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Home Prepared Dog Food, Cat Food – Grain Free Nutritionally Complete

Many of the commercially made dry dog food (kibble) products and cat food products contain multiple toxins, carcinogens, allergens and ingredients that provide your dog with poor source nutrition. Switching your dog or cat from commercially made, highly processed dog kibble to homemade dog food can be of great benefit to your dog’s and cat’s overall health. Below are a few very nutritious, simple to make dog food recipes I created for the health and well-being of my dogs. The ingredients used are selected to support your dog’s and cat’s overall health, boost his/her immune system, prevent cancer, support oral health, heart health and more. When purchasing the ingredients used in the recipes below, you can decide whether you want to go organic or not…even if you do not go organic you can be sure that the food you make – based on the recipes below, will be packed with good nutrition. You can couple this recipe with a healthy, all-natural snack food for your dog or with a healthy dog-friendly smoothie
The recipe provides options for:
  • One – a fully cooked food recipe;
  • Two – a blend of cooked and fresh food recipe
  • Three – a raw food recipe.
It is up to you which option you choose to make.

The recipe is appropriate for:

  • Puppies;
  • Teenage Dogs;
  • Adult Dogs, and;
  • Senior Dogs, and;
  • By adding additional taurine is also good for kittens and cats.
The only reason the commercial pet food industry has established a sales niche for puppy food, v.s adult dog food, vs senior dog food is because the adult dog food produced by the pet food industry is often deficient in good source nutrition. 
While an adult dog may be able to sustain such deficiencies for longer periods of time – dogs that are more vulnerable – such as puppies, will show the effects of deficiencies more quickly, the same can be said for many senior dogs. 
As well, the pet food industry has created a niche for ‘weight control’ dog foods for adult and senior dogs. Another invention made necessary by the inadequacies of  pet food industry products. A dog that is on a species appropriate diet is much less likely to become overweight than a dog that is fed a nutrient poor and grain-based diet. Grain gets converted by the body into sugar very quickly – this spikes insulin levels and has a collective effect of creating constant hunger in the dog. In addition a dog that is fed a diet that is primarily comprised of  fillers and poor source carbohydrates must consume a much larger quantity of that ‘food’ in order to obtain actual nutritive value. The combination of these two facts creates obesity in dogs, just as it does in humans. If a dog is fed a truly good diet – that same diet can retain its value unchanged throughout the life-span of the dog – from puppy, hood to adult to senior. 
If you need your dog to loose weight – the best approach is to feed your dog a truly good diet, cut back on carbohydrates, increase protein and good source fat (i.e. coconut oil  a good source omega-6 fatty acid, a high quality omega-3 fatty acid such as Norwegian cod liver oil, Wild Alaskan salmon oil or Norwegian krill oil), introduce appropriate cooked, frozen-thawed and fresh veggies and fruit prepared properly to maximize absorption of nutrients, and turmeric. 
 
For puppies up to 6 months of age exclude the garlic from the recipe. Once puppy is 6 months of age add the garlic to the recipe. For kittens and cats leave the garlic out of the recipe. If you are going to include garlic in your dog’s diet make sure you read this article for a through look at the many health benefits, daily dosage, cautions and drug interactions for garlic. 
 

How Much Will You Need to Feed to Your Dog?…

Before we get to the recipes – people often ask ‘how much of this recipe should I feed to my dog or cat?’ My recommendation regarding ‘amount to feed’ is as follows, first preceded by the following comments…

The amount to feed your dog(s) or cat(s):

  1. Varies per the individual dog or cat – as I explain further just below, and;
  2. Varies depending on how you choose to prepare the ingredients – I discuss this further below under options for preparation.
  • Just as each human has a different life style, different metabolism, so too for each dog. 
    • While two dogs may be the same size;
    • The same breed;
    • Have the same level of physical and mental activity;
    • One of the dogs may require slightly more food or less food than the other. 
  •  I am going to provide you with a guideline, and from that make your own adjustments to suit the individual dog.

Scenario One –  you are currently feeding your dog a commercially prepared dry dog kibble which lists grain, soy, corn, etc. as the first ingredient see the example provided just below…

  • Start by feeding your dog 1/4 cup less of the homemade dog food;
  • See how that goes and make any required adjustments to suit.
ExampleGROUND WHOLE CORN, MEAT AND BONE MEAL, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH BHA/CITRIC ACID), SOYBEAN MEAL, GROUND WHOLE WHEAT, BREWERS RICE, DRIED PLAIN BEET PULP, NATURAL FLAVOR, SALT, VEGETABLE OIL ([SOURCE OF LINOLEIC ACID] PRESERVED WITH BHA/BHT), POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, VITAMINS (CHOLINE CHLORIDE, a-TOCOPHEROL ACETATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN E], NIACIN, BIOTIN, d-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT [VITAMIN B2], PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT) MINERALS (ZINC SULFATE, ZINC PROTEINATE, COPPER SULFATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, COPPER PROTEINATE, MANGANESE PROTEINATE), ADDED FD&C COLORS (RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 2).

Scenario Two –  you are currently feeding your dog a commercially prepared dry dog kibble which looks similar to one of the three examples provided just below…

  • Start by feeding your dog 1/8 cup less of the homemade dog food;
  • See how that goes and make any required adjustments to suit.

Example OneChicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Corn Gluten Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Pork Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols added to retain freshness, Citric Acid added to retain freshness, L-carnitine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract. Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas.

Example Two – Chicken (natural source of glucosamine), brewers rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), whole grain wheat, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soy flakes, soybean meal, animal digest, glycerin, calcium phosphate, caramel colour, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulphate, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, ferrous sulphate, sulphur, manganese sulphate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulphate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. T-4154-C

Example Three – Chicken By-Product Meal (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Chicken, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Potassium Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Fructooligosaccharides, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Calcium Carbonate, Flax Meal, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Chicken Cartilage (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), DL-Methionine, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Beta-Carotene, L-Carnitine, Marigold, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract.


Scenario Three –  you are currently feeding your dog a commercially prepared dry dog kibble which looks similar to the example provided just below…

  • Start by feeding your dog the same amount of the homemade food as you are currently feeding to your dog in the dry dog food;
  • See how that goes and make any required adjustments to suit.
Deboned chicken, chicken meal, green peas, turkey meal, chicken liver oil, field beans, red lentils, whole potato, deboned turkey, whole egg, deboned walleye, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, chicken liver, herring oil, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach greens, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary.

Just Before we get to the recipe…

1.0 If your dog or cat has…

  •  Acid Reflux – GERD
  • Bladder or Kidney Crystals or Stones (uroliths)
  • Colitis or other Inflammatory Bowel Disease –
    • Adjustments to recipe are provided below;
  • GME
  • Food Allergies –
  • Fatty Lipomas –
  • Weight Management Issues – 
  • Urinary Tract Infection – 

2.0 Understanding the Ingredients

Make sure you read all of the links provided in the recipe below. The links are provided to ensure your better understanding of the ingredients as pertains to important information such as health benefits, selection of appropriate type/quality, cautions and interactions, etc.

3.0 What you Use to Cook Food in and Feed Food To Your Dog and Cat Matters…

If at all possible do not use: Teflon coated pans and pots and do not feed your dog his/her food in metal bowls – particularly aluminum bowls and plastic bowls. The same is true for water – no aluminum or plastic bowls. Aluminum and the many carcinogenic substances in plastic gradually make their way into your dog’s and cat’s system via the food bowl. This increases your dog’s and cat’s toxic load and can cause damage to overall  physical and mental health – brain health, GI tract health, organ health leading/contributing to behavioural and major health problems.

Grain Free…

 

Red Meat or Poultry, Squash or Sweet Potato, Cottage Cheese, Spinach, Cruciferous Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs…

There are several ways that you can make this recipe – the choice is up to you. Choose one of the following preparation methods. Ingredients/measurements and further directions are provided just below preperation options…

  • Option One is based on cooking all of the ingredients as you would a stew;
  • Option Two is a combination of cooked and raw food recipe;
  • Option Three is a raw food recipe;
  • Options 2 and 3 have no water added, option one has water added.
    • When you add water to any food you dilute the nutritional density of the food;
    • Therefore, if you make the recipe based on preparation option one you will need to feed your dog or cat a slightly greater volume of the food than if you used preparation Option Two or Three.
  • If you grind the ingredients to a fine meal in a food processor you end up with a dense end product; 
  • If you coarsely chop ingredients (cut ingredients into larger pieces as you would do if making a stew) the resulting end product is less dense;
    • So, if you make the recipe using the cooked stew method with course chopped ingredients you will need to feed your dog or cat a larger amount of the resulting food;
    •  If you have not added any water to the recipe and have finely minced the ingredients you will feed your dog or cat a smaller amount of the resulting food.
1.0 Options – Cooked, Cooked & Fresh or Raw Food
Option One – Fully Cooked Stew
  • Step 1 – Combine all ingredients, place in a pot or slow cooker (crock pot);
  • Step 2 – Add just enough water to cover the ingredients;
  • Step 3 – Simmer on lowest possible heat until fully cooked or slow cook in a crock pot;
  • Step 4 – Store in the refrigerator or freeze as desired;
  • Step 5 – Add toppings at meal time as directed at the end of the recipe below.
  • The photo shown at the top of this page is an example of the food prepared using this method.
 
Option Two – A Blend of Cooked and Fresh Ingredients, no
added water
  • Step 1 – Simmer meat in olive oil on lowest possible heat until fully cooked, once cooked finely mince the meat or leave in chunks as per your preference, and set aside;
  • Step 2 – Steam or cook, mash or cube the squash or sweet potato, and set aside;
  • Step 3 – If using legumes (lentils or chickpeas) soak, cook and mash or puree, or if using canned legumes simply drain and mash or puree, and set aside;
  • Step 4 – If using fresh vegetables lightly steam the vegetables then chop, mash or puree, and set aside. If using frozen vegetables just thaw enough to finely chop or puree, and set aside;
  • Step 5 – If including fresh or frozen fruit – mash or puree the fruit, and then set aside;
  • Step 6 – In a large bowl mix all ingredients together (see recipe below for a full list of ingredients);
  • Step 7 – Store in the refrigerator or freeze as desired;
  • Step 8 – Add toppings at meal time as directed at the end of the recipe below.

