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There’s no doubt about it, pet parents these days want to feed their dogs a super nutritious diet. We all know that feeding the best food possible to our precious pets is vitally important in keeping them healthy and thriving.

Related: Dog Food Myths

But, rather than buying a premium kibble from the pet store, some dog moms and dads are using their own cooking skills to create healthy meals for their pups. It may not be as hard as you’d think to make homemade dog food. We’ve put together more than 30 recipes here for tasty and nutritious dog meals and treats.

They vary from normal adult diets to special diets for overweight and kidney-compromised dogs. Keep reading for insight into getting the right nutritional balance and variety, while still making the process a breeze.

Three Basic Rules

When preparing a homemade diet for your dog, keep in mind three basic rules. Do this and you’ll quickly realize there are endless choices for your pet to enjoy.

1. Complete and Balanced Over Time

If preparing homemade food for your dog seems daunting, you’re not alone. After all, it’s really easy to scoop kibble out of a bag for each meal you’re feeding your boy now. You’re also assured of the nutritional contents of what you’re feeding because it’s listed right on the package. If you begin to prepare a homemade diet for your dog, how will you ever get the balance of nutrients correct in each meal?

Most experts agree that you can relax your anxieties when planning your dog’s home cooking. As long as the diet is complete and balanced over time, he will receive all the nutritional components necessary for great health and well-being.

This means, just as with your own diet, not every meal has to include a full day’s requirement of all essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. According to Mary Straus, the leading expert on homemade food for dogs:

When you feed a variety of different foods, every meal does not need to be complete and balanced. You should ensure that all of your dog’s nutritional needs are met over a period of a week or two, but that can be done by feeding different foods at different meals, and on different days; you don’t have to combine all the different foods into a single meal.

2. Variety

Any single recipe is likely to cause problems if fed exclusively for long periods.

The key to a healthy diet is variety. The best homemade diets include red meat, poultry, fish, liver, eggs, dairy, vegetables, and fruits, with grains and legumes optional.

Dogs require animal protein; vegetable proteins (including tofu) are lacking in certain amino acids that will lead to serious health problems if fed exclusively long-term. At least 50% of their diet should be made up of animal protein.

Dogs do not require carbohydrates in their diet, and will benefit from more protein. Canine nutritional consultant Monica Segal believes:

“Eggs, milk products, fish, and meat (in this order) have the highest biological values, so it goes without saying that your dog would do well to eat these.”

Keep in mind that when you feed vegetables, they must be steamed or pureed for your dog to derive any nutritional value from them. Dogs cannot metabolize the cell walls in raw plant-based foods due to their short intestinal tract.

3. Calcium

Virtually all homemade dog food will be deficient in calcium unless it includes raw meaty bones that are completely eaten. This means a calcium supplement must be added to meals. Other supplements may also be necessary if any food groups are left out of the diet.

Calcium supplements which include vitamin D are absolutely not recommended because the amount of the vitamin will be too high, according to Mary Straus.

Ground eggshell may be used to provide the calcium at the rate of one-half teaspoon per pound of food fed. Vitamin E should also be supplemented in all homemade dog food diets.

You will want to give your dog one to two IUs of vitamin E per pound of body weight daily.

There are many multivitamin and mineral supplements available which provide essential nutritional support for homemade dog diets. Research will help you decide which of these will best compliment the foods you choose to feed.

How To Start A Homemade Food Diet

When you decide to transition your dog to a homemade diet, you’ll want to do it slowly to avoid tummy upset.

One of the best ways to do this is by improving your pup’s commercial food diet by adding fresh food to it. A base of about three-quarters kibble with added animal protein is a great start.

Start by including fresh meat, eggs, or dairy protein. Save the vegetables or legumes and grains for a time when you decide to feed a diet of more fresh food than kibble. Commercial diets already contain lots of carbohydrates, which a dog’s body doesn’t need.

By adding animal protein of at least 50 percent to the kibble, you are giving your boy more of what his body needs. Also, using the three-quarters kibble base, you don’t need to worry about providing a complete and balanced diet. But, the more fresh food you feed, you will want to include a wider variety of additions that you’re providing.

Homemade Food Diets For Puppies

The homemade dog food diets we have included here are specifically tailored for adult dogs only.

