I hear you! You’re incorporating more healthy, whole foods into your dog’s diet! You’re ready to start cooking for your dog and ditch the kibble once and for all. The following dog food recipe is balanced and can be part of your healthy dog food rotation.
Additionally, this dog food recipe can be used as a healthy topper if you’re watching your budget. The recipe does need some supplementation, either in the form of the BalanceIt powder or by adding the supplemental items in at feeding time. If using as a topper, the supplements are not necessary. However, be aware that toppers should make up no more than 20% of the diet. This means you can remove about 20% of the kibble and add this fresh food in.
Scroll to the bottom of the page for the recipe.
Dog Food Recipe: Healthy Ingredients
Lean Ground Beef
95% lean ground beef is packed with essential amino acids your dog needs to build healthy muscles, skin, and a shiny hair-coat. When the fat content of meat goes up, the protein content decreases, meaning that 95% lean beef is full of protein. This was tough to find at my grocery store, as they only carry up to 90% lean. I did find that the butcher (at the local grocery store) will make up specialty blends though, and it was not an additional cost.
Organ meats are known as Mother Nature’s multivitamins. Further, organ meats like beef liver are generally easy to source and reasonably priced. Liver is a rich source of iron, vitamins A, B, D, folic acid, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and essential fatty acids. These nutrients support healthy digestion, your dog’s immune system, and musculoskeletal system. Not to mention, dogs love this stinky meat!
Make sure to use sardines canned in water, and give them a good rinse first. Sardines are relatively high in sodium, so if you can find the no added sodium version, go for it! Once again, these little superfish are full of immune helping amino acids and minerals. Additionally, they’re the source of vital omega 3 fatty acids in this recipe.
In this dog food recipe, quinoa serves as a starch. While dogs don’t need carbs, and this can be a hotly debated topic, quinoa is a nutrient dense food. Quinoa is a solid source of potassium, which helps fluid and electrolyte balance in your dog’s body. This supports a healthy heart and nervous system, making quinoa a solid addition to this dog food recipe.
Flaxseed and Walnut Oils
Flaxseed oil has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and is a good source of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as alpha-lineolic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid or good fat. Walnut oil contains more of the same alpha lineolic acid as well. However, your dog doesn’t efficiently process these oils to get the most benefit. Hence the walnut and flaxseed oils in this dog food recipe.
Peppers of all colors are full of vitamins A, C, and E, and are packed with beneficial antioxidants. Antioxidants in your dog’s diet support immune health and help reduce inflammation throughout the body. For this dog food recipe, make sure the peppers can be diced and added raw.
Broccoli is full of fiber, vitamin C, and is low in fat, which may contribute to helping your dog feel full. The vitamins and minerals in broccoli support a healthy immune system, healthy heart, and bone density. Broccoli, and all veggies in this dog food recipe must be cooked.
Yes, your dog can eat apples! Apples, like many of the foods in this dog food recipe, are full of important vitamins and minerals. Chock-full of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber (especially in the skin-leave it on!) potassium, and those all-important antioxidants.
The final superfood in this dog food recipe is blueberries. Such a vital food, I share frozen blueberries with my two dogs almost every day! Blueberries are the highest-scoring fruit in the antioxidant department. They can slow down tumor growth, lower blood sugar, and decrease nasty inflammation. Not to mention, blueberries are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K.
Beef and Fish-Tastic Dog Food Recipe
This dog food recipe was created using the BalanceIt software. While meant to require minimal supplementation, you will either need to use the recommended amounts of supplemental items or the BalanceIt powder. Amounts are specified in the recipes. BalanceIt powder can be purchased from their website.
This recipe makes 1 week’s worth of food for a 35 pound dog.
- 26 ⅝ ounces 95% Lean Ground Beef: Cooked and drained of fat
- 22 ¾ ounces beef liver; cooked (Boiled to cut down on stink)
- 20 ⅞ ounces canned sardines in water, rinsed and drained (about 5.5 cans)
- 5 ¼ Cups cooked Quinoa
- 5 Tbsp Flaxseed Oil
- 15 tsp Walnut Oil
- 2 ⅞ raw green peppers, diced or food processed
- 1 Cup cooked, chopped broccoli
- 1 Cup Apple slices, with skin
- ⅝ cup blueberries, raw or frozen
- 18 ⅜ teaspoons BalanceIT Canine OR added supplements at mealtime (below)
- Begin by cooking quinoa per the instructions.
