Homemade Raw Dog Food

An easy recipe for homemade raw dog food that you can tweak as necessary to what you have on hand.

For as health conscious as I am about what kind of foods I put in my own body, I have to admit for the better part of six of her seven years, I pretty much fed Ginger the equivalent of fast food to humans. Sure, it was the good fast food but after awhile, even Chick-Fil-A isn’t “healthy” any more if you know what I mean.

Homemade raw dog food

Of course, occasionally I made her homemade dog treats but more often than not her food was anything but homemade.

Then one day earlier this year it was like a switch got flipped. The guy who sold us our water softener system was sitting in our kitchen and as Ulysses looked over models trying to figure out which one made the most sense, the sales guy and I started talking about dog food.

Ginger

He explained how he starting feeding his dogs raw dog food from the freezer section of the pet store and how their energy levels were through the roof (not that Ginger needs help in that department), their coats were shinier than ever and their teeth in great shape.

It made sense. I completely buy into the same theories from a human perspective, why wouldn’t it be the same for dogs?

So, next trip to Petco, I was forking over some serious money (like 3 times the price of dry food) for frozen raw dog food patties and giving this whole thing a shot.

The first meal I gave her the homemade raw dog food, she came running back into the kitchen after licking the bowl clean as if she was begging for more. As I was preparing the second meal and she saw me take the food out of the refrigerator, she just about lost it running back and forth between the kitchen and the laundry room (where we feed her), her legs moving faster than her body could on the wood floor running into chairs and walls like a lunatic.

Ginger in a hat

It appeared she liked it.

At $25 for 3 pounds of food however, I knew immediately that wasn’t going to happen. Sorry, pup, I don’t eat out every day either.

So, I got to researching. And it turns out, making your own raw dog food isn’t really that hard. It’s a bit disgusting as you see raw meat and organs swirl around in your food processor, but it’s not difficult by any means.

Raw dog food proportions

80% meat with fat
10% organs
5% vegetables/fruits
5% dairy/supplements

Using those simple proportions, you can pretty much make up your own recipe from whatever you have on hand or find on sale at the store or.

Meat with fat: I will usually buy ground meat of some sort for this just because it’s easier than breaking down other cuts. Beef, chicken, pork, bison, gamey meats, etc.

Organs: The good news is organs are cheap. The bad news is organs are kind of gross. Nothing like some slimy chicken livers getting pulsed up in your food processor. Liver and kidneys are the two easiest to find in the grocery store.

Vegetables/fruits: Ginger happens to hate vegetables and fruit. She’s literally spit them out before or eaten around them if we’ve tried to feed her some in her bowl. So I choose sweet things here like apples and carrots and they get processed real fine so she can’t tell. Avoid onions, grapes and raisins as they can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Dairy/supplements: Whole eggs (shell and all) are a great source of calcium. I’ll also use some plain yogurt to help bind the patties. Supplement wise, ground flaxseed meal, olive oil and fish oil are great additions too.

Homemade raw dog food

Making her homemade raw dog food has just become a part of the weekly routine now. We do half homemade raw dog food and half dry food which we upgraded as well to a grain-free feed with ingredients that make me comfortable when I read the back of the bag.

It’s a 30 minute weekly commitment that has made both her and I incredibly happy. Her, when she sees me reach into the fridge with her bowl in my other hand and me, when I see her little stub waging ferociously from the lunatic excitement she has for every meal now. Knowing time is precious when you have a seven year old dog, something as simple as good food which I have the ability to control just isn’t even up for debate any more.

Homemade raw dog food

Preparation 30 min Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time 30 mins Total Time

An easy recipe for homemade raw dog food that you can tweak as necessary to what you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 ounces chicken livers
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 whole eggs (including shell)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add the carrot, apple and spinach to a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the ground beef and process again until well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Add the ground beef and mix together with a spatula or your hands.
  4. Form into patties about the size of your palm and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Freeze patties until solid, transfer to a storage container or plastic bag and keep frozen.
  6. Remove one day's worth of patties from the freezer the night before and place in the refrigerator to thaw before serving.

78 Comments

  1. Kim Early

    I saw your post on Instagram and felt the need to chime in here. Both my dogs, who are 6 and 5 year old labs were eating dry dog food up until Oct. 2013. My 6 year old Harley, had seizures, usually daily, sometimes twice a day and was on a high amount of Phenobarbital to help control them. That being said, it seemed to us that she progressively was having more seizures, more often, in spite of being on medication. After some research I decided to switch her to raw food and didn’t have the heart to not switch them both. Long story short, in the 10 months that Harley has eaten raw, the seizures have STOPPED and no more medication. She’s like a new puppy. If you can afford it please get your dogs off of dry dog food. Yes I would love to spend that money elsewhere but my dogs good health is certainly more important the new clothes or eating out, etc. Thought I would share. Going to try your recipe. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      What an awesome story, Kim. Good food has that affect on people and miraculously curing ailments that doctors only thought treatable with medicine so I don’t doubt that the same can happen with dogs. So glad Harley is thriving on the raw food. They really seem to love it and I feel SO much better knowing I’m giving her the best.