 

Option Three – Raw Food, no added water
  • Step 1 – Don’t cook the meat, leave raw – for this option use fresh, never frozen meat, properly process/handled raw meat;
  • Step 2 – Steam or lightly cook, mash or cube the squash or sweet potato, and set aside;
  • Step 3 – If using legumes (lentils or chickpeas) soak, cook and mash or puree, or if using canned legumes simply drain and mash or puree, and set aside;
  • Step 4 – If using fresh vegetables lightly steam the vegetables then chop, mash or puree, and set aside. If using frozen vegetables just thaw enough to finely chop or puree, and set aside;
  • Step 5 – If including fresh or frozen fruit – mash or puree the fruit, and then set aside;
  • Step 6 – In a large bowl mix all ingredients together (see recipe below for a full list of ingredients);
  • Step 7 – Freeze into patties;
  • Step 8 – Add toppings at meal time as directed at the end of the recipe below.
  • Caution regarding raw food – If your dog or cat has never eaten raw meat before, make sure you introduce raw food into their diet very slowly – failure to do so will cause diarrhea and or vomiting. The stomach acids required to digest raw meat or much stronger than what is required to digest ‘dead’ (cooked) food. You must give your dog’s, cat’s system time to slowly adjust. To introduce raw food to the diet start out by offering a tiny piece of the raw food as a treat between meals. Do this for at least a week after which you can very slowly start to replace a tiny portion of the existing food in your dog’s or cat’s meal bowl with an equally small portion of the raw food. Continue this process of replacement over the span of several weeks until the old food is completely replaced by the raw food. Transition very slowly, if at any point during the transition your dog or cat starts to show signs of an upset stomach you are transitioning to quickly.

I use preparation Option Two. I make a very large batch of food – 40 pounds to 50 pounds of food at a time. I use a food grade pail with a capacity of about 70 pounds to mix all the ground ingredients together. A batch of food this size lasts me about ten days as I am feeding eleven (11) dogs (3 German Shepherds, a Boxer x Pit Bull, an Australian Shepherd, a Cocker Spaniel, a Sheltie, a Fox Hound x Beagle, 2 Pomeranians and a Chihuahua.

Using preparation Option Two – here is what a large batch in preparation looks like. Mixing is finished and I am just starting to pack the food into containers. Each container holds enough food to feed my pack for about 3 days. The containers will be put in the freezer until I need to use them. You can see from the photo below that this is a very thick and dense food – with a texture like a meat loaf – except most of the ingredients in this food are fresh and raw – not cooked.

Here is a look at the food at serving time…you can see how dense and thick I make it, you can see there is no liquid. As I use a lot of turmeric in the recipe, the food has a gold tinge
And ready to eat, garnished with cottage cheese and a piece of cheddar cheese on top – top view…
 
 Side view…

 

2.0 Ingredients

  • Protein, Fat and essential nutrients – Meat: 
    • 1.5 lb (minimum) to 2 lbs ground or finely chopped 1meat:
      • Poultry – chicken, turkey, duck, etc. bones removed, or:
      • Fish – wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines, or;
      • Red meat – beef, bison, deer, etc. 
        • If your dog has food sensitivities don’t mix proteins, choose one source of meat protein per batch of food;
        • don’t skim the fat off – the fat from the meat is an essential source of nutrition for your dog and cat; 
        • For kittens and cats don’t skimp – use the full quantity of protein (not the minimum);
        •  Note if your dog or cat has an inflammatory disease such as colitis make sure you use lean meats only;
  •  Protein, Fat and essential nutrients – Cottage Cheese:
  • Protein, carbohydrates, fiber and essential nutrients – Legumes:
    • 2 cups (16 oz) co:
      • Lentils – use a combination of yellow, brown or green lentils and/or cooked mashed chickpeas (see note 2)
      • For best results:
        • Pre-soak the uncooked lentils in water for at least 3 hours;
        • After soaking the uncooked lentils, drain the water (discard the water) and use a food processor or bender to mash/finely chop the softened lentils;
        • After soaking and mashing/chopping the lentils are ready to be cooked with the other ingredients together in a pot or pressure cooker.  
        • Note:
          • If you would prefer to leave legumes out of the recipe simply substitute with 2 cups of additional meat – but be careful, if your dog or cat has been accustomed to a high carbohydrate diet, increase the amount of protein/vs carbohydrates over the space of several weeks as stomach acids need time to adjust.
          • If your dog or cat has an inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis replace the legumes with low fat meat; or organic soy and a small amount of finely ground almonds;
          • If you prefer not to use legumes than replace the legumes with additional meat, and/or a small amount of ground peanuts or pine nuts and pumpkin seeds;
  • Protein and Fat Additional Optional Ingredient:
    • 2 eggs 
  •  Fat:
    • 1/8 cup olive oil or coconut oil
    • Note:
      • If your dog or cat has an inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis leave the olive oil and/or coconut oil out of the recipe.
  • Carbohydrate, essential nutrients, fiber, antioxidents:
    • 2 cups:
      • Sweet potato, or  
      • Squash;
      • Pumpkin;
      • Turnip;
      • Rutabaga;
      • or a combination of the above;
    • 2 cups:
      • Vegetables and fruit, fresh or frozen finely chopped:
        •  Carrots,broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower;
      •  Apples, pears, cherries or berries (i.e. cranberries, strawberries, blue berries, black berries, etc.);
  • 10 oz:
    • Fresh or frozen chopped spinach 
    • Note:
      • If your dog or cat has an inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis do not use any cruciferous vegetables. 
        •  Potato and squash are fine to use, sweet potato is fine for some dogs and cats with colitis;
        • Spinach or kale are fine to use;
        • Cranberries are fine to use.
  • Herbs
    • 4 cloves 3garlic, chopped or minced (do not use for cats, do not use for dogs or cats with inflammatory bowl disease such as colitis)
      • As the healthful properties of garlic are degraded when the garlic is heated, I prefer to leave the garlic out of the recipe and instead add fresh minced garlic to the food at meal time;
        • If you choose to use fresh garlic as I do;
          • Mince, slice or chop the garlic 10 to 15 minutes before feeding as this provides  time for the beneficial properties of the garlic to develop;
            • One hour after mincing, slicing etc. the beneficial propertied of the garlic begin to degrade so use within an hour of cutting;
          • Daily dosage is 1 tsp for every 30 lbs of body weight;
          • You can read more about garlic here.
      •  If you are making this recipe for kittens or cats leave the garlic out of the recipe!;
    • For the following herbs -you can choose to use all of the herbs, some of the herbs or leave them out of the recipe – its up to you…
    • If you are using the Cooked/Fresh or Raw preparation method for this recipe…
      • Mix all of the herbs and spices together in a bowl or small pot;
      • Using a kettle boil some water just as you would do to make tea;
      • Add just enough of the boiled water to the herb mixture – just enough water to cover the herb mixture;
        • Stir the mixture – it will absorb the water, add a little more water;
      • Cover the mixture and let it steep for 10 minutes (more steeping time is fine too);
      • Then add the steeped herbs to the other recipe ingredients.
    • 1/8 cup basil – dry or fresh chopped;
    • 1/8 cup rosemary – dry or fresh chopped;
    • 1/8 cup sage; 
    • Optional:
      • 1/8 cup anise;
      • 1/8 cup fennel; 
      • 1/8 cup fenugreek;
      • 1/8 cup dried parsley or fresh chopped;
      • 1/8 cup mint;
      • 1 tbs fresh chopped ginger;
      • 1 tbs Ceylon cinnamon
  • Use of one of the following if you are not using whole prey meat:
      • 1/2 tsp dry, 4powdered eggshell for every 1 lb of boneless meat, or;
      • 1/5 tsp (1000 mg /1 gm) of human food grade bone meal  for every 1 lb of boneless meat
      • If you are using recipe preparation method 2 or 3 with whole prey meat, do not add eggshell or bone meal to the recipe. 
If making the fully cooked version of the recipe – low heat setting (i.e. 3 to 4 just for long enough to start the food cooking and then turn the heat down to 2 and just let the pot simmer for an hour or two. If you are making a single batch of food and have a crock pot  the food can be cooked on low heat setting in the crock pot.

