it is about the doses here because if you take the time to learn them there is no longer that fear! You can do it!!!
Why did you switch multi-vitamins? Do you have an alternative you recommend (preferably that can be purchased on Amazon!)?
We added a new one that contained things we were missing!
Do you recommend an alternative to using meat?
I have read so many articles about not giving your dog grains and corn and that resulting in an enlarged heart. Mainly tied to grain free dog foods. Which is why I am hesitant on following this recipe. What are your thoughts on that?
The issue really was not grains it was ensuring they are getting proper supplementation! Dogs should not eat a diet strong of grains!
I make your recipe for my pups and they love it!!! I wanted to ask what you give your babies for heart warm and ear mite prevention?
Did I see recently that you switched your pups to a meat free diet or do you still follow the above? Trying to get my mum to make the switch with her dog!
How long does the recipe you use last with all five pups? We have four pits and I would want to prepare enough for a week..
It depends on their weight and what percentage should be fed to them. For example, my dog weighs 85-90 lbs and eats 2 lbs a day of the cooked food. This recipe makes about 3.5 meals for him.
For the Stella & Chewys, is there a specific line of kibble that you find best? I currently feed my dog acana and am looking to make the switch but want to keep her on kibble until i can really learn how to prep and make it into a routine of making raw meals for her!
Do you open the pills and dump in or give the pills/vitamins to each dog directly
Is the dermal support essential? It looks like Amazon no longer carries it and I wasn’t sure if you still used it, and if it was a “must”.
We are just starting this process for our “hot” dog, who’s 2 years old. He is a rescued mix, that we’ve had since he was 3 months. Hoping it helps with his warmth and this hot spot that keeps popping up. I purchased the spray from you, but of course the hot spot is gone for the moment.
Thanks for all the helpful information!
Do you recommend a cbd for dogs?