Features July 2012 Issue

How to Make Your Own Dog Food

A homemade dog food diet isn't hard to design, but does require planning. Here is how to make dog food at home that is complete and balanced and that your dog will love!

[Updated September 20, 2018]


1. Feed your dog a wide variety of foods from different food groups.

2. Make sure you supplement your dog's homemade diet with calcium unless you feed raw meaty bones.

3. Stick to lean meats and remove skin from the poultry you feed unless your dog is highly active.

4. Keep in mind that the less variety of foods you feed, the more important supplements become.

5. Review your homemade dog food diet plan with a veterinarian for approval.

In the past few issues of Whole Dog Journal, I have offered critiques on homemade dog food diets in order to address the dog's health concerns – or simply to optimize the dog's diet plan. To do this, I analyzed the cooked and raw homemade dog food diets and compared them to the National Research Council’s guidelines for canine nutrition. I want to be clear, though: I don’t believe this is a requirement for feeding home-cooked dog food. Just as with the diet you feed yourself and your family, feeding a wide variety of healthy foods in appropriate proportions should meet the needs of most healthy dogs. The best diet for dogs, in effect, is a diverse diet.

Problems arise with how this description is interpreted. Too often, people think that they’re feeding their dog a healthy diet when key ingredients may be missing or are fed in excess. Here's how to make dog food at home, and specific guidelines to help ensure that the dog food diet you feed meets your individual dog’s requirements. You do not want just one dog food recipe to follow - you need several, and need to be comfortable mixing and matching ingredients, for reasons explained below.

Complete and Balanced Dog Food Diets

It’s important homemade food for dogs is “complete and balanced,” meaning it meets all of the dog’s nutritional needs. It is not important, however, that every meal be complete and balanced, unless you feed the same meal every day with little or no variation.

Home-prepared dog diets that include a wide variety of foods fed at different meals rely on balance over time, not at every meal. Similar to the way humans eat, as long as your dog gets everything he needs spread out over each week or two, his diet will be complete and balanced.

homemade dog food

Don’t bother trying to make every single one of your dog’s meal nutritionally complete; as long as he’s receiving what he needs over a week or two, he’ll be fine. This approach is similar to how we feed ourselves and our families.

A human nutritionist would never expect someone to follow a single recipe with no variation, as veterinary nutritionists routinely do. Instead, a human would be given guidelines in terms of food groups and portion sizes. As long as your dog doesn’t have a health problem that requires a very specific diet, making your own dog food should be the same way.

Keep in mind that puppies are more susceptible to problems caused by nutritional deficiencies or excesses than adult dogs are. Large-breed puppies are particularly at risk from too much calcium prior to puberty. See "Puppy Food: Nutritional Guidelines to Maximize Health," for more on puppy nutrition.


Following are guidelines for feeding a raw or cooked home-prepared diet to healthy dogs. No single type of food, such as chicken, should ever make up more than half the diet.

Except where specified, homemade food for dogs can be fed either raw or cooked. Leftovers from your table can be included as long as they’re foods you would eat yourself, not fatty scraps.

Meat and Other Animal Products: Should always make up at least half of the diet. Many raw diets are excessively high in fat, which can lead to obesity. Another potential hazard of diets containing too much fat: If an owner restricts the amount fed (in order to control the dog’s weight) too much, the dog may suffer deficiencies of other required nutrients.

Unless your dog gets regular, intense exercise, use lean meats (no more than 10 percent fat), remove skin from poultry, and cut off separable fat. It’s better to feed dark meat poultry than breast, however, unless your dog requires a very low-fat diet.

Raw Meaty Bones (optional): If you choose to feed them, RMBs should make up one third to one half of the total diet. Use the lower end of the range if you feed bony parts such as chicken necks and backs, but you can feed more if you’re using primarily meatier parts such as chicken thighs. Never feed cooked bones. Read a full report on raw meaty bones here.

Boneless Meat: Include both poultry and red meat. Heart is a good choice, as it is lean and often less expensive than other muscle meats.

Fish: Provides vitamin D, which otherwise should be supplemented. Canned fish with bones, such as sardines (packed in water, not oil), jack mackerel, and pink salmon, are good choices. Remove bones from fish you cook yourself, and never feed raw Pacific salmon, trout, or related species. You can feed small amounts of fish daily, or larger amounts once or twice a week. The total amount should be about one ounce of fish per pound of other meats (including RMBs).

Organs: Liver should make up roughly 5 percent of this category, or about one ounce of liver per pound of other animal products. Beef liver is especially nutritious, but include chicken or other types of liver at least occasionally as well. Feeding small amounts of liver daily or every other day is preferable to feeding larger amounts less often.

Add fruit to your dog's diet

Fruits such as melon, berries, bananas, apples, pears, and papayas can be included in your dog's food or given as training treats.

Eggs: Highly nutritious addition to any diet. Dogs weighing about 20 pounds can have a whole egg every day, but give less to smaller dogs.

Dairy: Plain yogurt and kefir are well tolerated by most dogs (try goat’s milk products if you see problems). Cottage and ricotta cheese are also good options. Limit other forms of cheese, as most are high in fat.

Fruits and Vegetables: While not a significant part of the evolutionary diet of the dog and wolf, fruits and vegetables provide fiber that supports digestive health, as well as antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients that contribute to health and longevity. Deeply colored vegetables and fruits are the most nutritious.

Starchy Vegetables: Veggies such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes (including pumpkin), as well as legumes (beans), provide carbohydrate calories that can be helpful in reducing food costs and keeping weight on skinny and very active dogs. Quantities should be limited for overweight dogs. Starchy foods must be cooked in order to be digestible.

Leafy Green and Other Non-Starchy Vegetables:These are low in calories and can be fed in any quantity desired. Too much can cause gas, and raw, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower can suppress thyroid function (cook them if you feed large amounts). Raw vegetables must be pureed in a food processor, blender, or juicer in order to be digested properly by dogs, though whole raw veggies are not harmful and can be used as treats. 

And while you’re preparing these nutritious foods for your dog, consider boosting your own health by adding more veggies to your diet too!

Fruits: Bananas, apples, berries, melon, and papaya are good choices. Avoid grapes and raisins, which can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Grains: Controversial, as they may contribute to inflammation caused by allergies, arthritis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); as well as seizures and other problems (it’s not clear whether starchy vegetables do the same). Some grains contain gluten that may cause digestive problems for certain dogs. Many dogs do fine with grains, however, and they can be used to reduce the overall cost of feeding a homemade diet.

Grains and starchy veggies should make up no more than half the diet. Good choices include oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and pasta. White rice can be used to settle an upset stomach, particularly if overcooked with extra water, but it’s low in nutrition and should not make up a large part of the diet. All grains must be well cooked.