When you are ready to feed your dog the food…

3.0 Toppings to Add at Meal Time

Sprinkle/add/mix the following on top of the food when ready to serve in bowl:
  • 6Brewers yeast or nutritional yeast, NOT Bakers yeast!
    • 1 tsp for every 30 pounds of body weight
    • Do not use Brewer’s Yeast if your dog or cat:
  • Broth (meat or vegetable) or Bone Broth – recipe, daily dosage, health benefits are provided here.
  • Cheese shredded or cubed – optional ingredient (use low fat if your dog has inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis)
    •  Cheddar cheese, mozzarella or Swiss cheese, or; cottage cheese; 
      • Daily Dosage:
        • Small size dogs and cats – 1 ounce 
        • Medium size dogs – 1 1/2 ounce  
        • Large dogs -2 ounces 
        • Extra large dogs – 2 1/2 ounces
  • Probiotic – to understand the importance of including a probiotic in your dog or cat’s daily diet read here
  • You can use yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut or purchase a good quality probiotic supplement;
    • If you want to use Yogurt  or Kefir read here to understand benefits, dosage, how to select a good yogurt or kefir for your dog, cat;
    • If you want to use sauerkraut read here to understand how to select a good product for your dog or cat;
    • If you prefer to make your own sauerkraut you can find a recipe here;
    • If you want to use a probiotic supplement read here to understand how to choose a good supplement – most propbiotic supplements are junk, so it is important to know how to select a good product.
    • Use low fat yogurt or kefir rather than higher fat if your dog has inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis.
  • A small piece of fatty fish such as wild Atlantic Salmon, mackerel or sardine;
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
    • For information on the many health benefits, options and selecting a good product, etc you can read here. You can use option one, two or three (or a combination of two of the options) as noted just below or read about other options here.
    • Option One – Fish oil (use human food grade);
    •  Norwegian or Arctic krill oil, wild Alaskan salmon oil, Norwegian or Arctic cod liver oil (use only a good brand like Carson’s);
    • Follow the dosage provided below or the product manufacturer’s dosage:
      • X-Small Dogs and Cats 1 -14 lbs – 250mg 
      • Small Dogs and Cats 15-29 lbs – 500mg 
      • Medium Dogs 30-49 lbs – 1000mg 
      • Large Dogs 50 -79 lbs – 1500mg  
      • X-Large Dogs 80 lbs and up – 2000mg  
  • Option TwoCold Pressed Organic Flax Seed Oil;
    • Use only human food-grade cold pressed flax seed oil;
      • Only use flax seed oil that is found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or natural food store;
      • Preferably organic flax seed oil, as non-organic can be very high in pesticide residue;
    • Daily Dosage:
      • 1 tsp per every 11lbs body weight (1 ml per every 1 kg body weight);
  • Option Three – 5Ground Flax seeds, whole or ground Chia seeds;
  • Daily Dosage;
  • 1/2 tsp for tea cup dogs 2 to 4 lbs; 
  • 1 tsp for toy dogs 5 to 15 lbs; 
  • 1 tbs for small dogs 16 to 25 lbs; 
  • 1.5 tbs for medium-small dogs 26 to 39 lbs 
  • 2 tbs for medium-large size dogs 40 to 70 lbs 
  • 2.5 tbs for large dogs 71 lbs to 90 lbs  
  • 3 tbs for x-large dogs 91+ pounds  
  • A pinch of ground vitamin C tablet – if your dogs don’t eat citrus fruit, berries or veggies that are high in vitamin C. My dogs get lots of vitamin C from fresh fruit and from fresh lemon so they do not require ground vitamin C.
  • Digestive Enzymes:
    •  To aid digestion and promote full absorption of nutrients;
      • Option One – I use fresh minced papaya;
      • Option Two – use a digestive enzyme supplement in in capsule or powder form;
        • Look for a papain-based (digestive enzyme extract from papaya) or bromelain-based (digestive enzyme extract from pineapple). Choose one that does not have added fillers or other unnecessary ingredients such as sweeteners, food coloring and slipping agents. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended daily dosage; 
  • If your dog has an inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis the lycopene in papaya is very beneficial.
  • Daily Dosage for Fresh Papaya
    • Small Size Dogs and Cats
      • ½  tsp to 1/8 cup
    • Medium Size dogs;
      •  1 tbs to ¼ cup
    • Large Size Dogs;
      • 2 tbs to ½ cup
  • Pumpkin Seeds;
    • You can buy whole, shelled, unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds at a natural food store – you can read about some of the benefits of pumpkin seeds here.
      • Use a food processor to grind the pumpkin seeds ;
      • Daily Dosage
        • 1/2 tbs small dogs;
        • 1 tbs medium size dogs;
        •  2 tbs large dogs.
  • Organ meats are very good for dogs and cats when provided in small amounts daily;
    • On a low heat cook some chicken liver (or other organ meat) in a little olive oil or coconut oil;
      • Store in a container in the refrigerator and add a piece to the food in your dog’s or cat’s food once a day;
  • Poultry, Red meat, Bone or Vegetable Both;
    •  As many dogs and cats do not take in enough water after eating consider adding some liquid to the food in your dog’s and cat’s bowl;
    • You can use this Homemade Broth Recipe – dosage to add to the food bowl is included in the recipe;
    • Add a sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon on top of the food and stock…
  • Ceylon Cinnamon
    • You can also sprinkle a little Ceylon cinnamon powder on top of the food. Cinnamon helps dissolve food particles – good for your dog’s dental health and also aids with the digestion of food

If you are making this food for a kitten or cat you must add Taurine...

  • Minimum – 100 mg (one hundred milligrams ) of Taurine for every 1 kg (one kilogram) or 2.2 pounds of cat food;
  • Maximum – 300 mg (three hundred milligrams ) of Taurine for every 1 kg (one kilogram) or 2.2 pounds of cat food.
You can keep this food in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you make more than you will use in a week just freeze the additional food.

Notes 1Cooking Meat – avoid creating carcinogens in the meat

When cooking meat (poultry, red meat, etc.) always cook it at a low temperature.
  • Cooking meat above 200 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit increases the amount of PhIP (2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazol[4,5-b]pyridine) and other heterocyclic amines in the meat;
  • Heterocyclic amines are carcinogenic chemicals that form when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

2Home cooked v.s. canned lentils, chickpeas, legumes – avoid carcinogens
 Although you can choose to use canned lentils and chickpeas it is best to cook them from ‘scratch’ yourself as canned products: 

  • Are known to contain BPA (a carcinogen), and;
  • Commercially prepared canned beans/legumes are cooked at a very high temperature for a short period of time. 
    • When foods are cooked at very high temps advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) form;
    • AGEs are compounds that stimulate cells to produce specific proteins that cause inflammation and can be toxic;
    • High heat also damages and/or destroys many nutrients.

3Garlic– my dogs get fresh garlic on a daily basis. Garlic (unlike onion which is toxic for your dog) has many health benefits for your dog. Before cooking the garlic, chop, mince or crush the garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature – this triggers a reaction that boosts the healthy enzymes in garlic to maximum output. If your dog is on blood thinners or cyclosporin, leave the garlic out of the recipe. Garlic is not to be given to cats or kittens. Garlic is not to be given to puppies under 6 months of age. For other cautions read
garlic.

4Powdered Eggshell is high in calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon and zinc, and a few other (actually 27) vital elements for dogs. ½ tsp equals about 400 milligrams of absorbable calcium.

  • To make powdered eggshell:
  • Wash empty eggshells in a little warm water;
  • Place the shells on a dish or paper towel and let them air dry completely (i.e. for 24 hrs);
  • When dry, break the shells into pieces and then grind them using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder;
  • Store the powdered eggshell in an airtight container.
5Flax seed must be ground not whole, Chia seeds can be whole or ground.

6Nutritional brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast (not baker’s yeast) is high in B complex vitamins. B complex vitamins are very important for a dog’s overall health, oral health and are also a natural flea repellent.  

Holistic Support

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:

  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service
Pack walk with some of my dogs – small to large, all ages –
they all eat the food prepared as per the recipe above.

 

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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237 comments

  1. Hi Karen! Thanks so much for the excellent information found throughout your website and blog.

    I have a 15-month-old pit bull mix named Rogue who has eaten a mix of Orijen grain-free kibble (starting with the Puppy formula and graduating to the adult formulas) and The Honest Kitchen since I adopted him as a 12-week-old puppy. Rogue is a super high energy guy who gets plenty of exercise in the form of daily walks, weekend hikes, and fetch/tug games in the backyard. He has always been tall and lean – at 12 months old he weighed 67 pounds and was 24 inches tall at the withers. We added another high energy puppy to the family in September, and thanks to that increase in activity Rogue has lost 2 pounds and his ribs are visible, as is his spine (when he curls up to sleep). To compensate, I increased his food from 2.5 cups Orijen/0.5 cups Honest Kitchen daily to 3 cups Orijen/1 cup Honest Kitchen, which only seemed to increase his stool production (4 BMs/day) while decreasing stool “quality” (very soft and pudding-like).

    Rogue has always had “poop issues” with frequent soft stools and he also suffers from occasional acid reflux. He had acid reflux for several days at the end of last week, and my vet wanted to put him on medication and a prescription diet to ward off any additional weight loss. I could not bring myself to do this and instead I started searching for homemade food options and holistic remedies for acid reflux, which is how I came across Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer. I made a double batch of the grain-free food (prepared following option #2 with ground meat/veggies/fruit), no legumes, and following the recommendations for acid reflux/GERD. I have been feeding Rogue the food since Sunday, and he has not had acid reflux the past two mornings. An added bonus is he absolutely loves the food! I just want to make sure I am feeding him enough since he needs to gain a bit of weight – the vet would like to see him closer to 70 pounds. I’ve been giving him 4 cups of the food mix spread across 4 feedings, with a different “topper” (i.e., piece of salmon, extra cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, etc) at each meal.

    I’d appreciate your opinion on whether this amount sounds adequate, as well as other advice for weight gain! The vet has not found any underlying reason for his weight loss, and has attributed it to a high metabolism/activity level.

    • I am glad you are finding the information helpful and healthful to your Pibble. If you would like additional help you can purchase consultation time with me when you require it. Cheers, K

  2. Hi.Karen
    First I want to say I’m thrilled to have found this site which I will have to learn a long time from now in terms of nutrition and education of my dog. Thank you for sharing with us your experience and knowledge and especially as you do it so well structured, complete and clear.
    My kindly request is to tell me what scenario(1,2,3) fits my current dog food that has the following list of
    ingredients :
    Lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, canola oil, egg product, roasted lamb, tomato pomace, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), dried chicory root, taurine, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus reuteri, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement,
    riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
    It’s about Taste Of The Wild-Sierra Mountain, in which my dwarf Schnauzer aged five months and a half is eating about 100-120 grams daily, divided into 3 meals.Do you think that the same quantity of your grain free recipe will be enough?
    He gladly eat them but only if i let him be very hungry and if I do make them more appetizing / palatable adding over each serving a small teaspoon of yogurt and half a teaspoon of pumpkin puree, and possibly some water
    From the beginning I looked accurate information about homemade food and what I found on this site pleases me finally and I intend to apply.
    Thank you and excuse my bad english f (I used Google Translate…:) )

  3. I love this recipe for my dogs! The problem is they go through it so quickly. I have 2 bulldogs (42 and 50 lbs) and a terrier (13 lbs). I’ve doubled the recipe but that still doesn’t last very long. How much do usually make at once? I’m also afraid I’m not giving them the appropriate serving size. I feed about a cup each meal to the bigger two and half a cup to the smaller one. Thank you! Great job!