Although puppies will definitely benefit from eating homemade food, their nutritional requirements are very specific.

It is crucial that large and giant breeds, especially, have the correct ratio of calcium in their diet. Too much or too little of this mineral in the first six months of any pup’s life can cause very serious orthopedic problems which can never be corrected later in life.

You’ll also want to keep your baby lean and slow-growing to avoid potential problems in the future. Be sure to carefully research any recipes you plan to feed a puppy younger than 12 months.

Recipes for Healthy Adult Dogs

High Protein/Low-Carb Chicken

16oz Ground chicken
1/3cup Long grain brown rice
1/3cup Mixed vegetables
1.5tsp Salmon oil
2 tablets Centrum adult multivitamin
1tsp Calcium carbonate (lime or oyster shell) containing 1100-1200mg calcium carbonate/tsp
.5tsp salt
One-half tablet Nature’s Way Choline bitartrate (500mg choline/tablet…give 250mg total)

Vegetables can be provided in any variety depending on what your dog likes best. Try green beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, winter squash, and possibly a few fruit…apples, plus blue and red berries. Remember, grapes and onions are toxic to dogs. Do not use! Vegetables must be steamed or pureed for dogs to receive maximum benefit.
Directions: Pan fry ground chicken, draining the fat. Cook rice and steam or finely pulp the veggies. Add all ingredients, except the Centrum (because the B vitamins will be destroyed if the food is cooked or reheated). The Centrum should be given as a separate supplement daily; about one-half tablet for dogs under 20-pounds and 1-2 tablets for dogs over 20 pounds.

Cooked Diet For a 58-62 Pound Dog

To be fed over a 1-week period – unless noted otherwise. This recipe provides approximately 1170 kilocalories, which break down as 35% from protein, 18% from carbohydrates and 47% from fat.

80oz ground beef, 15% fat, broiled (discard drippings)
3.25oz beef liver, braised
7 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled
7oz green beans, boiled and mashed
21oz sweet potato, baked (discard skins)
1.5cups long grain brown rice (dry amount)
6tsp NOW brand calcium carbonate powder
5tsp bone meal
5 mg zinc
1 capsule Multi Mineral Complex
2 tsp kelp
1 capsule vitamin E 200 IU
1/4 tablet vitamin B compound per day
3 capsules (500 mg each) wild salmon oil per day
500 mg taurine per day

Tip: You can make a one-week batch of food and add calcium powder, bone meal, zinc, Multi Mineral Complex and kelp. Mix thoroughly and freeze in daily portions. These supplements tolerate your freezer whereas the others should be fed fresh, daily.
B vitamin can upset an empty stomach. Tuck one-quarter tablet in food that will be fed as a hand-held treat and give after a meal.

Dog Loaf

This recipe from Dr. Pitcairn (pg. 70) uses egg as a binder; you can either serve it raw or bake it like a meat loaf, with bread crumbs or other grains.

One-half pound (1 cup) fairly lean beef chuck (low fat)
6 slices whole-wheat bread, crumbled (about 3 cups)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup cooked vegetable (can be omitted occasionally)
1 tablespoon Healthy Powder (pg. 53, Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats)
1 teaspoon of Animal Essentials calcium (or a generous 1/2 teaspoon of powdered egg shell)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
100 IU vitamin E
1/4 teaspoon tamari soy sauce or dash of iodized salt (optional)

Combine all ingredients, adding water, if needed, to make a nice texture. Serve raw. Or, press the mixture into a casserole dish so it’s one to two inches thick and bake at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.
If you use a moist grain and don’t bake the mixture, you may choose to serve the milk separately rather than combine it in the mix. Another alternative is to mix 1/4 cup powdered milk right into the recipe.
Yield: About 5 1/2 cups, at 200 kilocalories per cup.
Beef substitutes: Try ground or chopped chicken, turkey, medium chuck, or hamburger instead of the beef in this recipe. Beef or chicken liver may be used once in a while, but not on a regular basis.