Some supplements are required in addition to natural food for dogs. Others may be needed if you are not able to feed a variety of foods, or if you leave out one or more of the food groups above. In addition, the longer food is cooked or frozen, the more nutrients are lost. Here are some supplements to consider:


Unless you feed RMBs, all homemade diets must be supplemented with calcium. The amount found in multivitamin and mineral supplements is not enough. Give 800 to 1,000 mg calcium per pound of food (excluding non-starchy vegetables). You can use any form of plain calcium, including eggshells ground to powder in a clean coffee grinder (1/2 teaspoon eggshell powder provides about 1,000 mg calcium). Animal Essentials’ Seaweed Calcium provides additional minerals, as well. And here is a good list of calcium-rich foods your dog may like. Just please note this list is for humans and includes orange juice, which is not a good thing to give your dog as the acidity can cause stomach upset.


Most homemade diets require added oils for fat, calories, and to supply particular nutrients. It’s important to use the right types of oils, as each supplies  different nutrients.

Fish Oil: Provides EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids that help to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. Give an amount that provides about 300 mg EPA and DHA combined per 20 to 30 pounds of body weight on days you don’t feed fish. Note that liquid fish oil supplements often tell you to give much more than this, which can result in too many calories from fat.

Cod Liver Oil: Provides vitamins A and D as well as EPA and DHA. If you don’t feed much fish, give cod liver oil in an amount that provides about 400 IUs vitamin D daily for a 100-pound dog (proportionately less for smaller dogs). Can be combined with other fish oil to increase the amount of EPA and DHA if desired.

Fish oil and cod liver oil for pets

Top-quality fish body oil and cod liver oil can provide your dog's diet with valuable omega-3 fatty acids. Be cautious about feeding the amounts suggested on the labels, however; these often supply too much fat.

Plant Oils: If you don’t feed much poultry fat, found in dark meat and skin, linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid, may be insufficient. You can use walnut, hempseed, corn, vegetable (soybean), or high-linoleic safflower oil to supply linoleic acid if needed. Add about one teaspoon of oil per pound of meat and other animal products, or twice that amount if using canola or sunflower oil. Olive oil and high-oleic safflower oil are low in omega-6 and cannot be used as a substitute, although small amounts can be added to supply fat if needed. Coconut oil provides mostly saturated fats, and can be used in addition to but not as a replacement for other oils.

Other Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to vitamin D discussed above, certain vitamins and minerals may be short in some homemade diets, particularly those that don’t include organ meats or vegetables. The more limited the diet that you feed, the more important supplements become, but even highly varied diets are likely to be light in a few areas.

Vitamin E: All homemade diets I’ve analyzed have been short on vitamin E, and the need for vitamin E increases when you supplement with oils. Too much vitamin E, however, may be counterproductive. Give 1 to 2 IUs per pound of body weight daily.

Iodine: Too much or too little iodine can suppress thyroid function, and it’s hard to know how much is in the diet. A 50-pound dog needs about 300 mcg (micrograms) of iodine daily. Kelp is high in iodine, though the amount varies considerably among supplements.

Multivitamin and mineral supplements: A multivitamin and mineral supplement will help to meet most requirements, including iodine and vitamins D and E, but it’s important not to oversupplement minerals. If using the one-a-day type of human supplements, such as Centrum for Adults under 50, give one per 40 to 50 pounds of body weight daily. Note that most supplements made for dogs provide a reasonable amount of vitamins but are low in minerals, and so won’t make up for deficiencies in the diet. Be cautious with small dogs; I’ve seen some supplements that recommend the same dosage for 10-pound dogs as for those weighing 50 or even 100 pounds. In those cases, the dosage is usually too high for the small dogs and should be reduced. Products made for humans are also inappropriate for small dogs.

Green Blends: Often containing alfalfa and various herbs, green blends may be especially helpful if you don’t include many green vegetables in your dog’s diet. You can also use a pre-mix that includes alfalfa and vegetables, such as The Honest Kitchen’s Preference. Note most pre-mixes also supply calcium, so you should reduce or eliminate calcium supplements, depending on how much of the pre-mix you use. 

Mary Straus is the owner of DogAware.com. Contact her via her website if you would like to submit a diet to be critiqued.

Comments (67)

Thanks for a helpful article. I would Not give canola oil to a dog or human as it is one of worst over processed oils.
It is great you mentioned KELP IODINE, as most allopathic vets never tell dog parents to supplement with kelp and SELENIUM. Most all dogs, just like 97% of humans are extremely deficient in iodine. I take a lot of iodine and selenium myself. Buy kelp tablets or green kelp powder to add to your dogs food.
Great comments, loved all the different tips and ideas.
For those that are not quite ready to go raw, start with FreshPet .com lightly cooked meat, veggies, fruit, seeds, sold in the fridge in the pet aisle at costco, some grocery stores, target, etc. Check their site to see where to buy locally. I started with freshpet and added a raw pastured egg and chia seeds, kelp tablets, codliver oil. Then I stopped the freshpet, and found a truck that delivers ground raw meat, organs, bones, once a month we meet them, with many pet lovers. They sell raw 5# chubbs for $2 a pound for 30# minimum with $5 for gas. A dog walker just told me there is a local livestock feed store that has a freezer and is selling raw for $3 a pound. And now another meat store is selling frozen pet food for $3 a pound. Call local independent livestock feed stores and local independent butcher stores. I was told the gov does not allow pet stores to sell real raw NO HPP No high pressure pasteurization.
HPP is bad as the high pressure pasteurization kills all the nutrients so it is a waste of money as HPP is not real raw. So you have to buy raw from small mom pops, livestock feed stores or butcher meat stores sell it, if they get enough calls and demand from local pet owners.
AVOID all canned veggies, canned fruits, as pasteurization kills all the nutrients, so all that is left in canned food are the calories.
Many tell me they can not afford raw. It is easy and affordable to add an organic raw pastured EGG to the dog or cat's diet, just add a raw egg to add some necessary nutrients, an egg is a super source of animal protein and nutrients, as everything in a raw egg will grow a chicken. I eat 1 raw egg in my morning egg nog with cream, coconut milk, stevia, nutmeg and cinnamon for breakfast. Body builders drink 6 to 12 raw eggs thru out the day daily to grow and maintain muscle. Eggs are a powerful affordable protein source. Just make sure to buy pastured raw eggs, so the eggs come from happy healthier chickens that get to live outside in the grass and sunshine.
Most dogs and cats are so obese from eating No nutrition kibble and pasteurized No nutrition canned food, has calories and no nutrition so they gain excessive weight from the excessive carbs and cheap fillers.
I buy the large bags of frozen GREEN BEANS or asian frozen veggies for veggies. Just put a handful in the fridge over night and it is defrosted enough to go in the dog food bowl the next morning.
For puppies, give them frozen GREEN BEANS to play with and to eat.
KEFIR is excellent for probiotics. Buy the plain Kefir in the fridge by the yogurt.
FOR FIRM POOP, sprinkle a half teaspoon of organic CHIA SEEDS in the food for medium size dogs. For large or xlarge dogs, I use a teaspoon of chia seeds. Firm poop all the time. It is a lifesaver. I buy organic Chia Seeds 2 lbs for $8 at walmart .com or amazon or costco, etc online. I put chia seeds on my own salads, in my raw eggnog, etc. A 2 lb chia seeds lasts a long time.
I add the COD LIVER oil too.
After hearing all the talk about not enough taurine. I add a taurine capsule to the dog food, only once a week, just in case.
Just get started with an egg, and soon you will get use to adding the different foods, veggies, chia seeds, cod liver oil, etc. The fact is, your dog will be healthier on a real food diet, so stop feeding the kibble and canned pet food.
Frozen BLUE BERRIES make great treats too.
I add a BLACK WALNUT capsule for 5 days in a row to the food, M-F. No walnut for S-S. Black Walnut was used by natural veterinarians for 5 days on, 2 days off to prevent or kill heartworms. VITALANIMAL .com

Posted by: dog9 | April 21, 2019 11:46 AM    Report this comment

Dogs are primarily carnivores. The inclusion of grains in a dogs diet seems almost counterproductive. I understand the need for fibre, but grains provide very few, if any, bioavailable nutrients.
The "no more than 50% of a dog meal"...just appears to mean "the dog will eat 2x more just to acquire needed nutrients"...which, of course, indicates the "inexpensive" ingredient increases overall cost over time.

