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Homemade Raw Dog Food

An easy recipe and guidelines for making homemade raw dog food that you can tweak as necessary to what best fits your dog.

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 pumpkin 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.

He explained how he starting feeding a raw food diet for his dogs 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.

How to make your own raw dog food with easy ingredient ratios.

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.

It appeared she liked it.

At $25 for 3 pounds of food however, I knew immediately that wasn’t going to happen and I needed to start looking into some homemade dog food recipes.

Sorry, pup, I don’t eat out every day either.

Why raw dog food is great for your pup and an easy DIY recipe how to make it yourself at home.

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.

And yes, dogs can eat raw meat.

I think that’s the number 1 question I get when talk about this with people so I figured we’d get that out of the way first.

And if you’re wondering what else dogs can eat, check out my other site – What Can My Dog Eat?

Raw Dog Food Recipe Proportions (BARF diet)

  • 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.

How much raw food do I feed my dog?

This question has come up a lot in the comments so I figured I’d address it in the post.

The general guideline for adult dogs is to feed between 2-3% of their bodyweight. So for a 50-pound dog that would be between 1 to 1.5 pounds of food per day.

Influencing factors on determining feed amount

  1. Activity Level
  2. Adjustments for weight gain or weight loss (the graphic in this post is helpful in that regard although discussing with your vet is probably best)
  3. Life Stage

Activity level

Be honest with this assessment. Is your dog mostly a lounger that hangs out inside all day with a few backyard jaunts or is it a truly active dog like a sporting breed that hunts, a working dog like a police K9 or your pal that goes hiking with you multiple times a week for hours on end?

Human tendency is to over emphasize/assess activity levels.

Adjustments for weight gain or weight loss

Simply put, does your dog need to lose weight? Gain weight? Maintain? The answer to those questions will help you figure out which end of that 2-3% spectrum you want to start with when starting a raw food diet.

Life stage

Notice I said adult dogs when referring to the 2-3% of body weight for food amounts. Puppies are an entirely different story as they’re quickly growing and need more calories to support that growth.

There are two approaches for feeding puppies:

  • 2-3% of their expected adult weight (obviously easier to figure out with a pure bred dog)
  • 5-6% of their current puppy weight – adjusting with the dog as it grows

Senior dogs shouldn’t have drastically different needs than a middle-aged dog unless of course, activity level impacts them.

Pregnant dogs are something you should speak to your vet about in determining the best amount of raw food to support a healthy pregnancy.

Make your own homemade raw dog food and save tons of money from the store bought stuff.

Making her homemade raw dog food has just become a part of the weekly routine now.

We do half of the homemade raw dog food recipe 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.

Because digestion rates of dry food (kibble) and raw dog food differ, we now feed one meal completely raw and one meal completely dry rather than mixing the two as seen in these pictures.

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

Homemade raw dog food

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

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.

Notes

**Estimate Nutritional Information below is for the entire batch - serving size will vary depending on your dog's needs/size, etc.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3756Total Fat: 232gSaturated Fat: 83gTrans Fat: 9gUnsaturated Fat: 116gCholesterol: 2026mgSodium: 1382mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 8gSugar: 29gProtein: 355g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen

Renee

Sunday 6th of November 2022

So we don’t use a food processor, all that goes together in a plastic container. We freeze about 3 weeks worth and have two to three days in the fridge.

We do all that except the yogurt which I think we’ll add and a raw chicken leg which they can eat.

Our Silver Lab had all kinds skin problems but he’s been on his raw diet for 3+ years and he’s as healthy as he can be!

Thanks for confirming all this!!

Marvelous

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

This is cool… I just chop up whole chicken carcasses for my baby. As per directions from the breeder… He’s from Spain. From the family who created this dog breed. All you Gotta do is go to your local grocery store… And grab two human food grade chickens- My dog is about 70 pounds he’s a puppy. 8 months old August 30th, 2022. Get you a sharp cleaver. And you will soon learn how to take down a chicken a chicken no time lol Adjusting for fat level by removing some skin… I like to remove most of it for him.

And the chickens he was getting in Spain we’re actually healthier, probably because they were grown on the farm in s coop.

I feed him whole chicken carcasses… That means bones too… I can shop up a chicken in about 15 Cleves. And he eats all of the bone and whatever’s in the chicken except for the gizzards.

I will give him honey and teaspoons just because it’s a great antibiotic. And by give him frozen goat milk yogurt that has turmeric and cinnamon. Sporadically. These are not Staples. I don’t think dogs needs as much vegetables as you guys are giving them but to each his own.

I am so very stoked that a lot of you have seen the light. Dog food shows are animals so I wouldn’t even do 50-50. There’s no point in feeding them that dry stuff. Almost like there’s no point in humans eating such a dry food in America but they still push it on us. *shrug*

Oh I live in Manhattan, which is NYC, NY NY. A whole grocery store chicken costs (depending on size) anywhere from $6.82 (1.99/lb) - $20. Typically I get him, 2-3 chickens a day, at approximately $14-$19 bucks a day.

If I was going to feed him three a day as he gets bigger and reaches maturity he will probably be eating like 4-5 a day… Maybe even six like they do (the adult dogs) in Spain. It costs me just about a coffee, bacon egg and cheese, fast food meal, or some other frivolous good I could buy instead. So I opt to spend the $20- (eventually $40) a day on him. One can EASILY throw away 20-40 dollars a day in NYC on lunch and libations. Haha. So he’s worth it. More than worth it.

And if you didn’t want a monster big dog and you didn’t have a big breed like I do… Because he’s a big boy, you could easily get away with giving your dog one and a half chickens a day or some thing at like a rate of 15 bucks or 12 bucks whatever that comes out to. 12×7 is 84 right so 84×4… It’s worth it. I want him to live as long as possible. As happy as possible.

Cutting up chickens takes like eight minutes. And they’re always fresh.

Tee

Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

Thank you this recipe. It was easy to make and my Zuchon has loved it for the past month. Two raw portions per day. I’ve changed up the meat and next batch changing up the vegetables. What I’m concerned with is the bones needed in his diet. I’ve been giving him raw bone weekly. But concerned that is insufficient?

Kelly Potter

Saturday 9th of July 2022

Newbie here .....so when you figure out how much in oz to feed your dog do you only calculate the actual Weight of the meat in the recipe and not the veggies in fruit? So how would you weigh the patties if only meat is counted? Thank you so much ...like the recipe for my boy and can adjust for my girl....I try to do 5lbs of ground Turkey at a time with veggies and fruit for her . Thank you again. Kelly in Pa

Leslie

Thursday 9th of June 2022

Out of curiosity, why both dry and raw? Why not just raw?

I'm asking because I feed mine Primal Raw, but it is obviously very expensive, so I'm trying to educate myself on how to make my own.

Are you doing that just to make the raw last longer, so you don't have to make as much, or is there some specific health reason?

Thanks

Gina Matsoukas

Monday 13th of June 2022

No specific health reason, just mainly to make it last longer. I don't always have the time to prep as much raw as needed.

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