  4. Hello! I’ve been reading and reading and so glad I stumbled upon you. I have 4 yorkies, one diagnosed with ple. The vet of course put her on prednisone and prescription food. I think it was a mild case because..She is fine so far..but after this happened I went in search for info to feed her better and all my dogs. It was suggested I put her on primal rabbit because she should not have beef or chicken..not sure if that is true, then mix is with natural balance fish and sweet pot. Ive also switch ed the others as well. But I give them frozen turkey. But I really do not want to give them canned any longer, I ve just run out of the canned so im going to give them some sweet pot with the raw.tonite but .can you tell me what I should give my ple girl..She is also on probiitics and some natural supplements from another source. The raw food is with 4 of them expensive but I’m so aftaid to make my own. I really want them to be healthy and they do love the raw. I am confused what she can and cannot have. I know it s low fat…but the protein was confusing to me…can u help?

    • Hi Cathy, for your girl with PLE I recommend the following http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca/diet-wellness/ You can let me know (via email) if you are seriously interested in moving forward with this.

    • Omg I have a 7 yr old male yorkie who ended up in the er last night…..ple as well and pancreatitis, it was scary, heavy labored breathing they had to tap his lungs to get the fluid out, he is on 20mg prednisone and pain meds and 5mg of prilosec a day. My heart is broken and I’m very scared. My vet just switched him to Royal Canine high energy. He has had terrible diarrhea for a month I’m at my wits end. I thought about looking into chia seeds for dogs with ple.

      • I do custom designed holistic diet nutrition wellness plans for dogs with ple and pancreatitis. The food product you are currently using is health deteriorating as are the drugs.

  5. You say do not use Teflon coated pans and pots and do not feed your dog his/her food and water in metal bowls – particularly aluminum bowls and plastic bowls, so can i use stainless steel pans and pots and feed food and water in stainless steel bowls?

  6. Hi Karen, I’m so happy to have found your site. It’s very helpful as we continually strive to care for our dogs holistically and move away from traditional/toxic approaches. Their daily food is what has been the hardest for us to transition to as we have 8 dogs in our pack, 7 of them 60-80 pounds and 1 little min-pin. We presently get the best quality kibble we can afford (Blue Seal), as we go through 50 pounds a week. Until reading this article, I didn’t think a whole foods diet would be affordable. But this has been very encouraging.
    My question: I would also do option 2 and just want clarification on the recipe you have provided. Is that precisely (portions of each ingredient) what you make to last you a week for your 11 dogs? If so, I would follow it to the tee, as pound for pound, our packs are probably pretty similar.
    Thanks, Karen!

    • Hi Pam – I make 4x the recipe which makes enough food to feed my dogs for 10 days.

    • Thanks for the quick reply, Karen. Other than the garlic which should be freshly minced, can the other recommended toppings be incorporated into the food mix for the sake of time and ease of use, i.e., pumpkin/flax/chia seeds, bone broth cinnamon, brewers yeast… ?

    • Yes, that is what I do to save on time :>)

    • Thank you! I’m eager to get started and make sure these fur-babes stay healthy! I’m so thankful that we haven’t had any serious issues with having fed them kibble for years, although our senior (14-year old pit bull) does have some lipomas. I’ve been supplementing their diet for a few months with “tallow tab treats” which is a blend of coconut oil, tallow from home-rendered grass-fed beef suet, raw ACV and turmeric (just started adding the turmeric last week). But I’ll feel so much better with the commercial food is eliminated.
      I appreciate all this valuable information you have provided on your site.

    • Oh yeah… one more question. [grin] I have access to reasonably priced organic, pastured chicken. If I’m able to grind the chicken, bones and all, before it’s cooked, is it acceptable (beneficial) to use the bones as well?

    • Yes! I make bone broth and take the remaining bones from the broth, grind them to a fine powder and use the bones in the food and leave the eggshell out. So yes grind the bones cooked or not and forget the eggshell :>)

    • Great! I make bone broth, too. I do two batches with the same bones, then make a mash with the cooked veggies and bones. After two rounds, the bones are so soft I can smash them with my fingers. The dogs get that about once a week. I’m not sure how nutrient-dense it is at that point, but they sure love it! I just wanted to be sure that a daily dose of it would be good for them.
      Thanks, again, Karen. :-)

  7. Can I get organic papain powder to add to dogs daily food instead of fresh papaya? If yes how much powder a day for 60lb dog?

  8. Hi Karen,
    My dog Dina, a cockapoo, is 3 years old, 18 pounds. Since I have her I been giving her FROMM, which I thought was one of the better commercial dried food. As a treat she is getting raw organic carrot, banana, apple, bluberry,avocado, cheese. (she really likes the raw food). I always felt bad for giving her the dry food, but my excuse was, I dont have time to figure out what and how much I need to give her from the home made food. Right now she has ear infection and as I was looking for a natural cure, I came across your website. AM I GLAD!!! I have started the ACV today for her ( was able to put it in only one of the ear, tomorrow will do the other). I deluted the formula because her ear has cuts on it from the iching and I didnt want her to have sever pain after the ACV was put in her ear. (I didnt know what else to do with the open skin, I put organic coconut oil on it, I hope that was a good choice). I started to put ACV in her water as well, which she has no problem drinking. Is there anythin else I should do for her ear? I want to give her the best life I can, therefore I am starting the #2 grain free food for her.(no more excuses) I have some questions though: after making the food, you mentioned that you freeze some, and for me it will be most of the food , how long can I keep it in the freezer? Can I buy regular meat or it needs to be organic? (I know that organic is always a better option, but it could become expensive) Should I mix the coconut oil into her food before she is eating it, or can she eat by itself?(I gave her some today and she eat it from my hand)Can I give her the grain free food (following your ingrediences) for ever or it will need to be changed after a while? I still have a lot to learn and read on your site, but I am so greatful to you for providing all these useful information that makes a better life for our dogs!!! Thank you. Elizabeth

    • How long the food keeps in the freezer depends on how good your freezer is – if you have a good freezer the food can keep for several months at the very least.

      Non-organic meat v.s. organic depends on your dog’s overall health.

      Coconut oil can be put on top of food at meal time or added when making the food to leverage more benefits.

      As the article notes the food is good for all ages and all breeds as a life-long diet.

      Are the other things you should be doing for the ear infection – yes, but for that you need to pay for a consultation.

  9. Hello! I tried reading the comments to see if you had already answered my question but I did not see anything so I apologize in advance if its already been asked.

    When you feed your dogs do you feed them the food straight out of the fridge or do you warm it up? If you warm it up, what do you use? Microwave? Oven? Ive been heating it up in the microwave for a few seconds just to take the chill off.

    Thank you!

  10. Hi Karen,
    we have a 3 year old Labrador and she has been getting real bad ear infections on and off. She has been on a grain free diet since we got her as a puppy and about 3 months ago we tried royal canine hp plus to see if that would make a difference, in which case it didn’t. She has an ear infection again. We don’t know what is causing it. What diet woyld you recommend for our dog. We will also try some of the drops you have posted. Thank you Anastasia

    • Hi Anastasia – prescription dog foods are health deteriorating, not health supporting – as you have just experienced. They are designed to make money at the expense of the dogs health.

      To identify food allergies, resolve chronic ear infections and food allergies, design a diet and health regimen that properly treats, and remedies requires a holistic approach – it is not simply a matter of specifying a ‘food’
      I must look at:
      Daily diet – all that you have fed your dog in the past and what you are currently feeding your dog – food and treats (products);
      Conventional medications/drugs
      Supplements of alternative medicines if any;
      Health care products and regimen- toothpaste, shampoo, etc.
      Any other health issues – chronic conditions etc.
      I then take that information and identify likely allergens
      I then design a diet and treatment plan.

      For this you need to pay for consultation time – if the dog is not on conventional drugs and does not have additional health conditions an hour of my time is typically required to review and prepare the plan.

      I then deign a diet and treatment plan

  11. Hi Karen,
    I’m SO happy to have found your blog! I’ve been searching in earnest for a reasonable alternative to commercial dog food. I’m the proud fur-mom to two 70lb Goldens – litter mates. Both were diagnosed with hip dysplasia at the ripe old age of 6 mos old! Both are hypothryoid, and are prone to ear infections, itchy-flaky skin and skin infections. I am certain it’s related to their food – and though we’ve made progress by removing all grains from their diet, all of the issues have not resolved. Hence the switch to whole food I can control the ingredients of. Grain seems to have been the main culprit in the itching etc…they also seem to have issues with chicken, beef and lamb. The only thing we’ve seen so far that doesn’t bother them is fish. They’re currently being fed a Salmon/Pumpkin grain free food called Natural Recipe (made by a division of Del Monte, I think) Because I know they don’t have issues with the salmon – my plan is to start with fish as the main source of animal protein in the recipe (as you’ve listed that as one of the choices) My question is that you also mention several times that fish in large quantities is harmful to the dogs. So…how do I use fish as their main source of protein, per the recipe, and balance that with ‘too much’? What exactly IS too much? Sorry if that seems like a silly question. I have either missed the answer to this, or have not found it yet…but obviously, I don’t want to make my boys sick! Help?