One-on-One

Here’s a truly inspired recipe, again from Dr. Pitcairn(pg. 71), which is easy to remember and easy to multiply because it uses exactly one unit of each ingredient. It is also economical and ecologically sound, deriving part of its protein from beans.
The key to convenience in this recipe is to cook large quantities of beans in advance. Follow the cooking directions on the package. Freeze extra quantities in 1-cup containers (or appropriate multiples if you increase the recipe) and thaw as needed. The main version uses rice because it’s a grain many people use in their own menus, but the other grain choices listed are higher protein and, for the most part, faster cooking.

1 cup brown rice (or 2 1/4 cups cooked)
1 cup ( 1/2 pound) lean hamburger (or turkey, chicken, lean heart, or lean chuck)
1 cup cooked kidney beans (about half of a 15-ounce can)
1 tablespoon Healthy Powder (pg. 53, Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon bone meal
1 10,000 IU vitamin A and D capsule
1 400–800 IU vitamin E capsule
1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce or dash of iodized salt (optional)
1 small clove garlic, crushed or minced (optional)

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes. Mix in the other ingredients and serve.
Yield: About 4 1/2 cups, at 250 kilocalories per cup.
Grain substitutes: Instead of rice, you may use (with the highest protein versions listed first) 2 cups rolled oats (+ 4 cups water = 4 cups cooked); 1 cup bulgur (+ 2 cups water = 2 1/2 cups cooked); 1 cup millet (+ 3 cups water = 3 cups cooked); 1 1/2 cups cornmeal (+ 4 cups water = 4 cups cooked); or 1 cup barley (+ 2 to 3 cups water = 2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked).
Bean substitutes: You may use one cup of cooked soybeans, pintos, black beans, or white (navy) beans instead of kidney beans. Soybeans have the most protein.

Homemade Fish-Based Dog Dinner

This recipe is for one medium sized dog for three days, about 10 1-cup-size meatballs. It can be made in larger batches for efficiency sake. This raw food can easily be frozen in meatball shapes appropriate for the size animals you are feeding.

Serving Sizes for Raw Meatballs
• For a large 50-100 pound dog – three to five 1-cup-size meatballs per day
• For a 20-40 pound dog – two or three 1-cup-size meatballs per day
• For a 1-10 pound dog – one to two 1/2-cup-size meatballs per day
*Remember – this is a concentrated and efficient food source and is power packed. You won’t have to feed as much bulk-wise as with a commercial food; most commercial foods have a lot of fillers.

Ingredients
• 2 pounds frozen fish fillets. Use an oily fish like Mackerel or Whiting.
• 1-2 cans Alaskan wild pink salmon
• 1/4 – 1/2 pound beef liver
• 1-3 eggs (optional)
• 2 cups of chopped vegetables or fruits (can be any combination of the following cooked: carrots, cabbage, broccoli, squash, green beans, yams, kale, spinach; or apples, berries). Do NOT use onions or grapes of any kind.
• 1/2 cup of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
• 2 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp dried parsley
• 2 tbsp dried oregano
• 2 tbsp tumeric powder
• 2 tbsp Thorvin kelp powder
• Optional: 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, barley, or brown rice

Directions
Alternate putting frozen (still frozen grind much easier) liver, fish, vegetables, and seeds through a meat grinder. As you grind into a big bowl, add and mix in the canned salmon, eggs, honey, dried herbs, and powdered kelp.
Keep in a well-sealed container in fridge. Scoop out appropriate amounts for your pet. If you made a very large batch that is more than can be consumed in about 5 days, roll into meal-sized meatballs and freeze. Then you can just take out whatever number meatballs you need and defrost them a couple days before you need to feed them. Meatballs will last at least 3 months in the freezer.

Homemade Dinner Recipe for Dogs

This recipe feeds two to three large dogs, like german shepherds, for seven to ten days.

Grind the following ingredients in a meat grinder. Alternate ingredients so the grinder does the mixing for you. For instance, grind six necks, one carrot, a handful of pumpkin seeds, and then six more necks and so on. Mix with a large spoon as you grind.