- While the quinoa is cooking, you can gently boil the liver until cooked through; about 10 minutes.
- Also, cook the beef and drain the fat in a frying pan.
- Rinse sardines in cans, set aside.
- Cook broccoli, either by steaming or baking in the oven. Hint: you can puree the broccoli after cooking to make it more bioavailable (easier for your dog to digest and absorb the nutrients)
- Slice apples, peppers, and measure blueberries, set aside.
- When all ingredients are cooked and somewhat cooled, combine in a large bowl or tub.
- Mix all ingredients with your hand or a large spoon: Important: Don’t add walnut and flaxseed oil until the mixture has cooled.
- When mixture has cooled, add oils and BalanceIt supplement (if using). Adding oils to hot mixtures degrades the nutrients of the oil. If not using BalanceIt supplement, see below for whole-food supplements to add at mealtimes.
- Portion into about 14 equal sized containers. Refrigerate for 3 days, store in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.
Supplements: Add at each meal for full balance
I used the Merck Veterinary Manual for NRC Adult Dog Requirements and adjusted them for this recipe. This recipe is for a 35 pound dog, who should eat approximately 891 calories per day. These are the minerals this recipe is deficient in, and therefore must be supplemented with these foods or the BalanceIT powder.
Vitamin E I love adding these Hemp Seeds to my dog’s meal. 1 teaspoon per meal. They are rich in vitamin e. Plus, you’re not relying on a synthetic supplement or vitamin. Additionally, you can add 1 pumpkin seed puck each day (not each meal). Bonus! Your dog’s body knows what to do with whole-food supplement sources.
Bone Meal: Now Bone Meal Add 1/2 tsp per meal. Make sure to use human grade calcium supplements.
Kelp: (provides iodine) 1/4-1 tsp per day. We like the Lifeline Organic Kelp Dog-Specific supplement.
Zinc: Canned Oysters. Add 1-2 oysters from the can directly to the meal. If your dog is picky, chop them up before feeding. 1 can should last for the whole batch of food. Oysters also contain some iodine.
BalanceIT Supplement: Add 18 3/8 Tablespoones to entire finished batch. If using the BalanceIT supplement powder, the above supplementation is not needed. BalanceIT is like a one-stop-shop for dog food supplelementation. Many people prefer whole-food sources or avoid purchasing the supplement powder for budgetary reasons. Just make sure if feeding as meals (not a topper) you are using some sort of supplementation to provide complete and balanced meals.
897 calories (per day)
Protein 39% (175 calories/day)
Fat: 43% (193 calories/day)
Carbohydrate: 18% (82 calories/day)
Higher dietary protein and fat may not be tolerated by some dogs. Higher concentrations of either start at 35%. Please note, this recipe has higher concentrations of both. You know your dog. If concerned, don’t hesitate to speak to your veterinarian.
This makes a little over a week’s worth of meals for a 35 pound dog. You can adjust the recipe or portions as needed. Also, keep in mind for an accurate recipe, you will weigh each ingredient after cooking, but before mixing together, as a rule you can add about 25% of the amount before cooking. Finally, oils are added when the mixture has cooled. Vitamins are added in at mealtimes to prevent them from going rancid.
Replace the amount of kibble your dog would eat with this fresh option. If feeding as a topper, replace around 20% of the meal with this recipe. Also, if feeding as a topper, there is no need for any of the supplementation as your dog’s kibble provides the balance.
Meals can be portioned and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Also, you can store portions in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. Any longer in the freezer degrades the vitamin and amino acids in the ingredients and the food loses its healthful benefits.
Remember, this meal is part of a balanced diet for your Best Friend. While many of us are programmed to feed the same foods day in and day out, a balanced diet rotates different proteins, vegetables and organ meats. With a diet like this that does require supplementation, it’s healthiest to rotate through other recipes so you are not reliant on supplements to fill the gaps.