  12. You are a saint for this blog post and the reason I am strongly considering switching to home cooked food for my Boxer. I plan to do the fully cooked stew in my crock pot to make it easy. I was wondering if you knew how many cups the recipe made? I’m currently feeding him 3 cups a day of Blue Buffalo wilderness grain-free recipe which has ingredients most similar to example three. So I would start by feeding him 3 cups of the home-made food and adjust from there, right? I just wanted to make sure I understood that correctly. I have a 4 or 5 qt slow cooker and I wanted to see if making one batch would last all week or if I need to get a larger stock pot and cook it on the stove instead. Thank you again for this amazing informative post!!

    • Hi Joanna – yes correct, start by feeding him the equivalent and then adjust as required. How much you will need to feed also depends on how dense an end-product you make. I use preparation methods #2. All ingredients are put through a food processor so the end product is very dense. If you make the recipe more stew-like then the end-product is less dense and you need to provide more per meal. Less dense = more cups but you have to feed more of it. Dense means less cups but you can feed a lesser amount.

  13. Karen, first of all I want to say thank you. You’re exactly what I’ve been searching for. You’re such a breath of fresh air!

    I’ve been feeding my 14 week old, 20 lb GSD mix puppy, Gilda, this recipe (modified) for 3 days now and though she loves it, she’s since had a putrid musky sour smell from her mouth, nose, and between her shoulders mostly. She’s thrown it up twice (no gagging, but about 1/4 cup just fell right out of her mouth minutes after eating it) and has been itching more than normal. I’m pretty sure she’s allergic/sensitive to one (or more) of the ingredients. Unfortunately I didn’t introduce one ingredient to her at the time because she was no longer touching the food I had been feeding her, and I was worried of feeding her an incomplete nutrition (i.e. just the chicken by itself) at such a crucial developmental age. So I at least tried to limit what I added for the first round (I’ve given her sweet potatoes, carrots, those herbs and probiotics before, so it’s either the lentils, chicken, or eggshells. I’m thinking I’ll make another batch omitting lentils?)
    I used all organic and/or local:
    3 lbs chicken w/ bone for the nutrients (2 breasts, 4 drums)
    2 cups green lentils (soaked and roughly blended in food processor)
    2 cups sweet potatos minced
    2 cups carrots minced
    1 TBS dried basil
    1 TBS dried rosemary
    1 TBS dried sage
    powdered eggshell
    probiotics

    Apart from eggshells and probiotics, I cooked all in a big pot of water on low for a couple hours. When chicken was cooked, I deboned and returned finely chopped meat to pot. Once cooled, I added 1 teas powdered eggshells, and one scoop (about an 1/8 teas) of probiotic powder to 2-3 cups of food. I wasn’t sure on how much to feed her of this food as she’s a puppy and needs far more food, plus I wasn’t sure if the eggshell amount plus the fact I let everything slow cook with the bones would be enough calcium (a proper calcium:phosphorous ratio) and nutrients.

    Her health status has been very tumultuous since we rescued her as a stray 4 weeks ago. We were feeding her a raw diet but worried it was too rich at her age, so we switched to cooked. She will no longer touch the lamb I used to cook her (http://www.countrypet.com/country-pet-products/item/295-lamb-vegetable) or the ground beef or turkey with veggies and egg I cook up. She’s been to the vet 3x, has had an inflamed large intestine, mucus-y diarrhea which caused tremors, vaginitis, and kennel cough. Her stool has been perfect with one diet and then she suddenly won’t touch her food. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s good for her specifically but also that she likes, while also trying to avoid not constantly introducing her to new food abruptly but it’s difficult since she’ll go meals w/o touching her food.

    She’s seemed to be getting better kennel cough wise, but the past few days have been troublesome. Apart from consistently being playful and being the most energetic puppy I’ve ever been around (I grew up on a ranch raising animals, and have had 15 dogs throughout my life), she seems like she’s not feeling well in her downtime, just something seems off emotionally. There’s the smell that is coming from her, the itching, plus she now has vaginitis again. And while writing this, she officially has diarrhea again too. I just gave her a bit of pumpkin, so hopefully that helps. But in the meantime, I don’t know what to feed her!

    I know she needs more EFAs and nutrients but I don’t want to continually introduce more new things to her until she’s stable. Ideally I want to be able to mix up her meals throughout the day as you do, but again, I should probably wait on that. I’m concerned not just because she’s under the weather but because she’s growing and I don’t want to make a colossal error that will affect the rest of her life, or even worse, end it.

    I feel like I’m doing everything wrong and I’m kind of lost at this point.

    • Yes lost :( She has leaky gut syndrome which has now lead to causing candida. Her immune system is very confused right now. She may have a pre-disposition to multiple sensitivities. This has to be addressed on multiple fronts – holistically.

      You need help – I would be happy to do a consultation with you. You will need at least an hour of my time, maybe two hours. We need to talk and I then would need to develop a diet and health regimen. And yes need to talk about emotional state as well.

  14. Hello,

    I have just started cooking my own dog food and really like your recipe above. Two questions:

    1) Does this recipe cover all basic nutrients, without the need for supplementation? (other than possibly a probiotic supplement and vitamin c as stated)

    2) Can the herbs from the recipe be omitted? I ask because herbs where I live are insanely overpriced and would nearly double the cost of the recipe. Sage and garlic are cheap so I can add those, but the rest are like $7-$10 per 1/4 cup. Do the herbs provide nutrients not available elsewhere in the recipe?

    Thanks for the help!

  15. Hi Karen. I have read many of your blogs but also finding conflicting information on the use of turmeric for my 13 year old pittie girl. She is on phenobarbital for seizures caused by a neurological disorder (suspected brain tumor) and vetprofen (NSAID) for crippling arthritis. Is the turmeric safe for her? I also thought the apple cider vinegar might be good for her as well. Anything else I should add to her diet? She eats Acana grain free but I am thinking of trying your homemade diet. Thanks!

    • Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and as such NSAIDs may interact with it. The recipe above (grain-free) includes many items that would be good to help your girl with her arthritis and possible brain tumor. Feeding her dry dog food even if it is Acana grain-free will not support her health.

  16. Hey Karen,
    Im Teena and i have a 9 month old labrador named Cooper who refuses to eat his kibble especially formulated for mobility as he has minor HD how do i get him to eat his kibble my vet says he has to have his kibble atleast for one meal he was a voracious eater but for the past few months he has become picky he wants meat and egg only which i mix in rice and give him i don want to feed him meat on daily basis as i feel its not gud for his health wat do i do please help me im in India and we mostly don get the herbs tat u mentioned in your recipe can i add tomatoes in his broth and for ur food recipe should i add the meat,veggies,lentils,herbs and other ingredients and cook them altogether and mix it in his kibble or rice
    awaiting your response
    love Teena

    • Hi Teena,

      Your dog won’t eat the ‘specially formulated’ veterinarian prescribed dog food becasue it is formulated like and may even be one of the following. I can bet he is on either Purina, Hill’s or Royal Canine prescription dog ‘food’.

      Example #1

      Ingredients

      Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Flaxseed, Soybean Mill Run, Brewers Rice, Soybean Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Chicken Liver Flavor, Powdered Cellulose, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), L-Threonine, Taurine, Soy Lecithin, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Chondroitin Sulfate, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

      Example #2
      Brewer’s Rice, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Natural Flavour, Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Pea Fibre, Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Green Lipped Mussel Powder, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Vitamins (DL-Alpha-Tocopherol [Source of Vitamin E], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C], Biotin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Vitamin A Acetate, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement and Vitamin D3 Supplement), Trace Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulphate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulphate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate and Sodium Selenite), Marigold Extract (Source of Lutein) and Chondroitin Sulphate. Naturally Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract and Citric Acid.

      Both of these products will cause series damage to your dog’s health – neither are truly formulated to support mobility. Your veterinarian is an allopathic practitioner and as such knows nothing about nutrition. In addition your veterinarian makes a lot of $ selling that food and in doing so he is assured of repeat business from you a) as you will continue to dish-out alot of money to buy the food and b) he will make even more money off of you as your dog’s health declines due to feeding him that food.

      Your dog does not want to eat the food becasue it is terrible food. If he continues to eat this food he is likely to develop renal issues, including renal failure, he will probably acquire cancer and he will most certainly end up with arthritis, also likely – chronic yeast infections. You can read my articles on dog food to understand more.

      My advice to you is get him off of that dog ‘food’ right away.

      The grain-free recipe that I provide above is designed to support mobility and overall health – the food your vet is pushing on your dog will kill your dog.

      The herb turmeric and/or curcumin is available in India – India supplies the world with turmeric and curcumin. As to the other herbs you can leave them out of the recipe.

      Take my advice to heart or your dog;s health – from mobility, to his immune system and everything in between will worsen. Go to your veterinarian for emergency medicine (i.e. broken bones) not for dietary advice for he/she will lead you astray.

      And yes you can give human grade probiotics to your dog.