Posted by: Rottadore | March 27, 2019 4:15 AM    Report this comment

I had really good results with fresh roadkill and leftovers from hunters. Excess is put in a chest freezer until it is needed. If you live in a rural area as I do, you can feed your dog at a very small expense. There is usually a lot of organ meat, meaty bones, antler chew toys etc. Simple, natural, cheap, unpretentious, and it made for very happy pups!

Posted by: Victor_Tepes | February 18, 2019 6:53 AM    Report this comment

I've been feeding homemade diets to all of my pets, dogs & cats for almost 7 years. The raw recipe I use for my dog is from Dr. Karen Becker, found on the Youtube channel: Rodney Habib. It's very easy to make, does not require additional supplements and is easy to serve either raw or cooked, if preferred. My dog is 100 lbs. so I triple the recipe which makes 3 days worth of food. For smaller dogs this recipe freezes well in smaller portions to thaw as needed. The recipe uses ground meat (beef, turkey, lamb or chicken), liver, sardines or cod liver oil, equal amounts of 3 veggies, (red bell peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.), hemp seeds or oil, ground ginger, powdered kelp, raw whole eggs, ground egg shell for calcium. The veggies, liver & egg shell is ground up in a food processor. My dog inhales it! His fur is shiny, he has lots of energy & he's lost some weight.

Posted by: SueW | September 16, 2018 11:01 AM    Report this comment

From the author: The first link, to "several recipes" is also not recommended. None of these recipes includes calcium and all are seriously incomplete. Please see my DogAware.com Homemade Diet Guidelines and Book Reviews instead of using these bad recipes.

Posted by: Mary Straus | September 12, 2018 1:14 PM    Report this comment

From the author: Please note that most of the links above were added to my article without my permission. In particular, the link to the meatball recipe is absolutely not recommended! This is a terrible recipe that is inappropriate for dogs, as it is extremely high in fat and contains no calcium. See my Homemade Diet Book Reviews (linked from the Homemade Diet Guidelines page on my DogAware.com website) for more information on why recipes like this are not recommended.

Posted by: Mary Straus | September 12, 2018 12:45 PM    Report this comment

For those seeking recipes, check out Dr. Karen Becker's site/book or the book by Dr. Jean Dodds. I think there are also a couple You Tube videos of her providing recipes for a complete and balanced chicken meal and a complete and balanced beef based meal.

If I don't make it homemade, I use Primal or Stella and Chewy's. They have complete and balanced formulas available.

In terms of supplementation, that is really important as an imbalanced diet can harm your dog. I like a product called Nupro that has most of what you'll need and is easy to add.

Posted by: Lynnemd | September 9, 2018 11:13 AM    Report this comment

Excellent home cooked FB group. Home Cooked Diets for Dogs. The resource files alone are worth the effort.

Posted by: karatemom2 | July 19, 2018 12:21 PM    Report this comment

How do I calculate meals for a 50 and 65lb dogs?I was under the assumption the protein/ veggie ratio was 75%/25%. What I want to know is....how much daily protein/veggies are needed for dogs? So much in this article is so vague.

Posted by: KarenK | October 16, 2017 12:38 PM    Report this comment

I was hoping to see percentages of food variety to make up a "balanced" diet, such as approx 45% lean meat protein, 10% veggies, 5% carbs, and so on. Or even a ratio format. Either would be more helpful when creating meals for my dogs. Thanks!

Posted by: roxy b | April 18, 2017 2:09 PM    Report this comment

I have always had a keen interest in good diet, so why would I not have the same approach when it comes to my two Bulldogs? Before I discovered this program - dbprograms.com/dogfoodsecret, I thought kibble was the only way forward. But Dog Food Secret has changed all that - it has re-written the rule book and I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know that my dogs are getting the best, the purest and tastiest (so they tell me) food they possibly could. It's just common sense and as far as I'm concerned every dog should be on it. My dogs are trimmer, healthier and in better spirits. You are what you eat, after all. And it couldn't be easier to order. I just can't recommend it enough and I am so grateful I've found such an amazing product for my beloved Dot and Dexter

Posted by: Marthaebbs | April 8, 2017 8:15 PM    Report this comment

For medium to large dogs these recipes can be cost prohibitive, but I highly recommend going to your local Asian grocery store. This is where we buy most of the whole-fish and poultry for our senior dog's cooked diet.

I'm in Canada and can purchase 1kg (2.2lbs) of frozen Mackeral from Chinese waters for $9.98 (cdn) a bag from a national grocery store chain (Real Canadian Superstore). I can purchase 750 g (1.6lbs) of Mackeral from my local Asian grocery store for $3.99 (cdn) caught in Portuguese waters.

The same applies for fresh vegetables - a considerable difference in price.

In truth, we do grow alot of own vegetables, which helps to keep costs down, but overall we found we spend less on a well balanced homemade diet, including supplements, per month than we would spend on a "high quality" dry kibble.

In truth, our 14 year old husky with early stage kidney failure is doing amazingly well and maintains a high level of energy and enthusiasm for life and I wholeheartedly believe it is because of his diet and lots of love...of course!

Posted by: In Dog We Trust | March 24, 2017 10:23 AM    Report this comment

I'm cooking for my 12 old yorkie from when he was 2 yrs old. This is the recipe:
3 .5 pound of meat (almost 7 cups ) and 6 cups of vegetables like sweet potatoes, bell pepper, zuquini ,.letucce, apple. This last for 12 days
Supplement: in each serving: 1/8 tsp of calcium Animal Essentials - 1 capsule of Krill oil for kids (Mercola), 1 capsule of Spirugreen (Mercola Pets), one pump of Ubiquinol for pets (Mercola), 1/8 tsp of Prozyme, 1 chewable tablet of Joint Health (Springtime) , 1/8 tsp of Herbal Multi-Vitamin (Animal Essentials).
No vaccines, no products for flees and I use HWProtect for heart worms(Only Natural Pets). When I feed him birds add 1/8 tsp of Flaxseed Oil from Solgar 3-6-9 and when I feed him meat I add 1/8 tsp of Hemp Oil.
My doog never go to the veterinarian, each time that I go one per year only for blood test every thing is perfect. You can do the same for diferents dog sizes, only make the right proportions. I feed him 4 oz per day divided in 2 serving. GOOD LUCK !!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: susysu | February 2, 2017 6:34 PM    Report this comment

I have owned 2 Belgian Shepherd females, Groenendael and Tervueren. Groenendael lived to 17y.o. and current dog is now 14. Both have been fed exclusively on the following diet supplemented with raw meaty bones 2- 3 times a week. Never been sick. Vaccinated only twice.

