Homemade Dog Food Diet

Learn which foods to combine to offer your dog a balanced diet.


| February/March 2017



Ask Our Experts 2

Offer your furry friend a morsel of melon from the garden.


Photo by iStock/popphoto2526

I’d like to feed my canine companion DIY dog food. How can I design a dog food diet that meets its needs?

The key to a healthy dog diet is variety. Any single recipe could cause problems if fed exclusively for long periods. Feeding a balanced diet daily isn’t necessary as long as the diet is balanced over time.

The best homemade dog food diets include red meat, poultry, fish, liver, eggs, dairy, vegetables, fruits, and sometimes grains and legumes. The simpler the diet, the more supplements your pup will need. All homemade diets require added calcium (unless the diet includes raw meaty bones that are fully consumed) and vitamin E. These guidelines are for adult dogs. See my resource page Homemade Diets for Dogs for more information, and peruse this list I put together on foods to avoid or restrict when making DIY dog food.

Raw Diets That Include Bones

Raw meaty bones (30 to 50 percent). Raw meaty bones can include chicken necks, backs, wings, and leg quarters; lamb breasts and necks; pork necks and riblets; beef necks (usually only consumed by large dogs); and turkey necks. You can also feed canned fish, such as jack mackerel, pink salmon, or sardines (preferably packed in water rather than oil). Don’t feed much tuna, as it doesn’t include bones and is higher in mercury. When feeding anything round and meaty, be careful that your dog doesn’t try to swallow it whole, which can lead to choking.

Most raw diets are high in fat. Unless your dog is extremely active or has difficulty keeping weight on, it’s best to stick to parts that aren’t overly fatty.

Liver (5 percent). Liver is nutritionally dense, providing nutrients that are hard to find in other foods. It should be a part of your dog’s diet, or you’ll need to provide suitable supplements. Other organs, such as kidneys, are also good but shouldn’t be substituted for liver on a regular basis. Too much organ meat at one time can lead to loose stools. Feed small amounts daily or every other day, rather than large amounts once or twice a week.





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