  17. My 38 lb. Sheltie has dry flakey skin, not all over, just mid back down to her tail, she has been getting groomed monthly with special shampoo from the vet. I feed her your grain free recipe, grain free treats, 2 tsps. cod in am, 2 tsps. coconut oil in pm. NOTHING WORKING! Would appreciate any help, willing to pay for call if needed. Thank you

    • Yes to a phone consultation – need to discuss cause, a few items to add to diet and topical treatment. Most of the shampoos sold by allopathic veterinarians have ingredients in them that are not good – just like the food, dental and ear care products that they sell. You will need about 30 minutes of my time = phone and follow up in writing via email.
      Cheers, K

  18. I’m not sure if my computer sent my comment to you when I hit the button below. I will rewrite it just in case.
    Rasko (11.5 lbs.) and Annie (8 lbs.) are fed each 1/4 cup of the grain free homemade food in the morning and 1/4 cup of grain free food each at night. I only put the toppings on at night.
    Rasko is having problems with ear infections and licking his paws. Therefore, I left out the legumes and added a pound more of ground meat to the cooked food. Here is exactly what I put in the cooked portion of the food:
    * 3 pounds of ground beef
    * 2 cups of cottage cheese
    * about 2 tbsp. of ground pumpkin seeds
    * 2 eggs
    * 1/8 cup of coconut oil
    * 2 cups pumpkin
    * 1.5 cups of broccoli
    * 1/2 cup of raspberries or blueberries
    * 10 oz frozen squash
    * 1/8 cup of dry chopped basil
    * 1/8 cup of dry chopped rosemary
    * 1/8 cup of dry chopped sage
    * 1/8 cup of powdered turmeric
    * 1 tbsp. fresh chopped ginger
    * 1 tbsp. ceylon cinnamon
    * 1.5 tsp. dry powdered eggshell

    At night I add on top of each of their food bowls:
    * 1/4 tsp. frozen lemon
    * 1 tsp. chia seeds
    * 1 oz. cottage cheese
    * 1 tbsp. Kefir
    * 1/2 tsp. minced papaya
    * 1/2 tbsp. ground pumpkin seeds
    * pinch of ceylon cinnamon

    Am I missing anything important? I know this is long. You are such a saint to help us all out on here on your own personal time. God bless.
    Jacqueline

  19. I’m confused on how to make sure the omega 3 and 6 are balanced. I add 1/8 cup of coconut oil to the ingredients when I make the food. I add 1 tsp. of chia seeds on top of the food when I serve it in a bowl. Is that enough? Thank you for all your help.

  20. Karen the only thing I see is comments on Dec. 10 & 11th. Legumes is 2 cups dry do I replace with 2 cups more meat? Sorry my head isn’t getting wrapped around this. I really appreciate all your help, since I have been using your recipes my female sheltie has fur on her feet for the first time in 2 years.

    • It is noted in the grain-free recipe under legumes :>) I will copy it here for you…If you would prefer to leave legumes out of the recipe simply substitute with 2 cups of additional meat – but be careful, if your dog or cat has been accustomed to a high carbohydrate diet, increase the amount of protein/vs carbohydrates over the space of several weeks as stomach acids need time to adjust. Cheers, K

  21. How much meat to replace legumes?

  22. I am not using legumes in the recipe. I bought pine nuts and pumpkin seeds. How much should I put in the recipe? Thank you.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Can I use flax seeds and coconut oil to provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids? I can’t afford krill Oil or Salmon Oil at the moment? If so, how much should I use of each to get the correct ratio in their food? Thank you so much.
    Jackie

  25. Great information! Do you have a vegan recipe to share?

  26. Very confused on the omegas, have two Shelties 22 lb. and 38 lbs how much of 3 and 6 do I give?

  27. Many foods can cause allergies. The food itself, high pesticide residue in and on the food. Grains are the #1 biggest culprit – refined grains, GMO grains, animal feed grade grains.

    For a dog that has yeast infections due to food allergies I recommend staying away from sweet potatoes, carrots and substituting with squash, pumpkin, and cruciferous vegetables.

    I recommend that you read:
    http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/11/food-allergies-in-dog-cats-causes.html
    and
    http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/11/food-allergies-in-dogs-cats-remedies.html
    and this http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/04/herbal-ear-infection-treatments.html

    Ear infections are the #1 reason in 2012 – 2013 for a non-life threatening visit to the veterinarian – the trigger food and environmental allergies. This is reflected in the number of views in my article DIY Natural Herbal Treatments for Ear Infections.

    Most commercial dog food is so full of allergy triggers as are most commercial dog health care products (shampoo, dental, etc). The chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives further degrade a dog;s immune system as does over vaccination. Layer on this over use of antibiotics, steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and you have your reason for issues such as allergies in dogs. You can find articles on all of these things and natural interventions by going to the index page of my site.

    Another example of how out of control this issue is – tonight I did a phone consultation with a client in NYC to redesign their dog’s diet and health care regimen – the dog has enviro and food allergies, tomorrow I am doing the same for another client in Las Vegas. The pet food industry, the conventional Veterinarians and their hand-in-hand link to big pharma and the pet food industry is completely destroying the health of present day dogs. It is a shameful, greedy and unethical reflection on the worst aspects of the human race :<(

    Cheers, Karen

  28. Hi. Thank you so much for your tutorials. I have a question for you. Dogs Naturally has a post that says starches can cause allergies. The post is here: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/grain-free-dog-foods-solving-yeast-and-skin-issues/?inf_contact_key=dbf8e37e3be98ddc9cb373c48d3eb26ad8d17963b27f325f10581fb911c53c13 My dogs have problems with ear infections. Would the sweet potato and other starches in your recipe make the ear issues worse? Thank you for your help.

  29. Thank you soooooo much for your knowledge and willingness to share. I know you have said this recipe is fine for all stages but i am just a nervous new puppy parent. ( 8 week old rottie pups). Because they are a large breed, do I need to adjust the calcium a bit to reduce joint problems later? Any help is greatly appreciated. And again, thank you

  30. My 5 year old rescue Golden Retriever just had an internal non-cancerous lymphoma removed that we only noticed once it was the size of a potato. She just had her stitches removed and now I noticed another one on her back! I read your information about Turmeric so I will be trying that starting with her evening meal TODAY. Something is going on and I hope this helps. The only thing I can think of is I had our backyard sprayed recently to kill brown widow spiders. They said it wasn’t toxic once it dries but I’m not going to take any chances and won’t be spraying pesticides in my back yard again.

  31. This seems to be just the information I’ve been looking for! I am currently caring for a 10 year old golden retriever with a long list of health concerns. He has terrible allergies, a thyroid condition, is overweight, arthritis, has many fatty tumors, and now a loss of appetite.

    I took him in about 6 weeks ago and he has lost 7 pounds due to diet change (1 c grain-free twice daily) and exercise (has ~10 pounds left to lose), is now on thyroid medication and his hair is starting to grow back (has very thin hair due to scratching as well as thyroid), gets fish oil/Vitamin E for joint health. He also gets an allergy pill in the morning, a benedryl at night, has a spray to spot treat itchy areas (his back feet especially), baths in aloe/oatmeal shampoo twice a week. He has never been an enthusiastic eater, but this week I have really had to work to bribe him with pumpkin, wet food, or cheese to get him to eat even half a dish of food. His dental health is great (yay!), so I am not concerned mouth pain would be the reason for refusing dry food.

    I am considering making homemade food for him, as I believe he would be more interested in eating it and though he needs to lose weight, I want it to be in a healthy way. I also believe homemade food could help his allergies and I would very much like to get him away from allergy pills and sprays, but I’m using them now as its important he be as comfortable as possible (though he still scratches, licks, and scoots).

    My question is, would you gradually change him to a homemade diet (mixing with his current dry food), or since he’s barely eating his dry food anyways, would you just feed him this and monitor how his body accepts the change? And for a golden with allergies, which protein source would you recommend (I would stick with a grain-free recipe). Oh, he’s also on an antibiotic for a skin infection currently and I saw some ingredients shouldn’t be used with antibiotics, so I do need to take that into account.

    Thank you for sharing so much information with us!

  32. Hi Karen….I recently started making your homemade recipe and My Jozi (Boxer/Pit) loves it, Thank You! She currently is 3 yrs old and at 1.5 yrs I took her off of Purina Dog Chow (I know really bad food) and introduced her to Blue Lamb&Rice….Within 6 months the ear problems began, Thinking she had gotten ear mites and treated her for that (off and on problems)….When I finally realized that the issue was more than ear mites, I changed her food to Blue Basic Lamb and Rice….Nothing changed with ears and started getting yeasty (Frito Feet)….Head shaking, smelly feet, butt scooting….Took her off of Blue Basic after 3 months and put her on Nutro Natural Choice Limited ingredient food….I figured somewhere between Blue and Purina was a good start….She actually started getting better, but I couldnt leave well enough alone….I wanted to do better for her…She’s been on the Homemade for 11 days now and the Yeast Problem has come back with a vengeance…Is she just detoxing or is an ingredient adding to the problem? I used Chicken, Lentils, Cottage Cheese, Coconut Oil, Squash?, Carrots, Green Beans, Cauliflower, Spinach, Apple, Garlic, Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Turmeric….On top of food, I add Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Alaskan Salmon, Ground Flax Seed and Coconut Oil and 1 TBS. of Organic Vinegar..I’m stumped as to what my next move should be….Would appreciate any advice you could share…Thank You!

  33. Thanks so much for providing a free Recipe that we all can enjoy….

  34. I have a fice pound Yorkie who has pancreatitis. We have nearly lost him on several occasions. He still runs a low-grade fever if he manages to catch something someone drops on the floor. He is on the low-fat version of ID lo-fat food as the vet says he cannot eat fat because it aggravates his pancreas.
    Most recipes have fat in them so I am confused about how I would make a food that would be suitable for him. I believe that a home cooked meal would be better for him but I don’t know how to go about making it.
    Help!!

  35. Thanks for quick response, would you recommend using curcumin, I have the one by kyolic I’m taking myself. Taken out of gel cap, I sprinkled some tumeric on her food tonight along with tblsp of coconut oil, she just kept trying to eat around it and giving me an accusing look. She’s generally not picky, I may have to find a way to hide it better. Thanks again!

  36. Hi Karen, I’m a little confused on how much and how often you are feeding your dogs, and if you have the garlic and tumeric in the recipe are you giving additional as well? I have an 8yr old lab and a 5yr old pit, they are eating 5cups total for both now. Whould I need to double the recipe to get enough for a week? We don’t cook much for ourselves and this is going to be a tough sell to hubby but my lab developed a lump size of marble on one of her mammaries and in 4 monthes it is big as a baseball. This is really scaring me as we do not currently have funds for vet bills, work hours cut etc…sorry so long, they are eating pedigree now. Hoping to start this next payday, thanks for any help you can give.

    • Hi…

      Unfortunately the food you are currently using contains many ingredients that are inflammatory, toxic and carcinogenic.