Tin of sardines for breakfast. (in water, not oil) with a little good quality (holistic select) kibble

Main Meal
One free range chicken(roasted at home in oven bag to reserve the juices)) divided into 4 - 5 meals
One sweet potatoe
One carrot
One zucchini
Green leafy vegetable (e.g. Kale)
Vegetable oil added later..
Handful of parsley.
All above vegetables steamed without parsley which mixed in later

Mash all vegetables with parsley and oil. Quarter of chicken with juice poured over.
They have always eaten everything. As they get older I have removed the sweet potatoe to maintain weight at 22 kilos.

Posted by: Tp | January 13, 2017 7:17 PM    Report this comment

The title in the email about this subject is very misleading. It states "A Home-Prepared Dog Diet Doesn't Need to Be Hard". After reading the article, I thought it would scare most people away from trying a home cooked recipe - too many does, don't and quantities to consider that make it look difficult. I was expecting to see some simple recipes, not just all the things I need to consider before making this change. That's great information, but it doesn't reflect what the article's title states.

Posted by: LiseL | December 13, 2016 2:31 AM    Report this comment

Easy dog food recipe (Dr. Karen Becker's). My 17lb dog gets 1 RAW food meal in AM (a different commercial product than this recipe), and this meal in PM. Using 4 lbs. of SOLID baked meat, and proportioning around it, makes about 15 dishes a month (using 1 qt. metal bowls 3/4 filled.) But it's a RICH meal, and half of his daily intake. And he LOVES it warmed over!!


14 oz. 90% lean ground beef (or 93% lean)
2 tsp hempseed oil or 3 T ground hemseeds
1/2 Tsp Carlson's cod liver oil, or 2 sardines
1/2 Tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 Tsp. kelp powder (provide 0.2 mg iodine)
1 egg
1/2 eggshell
1 oz. beef liver
1 oz. broccoli
1 oz. red bell pepper
1 oz. spinach

Mix together. Can be heated or served raw.

Posted by: Pacificsun | December 11, 2016 12:37 PM    Report this comment

This article needs to be written in a lot more detail. This would frighten away a lot of pet parents who were looking to make the transition to a raw diet.
You owe it to the many dogs out there to be a better resource.

Posted by: AsNatureIntended | September 14, 2016 11:44 AM    Report this comment

It does seem scary and complicated. I'm sure it gets easier as you get practice. Here is a website that I've learned a lot about how to raise my dogs.

Posted by: hmq1975 | July 28, 2016 4:50 PM    Report this comment

These are far from EASY recipes. Complicated advice and no real recipes at all. Very few people have time to invest in research as to how much of each to use. You could at least have given websites having easy recipes.

Posted by: Trudy | July 1, 2016 1:20 PM    Report this comment

Every time I've tried to add a comment it simply disappears. Very disappointed since I do feed a primarily raw diet to both my dogs.

Posted by: LucyB | June 27, 2016 12:31 AM    Report this comment

I've had my 75lb., 7-1/2 year old Lab mix has been on a semi-raw diet for the past four years. Before I changed from high quality kibble and canned food, his stomach would gurgle and squeak and he was itchy. He eats twice a day using Sojos veggie/fruit mix rehydrated with water or homemade broth, fresh cut up beef, chicken, elk, pork (sauteed in coconut oil), turkey, heart, chicken or beef liver, backyard eggs w/shells (2x/wk), tablespoon cottage cheese, 1 tsp turmeric, mushroom powder for dogs, sprinkle of powdered alfalfa, vitamin/mineral supplement, 400 UI salmon oil, 400 UI vitamin D, Ligaplex2. Also gets leftover veggies or salad from dinner plates. Has a nice meaty bone about twice a week and an occasional chicken neck as a treat. No more stomach gurgles, has a very shiny coat, is active and not overweight. Hope this isn't overkill!

Posted by: LucyB | June 27, 2016 12:26 AM    Report this comment

This is for Sebastian's Mom and any other dog with kidney or chronic urinary issues. I was able to cook a home made diet for my lab that had kidney disease and was able to maintain him on this diet for many years until his passing due to something other than kidney disease. He loved his homemade food! Check out yahoo group, K9KidneyDiet. They can help you figure out how to cook for your dog, regardless of what type of kidney disease they have.

Posted by: Lisa H | June 26, 2016 10:13 AM    Report this comment

I would like to give my Bishon Shih Tzu mix two meals a day...one a good dog food product as directed, and a second meal a human food such as one scrambled egg with a small amount of mashed sweet potatoes (no oil, butter, or herbs or condiments of any kind) with possibly a few blueberries thrown in. Or maybe a 1/3 cup of plainly fried chicken with broth poured over it and a few sweet peas.
Would this affect him badly, or are there ways to tweak it?

Thank you very much.

Posted by: patteann | June 22, 2016 7:34 PM    Report this comment

To Sebastian's mom - Part 3
I forgot to mention
I give regular fish oil (not cod liver oil for kidney patient) - 2 gelcap am meal and 1 pm meal
And 1 B-50 once a day

It's really pretty easy. You can cook and puree enough veggies/fruit for several meals (2 days worth) and just cook up the meat each meal. Or if you work, cook the meat the night before. Several meals is better than 1 big meal. Take the puree out when you start cooking the meat so it warm s a little by the time the meat is ready. Then use the water you cooked the meat in or the juice from the meat and pour over puree to get it even warmer. Don't forget to mix the egg shells into the meat well so they don't notice it. If you cook everything in advance, heat in oven instead of microwave which kills all the nutrients. If it's a cottage cheese meal, measure as much cottage cheese as you'd give meat. I use canned crushed pineapple or puree sliced peaches as the veggie/fruit portion (1/2 amount of cottage cheese) although frozen is probably much better.

Posted by: fave | May 20, 2016 6:56 PM    Report this comment

To Sebastian's mom - Part 2
2. A good multivitamin: if using people vitamins, they are based on 150 lbs of body weight, so if you have a 35-40 lb dog, it would be 1/4 of the vitamin.
3. The other thing you want to add for kidney failure is either Azodyl or many reviews say you can get as good results with probiotics from the healthfood store. i use the 150 billion probiotic (keep refrigerated) for my kidney failure dog.
4. SubQ fluids. The kidneys aren't removing toxins so they need the fluids. My dog gets the sub q with electrolytes. If you buy this from the vet, it can be up to $100/1000ml bag which is what my vet charges and my dog gets 300 ml /day which is over $200/week so I get mine online from valleyvet com for about $12/bag for the plasmalyte (electrolyte sub q's) item # 748RX. You'll need a vet prescription. You provide the vet information and valleyvet will call your vet for approval. The vet usually gives a 6 month prescription at a time.
You can get the iv kit there or I get my kits at thrivingpets com along with the 22 gauge "Ultra Thin Wall" needles. You want thin wall needles because they are thinner and don't hurt when they go in. If you've not administered before, your vet can show you how. The easiest way is to pull up the skin, push your finger between the 2 sides of skin to make an indentation like a little cave. that is where you put the needle in. if the fluid is not dripping when the roller is open, pull the needle out and in a little to adjust so it drips quickly. make sure you flow the iv to get the air out of the line before inserting. hope some of this is useful. I am not a vet and this is not intended to be vet advise. It is just what I've found from books and my holistic and natural vets and what's helped my dogs.