Meat
• 40 lbs chicken neck without skins
• 10 lbs chicken hearts
• 5-10 lbs organic chicken livers
• 2 cans pink salmon (optional)
Vegetables
Can be interchanged with other vegetables and fruits (no grapes or onions). Try to keep citrus to a minimum.
• 2-5 lbs carrots
• 1/2 a bunch of red cabbage
• 1 beet
• 2 apples
• 1/2 a bunch of spinach or other dark greens
Other ingredients
• 1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds

Add a couple of the following items. Have these ready on hand as you are grinding and add a sprinkle here and there of each so you can thoroughly mix the batch of food.
• 9-12 raw whole eggs (optional)
• 2,000 mg of vitamin C powder
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Thorvin kelp powder
• 1/4 cup of turmeric powder
• 1/2 to 1 cup of dried parsley
• 1/2 to 1 cup of dried oregano
• 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup of tahini
• 1/4 cup of raw honey

After grinding and mixing all ingredients thoroughly, keep the food in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Add-ins for Kibble Diets

Let’s start with something simple: three fresh food combos that you can add to a good-quality dog kibble, such as those sold at specialty pet stores. If you’re not ready to jump completely into a homemade dog food diet, or if you have several large dogs, these shortcuts offer a convenient way to provide many of the benefits of fresh foods and nutritious supplements and still maintain nutritional balance.

By adding fresh meat, dairy products, vegetable oil, and food supplements, you boost your dog’s intake of quality protein, fatty acids, lecithin, B vitamins, and minerals–all helpful for skin and coat problems.

Fresh Meat Supplement for Dog Kibble

3 pounds (6 cups) chopped or ground raw turkey, chicken, lean hamburger, lean chuck, or lean beef heart
1/4 cup vegetable oil (cold pressed, organic)
1 tablespoon Healthy Powder (pg. 53, Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats)
1 1/2 teaspoons bone meal
1 tablespoon Animal Essentials calcium
50–200 IU vitamin E
5,000 IU vitamin A with 200 IU vitamin D

Mix the oil, powder, bone meal, and vitamins together. Then combine the mixture with the meat, coating it well. At mealtime, feed about 6 tablespoons of this mixture for every cup of dog kibble served. You can either mix the meat supplement and kibble together or serve each separately. Yield: Slightly more than 6 cups.

Cottage Cheese Supplement for Dog Kibble

Cottage cheese is an inexpensive, convenient, and palatable source of protein that can boost the nutritional value of kibble.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Healthy Powder (pg. 53, Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats)
1 teaspoon bone meal
5,000 IU vitamin A with 200 IU vitamin D
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup vegetables (optional)

Mix the oil in the kibble. Toss in the powder and bone meal, coating the kibble; add the vitamin A. Serve the cottage cheese and vegetables together on the side, or mix them into the kibble. Add about 4 tablespoons per cup of kibble. Yield: About 2 3/4 cups.

Fresh Egg Supplement for Dog Kibble

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Healthy Powder (pg. 53, Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats)
1 1/2 teaspoons bone meal
50–200 IU vitamin E
4 large eggs
Mix ingredients together. At mealtime, add about 2 tablespoons per cup of kibble. Use the eggs raw. Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Homemade Recipes for Dogs with Kidney Disease

Eggs and Potato

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, High Potassium, Normal Sodium

1 cooked whole chicken egg
3 cups potatoes boiled in skin (369 grams)
1 tablespoon chicken fat (14 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 600 kcalories, 15.1 g protein, 18.5 g fat.

Chicken and Potato

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, High Potassium, Low Sodium
1/4 cup cooked chicken breast (72 grams)
3 cups potatoes boiled in skin (369 grams)
2 tablespoons chicken fat (28 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin mineral tablet
Provides 689 kcalories, 18.9 g protein, 26.8 g fat.

Beef and Potato

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, High Potassium, Low Sodium
2 ounces (raw weight) lean ground beef, cooked (57 grams)
3 cups potatoes boiled in skin (369 grams)
2 tablespoons chicken fat (28 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 737 kcalories, 18.6 g protein, 32.5 g fat.

Eggs and Tapioca

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, Low Potassium, Normal Sodium
3 cooked whole chicken eggs
2 cups tapioca, cooked (125 g dry before cooking)
1 tablespoon chicken fat (14 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 779 kcalories, 19.3 g protein, 28.9 g fat.

Beef and Tapioca

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, Low Potassium, Low Sodium
4 ounces (raw weight) lean ground beef, cooked (114 grams)
2 cups tapioca, cooked (125 g dry before cooking)
2 tablespoons chicken fat (28 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 845 kcalories, 19.9 g protein, 37.2 g fat.

