How To Make Your Own Dog Food

This is a ‘repost’ of several week back. I feel this is an important post because I have had several comments and been involved in discussions on other blogs addressing the fact of the pet food recall. Apparently it is not ‘common’ knowledge that most of the foods on the list are ‘STILL’ not safe. It has also come to my attention (and shockingly so) that most consumers are completely unaware that before China came along to taint/poison our pet food, the pet food industry was still helping us feed our animals ‘roadkill’, by-products, euthanized animals from shelters and Veterinary hospitals. Which are infused with antibiotics and the ‘drug’ which was used to put them to sleep…’yummy’

On my last visit to the feed store (I do not frequent ‘pet stores’) I was more than dismayed to see some of the top name brand company’s still using the ‘exact’ same ingredients as they were before the recall.

My delusional thinking was that they would have made their product 100% better since being on the list. WRONG…the packaging was changed in some cases their marketing had changed in most cases…but the ‘freakin’ ingredients were not changed!!!!

It’s obvious that the opinion held of the American consumer/pet owner is of a considerable low one…in fact it seems it is concluded that we are either pretty much illiterate, or too stupid to read and understand a label!!

How to read a label

What’s In A Name?

The first clue as to the content of your dog food is in the title. If the food is named for the main ingredient, such as “Lamb Dog Food”, then the named ingredient, i.e. lamb, must make up at least 70% of the food. But if the name of the food is called a “dinner” or “formula” such as “Beef Formula” or “Chicken Dinner”, that ingredient may only make up 25% of the food. Empty fillers make up the difference in content in those types of food.

Looking For The Best Dog Food

puppies eatingOften the dog food ingredients list will be accompanied by words such as “meal” “by-products”, “crude proteins”.

By-products are dog food ingredients that make up much of poorer dog foods. Meat by-products are the left over parts of the animal unfit for human consumption, such as the intestines, organs, and diseased animals.

Crude Protein is often made from the hooves and hair of animals, as well as the feathers and beaks of poultry. Although this protein source may make up a strong percentage of a given dog food, very little of it can actually be absorbed by the dog.

Meal refers to cereal grains, the leftover hulls and husks of wheat and corn, after being processed for human use. These have very little nutritional value.

Get Out the Reading Glasses!

food labelTake a look at the ingredients label of your dogs’ food often there can be twenty or more ingredients listed!

The dog food ingredients are listed on the label in order of total volume, with the first few ingredients making up the main content of the food.

A dog food with ingredients listed as “beef, chicken meal, barley, brown rice” is therefore made with true beef as it’s main ingredient, an important animal-protein source.

Another label may read, “Ground wheat, corn meal, meat meal, chicken fat, wheat gluten”. In this example, a meat product is not the largest component of the food or even the second! The meat products that are being used are the by-products, and do not supply an adequate source of meat based protein to the dog.

What’s In Your Dog’s Dish? Do You Know About Dog Food Nutrition?

Once you have the knowledge to decipher a dog food label, it’s time to take a look at what you have been feeding your hunting dog. If that bag of food suddenly isn’t looking like it’s worth the money you paid for it, keep in mind a few other things before you start looking for an alternative brand.

So-called “organic” dog food ingredients can fall into two groups. Foods labeled “organic” contain at least 95% true organic ingredients. However, foods advertised as “made with organic ingredients” may only contain 70% organic ingredients. With the price of these specialty diets on the rise, make sure he’s getting the best dog food.

How About Some Homemade Dog Food?

Home cooked diets have become increasingly popular recently, and that popularity has grown exponentially since the dog food recall. Home made dog food can be cooked, or served raw.

While there are a variety of recipes available for making the perfect home cooked meal, most follow a standard pattern of 50% human grade meat, with vegetables, oats, rice or potatoes.

In addition, vitamin and mineral supplements may be necessary to fully attend to your dogs nutritional demands. Homemade dog food allows you to give back to your hard working hunting buddy.

The food for hunting and performance dogs requires more attention to detail. They have a greater need for fats and calories in their diet, along with a careful balance of vitamins and minerals for optimum performance ability. Proper dog food nutrition is essential in the working dog.

Despite the advantage of control over the quality of ingredients in a homemade dog food diet, the added investment of time, money and research necessary to create a balanced diet is often not feasible.

By arming yourself with knowledge, and doing research on dog food ingredients, you can find a commercially available dog food that gives you both peace of mind, and will help your dog to get the nutrition he needs to live a long and happy life.

Now Back to my post….or repost I should say!!….

In this post I have listed some options for you. I am also including recipes for feeding a raw meat diet if you so choose. ( Something I personally incorporate with my dog’s kibble.) But whatever you decide is best for your furry family member you will find some helpful tips and recipes listed below.

Here is a video series on how to prepare your own dog food this is free for you to view. It also covers many other topics of interest.( all dog oriented) If you check it out, I would to love to get some feedback on what you think!!**** This is highly rated video series and that is what I am going on. I have not had the oppotunity to check it out myself as of yet.