Posted by: fave | May 20, 2016 6:23 PM    Report this comment

To Sebastian's mom
Part 1. The single most important supplement for home cooked food is calcium. For a kidney healthy dog, the amount is approximately 1 teaspoon (ground egg shells 1900 per pound or 2 cups of precooked "meat". If you have a dog in kidney failure it should be double that - closer to 2 teaspoons per pound or 2 cups of meat, 1t per 1/2 lb or 1 cup, etc. The idea of restricting meat to dogs with kidney failure is old school. It isn't the meat, but the phosphorus in the meat. The calcium (ground egg shells or eggshellant if you want to buy them) kind of removes or neutralizes the phosphorous. If you limit his/her meat intake, your dog could quickly begin losing muscle mass. He needs the meat, not the phosphorous. I make approx 70% precooked weight of meat and 30% "Pureed" vegetables and fruit (because they are pureed it is condensed and thus more than if you measured whole). They eat twice a day. three of them are about 65 lbs each so they each get 1 C ground or chopped precooked measured meat and 1/2C pureed veg/fruit per meal. Just mix it up with different meals: beef, chicken breast, turkey breast, eggs (I think it's 3 eggs - 1/2 t calcium; 1 t for kidney failure), cottage cheese (1/4t calcium/cup, 1/2t/cup for kidney) for protein and rotate fresh or fzn veg and fruit (no corn/avocado/grapes/raisins): ex. gently cooked or raw carrots plus apples, green beans/ broccoli/blueberries, carrots/fresh spinach or lettuce/raspberries, fzn mixed (no corn or seasoned) steamed broccoli/squash/carrots, steamed brussel sprouts, all natural applesauce. Add a tsp '100% Pure Pumpkin' to veg mix for stomach. A couple times a week I replace 10-20% of meat with organ meat (not for my kidney dog). I cook the turkey and chicken in water and pour the water over the food. Dogs do not drink enough water and kidney dogs need even more fluids. See next comment for part 2

Posted by: fave | May 20, 2016 6:22 PM    Report this comment

I have an elderly dog with kidney problems. I was told to keep him on a low protein diet. Well, the prescribed one from my vet's office didn't entice him to eat one bit. I went back to her and she mentioned I could try making his food. She said all I needed to do was be sure he received a Pet Tab (vitamin) daily. I've finally got him eating again, but it doesn't even compare to what you're advising to do. His diet is very simple, but it's the only thing he'll eat. Any suggestions for a kidney low-protein diet?

Posted by: Sebastian's Mom | May 15, 2016 3:33 PM    Report this comment

Heavens, this is very complicated and confusing especially for a novice to homemade diets. Also it is highly nonspecific in places thus leaving me afraid to try it because it is not clear exactly what I am supposed to do.

Posted by: Sara's Mom | May 15, 2016 11:58 AM    Report this comment

I have a 1 year long coat chihuahua and has been on a raw/vegetable diet since she was a puppy. I include solid gold vitamins (powder), raw goats milk and salmon oil daily. I also have added fish bone broth (smells terrible). I purchase the raw meat and vegetables already mixed frozen. Since I am elderly and live alone this is a lot easier for me. She has a shinny coat, her poops are firm and she never throws up. I highly recommend the
barf diet. Colleen

Posted by: Colleen Edson | May 15, 2016 11:53 AM    Report this comment

I just adopted an 8 week old (we actually think she may be younger) Yorkie mix and are IN LOVE with her! Named her Fig and she is my new baby, since I am finished having human babies! Immediately after getting her, I went to PetSmart and bought the best of the best puppy foods, just to make sure she would like at least one...no dice. As I've only had her four days and her vet appointment isn't until Monday (today is Saturday), I've been feeding her the best possible puppy diet I could think of on my own. Very tender, small bites of London broil, scrambled eggs, potatoes, carrots, stock, etc. She LOVES it! And after reading this article, I've decided that she will eat a diet completely prepared by me, with the help of supplements. It's not much more expensive, I know what's going into her body, she loves it, and I know it'll be so much better for her. If any of you furbaby parents are hesitant, please try it out, at least for a week. You will be so happy & so will your little ones!;

Posted by: jldutton77 | April 16, 2016 9:58 PM    Report this comment

How can I reply to people comments here??????

Posted by: AsNatureIntended | November 24, 2015 12:00 PM    Report this comment

I have 12 rescues, and it is heartbreaking to me that I cannot afford to feed them like this. They get dry food, ACANA, so I get the best that I can, but I still hate them eating dry kibble. This is great information though.

Posted by: 12dogmom | July 20, 2015 11:49 AM    Report this comment

i use ice cube trays to measure out my non meat mixes, then freeze, that way all i have to do is pop out five cubes for my dog and give her the meaty bones, or other source of meat, it works great plus she loves the frozen treat during warmer weather, also yogurt and pumpkin make good icecube tray summer treats

Posted by: rafiki's mom | April 6, 2015 12:17 AM    Report this comment

i use ice cube trays to measure out my non meat mixes, then freeze, that way all i have to do is pop out five cubes for my dog and give her the meaty bones, or other source of meat, it works great plus she loves the frozen treat during warmer weather, also yogurt and pumpkin make good icecube tray summer treats

Posted by: rafiki's mom | April 5, 2015 11:53 PM    Report this comment

This is something myself and husband have been doing. I spoke to a gentlemen in Florida for over a year and now we ate ready to start our own holistic dog food business. It is not hard however my husband also has an animal nutrition minor. We will start marketing soon as we wantbtp test our product in the lab as well as look at the nutrient content.

Posted by: Dar | February 17, 2015 6:46 AM    Report this comment

My 7 yr old Maltese doesn't seem to like his dry food. So I'm thinking of making boiled chicken breast as his new diet but upon reading all these, I realized you need alot more than just chicken! So can anyone suggest what I put into his diet if boiled chicken makes up 50% of it? Thanks!

Posted by: KLing | February 4, 2015 6:40 PM    Report this comment

I rescued my 20month old Staffy girl 3 months ago who had suffered a bad bacteria skin & ear infections which resulted in her losing her hair before i got her and was always scratching and chewing her paws in which would leave open sores and rashes on her belly. I decided to change her food and feed only one diet which i cook myself....after 2 months she has all her hair grown back and has stopped chewing on her paws and has a soft beautiful shiny coat and no rashes at all, as for the itching i think this was caused by new hair follicle growth.
I give her odourless fish oil 1000mg +omega gel capsule per day and a tin of Sardines in springwater mixed with dried chicken only Kibble 2x a wk. The recipe i Cook lasts for 12-14 feeds bagged and frozen individually.
1kg minced chicken, 1 large sweet potato, 3 lg carrots, 2c pasta, 1c white rice, and 1cup salt reduced chicken stock & frozen beans.
Fill large pot with 3 cups of water & add 1cup of chicken stock add chopped carrots and sweet potato with skin on and par boil then add chicken mince, pasta and rice untill cooked then add beans and boil for 1-2 minutes Cool then bag up and freeze in bags for each night. I mix with 1cup of (chicken only) kibble. Supercoat dry food. Australia.