Egg White and Tapioca

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, Low Potassium, Normal Sodium
3 whites from whole chicken eggs, cooked
2 cups tapioca, cooked (125 g dry before cooking)
1 tablespoon chicken fat (14 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 610 kcalories, 14.1 g protein, 13 g fat.

Chicken and Tapioca

Low Protein, Low phosphorus, Low Potassium, Low Sodium
1/2 cup cooked chicken breast (143 grams)
2 cups tapioca, cooked (125 g dry before cooking)
2 tablespoons chicken fat (28 grams)
1 1/2 calcium carbonate tablets (600 mg calcium)
1/2 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 763 kcalories, 20.8 g protein, 27.3 g fat.

Homemade Weight Loss Recipes for Dogs

Ella’s Weight Loss Diet

Breakfast: (target 75-100 kcal)
Rotate between the following meals:

  • 1 large egg, plus a spoonful (2 ounces) of pureed green veggies and fruit mixed with plain low-fat yogurt.
  • 1 ounce of meat, including a few small slices of liver, plus steamed broccoli or butternut squash mixed with plain yogurt.
  • 1 scoop (14 grams) Honest Kitchen Preference (rehydrated with homemade warm chicken broth and mixed with plain yogurt) plus ½ ounce meat.
  • 20 grams dry cereal (oatmeal, malt-o-meal) cooked in microwave plus yogurt and fruit (1/2 banana or sometimes apple)
  • Add:

Dinner: (target 75-100 kcal)
Rotate between the following meals:

  • 1 ounce raw meaty bones (skinless chicken necks, chicken backs, or ground turkey necks).
  • 1 ounce Primal Grinds or Mixes or Formulas; Country Pet; or other ground raw meat and bone product or raw/cooked complete diet. (Look for varieties that are low in fat, as most commercial raw diets are quite high in fat).
  • 1 ounce canned fish (jack mackerel, pink salmon, or sardines) once or twice a week.
  • 20 dry grams Zeal or Force from The Honest Kitchen, rehydrated with hot water.

Treats:

  • Baby carrot after breakfast.
  • Cooked chicken breast on walks for counter-conditioning shyness when meeting strangers.
  • 1 Zuke’s Jerky Naturals square cut into 25-30 pieces for clicker training.
  • A few low-calorie dry treats (such as Charlee Bears or Itty Bitty Buddy Biscuits) or frozen nonfat yogurt in Kong toy.
  • Bully stick for chewing.

Trixie’s Weight Loss Diet

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans, corn, etc; use frozen or canned if you must for convenience)
  • 1 cup oat or wheat bran
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • ½ pound (1 cup) ground or chunked turkey, chicken (without skin), lean beef, heart, liver, or lean hamburger
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Animal Essentials calcium (or a scant 1 ½ teaspoons of eggshell powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Balanced dog vitamins

Directions:

1. Cook the veggies, using 3 to 4 cups of water.
2. When they are soft, add the bran and oats.  Cover and let sit for 10 minutes or until the oats are soft.
3. Add remaining ingredients, except the vitamins.
4. Refrigerate extras.
5. When serving a meal portion, add a balanced dog vitamin that supplies the minimum daily standards as recommended on the label.
6. Decide what your dog’s ideal weight should be and feed 2 meals per day based on the serving size per weight indicated in the table here.

Harvey’s Weight Loss Diet

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (1 pound) ground or chunked turkey, chicken, lean beef heart, liver, or lean hamburger
  • 5 cups boiled or baked potatoes (or 3 ½ cups cooked bulgur or rice)
  • 2 cups oats or wheat bran (or vegetables, such as peas, green beans, carrots, or corn)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Animal Essentials calcium  (or a scant 1 ½ teaspoons of eggshell powder)
  • Balanced dog vitamins

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients except the vitamins.
2. When serving, add a balanced dog vitamin, supplying the minimum daily standards.  Feed about the same amounts as in Trixie’s Weight Loss Diet. (see above)
3. Immediately refrigerate extras.