      The food that you are feeding them right now is comprised primarily of low-nutritive and non-nutritive fillers – which means that you have to feed a lot of it for your dog’s to be able to derive any nutrition from it. When you switch to the recipe above you will feed them less column than you are currently giving them with the dry dog food as noted in the first section of the article (recipe above). A double batch should last you at least a week if not longer. I would anticipate that you will feed them 3 to 4 cups of food a day as opposed to the 5 you are currently feeding.

      I leave the garlic out of the batches that I make as I prefer to give my dog’s uncooked fresh garlic – which is what I would recommend you do. Particularly for your girl with the mammary lump. Read this article for directions on feeding fresh garlic http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/garlic-for-dogs-health-benefits.html

      I make the recipe with the turmeric included and I also give all of my dogs additional turmeric daily – you should do the same – in fact you should be doubling the amount of turmeric that you give to your lab. So put the turmeric in the recipe and then add 1/2 tsp of additional turmeric to the food in her bowl. Follow the directions in my article on Turmeric for increasing the bioavailability of the beneficial properties of turmeric (coconut oil and papaya should be mixed into the food bowl with the turmeric at feeding time) – read the article… and also the one on coconut oil

      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/11/turmeric-and-curcumin-good-for-your.html

      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/coconut-oil-is-good-for-your-dogs.html

      I feed my dogs three times a day – but you don’t need to do that. You can feed your dogs two times a day.

      Read my other articles on nutrition as there are other items that she should be eating as well. At minimum you need to add omega-3 fatty acids (cod liver oil is inexpensive) and probiotics – read my article on dairy products.

      Cheers, K

  37. I had a question regarding pumpkin.

    Do you mean pumpkin fresh or can we use pumpkin puree canned (not the pie filling)? If we can use the puree, do we cook it as well or add it after?

    Btw my dog has been eating this (with sweet potato instead of pumpkin) for a few weeks now. Takes me all day to make a batch but been getting quicker. He LOVES it, always finishes (kibble he would leave half of and fill up on random other things). He also seems to have more energy, and I think its helping him recover from an orthopedic surgery..THANK YOU!

  38. I am using this as a base for a raw version.

    I have a Italian Greyhound with a very sensitive stomach. He is severely allergic to chicken, it make shim poop black tar that smells like death (Yes even commercial chicken food and cooked chicken.)

    The only protein he can eat regularly is Beef. It is very hard t find any food with only beef in it. I use Steve’s Raw and he does great on it, but is a bit underweight despite the amount I feed him. (it is also very expensive) I am going to try this recipe and see if he is needing carbs and more veggies.

    I use to feed my dogs Raw Prey Model, but they always seemed healthier with veggies included rather then just meat/bone.organs.

    Will post update once we try it =3

  39. I was wondering if roasted shelled sunflower seeds would be good for the fur kids? Thank you.
    Sandy

    • Hi Sandy,

      Yes you can give your fur kids shelled sunflower seeds. While many seeds and nuts are toxic to dogs there are a few that are beneficial – I will provide you with a list of seeds and nuts that are good for dogs just below.

      A few cautions first though…
      Use unsalted seeds and nuts only;
      If the nuts or seeds have been roasted with oil, don;t use seeds and must that have: canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cotton seed oil as these oils are all derived from GMO crops that are high in pesticide residue – which then makes the seeds and nuts toxic and carcinogenic.

      If using a roasted seed or nut use only those that are roasted in the following oils:
      Olive Oil;
      Sunflower seed oil;
      Coconut oil.
      and of course as always organic is best :>)

      Seeds and Nuts that are Good for Dogs
      Sunflower seeds – vitamins, minerals and Omega-6 fatty acids
      Pumpkin seeds – vitamins, minerals and Omega-6 fatty acids
      Peanuts – vitamins, minerals and Omega-6 fatty acids

      To ensure that your dog is able to absorb the nutrients from the seed – toss the seeds and/or nuts into a food processor or coffee grinder. You can then sprinkle the resulting ground seeds or nuts on top of your dog’s food.

      Extra bonus – pumpkin seeds are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but they are also a natural de-wormer – you can read about that here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/05/diy-natural-herbal-homeopathic.html

      Cheers, Karen

  40. Hi Karen,

    I always mix homemade cooked food and high quality kibble together to feed my dogs for any single meal, it is ok and safe to do so ?

    Thanks
    Wai

  41. hello,
    just wanted to ask you a question about what food would be best for a 7 year old lab with very bad skin and ear infection.

    • For sure you should not be feeding him/her any grain-included food or treats. After that it just depends what else – if anything, other than grains he/she ,may be allergic to.

      I recommend that you start giving your lab probiotics daily. You can use yogurt, kefir or fresh sauerkraut or purchase a truly good probiotic supplement – most are garbage. Go to my index page and you will find a series of articles on probiotics.

      You should also supplement his/her diet with omega 3 fatty acids daily – again articles on that can be found on my index page.

      I would recommend that you try the grain-free recipe above, If you do not want to make homemade cooked than feed raw. The 3rd choice is a grain free dry dog food – go with Orijen, Acana or EVO.

      I would also recommend that you put your lab on a 10 day ingested treatment of colloidal silver http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/colloidal-silver-diy-treatment-for-dogs.html

  42. Hello,
    Just wanted to ask a question about the amount of Legumes in the Grain-free recipe. Is the measurement dry or wet? If it is wet, then what is the measurement of dry to obtain the wet amount? Thank you. I hope this helps my 4yr old Weimie with reoccurring food allergies. He is NOT a happy camper right now. :-(

  43. That’ just what I was hoping to hear on the sweet potatoes. Peeling them was the most difficult part of the whole process!

    Gonna try and regrind the eggshells I’ve already ground and will dry the next batch for 5 days as you suggested. I

    Thanks!

  44. Hello :)

    I had a question about raw bones being fed as part of the raw pet food diet, for dogs and cats.

    I did some pet food nutrition research last year before making the big switch to a raw food diet. What I was noticing was that most recipes were calling for raw ground bone, as added calcium in the diet. And that some, rather than cooking veggies and fruits, were slightly fermenting them. This would bring the veggies and fruits closer to the contents of a prey’s stomach, where cats and dogs would find most of the veggies and fruits they eat.

    In the wild, a dog and cat would both eat some raw bones along with their catch.

    After working with a mostly raw diet including whole bones, I have noticed only good things for the pets. We did have an instance where a sardine was thrown up, but concluded it needed to be chopped up to avoid the bones getting stuck in the stomach. No problems since we started cutting them into smaller pieces.

    Their teeth are wonderful, cleaned well after each bone. They love getting at the marrow and spending some time just plain chewing. The dog especially likes that part :)

    The raw bones seem to work well for them, they can crunch them up easily, and seem to digest them fully. The only difference I have noticed in the stool was that it was usually a lighter color (white-ish), and less of it.

    Do you have any thoughts on raw bones being included in a raw meat diet?

    • Hi Melissa,

      Raw edible bones are an essential part of a raw diet. Edible bones are the hollow, non weight-bearing bones of birds – for example chicken and turkey necks and chicken wings. These bones are quite soft and pliable – they not prone to sharp fracturing and do not contain marrow. These bones are important in a raw diet as they are a primary source of calcium, phosphorous and trace minerals.They also help to satisfy the natural need to chew and help keep teeth clean – nature’s tooth brush :>)

      Recreational bones – the bones that a lot of dogs chip and break their teeth on; are much harder bones, for example femur or hip bones from cattle or bison – these bones are filled with marrow. These bones do not provide the same nutritive value as edible bones as they are not intended to be consumed, instead they are meant to be gnawed on to satisfy the natural need to chew, help keep teeth clean.

      It is 100% normal for a dog or cat on a raw diet to have white coloured stools. Normally the stool will be less voluminous (than if on a processed food diet) and will usually dry out and simply blow away in the wind in a very short period of time (if not picked-up) :>)

      As to fermented vegetables – even better are fully fermented vegetables such as those that form a regular part of an Asian diet or Fresh Sauerkraut. These vegetables have the highest probiotic content of any food. Provided they do not contain hot spices, or in the case of sauerkraut – wine, they are fantastic for dogs. You can read more about that here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/foods-rich-in-probiotics-beneficial-for.html

      Cheers, Karen

  45. Sweat Potatoes
    Leave the peel on – the peel is full of nutrients.

    Eggshells
    The eggshells should be ground to a fine powder.
    In order to do that the eggshells must be very dry – the shells need more than 24 hours to dry – let them sit for 4 to 5 days – then when you go to grind them you will get a much finer powder.

  46. Hi there,

    2 questions….I’ve been making the grain-free food for a few weeks, the dogs love it, so thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. Do you peel the sweet potatoes? I have been, but wondering if the skin should be left on.

    2. Eggshells…I’ve been drying them for 24 hours and then grinding with a mortar and pestle as fine as I can get them. However, I can see tiny white flecks in my dog’s stools. Is this normal, or does it mean he’s not digesting the eggshells and therefore not absorbing the calcium and other minerals from them?

  47. Hi Hardy :>)

    Glad to here your pug is doing better! Hope your Golden is feeling better too.

    There are lots of different fresh fruits and vegetables that you can give your dogs, as well I think that as you are located in Indonesia you may have access to some great fresh pickled vegetables which would also be a great source of probiotics. Pasturized pickled vegetable products do not have probiotic qualities as the pasterization kills the beneficial micro-organisms that provide the probiotic benefits. So if you have pickled veggies that do not have any hot spice included, and do not have any dugar included you can follow the daily dosage provided in this article under the section on sauerkraut http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/foods-rich-in-probiotics-beneficial-for.html

    In this article you will find…
    a) An extensive list of fruits and vegetables that are healthy for your Pom, Pug and Golden;
    b) Guidance on how to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients from the fruits and veggies…
    http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html

    Hope your doggies enjoy their newly expanded diet :>) cheers, K

  48. Hi K!
    Thank you for your suggestion on apple cidar which give my pug’s skin improvement.
    By the way, pls let us know if tropical food such as banana, watermelon, pineapple and papaya are good to be consumed for our dogs.
    I found the fruits not only cheap in my country but also it will give some more variety to my dogs’ bowl if there benefits on these fruits.