Posted by: Kris | January 7, 2015 5:10 AM    Report this comment

I am a pet sitter and I have a client who feeds there dog ground beef every day. My first thought is that this dog isn't getting the nutrition that he needs. For snacks they give him cheese. I would like to offer them suggestions to create a healthier meal for the dog. even if it's just adding some additional supplementation. Could I get some suggestions? My thought is that they should have some carbs and veggies added, but are there specific essential nutrients that this dog is going to be lacking from this limited diet. Oh and this dog has separation anxiety when the owners go away, so he always seems to develop diarrhea during that time. But part of me wonders if there is a possibility that it's more common than just when they go away, as he's obviously not getting much fiber.

Posted by: laurab67 | December 27, 2014 9:34 PM    Report this comment

I usually prefer to give my dogs only home made meals. Side by side, I really love the benefits of Salmon oil supplement. I add few drops of salmon oil into my dog's daily diet to prevent them from skin allergies and for overall good health.

Posted by: Eliza | December 25, 2014 10:27 PM    Report this comment

I completely agree with the post by DAVID B. It stars with "there is a fundamental metabolic error in this". I am not a vet, but that's OK because regular vets don't have nutritional background. I have done tons and tons of research, I have read several excellent books and I have consulted with a "holistic" vet, all prior to switching my goldendoodle to the raw dog food diet. It is essential that your dog is eating at least 90% of his diet as raw meat/organ. The rest, the 10%, can be from raw fruits and veggies (always pulped in a food processor), and you absolutely need to add a healthy oil. I use Flax oil for omega 3 & 6. I also add in a hard boiled egg several times per week, and I also give duck necks and turkey necks a couple times a week because that dog of yours NEEDS to chew raw meat and crunch bones! A must read is the following book...."Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats" by Kymythe Schulze. Last but not least, you must look into what supplements are required as well (calcium, vitamins, chlorella, etc.). Even though kibble is like a swear word now (for me, maybe not for you), the dog food companies are required by law to ensure that kibble is supplemented with various minerals, vitamins, efa's, etc. before it hits the shelf. One last note, feeding too much raw vegetable and fruit is a carbohydrate, and will be converted to sugar/glucose and can lead to those nasty yeast infections and diabetes. Same for grains, get them right out of your dog's diet. Do you see the wolf hunting for wheat or rice? No? EDUCATE yourself, it's so worth the time, and hook up with a holistic vet for a consultation. Thanks to David B. for the post he submitted on July 6, 2013.

Posted by: AllieA | November 21, 2014 1:16 PM    Report this comment

Hi everyone, please check out my Facebook page : Cooking for dogs

I post recipes, articles, and discussions on homemade diets for dogs.

Posted by: cookingfordogs | September 14, 2014 2:05 PM    Report this comment

We have a 10 year old Lab, overweight and an 11 week old Lab mix rescue puppy. We would like to start making their food but I'm concerned about the varied nutritional needs for my girls. Any suggestions for recipes and supplements?

Posted by: Dottie M | September 14, 2014 10:08 AM    Report this comment

here's why barf can be good for your dogs diet

Posted by: geezaboo24 | August 23, 2014 12:14 AM    Report this comment

I have an 85lb pitbull. She was 5 years old when I rescued her. She had a bit of arthritis and was a foot licker to the point where she would end up with a yeast infection in her pads (we got all her medical records from the shelter, her former owners handed them over with her). I feed her boiled chicken, occasionally tripe or liver or salmon, along with a dried kibble and frozen mixed veggies. She also gets yoghurt every now and then. I have not given her eggs, do not know if I could stand the gas lol. She also gets an all around vitamin pill. She is doing good, very healthy and runs around like a puppy, she is 9 now. The last dog I had was a simple generic black dog. He lived to be 18 and lived exclusively on a diet of canned dog food with the occasional sausage, chocolate (he was a total chocohaulic) and pieces of chicken thrown in. I also make beef jerky for her from chicken and London broil. She sits in the kitchen crying for 3 hours while the dehydrator is on, she loves it.

Posted by: faybeech | August 3, 2014 8:05 AM    Report this comment

When making dog food. I get my dog, "lick o chops and DinOvite" I put this on top of the food before I serve it. She loves it so much, and I know she is getting all of the vitamins needed for each days feeding. I also watch videos, showing recipes on how to make dog food. It is so much easite to watch, than read.

Posted by: mombuscus | July 27, 2014 7:34 PM    Report this comment

Ok, people are asking for answers and simple recipes. All of the guidelines in this article are good. A great book is Feed Your Pet Right, written by two PhD nutritionists who have been involved in scientific research on animal nutrition as well as the politics of providing nutrition guidelines. They have no agenda and tell you what we actually know about pet nutrition, which is very little, and what ideas are promising. They also discuss nutrition ideas that don't have any grounding in science, but they don't dismiss them, just acknowledge that research hasn't been done. All around a very sane book. They have a basic daily diet in the book which is for a 20 pound dog, adjust accordingly:

2 oz. protein
4 oz. carb
(Or can be half and half, just more expensive)
1/2 oz. (minimum) vegetable and/or fruit
1/8 t salt substitute (this is important; it is potassium chloride)
1/2 adult multivitamin
1t fat
Bonemeal for calcium (I use 1 eggshell per day instead)

I use a mixture of proteins, which helps prevent food allergies. I try to use at least three. I use grass fed beef and liver, salmon ( the wild Atlantic salmon they sell at Costco works well) and eggs. I hard boil a lot of eggs, then use the eggs for protein and grind the shells in the vitamix for calcium. The beef is my main protein source, plus one egg per day. I don't use more than 1 oz of liver and 1 oz of salmon per week.

I really liked to use organic chicken, then make broth in the crock pot and afterward blend the bones to pudding in my vitamix (only do this if you have a vitamix or other super powered blender). If you do this, you can use the stock as a base for blending fruits, veggies, etc. in blender, then add 1 Tablespoon per day of the bone pudding and you don't need to worry about fat or calcium. My current puppy may have issues with chicken, so I am not doing this now.

I would like other sources of protein, but am still looking for affordable options. I have some beef tongue in my freezer which I am going to try, and I plan to visit a nearby organic farm to see if I can get some cheap cuts or offal from their pigs or sheep.

Great carb sources are of course peas and sweet potatoes. I get frozen organic peas from Costco. Avoid brown rice from the US because it is being grown on former cotton fields which were drenched with arsenic. This isn't crackpot stuff, it is from the FDA. Look it up. I still use organic brown rice sometimes, but I wash it, then soak it for a day and a half, rinse it and cook it in three times too much water and then drain. I sometimes use oats also. Oat gluten is different from wheat gluten, but no one knows what that means. Some nutritionists think oats are great, others not so much, so I use a little. I avoid wheat.

