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How to Cook at Home for My Dog

Woman letting her dog lick cake batter from her finger in the kitchen while baking.

Are you wondering whether homemade food is better for dogs or not? If your answer is yes, you are not alone because many canine owners ask this question. Homemade dog food gives you complete control over your pup’s diet. This is because you can choose the right ingredients (and suitable quantities) to ensure a balanced meal for your pooch. Read on to know about the common mistakes and learn some useful tips to cook at home for your dog.

Common Mistakes While Cooking for Your Dog

Dog owners can make a lot of errors when they start to cook at home for their dogs. Some of the most common mistakes are explained below.

Using Imbalanced Recipes

Groceries spilling from a brown grocery bag onto a counter

Many homemade recipes lack the right balance and must be complemented with other sources to keep your pooch healthy. Deficiency or excess of any nutrient can be quite dangerous for your pup. This is because it can lead to malnutrition, obesity, and several other illnesses.

Selecting Unhealthy Ingredients

Close up photo of a variety of onions

Many human foods are unsafe (or even toxic) for canines and must be avoided. For example, onion, garlic, chocolate, raisins, peanut butter, etc are all poisonous to your dog. Similarly, some other ingredients, like salt and butter, are also unhealthy and should only be used in very small quantities.  

Failing to Cook the Meat Properly

Raw beef cut into cubes

Never feed raw meat to your dog because it can contain parasitic bacteria. Salmonella infection is one such condition that is caused by eating raw meat. Therefore, you should always cook the meat properly to keep your pup safe.

Changing the Diet Abruptly

Boston terrier with an empty food bowl

Dogs are a creature of routine and can develop digestive issues when their diet is changed. For this reason, you must change the food gradually to minimize the problems. Other than that, you should always consult your vet or a pet nutritionist before changing your canine’s diet plan.

Tips to Cook at Home for Your Dog

The following are some useful tips to maximize the benefits of homemade dog food for your pup.

Maintain a Healthy Balance of Nutrients

Variety of dog safe food products on a black background.

Some people believe that dogs only need protein in their diet and stick only to this nutrient while cooking for their canines. However, that’s not true as your pup needs a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and other essential nutrients. According to Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, 40% protein, 50% carbohydrates, and 10% vegetables is a good recommendation.  

Choose Dog-Safe Ingredients

Raw whole chicken

Once you know the right amount of each nutrient, it’s important to determine the ingredients (for each nutrient) that are safe for canines. The following list contains some of the most common dog-safe ingredients.

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Apples
  • Green beans
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Oatmeal

Avoid Harmful Ingredients

Chocolate batter dripping from a wire whisk

Many common household ingredients are unhealthy and even toxic to dogs. Some of the ingredients that must be avoided when cooking for your dog at home are as follows.

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Spices
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Grapes
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts and Macadamia nuts

NOTE: Some ingredients, like butter, salt, oil, and dairy products, can only be used occasionally.

Use Dog Food Add-Ins

Some ingredients can enhance the nutritional value of your dog’s homemade food. For example, adding an egg or steamed vegetables to the meal can make it healthier. Similarly, you can include a small portion of cottage cheese or yogurt in your pup’s diet. 

Recipes to Cook Dog Food at Home

Hand written recipes on a wooden table with utensils scattered around.

Once you have decided to prepare homemade food for your pooch, it’s time to get some healthy recipes. Keep reading to know the details of a couple of scrumptious dog-safe recipes.

Homemade Dog Food (with Chicken and Rice)

Chicken and rice with mixed veggies in a cast iron skillet

The use of natural ingredients makes this recipe extremely balanced for your pup. It contains chicken, rice, and vegetables to make sure that your canine friend is getting all the essential nutrients.


  • Chicken
  • Rice (preferably brown)
  • Mixed vegetables (carrot, cabbage, and green beans)
  • Water


  1. Take a pot and add some water to it. Use enough water to cook the chicken.
  2. Put the chicken in the pot and boil it. Make sure that it’s tender and digestible for your dog.
  3. Then, dice the chicken into small pieces and remember that you have to remove the bones. Otherwise, your dog might choke on them.
  4. Now, put the vegetables in another pot and cook them in hot water until they are soft.
  5. When the vegetables are cooked, dice them into small pieces.
  6. After that, put the rice in the pot (with hot water) and boil them until they are tender.
  7. Mix all the cooked ingredients and serve the meal to your pooch.
  8. You can also store the extra food (in an airtight container) in the refrigerator for a few days.

Thank you to The Collienois for this recipe.

Home Cooked Dog Food (with Beef and Vegetables)

Raw bee cubed on a white background.

This healthy dog food recipe combines the high-quality protein of beef with the useful nutrients of different vegetables.


  • 1 small potato, chopped
  • 13 ounces of ground beef
  • 1 pound bag of frozen carrots and peas
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • Customized nutrient/supplement blend


  1. Fill a large pot with water and heat it to a slow boil.
  2. Wash and chop potatoes (include the skins).
  3. Add the chopped potatoes to the boiling water, and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Then, add beef to the pot and keep stirring. If you are looking to create a hypoallergenic recipe, use a protein, such as duck, rabbit, venison, lamb, or salmon.
  5. Add the vegetables (fresh or frozen) while stirring. Use a variety, such as carrots, peas, and spinach.
  6. Now, stir in oatmeal and boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool before serving.
  8. Spoon the excess food into freezer containers and freeze it for future use. It’s easiest to freeze portions separately so you can pull one out and thaw it as needed.

Thank you to Love to Know for this recipe.

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