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Homemade Dog Food

The Balance:
40-60% raw meat/protein
20-30% cooked starch
20-30% raw vegetables/fruit

40-60% Raw or Cooked Meat/Protein Options:
Raw lean beef, lamb, chicken and turkey are good options.  It is convenient to buy the meat pre-ground.  If the meat is on the bone that is fine as long as the bone is raw.  If you choose to feed raw protein, get ingredients from a source you trust.  Variety is important.  Donít use the same meats or other foods every week.  

Other suitable protein options include: eggs (raw or cooked), organ meats, sardines, cottage cheese, plain whole milk yogurt.  Dairy products should be used more as a supplement, less as a main ingredient.  

If your dog is a senior, ill or has digestive problems or if you are concerned about the risk of food borne illness from raw protein, you may want to use only cooked protein sources.  Stewing or poaching meat is best.  Carol White, MS, RD has a good recipe for cooked dog food here.

20-30% Cooked Starch Options:
Freshly cooked whole brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley and buckwheat are good sources of carbohydrates.  Cooked  potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and squash are also suitable starches.  Use flour products very sparingly, if at all.  Do not give dogs raw potatoes or uncooked grains.

20-30% Raw Vegetables/Fruit Options:
Dark green vegetables add lots of nutrients: kale, chard, parsley, cilantro, mint work well.  Other vegetables to use include carrots, zucchini, peas, corn.  Bananas, apples, mangos, pears and berries are also fine.  Placing the vegetables and fruit you use in a food processor and giving them a few pulses makes a very digestible texture.  Grating or finely chopping also works.

For information on how much to feed, transitioning your dog onto a natural foods diet, foods to avoid, recipe for cooked food and references used for the video and article, download the Homemade Dog Food pdf here.

Thank you to Laine S. Lum, Carol White, Marion Nestle, Dr. Adawna Windom and others for your input.


nina bean
Great information, thank you. About 4 yrs ago we switched our dog to an organic dog food with a higher protein content. we saw a change right away. His energy level went way up. He also suffers from arthritis & his was a lot less stiff.I wonder if making homeade woukd make even more of an improvement.
September 29, 2010, 1:55 pm

Matt Flath
Now this is a great article! Can't wait to get started on putting this together. My lab is 14, and anything I can do to make him happier than what he already is, works for me. Does this mean I should totally cut him off of his hot pizza and cold beer diet he's been on 19996?
September 29, 2010, 2:37 pm

Why are you recommending so much grain and vegetable matter? We have been rawfeeding our dogs for about 8 years and they get no starch and very minimal veggies. They do, however, get organ meats--an essential component of a healthy whole foods diet for carnivores. Check out
September 29, 2010, 3:28 pm

I'm inspired to try this again!! We did it a number of years ago and it felt overwhelming; now you've made it seem easy and do-able!! Thanks! Leigh homeschooling mom to five lovelies, three dogs, two cats and one bird!
September 29, 2010, 6:57 pm

Joan Davidson
I have two young Havanese, 11 lbs. and if given the choice will eat anything put in front of them How much homemade dog food shall I give them?
September 30, 2010, 11:08 am

Cynthia Lair
Joan, Download the pdf. It gives recommended feeding amounts.
September 30, 2010, 12:56 pm

Juliana Caton
Our dog Jake isn't a big foodie and usually doesn't eat right away, especially in the morning. How long can this stay out? They already eat darwin raw food in the evening, but Jake doesn't like to eat at night, usually our other dog eats a bit of both bowls.
October 3, 2010, 8:02 pm

Cynthia Lair
Juliana, You would not want to leave raw meat out all day. Most dog experts agree that food should be served and when the bowl is clean, taken away rather than leaving food out constantly. This allows dogs to work up an appetite.
October 4, 2010, 11:40 am

David Gobeli
Great idea! I just want to mention that some foods are bad for dogs, such as onions. Research, then feed away!
October 4, 2010, 5:10 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi David, there is a complete list of foods that you should avoid giving your dog in the easy downloadable pdf (link on the recipe).
October 4, 2010, 5:28 pm

pouya namdarian
How about parasites? My family and my only concern about raw food diet is parasites which might be in meat! Is it going to be big deal or the dogs can get rid of them without letting them free in our yard, you know what I mean.
October 21, 2010, 10:53 am

Cynthia Lair
pouya, I buy very high quality meat from trusted sources such as rancher's at the farmer's market. Please read the pdf (link on the recipe) which addresses this question.
October 21, 2010, 3:18 pm

pouya namdarian
Can I give her raw chicken bone?
October 26, 2010, 7:42 pm

I have been joking around with my husband about this lately. Hmmmm... now it seems like it could actually be doable. Our dog loves any people food so much more than his kibble anyway. And I heard recently that dog food has one of the highest markups of any grocery item.
October 31, 2010, 5:53 am

Cynthia Lair
RAW chicken bones are ok Pouya.
November 1, 2010, 3:33 pm

Jessica Roberts
Hello! I have enjoyed all of your posts, included this - with your ADORABLE dog. However as a vegetarian I am upset that now humans are feeding their animals meat too! I understand they are carnivores but there are nutritional veggie diets for dogs too! Just wanted to put that out there. Thanks, Jessica
March 3, 2011, 3:46 pm

Brenda Meador
In regaurd to the comment on meat parasites was a concern of mine aswell, I have been doing some research on my own and what I found is that if you are worried about this you can freeze your meat for 24 hrs.
March 18, 2013, 2:42 pm

Amy G.
Are the percentages here meant to be by volume, or weight?
May 18, 2014, 1:04 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Amy - the percentages are for volume.
May 20, 2014, 8:17 am

how much would you feed a golden doodle. He weights 70-75 lbs
February 25, 2015, 2:18 pm

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