Chubby Dogs’ Treats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, low or fat free
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup green beans, mashed (see note below)
  • 1 cup beef broth, reduced sodium, plus 1/4 cup for glaze
  • 1/4 cup milk, low or fat free
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Additional Flour for Rolling

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. Gently toss the cheddar cheese and the flour in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mash the green beans.
4. Stir in the broth, milk, and olive oil to the green bean mixture.
5. Make a well in the center of the cheese flour.
6. Pour in the green bean mixture and mix thoroughly.
7. Knead the dough in the bowl until combined.
8. Fold out onto a floured surface and continue to knead using extra flour.
9. Knead until you have a firm dough.
10. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out preferred shapes.
11. Place the cut outs on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
12. Pour 1/4 cup of beef broth into a small bowl.
13. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the broth onto the cut out cookies.
14. Bake for 30 minutes.

Storing – These homemade dog treats will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. They will be good in the freezer for 6 months.
Yield – Using a 1 1/2 inch dog cookie cutter makes 4 dozen dog treats.

Tips & Techniques

  • Green Beans – You will want to mash the green beans as thoroughly as possible. You can always use fresh green beans and steam them, but canned green beans work very well, too. If using canned, opt for the low sodium variety.
  • Rest the Dough – After rolling out the dough and cutting out the first set of shapes, let the dough rest. You can use this time to apply the beef glaze. By the time you’re done, the dough will be ready to be rolled out again.

Overweight dogs can enjoy many rewards besides treats, like extra walks, longer belly rubs, and new toys. But with low fat dog treats like this green bean and cheese dog cookie, you can indulge your dog in all of his favorites.
Replacing the types of chewy treats that are so expensive at your local pet store, these fruit and vegetable snacks will cost you next to nothing and be much better for your sweet pup.

You’ll need:
1. 1 sweet potato
2. 1 banana
3. 1 cup of carrots
4. 2 cups of whole wheat flour
5. ½ cup of applesauce
6. 1 cup of rolled oats
7. ⅓ cup of water

Boil or microwave the sweet potato until it is soft enough to mash. Let it cool while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mash the potato with the banana, carrots, flour, applesauce, water, and oats until you have an even, soft dough. Simply cut that dough into strips, lay them on a baking sheet, and cook them for about 25 minutes in the oven.

Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

Hint: To easily crumble treats into small pieces for training, use a pizza cutter shortly after removing from the oven.

Liver Bread

Here is a recipe that’s quick, easy, inexpensive, keeps well, and dogs LOVE it.
· 1 lb of any kind of liver, pureed
· 1 cup of any kind of flour
· 1 cup of corn meal
· 1 Tbsp of oil
Puree the liver and mix in the other ingredients.  Spread on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan (line a pan with foil and oil it).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool and break in pieces. Divide into bags and freeze. It thaws very quickly. The dogs will also eat it still frozen.

Liver Bits

This works well if you want a dry treat that won’t leave any residue. It’s a bit like the liver bread recipe but less bready in texture. After it’s cooked in the microwave and cut up into bite-size bits, the trick to drying it out is the last step.
· 1 lb. chicken liver
· 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
· 3 tablespoons molasses or honey
· ¼ cup parsley
Place all ingredients in the bowl of food processor. Process until smooth. Pour into a microwaveable container, approximately 8″ square or round. Microwave on high until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When cooked, turn out of pan immediately, allow the bottom to dry since it will be damp from condensation, and cut into squares while still warm. Spread bits on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 200° for 1.5 hours. Freeze or refrigerate.

Liver Brownies (and Variations)

1 lb liver, any kind
1 cup corn meal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp fennel or anise seed
1/2 tsp salt
Pat liver dry with paper towel. Cut into small chunks and grind in blender or food processor. In large bowl, mix liver with corn meal and flour. This will be very stiff and all the flour may not blend in, so add gradually. Add salt. Spread mixture on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes; cut into squares. May be refrigerated or frozen.

Homemade Freeze-Dried Liver

You can boil real liver on the stove or microwave it, wash it off and dry it, then toss it all in a frost-free freezer, and in a month or so, you’ll have home-made freeze-dried liver.

Pocket Liver Treats

Boil thin-sliced calf’s liver in a large skillet for about 5 minutes, or until there is no more blood coming from it. Take the liver out of the water and spread the cooked pieces on a flat baking sheet. Bake this in the oven at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours. This produces a liver jerky type treat. The longer you bake it, the tougher it becomes. If you want to use it in your pocket for treats, bake until it is very dried out.

