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.

Ginger

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 his dogs raw 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 raw 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.

Making her raw 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

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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.

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29 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
  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
  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

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