Homemade dog food guideline = 80/10/10 (80% protein, 10% organ meat, 10% vegetables)
I follow a basic guideline when I’m cooking Maggie and Orbit’s dog food. The core components are as follows:
- 80% Lean Protein. This can be chicken, beef, pork, lamb, white fish and turkey. I have a professional food grinder at home so I grind their meat. Typically get 90% lean 10% fat or if you must increase the fat go no less than the 85/15 ratio. Too much fat can lead to obesity and other health problems for the dog. You can also use cooked eggs as a protein.a
- 10% organ meat (this would be the excreting organs such as liver and kidney)
- 10% vegetable. Dogs cannot process raw vegetable so you can either put them in the food processor or lightly saute them.
- You can change the amount of protein down to no less than 50%. Scroll down to the bottom to see the infographic containing all the different ratios you can use to make your dog’s food.
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- Heart and gizzards are considered protein not organ meat
- I don’t add any grains and legumes
- For vegetables I typically focus on cooling vegetables. If I’m pureeing them it will be half a cucumber plus whatever vegetable I have on hand (broccoli, brussels, bok choy, squash, and chard are my go to’s)
- I give them a raw meaty bone (beef rib twice a week)
- Fish is given every 3rd or 4th meal. I focus on oily fish sardines, mackerel, and salmon. Always remove the bone.
- If you don’t have fresh fish, you can add sardines. I look for very low salt fish – and the lowest sodium sardines I have found are from Amazon and linked in our shopping list.
- If you use white fish as one of your proteins – it could be tilapia, cod or Pollack
- Even though I have turkey and chicken listed above – I currently don’t feed those to my two – they have allergic reactions to poultry meat
- You could decrease the meat but no less than 50% of your recipe.
- Non protein starchy ingredients include grains and legumes (if choosing to feed) and starchy vegetables.
- Starchy vegetables include: sweet potato, winter squash, pumpkin, green peas, carrots, fruits
- Starchy vegetables and grains should be no more than ½ of the non protein portion of the recipe. Preferably use more non starchy vs starchy.
- Dairy is ok. You can give them yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, kefir
- I also add sauerkraut once or twice a week. I started off giving 1/2 a teaspoon and now they are up to a full teaspoon. I don’t know how to make it. I currently buy the organic kind from Costco.
- A very easy option would be to buy the base mixes from Honest Kitchen or Grandma Lucy’s and all you have to do is add your protein. They are already balanced and take the calculations off your hands as to what to add and how much to add. Sojos also makes a good one that although is labeled for raw feeders – is also good for DIY Home Cookers.
- Calcium: If you are not providing raw meaty bones, then you must add calcium. I save my eggshells, bake them at 35 degrees for 5 minute and then grind them in a food processor. The girls get 1/4 teaspoon per meal. Or when I don’t make it – Animal Essentials makes a calcium powder (via Amazon) and this version meets the phosphorus to calcium ratio.
- Omega oils: I used to add Omega oil but now I prefer to feed them their fish via sardines from Costco (lowest sodium count I found) or cooking oily fish that I purchase from the local Asian market (I debone after cooking it) and they get fish every 3rd or 4th meal. You can also purchase them from Amazon which is easier since Costco doesn’t always have the type stored in water.
OPTIONAL but highly recommended supplements
- Multivitamins – Currently there is a Green Vitamin I add made by Animal Essentials (via Amazon)
- Prebiotics – Fresh Digest (via Amazon)
- Collagen (Bone broth) – I either make it from scratch or use “Custom Collagen” (via Amazon)
- Minerals – I purchase Animal Essentials (via Amazon)
- All these supplements can be seen on our Amazon List.
- We subscribe to Real Dog Box because they are single ingredient treats that you can have delivered for $39/month.
I’ve read a few books, my two favorite books are by Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (Amazon) as well as Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs (Amazon). There are two websites I go to: Planet Paws (Website: www.planetpaws.ca).
Dr. Karen Becker (Facebook and Website: www.healthypets.mercola.com).
There’s also a Facebook Group called “Homemade Healthy Dog Food and Treats” that shares recipes and resources.
There’s a great article on Whole Dog Journal.
How much does it cost me?
For two dogs my cost is about $2.50 to $3.50 per day. Since they eat 10.5 oz per day between the two of them.
How long does it take to prepare.
Approximately 1 hour a week (I make enough for a week or two weeks)
How much to feed them?
As a puppy they need anywhere from 6 to 4 % of their body weight. As an adult they eat about 3% of their body weight. Maggie and Orbit eat their homemade meals twice a day.
What Ingredients to use when cooking your dog’s own food at home?
I follow the guidelines from my vet to stick to cooling or neutral foods. You can learn more about this in a the book Four Paws Five Directions.