Cooking for my dog is something I’ve always wanted to learn. Wanting to cook for your dog and being proficient at it are two completely different things. I learned to cook for my pooch in 15 minutes a week. As a result, he is healthier, and I know exactly what goes into his food.
If you are one of those people who can’t cook or wants an easy way to make dog food at home without breaking the bank and spending a ton of time doing so, keep reading.
I am so bad at cooking that the folks at Worst Cooks in America wanted me on their television show. I turned them down, but you can read about that at the bottom of this post.
We selected these recipes for ease, presentation, and cost effectiveness without sacrificing any quality in the ingredients for your dog.
Why Cook For Your Dog
When you see the ingredients, you can guarantee what your dog is eating. If you see a carrot, the dog eats a carrot. If you see a real piece of cooked beef or chicken that you prepared, you know exactly what it is. In the long run, there is a cost savings.
I firmly believe my dog (and millions of others) are able to live longer, healthier lives and fight illness when it happens when they are in overall good nutritional health.
Feeding fresh food can make a noticeable difference in the health and well-being of your dog. Good health begins in the kitchen, and it’s really easy to do. I’ve been cooking for my dog since his third birthday, and he is now 10 years young.
Dogs with health issues, food sensitivities, allergies, itchy, yeast issues, ear problems, gastric issues, or any number of health issues can benefit from home cooking. It takes me 15 minutes once or twice a week to make my dog his home cooked meals.
What A Basic Homemade Dog Diet Needs
If you are preparing a diet from scratch, there are some things to keep in mind. I wanted the ease of prepared food but the satisfaction that comes with cooking for my dog.
In a nutshell, a dog’s diet requires water, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and some carbs. Amino acids get ingested via protein, making it a key element.
Cooking for a dog can become complicated if you allow it, but I prefer to simplify. Besides, there are some very scary lies that many pet food manufacturers want you to believe.
There are also dangers in homemade recipes and ones you find online. Consulting with a veterinary nutritionist or someone qualified in canine dietary needs is another option, but it can become costly. In order to become a canine nutritionist, one must first obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and get state licensure. Beyond that a nutritional residency and board certification are required.
From the folks at petMD:
Did you know that just about anyone can receive a certificate in feline (or canine, or equine) nutrition with just 100 hours of online training? I ran across this program recently and was shocked. 100 hours might seem like a lot until you do some math. At 8 hours a day, that’s just about 2 weeks of school. Two weeks and you’re an expert in feline nutrition … really?
Rather than line up ingredients, search for minerals and vitamins, or hire a canine nutritionist, I spend 15 minutes once or twice a week in the kitchen preparing my dog’s food. Here’s how.
Two Ingredient Homemade Dog Food
This is exactly what I do every weekend:
- Add hot water to 8 scoops of Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl fine ground dehydrated vegetables pre-mix for dogs. Wait 10 minutes, stir, and refrigerate.
- Cook two pounds of grass-fed ground beef 93% fat-free on stovetop until done. Refrigerate.
That’s it. It takes me about 15 minutes and it lasts around four days. I repeat the same thing Thursday to take us through the weekend. For road trips, I freeze it and store in a cooler. I warm it up with every meal in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
Before my dog eats the above mixture, I add in some supplements – including a fish oil.
If you look at the history of dog food, it doesn’t resemble the above very much. I asked my friend and COO of Dr. Harvey’s, Wendy Shankin-Cohen, what she thinks about feeding dogs whole, fresh food that is far from the kibble of big box pet supply stores.
She reminds me that Dr. Karen Becker often writes that veterinary medicine is the only profession that encourages telling patients to feed their pets processed foods. Dogs’ systems are not designed to process food in this way.
Dogs change once they get whole, fresh food. My dog sure did. Since my dog does so well on the diet, I talked to my pals at Dr. Harvey’s about becoming a brand ambassador.
Disclosure: After using the line of Dr. Harvey’s products for well over 20 years, I asked them if I could become a brand ambassador since it made perfect sense. This is another commitment I make to you, our trusted readers, to be fully transparent and only share things we use and that have worked for us. They did not pay me to say this, but I do receive payment from them in exchange for my honest reviews of their products. They are not responsible for the content of this article.
What About Variety In Homemade Dog Food
In my childhood, we fed the dog a combination of canned dog food from the grocery store and leftover table scraps. We know better these days, fortunately, so we do better.