About the Expert

Elise has been working in animal behavior with both domestic and wild canines since the early 1990s. She began working with domestic dogs in Philadelphia, PA where she worked at the Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania in the Behavior Clinic. She held a position there for 2 years and during that time she co-developed a Puppy Problem Prevention Program with Lois Hall. During this time Elise was also studying Animal Behavior and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as working with a local trainer, Steve Lindsay. Prior to moving to Massachusetts where she pursued her Ph.D. in Animal Behavior, she worked as an animal behavior consultant with her own private clients. Since 1996 Elise has been located in Montage, MA. After completing her fieldwork on Chilean foxes, she opened her training center and began providing both private and group classes, as well as individual evaluations and consultations.


If you are concerned about the health and well being of your dog and wish to ensure they are getting uncontaminated foods there are ways of making your own healthy dog food. A suggested formula is 75% carbohydrates to 25% meat. A simple dog food recipe is to combine and cook brown rice, ground meat, vegetables, water and a small amount of brewers yeast. Dogs can’t digest vegetables very well, so they need to go through the food processor thoroughly before adding. Amounts of water vary depending on whether you want dry or wet food. Your dog food should be served at room temperature.

Ingredient ideas for dog food:

  • Rice is a good carbohydrate for dogs. Brown rice is preferable as it has more nutrients.
  • Brewers yeast which can be found in some grocers and health stores.
  • Flour, such as corn flour, soy flour or whole wheat flour.
  • Codliver oil or flaxseed in small amounts adds omega 3 and helps keep their coats shiny.
  • Garlic can help get rid of tape worms and fleas as well as fight infection. (caution as large amounts can cause illness in dogs)
  • Meats suggested to use are liver, beef, tuna, lamb or chicken. It’s easier to add to food if the meat is ground.
  • Dogs also enjoy peanut butter and biscuits can be made with them by adding flour, bone meal and/or powdered milk, brewers yeast and even carrots. Peanuts are one of the few nuts that are safe for your dog. (Dog Biscuit Recipe)
  • Some vegetables are ok such as carrots, broccoli and spinach, but they need to be put through a food processor first to aid in digestion. (Broccoli is not good in large amounts.)
  • Bonemeal may need to be added to ensure they are getting calcium. Raw meaty bones are a good source of calcium. Powdered milk is also a popular ingredient in dog food.

Peanut Butter Pooch Cookies

21/2 cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup white flour

¼ cup oatmeal

11/4 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp honey

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup milk

Combine flour, oatmeal, and baking powder. Combine milk, peanut butter, and honey in a separate bowl and mix well. Stir peanut butter mixture into flour/oatmeal mixture. Knead dough and roll-out on floured surface to a quarter inch thickness. Cut out treats using a cookie cutter. Place aluminum foil on cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.

Tail Waggers

3 Jars Baby Food – (1 carrot, 2 meat)

1/3 cup Wheat Germ

1/4 cup powdered milk

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients well and then press into small “patties”. Bake in 350 oven for about 15 minutes.


The natural raw diet described here is a suggestion for increasing wellness and well-being for dogs. Before making changes to your dog’s diet a proper assessment of its health should be made by a qualified veterinarian.

What does the diet consist of ?

Ingredient #1 : Raw Ground Turkey
I buy my turkey from a butcher.
Call a local butcher and ask him to order a box of ground turkey – 38 – 40 pounds.
It will arrive frozen.
The butcher will then cut that chunk into at least 1 pound blocks and package it for you.
Just take a package out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the day before to thaw.
Estimate roughly 50% of the meal to consist of meat.

Ingredient #2 : Softened Oats
There are many different types of grains which can be used but I prefer to feed oats because they seem to digest more completely. Just cover oats with boiling water and let soften for 20 minutes.

Ingredient #3 : Raw, Freshly Juiced Vegetables
I put the veggies through a juicer and use the juice only.

Carrots – Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, G, K, potassium, calcium. I use carrots as the base and add a few others to vary the juice daily.

Apples – Vitamin C

Greens: Vitamin A, C, potassium, chlorophyll.
Kale – has the same nutrients as cabbage, helps with digestive disorders
Swiss Chard – high in Vitamin A
Watercress – intestinal cleanser
Mustard Greens – intestinal cleanser
Parsley – an herb, helps with oxygen metabolism with the adrenal and
thyroid glands, healing for the genito-urianry tract.

Celery – Contains organic sodium (maintains fluidity of blood and lymph). Natural diuretic helpful for arthritis, water retention, urinary problems, chemical imbalances.

Beets – Copper, manganese, potassium. Builds red corpuscles and tones blood. Add only a small slice to the daily juice once a week due to beet’s cleansing properties.

Alfalfa Sprouts – The highest source of Vitamin A.

Here is great recipe contributed by Sharon of Baby Boomer Advisor Club….Thanks Girlfriend!!!

*Click Here >

Dog Food Analysis & Grading

To grade any dog food using this dog food comparisons technique, you need to start with the list of ingredients (it’s fairly easy to find an ingredient list for any particular food on the manufacturers website, or use the one on your dog food bag etc.)

Start with a grade of 100 points, then …

For every listing of “by-product”, subtract 10 points

For every non-specific animal source (“meat” or “poultry”, meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points

If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source subtract 5 points. If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. “ground brown rice”, “brewer’s rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain), subtract 5 points

If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points

If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points

If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points

If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points

If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to beef), subtract 1 point

If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points

If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

If the food contains barley, add 2 points

If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count “chicken” and “chicken meal” as only one protein source, but “chicken” and “fish” as 2 different sources), add 1 point

If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point


94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
69 = F