      Reply
      1. Stacey Venette

        Can I ask how much you should feed your dog per day… Mine are 30 and 40lbs (good weights) so unsure how many ounces I should figure for the patties I make for each.

        Thank you!
        Stacey

        Reply
        1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

          A general guideline is 2-3% of your dog’s weight depending on activity level.

          Reply
          1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

            2-3% of their weight for adult dogs is the average. This should be adjusted based on activity level. The best indicator of correct amounts is how your dog looks so keep an eye on their midsection once you begin and go from there.

  2. miki

    Very interesting. I feed my frenchie a mix of dry (Fromm) and frozen raw (Steve’s real food). I keep him on some dry simply because it’s easier for travel. I love that you make your own raw. Not sure I could handle the organs but I should try.

    Reply
  3. Marci

    Can you substitute beef liver for chicken livers in your dog food recipe? I am having trouble finding chicken livers.

    Thank you for your time.

    Marci

    Reply
  4. Terry DeMeyer

    I know they need organ meet, the only thing is that the liver, kidney detoxify all the bad stuff in the animals body. so if you use non-organic, free range etc you will still be giving it chemicals although still much better than the dry. One frozen dog food company uses organic vegetable, and for organ meets, I believe it is chicken gizzards. I am still trying to find the best all organic raw food. The one I recently started with Stella and Chewy duck. My dogs are in heaven, I also give them a dab of pumpkin (organic) blueberries, bananas and still a tiny amount of Blue Buffalo grain free as I make the total transition. I am open to any suggestions.
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      Your body protects its vital organs by storing toxins in the fat and other storage areas away from it’s organs. Although things like kidney and liver process the toxins out of the body the organ itself actually has less toxins in it then a chicken leg or otherwise. Assuming the organ is healthy, fit for consumption in the first place and the animal isn’t sick.

      Reply
  5. Kelsey

    How do you know how much to feed you dog? Mine pup is 100 pounds so I’m not quite sure how much she needs. I would love to try this recipe and dehydrate it for hiking with her!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I give her 2 small patties but use it as a supplement to dry food so I’m not feeding her the raw food alone.

      Reply
    1. Denise

      The way I did it was to calculate the total calories in the entire mixture and divide it by the number of calories my dog needs each day. I got the calories needed per day from petnet.com or similar. There is a lot of math if that’s how you roll, but I liked the chart on petnet, which says that my 125 pound, inactive dog needs 17 calories per pound, or approx 2100 per day. If the total of the ingredients you use is 11,000 calories, for example, one batch would be enough for 5 days. Then I just keep looking at him to see if he’s too fat or too skinny. So far, using that calorie guide seems to be working.

      Reply
  6. Sabrina Spence

    I heard that the dogs should have the bones in their food. And fish oil. There’s so many do’s and don’t’s and I love your simple recipe! Should I worry about the bones or fish oils? I want to feed my dog a raw only diet. I’ve read that sometimes dogs can suffer if there aren’t enough supplements.

    Reply
    1. Bany

      Yes, you are absolutely correct. Dogs must get bones (raw, not cooked as cooked is dangerous!) And dogs should not have dry food such as kibble as it makes our pets ill, slowly. Please watch “Pet Fooled” documentary on Netflix or YouTube. Also definitely check out reelraw it’s a company that has SO MUCH great info. about feeding raw for dogs. They also have portion / correct amount of all meats/bones needed specific to your pet, should you decide to buy from them.

      Reply
  7. Esa

    Hi Gina, thank you very much for your post on feeding raw. I have a 4 y/o Weim named Remi and have been feeding him raw for about 8 months now, due to a veracious curiosity about cancer rates in dogs and stumbling on Long Living Pets Research. Additionally not long after, one of my clients was a boutique (but expensive! ;) organic raw dog food delivery service out of Portland, Maine, called Reel Raw. Needless to say I was hooked, believe in and receive all the benefits.

    So question for you, I’m curious your thoughts on continuing to include dry food and fruits/ veggies (even though of all the ratios I like your breakdown if you’re going to include it) when, in my research for my client, they maintain this is harmful to their pancreas as the digestive processes are dissimilar, causing an increase in insulin to cover all the work.