For fruits and veggies, I like green beans best. You can use as much as you want. Costco has frozen organic kale, which I plan to use but haven't yet. I also use frozen organic blueberries -- again from Costco -- and apples. I usually measure the 1/2 oz. in fruit and put in whatever low starch veggies I have around. Just be careful about spinach because it slows absorption of calcium. Some is fine, but not too much. The same goes for carrots, although I like to use a bit of these (organic) for the vitamin A. I also roast them in olive oil for treats.

I currently use 1/2 t cold pressed organic olive oil and 1t flax seed ground in my vitamix. This author doesn't like that exactly and I plan to do some research on what she says about linoleum acid but my dogs seem fine.

I occasionally add a T of plain yogurt for the probiotics but may change to kimchi. Lots of people rave about pumpkin, not entirely sure why since there are lots of sources for vitamin A and fiber, but if I ever use pumpkin, it will count toward my carbs.

So it is really, really easy to feed your dog, just follow these very simple guidelines and you can't go wrong. I use my vitamix, cook all meat, and make a week's worth at a time. I also have a kitchen scale which comes in handy.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: KimM | July 1, 2014 12:24 PM    Report this comment

Where are the answers.....?????????

Posted by: Heidigrasl | June 29, 2014 1:51 PM    Report this comment

I have been making their food for a month, add a supplement that I bought and some ground flax with blueberry. What I cannot figure out is how much they should eat. Canned or bagged dog food usually tell you how much they require for pound. Does anyone know a formula for feeding volume?

Posted by: Laura J | June 2, 2014 8:00 PM    Report this comment

Has anyone tried Pet Bistro Products? You may want to look into the foods they offer. I had switched my yorkies from a well know dog food to Pet Bistro. I have had great results and their Bark Scotti dog treats are a complete protein as well as grain, meat, dairy and gluten free. My dogs love them; they actually taste great and all of Pet Bistro's products are certified organic. My dogs creatin levels had dropped and we have seen no more crystals in the bladder or urine nor have we had anymore infections. Hope this is helpful.
The website to read about the information is petbistro.us

Posted by: Aubrie C | May 26, 2014 7:08 AM    Report this comment

I make my dogs, a Cocker Spaniel and a King Charles, their food. One recipe I've used is 2 lbs of 10% ground beef, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 2 cups of kale and 1 cup of baby spinach with water added and mixed in the blender, 6 eggs with their shells mixed in the blender until the shells are tiny pieces, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 cup of blueberries and 1/2 an apple with water added and mixed in the blender and 1/2 cup of brown rice. I cook the meat first and then add all of the rest and let it simmer until all of it is cooked and the rice is tender. I also add a bouillon cube for more flavor. Is this a healthy recipe?

Posted by: Lindley | May 10, 2014 12:48 AM    Report this comment

I make my dogs, a Cocker Spaniel and a King Charles, their food. One recipe I've used is 2 lbs of 10% ground beef, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 2 cups of kale and 1 cup of baby spinach with water added and mixed in the blender, 6 eggs with their shells mixed in the blender until the shells are tiny pieces, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 cup of blueberries and 1/2 an apple with water added and mixed in the blender and 1/2 cup of brown rice. I cook the meat first and then add all of the rest and let it simmer until all of it is cooked and the rice is tender. I also add a bouillon cube for more flavor. Is this a healthy recipe?

Posted by: Lindley | May 10, 2014 12:48 AM    Report this comment

I have a new puppy and would like to feed him a natural diet rather than kibbles and canned food that smells like old cigarette buts. I've had dogs all my life. When I was a kid we fed them table scraps.
I'm hoping to do better for my new pup. I have a 1-1/2 quart crock pot and one recipe for homemade dogfood. It has meat or fish, brown rice or sweet potatoes and veggies. I would appreciate any recipes you could provide.

Posted by: cdifrances | April 28, 2014 8:21 PM    Report this comment

I presently have 3 pups JohnnyBoy 14 Darla 4 and Tippy 1. My interest are herbal medicine and staying healthy. Lucky for my canine friends this benefits them as well. I feed them the least expensive food I can find as a filler and add Bee Pollen Olive Oil a little Diatomacious Earth and mix it with meat stock or occasionally sardines and garlic from my kitchen. I make treats with acia berries oats peanut butter peppermint and beef stock. To keep cateracs from forming and body cells strong and many other problems with age attacking the system at bay I always add Apple Cider Vinegar to the water. My pups have never seen a vet or have they been sick. As for me I am on the same regimen with exceptance of the dog food and have not had so much as a cold in my 67 year memory. Might not work for everyone but for us it is working well.

Posted by: Smilingeyes | March 26, 2014 10:25 PM    Report this comment

Excellent article and provides a world of information for those of us just starting to think about home cooked food for our pets. I am trying to come up with a good recipe for a wholesome diet for my 40 pound mixed breed dog. She has been on kibble her entire life but we are trying to make some changes for the better.

I am a vegetarian and can make eggs and give her canned fish. I am thinking of a combination of rice, beans, cooked veggies, yogurt and eggs as an option. I am also going to add the oil, vitamin and mineral supplements you have mentioned here. Should I give her the daily multi vitamin on top of what you have suggested under supplements? Wouldn't it over compensate?

Please advice.

Posted by: Vvishwas | March 21, 2014 9:24 AM    Report this comment

I happened to mention to the vet one day that my dog wouldn't eat her meals straight away but would take a few bites, leave it for a while and then take a few more bites during the day until she finished it at the end of the day. This is a problem when I try to give her the monthly flea control tablet which has to be taken after a full meal. I try to give her variety in her meals to try out the perfect meal that she will eat straight away, but it doesn't matter what I feed her - different brands of commercial dogfood, homemade dogfood with tuna, beef or chicken, organic loaf, dogfood out of a health shop - she never eats a meal straight away.

The vet asked what I normally gave her. Her normal meal at that stage was ground beef or kangaroo meat, with flaxseed oil, chopped liver or kidney and brown rice. I also gave her raw bones a few times a week and a bowl of grain-free dog biscuits to snack on during the day. The vet was shocked and said she should never have red meat or offal, as this was inflammatory, but that I should only feed her chicken or turkey or other white meat. I should also never give her bones as these would cause her teeth to splinter and her to have dental problems. I should also give her raw fruit and veges and only organic top of the range biscuits from the vet, which of course was in a small packet and very highly priced. I walked out of there feeling like I'd just been abusing my dog all this time.

I tried what the vet said and changed her diet to chicken and turkey only with cooked carrot and kale and other veges. I stopped her giving her bones and tried her on the organic biscuits. Every day for nearly a week she left both her wet and dry food bowls mostly untouched. She took to sitting on the floor at my feet begging as I ate my own meals, which she'd never done before. After nearly a week I couldn't stand her big sad eyes anymore and gave her back her red meat, bones and offal - which she gulped down like she'd been starving. Which she had. Now I don't mind if she takes her time eating her meal - as long as it's gone by the end of the day I'm happy. I accept that she's not a 'food' dog and won't gulp down her meals straight away like other dogs. I tried the expensive organic stuff and the white meat, but in the end she told me herself what she wanted.

