Homemade dog food isn’t the most convenient option, but it is definitely the healthiest diet option when done properly. The best home cooked dog food can be catered to your pet’s unique nutritional needs. You can use the best quality ingredients and ensure that the food is prepared in a safe manner.
I always warn pet owners about the dangers of switching to a homemade dog food diet. While it can be the healthiest choice, it can be deadly if you don’t make nutritionally balanced meals for your dog. Sadly, most homemade dog food recipes are not nutritionally appropriate for the average canine.
In a 2013 study from the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, 200 homemade dog food recipes were evaluated. The recipes came from 34 different sources, including pet care books, websites and even veterinary textbooks.
Researchers evaluated the ingredients used in these recipes and the instructions for preparing the food. They found that only 9 of the recipes provided the essential nutrients in adequate concentrations to meet the minimum standards set for adult dogs by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). And of those 9 recipes that met AAFCO minimum standards, only 5 recipes provided the essential nutrients in adequate concentrations set for adult dogs by the National Research Council.
This means that only 2.5% of the recipes evaluated provided adequate nutrients for adult dogs according to the AAFCO and the NRC.
This is why it’s so important to consult a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist. They will evaluate your dog’s needs and the nutritional content of the recipes that you plan to serve. The expert that you work with will be able to guide you in choosing appropriate supplements to ensure the home cooked meals are 100% nutritionally balanced for your pet’s unique needs.
Best Home Cooked Dog Food
If you don’t have a lot of extra time to prepare meals for your dog, using a slow cooker may be helpful. Slow cooker recipes only require a little bit of prep work. There is no need to tend the food while it’s cooking.
Recipe: Best Home Cooked Dog Food
This best home cooked dog food recipe uses chicken as the protein source. The best part of making homemade dog food is that you can substitute ingredients if you’d like (such as exchanging chicken with beef or venison). So if your dog is allergic to chicken or just prefers a different meat, feel free to use something else instead.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 14 cups 1x
- Category: Dog Food
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Dog Food
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 pound of green beans (chopped)
- 1 raw sweet potato (chopped with skin on)
- 3 carrots (chopped)
- 3 pounds boneless chicken breast
Layer all the ingredients in a crockpot in the above listed order. Chicken breasts should be on top. Cover all of it with water and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
With higher heat, you can cook for just 5 hours, but you’ll need to stir the food frequently. Once the meal is cooked, mix and stir the ingredients once again and shred the chicken.
Once the food has cooled you can serve it to your pet or prepare it for freezing. As I mentioned, you can substitute some of the ingredients. Broccoli florets, zucchini, spinach or squash can all work quite well in this slow cooker dog food recipe. You can also swap the chicken breasts with turkey, beef or lamb, but be careful not to increase the fat content of the dish too much.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 126
- Sugar: .7 g
- Sodium: 49 mg
- Fat: 3.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.2 g
- Fiber: .8 g
- Protein: 14.9 g
- Cholesterol: 43 mg
How to store: You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze them and they’ll keep for up to 3 months. Keep in mind that this recipe includes no preservatives, so it won’t last nearly as long as commercial dog food.
For More Information
We publish many homemade dog food and treats recipes every month. For more recipes, pet food cooking tips and advice, see our “Recipes” section. If you’re new to home cooked dog food subject, I recommend you read more about “How Much To Feed” to understand serving sizes, “What Supplements To Use” to create well-balanced meals, and “How To Store” for tips on simple and easy homemade dog food storing in a fridge or a freezer.
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