    Thanks for reading!!
    Esa

    Reply
  8. Terri

    This looks like a great recipe, but how do you know how much to feed your dog? I have a 15 lb. Terrier-Chihuahua mix. I already feed her Primal raw frozen patty food, mixed with a sprinkling of Origen kibble. It has become quite pricey over time, so I’m looking for homemade options that will cost less and be less processed. She just love this food, gets all excited when it’s “dinner time”, and wolfs it all down in seconds. So, how much if this recipe should be fed to a small dog like mine?

    Reply
    1. Cody

      I’m hoping you found the answers you’re looking for by now, but if not, in the comments above yours are a couple different answers or places where you can find the answers to your question, as others have asked it before.

      Reply
  9. Denise Serls

    How long will the recipe last if not frozen? Freezing takes out a great deal of the benefits not to mention increased bacteria when defrosted. Although defrosting in fridge or in a Bowl of cold water. I used to do this by my husband won’t with I’m away SO I feed my golden doodles, 9 years and 9 months ZiwiPeake twice air dried raw food. No lamb and no chicken… They can’t digest it, although I try these every once in a while to see how they do. Goes right through them. The only drawback to this food is it has a little higher fat content, which is debatable. Dogs do well but I’m interested in fresh food. Thanks

    Reply
  10. Anna

    Hi and thank you for this recipe, my question is what vitamin supplements can I add also my dogs are overweight, how much do I need to feed them oh they are pits one is 20 yrs.old and the other is 6 yrs. old. Thank you for any help

    Reply
  11. Robert hamilton

    Hi my name is Robert and im experiencing my dog having allergic reactions to her food I was wondering is there any other recipes that you can share with me for my dogs because I am taking them off kibble and wanted some good recipes to keep them eating healthy

    Reply
  12. Denise

    Hello! I love the simplicity of this! And how cute your pup is! Wondering how much I should feed my girls? One is about 40 lbs and the other 30lbs. Can we do just raw food, or is it a good idea to mix with a few better quality kibble?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  13. wenbv

    do you cook any of the food? i made a batch of chicken based food that included organs, chopped up entire chicken, kidney beans, carrots, sweet potato, spinach, rice, – my dog was not into it at all. so then i cooked it in a crock pot (removing bones at that point) and she loved it. i’m about to go buy stuff for a new batch and was going to go with beef based – i will try not cooked but if she rejects it i’ll have to cook it some. thoughts?

    Reply
  14. Dakat

    My vet told me it wasn’t good to mix raw and dry because a dog digests them at a different speeds and it can mess up their stomachs.

    Reply
      1. cheryl madsen

        I’m looking to change to a raw diet have been cooking a mixture of beef, chicken and organs, veggie’s (all type’s) and fruits( only approved). He goes nuts we supplement with Dynoite and salmon oil. He is a Cesepeake Bay Retreiver and suffers from MRSA at one point so near death we almost put him to sleep. We battled he battled went to cooking and found out also through testing he is solely allergic to dust mitess. Dust mites are every where but most often in grain products. First a Grain Free dry food frozen for 3 day and longer. All treats frozens no table scraps. His cooked meal must be frozen 3 day ahead and frozen. He had lost all his coat was covered in ulsers and red tenderness. We had to bath him daily one shampoo then the next day watered down bleach wash. Went on for 10 months today I can report he is full coat on shot to reduce itching there is no cure for MRSA He appears outward happy and healthy. The next step is the raw question how fast does one introduce. I may have missed this this in all the questions. Thank you! You have a a lovely sily baby!

        Reply
    1. Cathie Fenn

      Yes. Thatvis true. If you are going to continue feeding both yoinahpuld feed raw at one meal and kibble at the next but not together.

      Reply
  15. Sara L Creekmore

    Thanks for the recipe and the breakdown! I just made my first batch using your recipe as a base, and added some goodies that my dog raids from the garden every year, as well as added ground turkey and beef heart to the mix. My dog LOVES IT and he had an EXTREMELY noticeable change within 24 hours! His eyes looked less cloudy, his dull, crispy fur became supple, smooth and shiny, and his arthritic limp is almost GONE!!! I just took him into the Vet on Saturday, and he was amazed! He wants the recipe that I used because he wants to start his old dog on it!

    Here is what It used in mine:
    Broccoli, chicken breast, tomato (lisene!), ground turkey, beef heart, chicken liver, ground beef, pumpkin(digestive support and enzyme!), whole egg (glucosamine rich membrane!), carrot, apple, blueberry, baby spinach, snow pea, plain yogurt, flax, olive oil, hemp seed (super food! Includes most vitamins, all Omegas, chlorophyll, E, D, etc!), tumeric (for his inflammation), ginger (for tummy support)…..and add either a chicken wing or turkey neck on the side for chewing/bone.

