Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time developing a balanced recipe that Bella enjoys, meets her nutritional requirements, and doesn’t upset her sensitive stomach. After years of test runs, this is the basic recipe we use to make our dogs’ homemade raw dog food every month. Specific ingredients change seasonally or based on what looks the best at the supermarket, but the proportions stay the same.
- 80 LBs Bone-In Chicken (Typically Chicken Thighs)
- 50 LBs Muscle Meat (Typically Beef, Turkey, or Venison)
- 11 LBs Organ Meat (At Least Half Should Be Liver)
- 4 LBs Veggies & Fruits
- Approximately 30 Large Eggs
- Vitamin Supplements
Note: This recipe makes a month’s worth of food for our dogs. Feel free to adjust the quantity for your dog’s size, amount of dogs, and freezer space you have available.
- Prep your ingredients by unwrapping packaged meats and washing/prepping vegetables.
- If you’re using a meat grinder, chop all your ingredients, except the eggs, into pieces small enough to fit in your grinder. If you’re not using a grinder, chop ingredients into appropriately sized pieces for your dog and skip step 3. (While it isn’t necessary, I highly recommend getting a meat grinder for raw dog food. It eliminates choking risks and makes storage more compact when preparing dog food in bulk.)
- Grind all ingredients together, except the eggs, and mix well. If you’re making a large batch, I suggest alternating types of ingredients so they are distributed better and makes mixing easier.
- Portion into serving sizes suitable for your dog using a kitchen scale. Serving sizes vary based on the amount and the number of times per day you feed your dog.
- Serve defrosted with one egg per day cracked over the food. (You will need 8-12 hours for your food to defrost, pending the amount packaged together.)
Why these ingredients?
We chose these proteins for several reasons. The main reason is that chicken and beef are readily available in the supermarket, and since our dogs don’t have any food allergies, we don’t have to use less common protein sources. Another very important reason is that these meats, especially chicken, are the cheapest. Making the recipe chicken-based makes the price comparable to (or cheaper than) premium grain-free commercial dog food. For about half the year, we can also get venison for $2/lb from a local gentleman who butchers for hunters. Since the venison is actually tolerated the best by our dogs and is even fresher than protein from the supermarket, we include it as often as it’s available. We also like to vary our ingredients from time to time so the dogs get a variety of nutrients naturally, and have included things like chicken or turkey necks and smelt.
Do I have to include organ meat?
In short, yes. 10% of your dog’s diet should be organ meat because it provides essential vitamins and omega fatty acids for your dog’s health. Liver, in particular, has some of the highest concentrations of the vitamins and fatty acids and is extremely important to include. It should make up about 5% of your dog’s diet. For the other 5%, we include things like kidney and hearts, as they are the easiest for us to get fresh. For all organs, we typically switch between chicken and beef organs and will occasionally include lamb organs as well to create a more balanced nutrient profile.
Why do you use organic liver?
While using non-organic sources is OK for the raw meat bone and muscle meat sources, the liver portion should be organic because the liver is responsible for filtering out impurities from the body. The healthier the body the liver came from, the healthier the liver. Also, our dog, Bella, doesn’t like regular chicken liver; lesser quality liver must smell or taste bad to her. We trust her senses and want to make sure she has access to the vitamins she needs so we choose organic liver for her homemade dog food.
Which fruits and vegetables can I include?
Most fruits and veggies are OK for your dog, but avoid grapes, avocados, mushrooms, cherries, asparagus, and raw potatoes. In general, you should also avoid pits and peels. We like to include apples, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli, and some other leafy greens, such as kale or lettuce, but we choose our fruits and veggies based on fresh seasonal ingredients, sales, and dog preferences.
How do you store your food?
We package our dog food in plastic storage containers and stack them in a chest freezer. So, we take out one container each night, give her half in the morning and put the second half in the fridge until dinner. We like using the plastic reusable containers as they fit well in our chest freezer and are more environmentally-friendly and cost effective than disposable packaging.