Tuna Training Treats

· 2 6-oz. cans tuna in water, do not drain
· 2 eggs
· 1 to 1 ½ c. flour (rice flour is best, but any kind will do)
· parmesan cheese
Mash tuna and water in a bowl with a fork to get clumps out, then liquefy in blender or food processor. Add extra drops of water if needed to liquefy completely. Pour into bowl and add flour; consistency should be like cake mix. Spread into greased or sprayed pan; a round pizza pan or square cake pan is perfect. Sprinkle with LOTS of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; edges will pull away and texture will be like putty. Use a pizza cutter and slice into teeny squares. These freeze beautifully.

Go Bananas Training Treats

· 3 cups oatmeal
· 1 1/4 cups flour
· 2 eggs
· 1/4 cup oil
· 1/2 cup honey
· 1/2 cup milk
· 2 mashed bananas
Blend liquid ingredients, eggs and mashed bananas, making sure to mix well. Add flour and oatmeal. Mixture will be similar to cake mix. Spread into a well-greased pizza pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cut into tiny squares or strips using a pizza cutter. Keep refrigerated; store unused in freezer.

Turkey Treats

· 1 lb. ground turkey (pure turkey, NOT turkey sausage)
· 1 cup oatmeal
· 1 egg
· parmesan (about 1/2 cup)
· garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together using hands and pat into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool *thoroughly*, then cut into thick strips (these do not hold together when slicing into small squares); freeze unused portions and keep the portions you’re using refrigerated. Has the consistency of meatloaf.

Salmon Cookies

· 15oz can of Salmon or Jack Mackerel
· some flour
· 2 tsp of salt
· 1 tsp of baking powder
Mix together fish, plus ALL liquid from can, salt & baking powder, add enough flour for texture
Spread out on cookie sheet. Score into sections (easier to break apart when done). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden. Store in container in refrigerator or freezer for longer periods of time.

Mutt Muffins

· 1 small jar of baby applesauce or equivalent in *regular* applesauce
· 2 carrots
· 2 Tbsp honey
· 2 ¾ cup water
· ¼ tsp vanilla
· 1 egg
Shred the carrots with hand shredder or food processor.  In a bowl, mix all wet ingredients together and add the applesauce. Mix thoroughly.
· 4 cups whole wheat flour
· 1 Tbsp baking powder
Combine dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure none of the dry mixture is left.  Grease a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  (Paper liners stick to the muffins so just use a greased muffin tin.) Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cup ¾ full.  Bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour.  Makes about 2 dozen Mutt Muffins.

Conclusion (The Payoff)

While planning and preparing a homemade diet for your dog is not as easy as opening a can or bag of commercial food, the benefits you will see are definitely worth the extra trouble.

The happiness your sweetie will experience while eating healthy, delicious food that you have made for him is a great feeling for both of you.

You’ll also notice how much less comes out of your dog after eating. Because the food you feed is so high in usable nutrition for him, there will be much less to clean up after he defecates. His coat will be shinier and softer, his breath will smell fresher, allergies will clear up, and you will have fewer visits to the vet because your dog will be much healthier overall.

Even very healthy dogs increase their vigor and enjoyment of life by eating quality, nutritious meals made by their devoted people. Depending on the commercial food you feed before switching to homemade food, your cost may not increase or do so only marginally. However, with the decrease in veterinary bills you may not notice the difference.

Disclaimer

The recipes we provide here have been gathered from various sources online and from personal experience. While we believe them to be nutritionally satisfying, to our knowledge they have not been reviewed by veterinary nutrition experts. If you chose to feed any of them to your dog, do so with the understanding that we do not endorse these diets to be appropriate for your individual dog. Especially if your dog has a health concern, see your veterinarian prior to starting a new diet.

About the author

Carol Cornwall has loved animals from the time of her first childhood pet, a duck named Fluff. From then, it’s been a steady parade of dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, horses, cows, goats, and sheep. In addition to writing, she’s worked as a vet tech, cow hand, and owned a dog boarding facility. She now shares her home with three very spoiled dogs.