Easy Home Made Food Your Dog Will Love

After having a dog with unusual health issues, I have learned a lot about what makes for a healthy dog’s diet and have discovered that it’s really, really easy to give your dog a home made nutritious diet that keeps them healthy, happy and with coats that shine. Even picky eaters happily chow down on it.

Here’s the thing about kibble-only or kibble and wet dog food diets.  Dogs often eat the same exact meal day after day for years.  No wonder they get unhealthy!  Think about it – while salads are good for you, how healthy would you be if that’s the only thing you ate for your whole life?  Not very, because you’d be missing essential vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients in your diet. The same is true for your dog’s diet.

veggie basketIn general, a dog’s diet should be similar to ours – 1/3 carbs, 1/3 fruits and veggies, and 1/3 protein.  You may need to experiment with these proportions for your dog, but in general, these are good guidelines to start with. I feed a mixture of half grain free kibble and half home made.

I hate cooking, so do something really, really simple.  Here’s what I do about once a week:

Ingredient Mixture:

  • 1/3  long grained brown rice (I put in 2 cups of rice to make 4 cups cooked)
  • 1/3 mixed vegetables (one pound pack of frozen mixed veggies found on sale)
  • 1/3 protein (whatever is ground, lean and on sale – beef, chicken, turkey, etc.)
  • herbs-in-colored-jarsCulinary herbs such as rosemary, garlic, basil, etc. – herbs contain essential micro-nutrients that aren’t found in quantity elsewhere.  Although a few dogs are allergic to garlic, I always include it because garlic is a natural flea repellent and has the same health benefits for dogs as it does for humans. Use culinary herbs, rather than fresh, because they’re not as hard to digest.

Let the rice cook for 30 minutes, then toss the frozen veggies in the pot, bring it to a boil, and crumble in the meat and herbs while it’s coming to a boil again.  Cover and let it simmer for another 15 minutes (depending on the directions on the rice package).  This recipe makes 5 quarts and lasts for days in the refrigerator.

By alternating the types of mixed vegetables (no onions!) and the protein (turkey, chicken, beef), this same recipe provides nutritional variation and dogs love it. It’s easy and provides variety in their diet – which goes a long way to keeping them healthy and happy.

Try it!  Your dog will thank you.  And if you’re a kitchen loving cooking type, there are tons of home made dog food recipes that can be found online with simple web searches.  Enjoy!


Signs your dog’s diet may need help

Research has shown that, for both dogs and people, eating the same diet every day can result in missing nutrients, development of allergies, toxic kidneys and liver, and chronic health conditions.

Signs of a Nutrient-Poor Diet include:

  • Dry skin, hot spots, dull coat, dandruff, and shedding. This condition invites fleas, mites, ringworm infections and inflammatory allergies
  • Behaviors such as irritability, hyperactivity, nervousness and restlessness. When you change their diet, it can take a few weeks on the new regimen before this begins to change
  • Stools – large, loose or yellow stools can indicate an inability to digest all of the nutrients. Stools that are anything other than chocolate brown can indicate dyes, bacterial infections, chemicals in the food, or other health problems that are developing.

These all can be addressed simply by paying attention to what you feed your dog. Your dog’s nutrition is really important to keep them healthy and happy for years to come.

Even adding a small amount of more natural foods to their diets can make a big difference. There are tons of recipes available online. I will provide the easy recipe I use for my dogs in a separate post. My dogs get a mixture of kibble and raw or homemade food with every meal. Their coats shine, they’re energetic and happy, and my vet bills are small.

Things to Know about Homemade Diet Additions

There are a few things to avoid feeding your dog. Do not:

  • Never feed leftover fats or bacon grease
  • No onions grapes, raisins, or chocolate
  • No sauces or other rich foods – dogs have a simpler digestive system than we do and it may not sit well
  • No spicy, salted or fried foods
  • No sweets! The sugar is not good for them.

Here’s what you can (and should) feed them:

  • Vegetables, either fresh or cooked. (Chop fresh vegetables for easier chewing and digestion)
  • Fruits – dogs like fruit and it’s very good for them
  • Thoroughly cooked long grained rice– not instant rice
  • Proteins such as chicken or turkey
  • Culinary herbs and olive oil – Herbs such as basil, garlic and other similar herbs provide micro nutrients that may be missing from their food.  And the olive oil helps their coat shine.

You can make a big batch up and store it in the refrigerator for several days. Just warm it slightly before feeding to take the chill off.  30 seconds in a microwave is all you need.

Tip: Gradually move your dog from their existing diet to a home-made diet.  For the first two days, give 1/4 of their diet as the new diet, then do 1/2, then 3/4s and so on.

It can be a good idea to add some basic supplements just to make sure you’ve got all of the micro nutrients and the like covered – especially while you’re first converting your dog to the new diet.

Happy experimenting!  It’s fun for you and your dog will thank you!