I rotate my dog’s base protein and the formula he eats between two ‘bases.’ You don’t have to do this, but the beauty of a Dr. Harvey’s whole food diet is the dog can easily transition between them.
Canine Health is a balanced pre-made mix. After adding warm water, it will thicken. Next is the protein. Simple and two ingredients, you are done. For proteins, this runs the gamut: from raw beef to cooked chicken, fish, eggs, etc.
Just like people, dogs like variety, and the famed Dr. Jean Dodds recommends a rotation diet for dogs to help prevent issues with food intolerance. It is not necessary, and until you feel comfortable with a dog transitioning to real, fresh, homemade food, you can stick to what works.
Veg-to-Bowl happens to be perfect for dogs needing to lose weight, making it an ideal base formula with all the vitamins and minerals needed.
Raw Feeding and Homemade Dog Food
I am not a raw feeder, but if you are or want to dabble in it, Dr. Harvey’s has a two-step process that takes minutes for you as well.
In the fall of 2018, Raw Vibrance came along with 24 whole foods in it. You simply add a protein, whether cooked or raw.
You will still add the protein of choice to it, but all of the guess work is gone as to ingredients, minerals, vitamins, and all of that extra stuff of which raw feeders advocate.
If you choose the Raw Vibrance route (and we plan to once a week to start), here’s what’s in the bag: Broccoli, Green Beans, Squash, Carrots, Celery, Cabbage, Crushed Eggshell, Spinach, Pumpkin, Beets, Raw Goat’s Milk Powder, Apples, Blueberries, Bone Meal, Sesame Seeds, Chia Seeds, Shiitake Mushrooms, Green Lipped Mussel Powder, Milk Thistle, Ginger, Spirulina, Kelp, Parsley, Eggshell Membrane.
Here’s what’s not in it:
- No dyes
- No preservatives
- No chemicals
- No artificial ingredients
Raw Vibrance is 53 calories per scoop, and each scoop measures 22 grams of this dehydrated base mix. You get a whole lot of bang for your good health buck.
Again, I am not a raw feeder, and I would mix in some cooked meat as a protein with this formula. For those wanting to dip their toe or take a dive into raw feeding, we’re talking less than 15 minutes with this formula.
Homemade Diets For Special Needs Dogs
If your dog has any number or issues or concerns, you can and should cook homemade. By issues, you can click to learn more about 2-ingredient homemade dog food for special needs dogs:
I am not a nutritionist, but I am well versed and feed my dog a two-ingredient homemade dog diet consisting of the ingredients mentioned above. Everything my dog needs from a nutritional standpoint is what he eats every day. My dog is a walking testimony of the power of healthy eating through homemade dog food. If I wanted to eat the food I make him, I could (and have). If you are into rehydrated veggies and grass-fed organic beef, then you know how tasty it is.
We recommend you call the real Dr. Harvey to ask him questions. Many of our followers have done this, and he is happy to discuss your dog’s individual needs at no charge to you. You can leave a message if he doesn’t pick up right away; he will call you back. I’ve done it, many times. He’s for real. Oh, and we met him recently and got the full tour of the facility.
You can try a sample before you buy by just paying shipping. No strings attached.
What About AAFCO And FDA Approvals
How can you really be sure agencies like USDA and such would approve of making your dog’s diet at home? There are quite literally thousands of dog food formulas on the market, a number that grows each week.
There are very few regulations when it comes to dog food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not in the business of regulating dog food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials don’t regulate dog food either. Fun times, right?
How Much Homemade Dog Food Do I Feed
How much you feed a dog depends on their weight and caloric intake requirements. Dogs, like people, should consume the amount of calories most conducive to their lifestyle. The above two ingredient homemade dog diets can be adjusted according to your dog’s needs. There is a packet of feeding suggestions with each Dr. Harvey’s fresh whole food dog product.
If you are trying to get your dog to lose weight, the pros at Whole Dog Journal, suggest weighing your dog frequently, especially when first starting a weight-loss program. Aim for weight loss of 3 to 5 percent of body weight per month, or one percent per week. A 50-pound dog should lose about half a pound per week, or 2 pounds per month.
Again, Dr. Harvey can help you out.
Let’s Go Shopping
If you head over to the Dr. Harvey’s website and enter code FDLUV19 at checkout, you will save 10 percent off your entire order. You can also get Dr Harveys Through Amazon. < ===== click for our affiliate page.
Links For Further Reading
What do you feed your dog? Is it homemade? Bark back at us in the comments below, and happy, healthy eating!
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