Posted by: GL | November 9, 2013 10:42 PM    Report this comment

To Mardi H. I prepare food for my dogs these days, because many years ago, I lost two dogs to intestinal cancer. The vet asked me what I fed them and I told him that it was dog food, both tin and dry. He advised me that if I ever decided to get another dog to prepare fresh food. For one thing, only dry food is not healthy for a meat eating animal and the vet can always tell by the dog's breath. The other is that the meat draws the metal out from the tin.
So from then on, I decided to feed only fresh food, which worked out wonderful. It was so good that my grandchildren also tucked into it. Then one day, someone threw bait onto my property and tried to kill my dogs in the most horrible way, with poisoned meat. There is nothing more horrible than finding your dog so sick that even today I can't put words to paper. From the ten dogs I have had in my lifetime, I recommend a balanced diet of dry but also fresh.

Posted by: Irene R. | September 24, 2013 11:50 PM    Report this comment

To Jean G. February with a pancreatitis dog. I've only discovered this site so my answer is a little late. I had two dogs that were poisoned but with a wonderful vet my two survived, one was diabetic and the other had pancreatitis. I had them on a diet of meat and vegetables of green beans, carrots, sweet potatoe, snow peas and lettuce all blended into a food processor and made into patties. Once a week I purchased fish and other seafood for the family, I made seafood patties for my dogs. The patties were the size of golf balls. I had border collies. However, instead of feeding once or twice a day, they were fed three times a day alternating with specially formulated canine food purchased from the vet, not to mention the medication they were both on and insulin for the diabeties, this for the rest of their lives. Both lived a little longer, however, my diabetic boy eventually had to be put to sleep because he went blind and the other with cancer. The only advice I can give is that the dog should be supervised by a veterinary. I had monthly visits to the vet but it was worth it to have them a little longer.

Posted by: Irene R. | September 24, 2013 11:15 PM    Report this comment

There is a fundamental metabolic error in this. The reason most pet dogs, perhaps 90%, are overweight or obese is not due to excess fat in the diet, it is due to excess carbohydrate. I am very familiar with the current nutritional baloney that fat causes obesity because fat is more calorie dense than carbohydrate. This is base upon the simplistic theory that a calorie is a calorie, which is based upon a misunderstanding of the first law of thermodynamics and how it applies to metabolism. Until you understand metabolism its pointless to argue the point because metabolism is what is fundamental to this subject. In the wold canines evolved and live today on a diet almost devoid of carbohydrate. No matter how much you would love to believe we can substitute those low cost carbs for protein and fat it aint never going to work. Most carbohydrate will rapidly convert to serum glucose which will immediately stimulate insulin production. Insulin operates in the conversion of serum glucose to body fat. That is until the system is worn out from overuse and the metabolism becomes diabetic. Obesity is evidence of the metabolism trying to protect the body from excess glucose which in the end causes cell death. Additionally the high glucose levels that dog lives with leads to more rapid cell replacement and a shorter life. That's why all studies done to date on feeding a drastically reduced quantity of food leads to significance life extension. The high serum glucose and its relationship to the incidence of cancer is a whole additional area of concern. You don't need to understand all this, just feed your dog as close as you can to how he would have eaten as a wolf.

Posted by: DAVID B | July 6, 2013 4:23 PM    Report this comment

I use Fish oil as a skin saver for my dogs. It seems their skin drya out during the summer and winter months so I give them a fish oil tablet daily. Makes a big difference. Is there another oil that you think would do this job better?

Posted by: lcridesherown | July 6, 2013 3:08 PM    Report this comment

To Lynn C. Re: diabetic Viszla. One of our mini schnauzers was diagnosed as diabetic last November. We have had tremendous success with both Annamaet Grain-Free Lean and Horizon Amicus Senior/Weight Control kibble (we alternate to keep Mr Picky Eater interested). We feed half kibble/half low fat canned. Apparently keeping blood lipids/cholesterl low for diabetic dogs is critical. Spenser's have dropped dramatically, and our vet has even recommended his diet to other diabetic patients. His glucose has dropped from 688 when diagnosed to 144 at last testing. But there have been fluctuations along. Has your vet increased insulin dosage? Over the course of the first few months, we have increased from 4 units 2x per day to 10 units 2x per day. Your dog's dosage seems low for a larger dog (Spenser is18 lbs), especially if she is gaining some of that weight back after starting on insulin. Good luck!

Posted by: 2ugadawgs | July 6, 2013 2:22 PM    Report this comment

So I'm seeing some comments here, but wonder if any of them have been answered. I'd like to see the responses to some of these questions.... otherwise, what's the point, eh?

Posted by: Unknown | July 6, 2013 12:23 PM    Report this comment

thanks for the great article.

Wondering about Magnesium. Is the (relatively small) amount in most multivitamins sufficient?

Posted by: Jency | July 6, 2013 11:23 AM    Report this comment

I have an 8yr. old vizsla, female.
December of 2010, Christmas, she stole and ate a brick of birdseed suet and eggnog cheese cake
December 27, admitted to nc state vet hospital---- pancreatitis
2 weeks in hospital, stable and home
2 heat cycles passed
false pregnancy, 2 nd cycle, very thirsty, loosing weight, and ravenous, bg level-588-has lost 15 lbs.
emergency spay---April, 2012
check her bg level 2 x daily, insulin 6.5 units 2x daily.
feeding wellness reduced fat, 1/2 cup 2 x daily, and my chicken stew, made with chicken breasts, string beans, jasmine brown rice, cinnamon, sea salt, garlic powder (little). pet vit., vit.e, milk thistle, viokase (orderline EPI)
I give her raw veggies, yellow squash and snow peas
I would love to cook for her and the rest of my vizslas (they are ok), but when do I know it is balanced. the kibble, ideally should be low fat, high protein, carbs, not too high. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

recently, her bg has been running high, with no change in diet. this is very frustrating for all of us, fortunately she is an excellent patient, but I need to know that I am not failing her.

Posted by: lynn f | April 29, 2013 9:39 AM    Report this comment

Is there any way that a dog with pancreatitis can thrive or even tolerate a home cooked diet? My friend's dog has this and she wants to give him some things but she throws up easily. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Jean G | February 4, 2013 9:46 PM    Report this comment

I have a Bichon with what the vets think might be food allergies so I have been cooking ground turkey with carrots and green beans in order to narrow it down. Now I realize this is not nutrionally sound. Is there one supplement I could add with all the needed vitamins and minerals since she is only 12 lbs.?

Posted by: Unknown | October 23, 2012 10:28 PM    Report this comment

My silky terrier 13 pounds has a urinary tract infection and has crystals or a stone (not sure yet) they have put him on a dietary diet. Do you have a homemade receipt as I have made his food since he was a puppy, he is 8 years now. Thanks

Posted by: Unknown | September 9, 2012 2:36 PM    Report this comment

can you post some recipes for home made meals....I am trying to do this but want to make sure that I do it right for my little 10 and 6 pound Yorkies..

Posted by: CINDY G | September 3, 2012 9:58 AM    Report this comment

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