    All fruit/veggies were minimal, but added for their specific mineral/vitamin balance, and the vet was blown away at the incredible results that my dog showed just being on it for a week!

    Now, if you could just help me figure out a recipe for those dang Greenies that he loves…but that are so expensive! Lol

    Reply
    1. Debbie

      Sara, what are your proportions? And how much do you feed? My dogs are 45 pounds and 15 pounds.

      Thanks so much!

      Reply
    2. robin

      Sara, did you just grate a little of the turmeric and ginger and then add it to everything? Did you blend all the non meat and then just add it to the meat? Really new to all of this but I want to do it. The bone thing makes me nervous but I see that it’s so important. You just give your dogs the raw chicken wing or turkey neck and then they eat it all up, no problems? Ugh, I’m nervous .

      Reply
  16. Corinne

    Hello! Just an FYI, please Do NOT feed your dog avocado and very little tomatoes- no tomato greens, very poisonous. We have two 100-120lb Great Pyrenees-Anatolian shepherds mix. The boy is 1.5 yr old and the girl is 2yr old. We have been feeding them raw food for over a year now. We buy 80lbs of chicken backs from the butcher (last a little more then a month) and they each get 1-2 in the am and 1 in the evening. Also in the evening, they get chunks of raw beef roast, 1 egg, 1 fillet each of mackerel, 1 tablespoon of yogurt and pumpkin, a cap full of apple cider vinegar and some organ meat such as gizzards, liver or heart. You can tell their bodies are absorbing so much more then kibble due to the fact that their poop is so small for the size of the animal. And very little smell. That alone is worth feeding them raw!! The dogs do not have bad breath, teeth are very white and the coats are beautiful. They do not need the teeth cleaner Greenies because the bones in the chicken backs help keep the teeth clean. We spend a lot less on food and much better quality with no fillers. Something to think about since you don’t have to mix or chop very much. Its good for the dogs to break down the bones. Never cooked bones though!!!

    Reply
  17. Desiree

    I make dog treats with chicken liver & flour . I’m thinking I can leave the liver out of the. Recipe ?

    Reply
  18. Audrey Hilliard

    Is any of this food cooked? I just can’t tell since you’re saying raw dog food and it never says to cook anything anywhere, but I would think it needs to be cooked.

    Reply
        1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

          They’re left raw and yes you can add bones (uncooked) up to 10% of the total food volume.

          Reply
    1. Ann

      Never cook raw dog food it takes away most of the nutrients (and never feed cooked bone, they can have raw bones (not machine cut bones… chicken breast bones and leg quarters and necks and wings

      Reply
  19. Melissa

    Hello:) you said you feed kibble and raw , just wondering how you figure how much of each to give to not overfeed? I’d love to do the two together but I don’t know how much of each to give. I have a 45lb pitbull she gets a cup of kibble 2xa day. And if she were to be raw she would need just over a lb of raw food per day I just don’t know how much to give to not overfeed

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      If you’re doing half and half you can start by halving the amount of dry food you currently give her. It’s actually best to feed the dry food one meal (preferably morning as dry takes longer to digest) and raw food another meal (night). If she would need about 1lb raw total then you can do about .5lb to start (assuming you’re feeding her dry food for the other half of her intake) and see how she looks after a week or two. It’s very easy to gauge by sight if the dog is properly fed.

      Reply
  20. Kim thompspn

    Can sara l creekmore it’ll be a little more specific with the breakdown of her ingredients it sounds like the best diet for my dogs and I just like to know the portions on which you add how much of this and how much of that cuz I’m not really sure but it would be absolutely perfect please can you help me with this diet I want to use this one very much thank you from Kim Thompson in St Louis Missouri

    Reply
  21. Ann

    Please please do a bit more research… veggies aren’t needed but bone is! You have no bone in this at all and will end up with a dog with issues because of this. There are tons of Facebook group (some say never ever feed fruit and vegggies to dog… and no they don’t need it, but mine get it on occasion.) and even books on how to properly feed raw, you need 10% bone 10% organ and 80% meat. I learned from someone who has been raising dogs on raw for 30 years….

    Reply
  22. Nikki

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My dog LOVES it and it’s so easy to make. I dont know why I thought I was supposed to cook the meat but I did and it turned out ok, she ate it lol. I made it more like a stew then a pattie but I’m going to try it in the pattie form this time around. So it’s easier to portion for meals.

    Reply
  23. PG

    My little girl is scheduled for her first dental next week. After, I am switching her to a raw diet. I always felt I fed her the best foods and always grain free, it it breaks my heart she is having to have this dental cleaning.
    I have notes all your recipes, it have a question. We travel quite frequently, how do you manage the raw food diet when traveling?

    Reply
  24. Shirley

    I’ve read numerous articles saying that dogs need raw bone mixed in with the other ingredients. You don’t mention grinding up any bones. I’ve been feeding my 4 year old Vizsla and 13 year old cat store bought raw food diet, but it’s very expensive and has a lot of added ingredients that the magazine DOGS NATURALLY claim are harmful. I was thrilled to find your recipe. I’m just concerned that your raw food diet doesn’t contain any ground up bone.

    Reply
    1. Terry Ward

      Bone meal is the most challenging aspect of DIY pet food.
      For it to be digestible, the bones (and egg shells also) must be ground to the finest power..almost like talc..
      This is a job only for professional industrial grinding machines….even butchers cannot do it.
      For this reason I always supplemented DIY food with some commercial until my vet said raw bone-in organic chicken thighs will suffice..
      Egg shells can be deadly unless ground into the tiniest bits in a food processor..
      This way they cannot become lodged in the throat, but still are not fine enough to digest.

      Reply
  25. robin

    One more thing, so I can just give my 70lb Golden some raw organic chicken wings or a turkey neck and let him eat them all up and he will be fine? The bone thing is just a little unnerving to me but I keep seeing that dogs need it. I guess I need someone saying directly to me “yes, he can chew them up and his body will digest them properly and it won’t kill him”.

    Reply
  26. Patty Jones

    A lot of other recipes say u have to add supplements? Also my shelty won’t eat bones? Should I grind up chicken bones for him? Raw of course. Also what about raw fish? I understand trout and Salmon cause salmonila poisoning? Are all other types of fish ok? With bones? How often? how much? We fish a lot.
    Also would like to put my cat on a raw diet but there are so many that contradict each other and call for numerous supplements.. suggestions?

    Reply
  27. Louise B.

    Just made my first batch of your raw food,…very easy, but I have a few questions.

    My “geezer” chihuahua (11yrs) is a picky eater, I estimate I should give him 1/4-1/3# based on 11# weight.
    Do you only feed your dogs 1x a day? …or should I divide the 1/4# in half & do 2 feedings per day?

    Bones?! I thought I read & avoided giving my pup chicken bones because I read they can splinter & get stuck in the intestines. What kind of bones are safe & chewable for a runt 11# “geezer” pup?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  28. Marjorie J Edwards

    I am relooking at how I have been feeding my dog homemade dog food because I came home after 3 days away to a sick doggie with anal gland issues. I eventually stumbled onto your blog and love it. Already printed it and will save this to my bookmarks. Thank you so much for the simplicity of it.

    Reply
  29. Nikki Corrales

    We tried this recipe after paying over $50 every two weeks to feed our two dogs, one medium and one small. It’s a big hit! They LOVE IT! We were initially concerned about switching food due to or smallest dog’s stomach issues (we were on puke lookout all night) but both dogs did just fine. At only $0.30 cents for carrots, $1.49 for spinach, $1.79 for yogurt and $4 for a few batch worths of organ meat, the price is so much better! (Make sure to freeze additional organ meat) Bonus, it is the same texture as the store bought raw food but smells a whole lot better!

    Reply
  30. Linda

    Thank you for the recipe and the encouragement! I have a 4 month old labradoodle and he’s my first dog. I’m feeding highend no grain kibble but a) he’s kinda picky and doesn’t eat a lot and b) I know food is the first and best medicine so your story about switching really resonated with me. So a couple times now I’ve tossed him a raw chicken neck or heart and he LOVES it and I’d love to just go raw but my family objects! And I actually understand – my 11 year old daughter is a germaphobe and she and her dad correctly point out that even if I do safe handling, Astro does not! After he’s done eating, he has raw meat residue on his face and often his paws as well. Any thoughts?? Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Debbie M.

    I have a 2 y/o rescue terrier mix and just adopted a small 8 y/o rescue yorkie mix. She had horrible teeth, gums and bone loss. She also had sinus infection from having so much bacteria in her mouth for so long. We had all of her teeth removed. She was found with her deceased owner so we have no history on her. We have tried several high-end wet food she refuses it. I have added soft veggies and she will eat a little
    She really prefers the grain free Zignature that my other dog eats. Would it be ok to add some organ meats and some plain yogurt to the dry food and just put all of it in the processes together. They can both stay on it plus it will be easier for our little endentulous girl to eat. Thank you so much.

    Reply

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