    Thank you!

  49. #1a It is possible she has picked up a cause of salmonella or other bacterial. I would recommend a course of ingested Colloidal Silver treatment to see if that helps clear it up http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/colloidal-silver-diy-treatment-for-dogs.html

    #1b Remove all of the grains from your recipe and from treats – grains cause many problems for a dog’s digestive tract. In addition to the many other issues grains casue she may have developed a gluten intolerance. If you need flour to make the treats purchase some chickpea flour, some coconut flour and use those instead of grain flour.

    #1c As an addition to the Silver you can also sprinkle a little Slippery Elm on her food – see the bottom of this article for explanation/dosage http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/04/diarrhea-in-dogs-puppies-cats-kittens.html

    #3 She could have developed an intolerance to chicken – some dogs do, but before you switch the protein source – remove grains from her diet and do the ingested Colloidal Silver treatment.

    #4 I don’t think it is the yogurt, cottage cheese or cheese, nor the sweet potatoes or veggies which should actually firm up her stool.

    Cheers, Karen

  50. I have been making whole food for my Bichon for over a year now, (3 cups whole chicken, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cup oats, 3/4 cup veggies,) baked for 40 minutes…she gets 4.80 oz per day, she weights about 10 pd. My problem of late…
    ….has developed very loose bowel, doesn’t want to eat, finally will toward end of day….SO,
    I thought it may be my yogurt that I make from raw cow milk, (so took that out, added back in the cottage cheese,)
    Thinking it may be the pumpkin, or sw. potatoe, took that out, put broccoli, corn….still loose, she isn’t at the runs stage yet, but was there about 2 wks ago….I dehydrated sw. potatoe for treat, took that away, she gets a few raw carrots a day,….make my own treats, but she eagts so few I can’t see that this is the problem….I really can’t see the oats a problem due to her eating this for almost a year….and the kicker here, most of the chicken is from our flock, and the eggs are from our free range flock of hens….I tried making her an all veggie diet with legumes, she wouldn’t touch that….I’m just at a standstill to get her bowel in a more happy state…if I took cottage cheese out and just put in grated cheese would that help. And, the oats I use are from a co-op I’m in and they come from M.Wheat, whole oat, not floor sweepings,(ha)…This morning I fried her an egg with some cheddar cheese, she ate a small amount due to the fact my daughters Bichon was over….before Andie got here Chloee wouldn’t touch the egg…..I’m at a loose, your thoughts please….Rachel

  51. We just rescued a 7 month old American Bulldog/Pit mix. We have transitioned her off of Purina Puppy Chow and she is now on Blue Wilderness Large Breed Puppy. She seems to be doing well, but I really want to start preparing fresh food for her. In the meantime and as a quick go to, do you recommend Blue Wilderness?

    • While Blue Buffalo is not the worst dog food on the market and is most certainly better than Purina!!! I don;t recommend BB as its filler content is high, it is very low in Omega-3 fatty acids and it contains probiotics which are not viable (are dead and provide zero value).

      Tapioca Starch is the 4th ingredient – a cheap and nutritionally poor filler, followed by peas – an inexpensive source of vegetable protein. While many ‘better’ dog foods do contain peas, they can usually be found lower in the list of ingredients.

      Tapioca

      What It Is
      `Tapioca is derived from the cassava bean;
      Tapioca is an inexpensive filler;
      An inexpensive source of fibre;
      Why It is Used
      Tapioca is readily available and inexpensive;
      It increases the volume of the food;
      And is an inexpensive source of carbs;
      Gluten free, so Tapioca can be used as an
      alternative to wheat flour when the presence
      of gluten can exacerbate a health condition.
      Issues
      High in Calories and is associated with
      weight gain;
      Contains almost no nutrients;
      Tapioca that has not undergone proper
      rocessing can cause cyanide poisoning;
      Example of a Healthy Alternative
      Sweet Potato, Squash

      One of the better foods that I recommend is
      Orijen’s Grain Free Puppy Food http://www.orijen.ca/blog/products/dry-dog-food/puppy/

      Ingredients: Boneless chicken*, chicken meal, chicken liver*, whole herring*, boneless turkey*, turkey meal, turkey liver*, whole eggs*, boneless walleye*, whole salmon*, chicken heart*, chicken cartilage*, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, chicken fat, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, yams*, pea fiber, chickpeas, pumpkin*, butternut squash*, spinach greens*, carrots*, Red Delicious apples*, Bartlett pears*, cranberries*, blueberries*, brown kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, Enterococcus faecium.

      This is a much better product than Blue Buffalo, and although it may cost a little more, you will feed your dog a little less of it as it has less fillers – so in the end the price works out to about the same however the nutrition your dog will derive from the Orijen will be more appropriate.

      Please remember – all dog kibble is made to favour profit over health of your dog. I have yet to see a commercially produced kibble with a properly balanced Omega Fatty Acids, (there is always much more Omega-6, than Omega-3 in commercially prepared dog-food) therefore it is important to compensate by adding other dietary items to boost the Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio to 2:1.

      Cheers, Karen

      although it may cost a little more, you will feed Harvey a little less of it as it has less fillers – so in the end the price works out to about the same however the nutrition Harvey will derive from the Orijen will be more appropriate.

  52. What is can we use as a home remedy for a dogs bad breath?
    Also my friends dog had terrible flatulence? Any suggestions?

  53. I feed my dog Life’s abundance and Nature’s domain salmon and sweet potatop besides some home made fresh fruits, veggies, legumes. I am a vegetarian and cannot cook meat. Any advice?

    • I too am a vegetarian and have been since I was a teenager – but I do cook meat for my dogs.

      You can use the recipe above and get someone else in your family to cook the meat if you cannot cook it yourself. If you can tolerate cooking fish then substitute the meat for fish as the recipe directs.

      Life’s Abundance gets a thumbs down from me as it is mostly fillers (rice and oats) contains GMO oils which are among other things high in pesticide residue, contains DL Methionine (you can read about that here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/diy-stop-dog-urine-spots-burns-on-lawn.html)
      contains fish meal with ethoxyquin (http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/fish-fish-meal-and-ethoxyquin-danger-do.html) and then has the nerve to say it contains live micororganisms – which is ridiculous as the microorganisms cannot survive the processing and heat required to make the food into kibble – they are not viable after processing. And the Omega-3 fatty acid to Omega 6 ratio is way out of balance. Ditto for the Natures Domain. The only difference between the two is that ND does not include DL methionine so we can assume it has a little more real protein content.

      INGREDIENTS:
      Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Brewers Dried Yeast, Flaxseed Meal, Natural Flavors, Dried Egg Product, Catfish Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Lecithin, Potassium Chloride, Dried Carrots, Canola Oil, Monosodium Phosphate, Dried Celery, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, Salt, Dried Blueberries, Fructooligosaccharide, Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Broccoli, Dried Beets, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Pomegranate Extract, Dried Parsley, Dried Lettuce, Dried Watercress, Dried Spinach, Manganese Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Niacin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Inositol, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Oxide, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Selenium Yeast, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin A Acetate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

      Ingredients
      Salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, ocean fish meal, potato fiber, pea protein, natural flavor, flaxseed, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

      You would be better off with Orijin or EVO

  54. I came across this site when I was searching for home made dog food recipes. I have made the grain free recipe twice, and switched the veggies around for variety. I have two miniature schnauzers both weighing 14 lbs. and they love the recipe. I use lean ground beef, veggies, lentils, and add fresh chopped parsley and fresh blueberries after it is cooled. When I serve them I add a bit of ground flax seed and plain fat-free yogurt. I also cut back their portion a bit since this food is high in nutrition compared with the commercial food they were eating before. Thanks so much for the recipe. I am thrilled to know they are eating healthy meals now.

    • Hi Karen, I have been feeding my two mini schnauzers the grain free recipe for over a month.. close to two months.. they love it.. The second time I made it I changed up the recipe a bit.. but.. their bowel movements are so much less than before. I realize they are probably absorbing more nutrition, and there is no corn or fillers in the recipe, but is this normal? Also, when they have movements its very dark, but I’m a bit concerned about the amount they are eliminating.. before they would both go 2-3 times a day, now usually once… and a fraction of what they eliminated before. They are also drinking less water than before, is this because I don’t put salt in their food? I would appreciate your comments.

    • Hi Bev, yes it is normal for a dog’s stool to get smaller in size when the dog is on a truly appropriate diet as opposed to a diet that contains non-nutritive fillers such as corn, and other grain products and by products.

      A dog’s stool get’s even smaller when the dog is on a raw-food diet :>)

      The homemade food contains moisture which helps with the digestive and elimination process and hydration :>)

      A dog’s ancestral diet consisted primarily (i.e 60% protein, 30% fat, 10% carbohydrate) of fresh meat which is high in moisture content. Commercially made dry dog food is in direct contradiction to a dog’s ancestral diet.

      Dry dog food is very difficult for a dog’s digestive system. As the food is dry it actually steals moisture from the digestive system rather than contributing to hydration levels. Dry dog food is also very hard on a dog’s elimination system to process – particularly hard on the kidneys, liver and bladder – making it difficult for the body to eliminate toxins and enabling crystallization leading to bladder and kidney stones. A dog must take-in more liquid in order to enable digestion when on a dry food diet. A dog’s natural diet is not dry food :>)

      Cheers, Karen

    • Thanks so much for the reply. I`m still a little concerned about the fact that they eliminate so little… but I do understand the concept of home made food vs. dry food. Their stools are approx. a bit smaller than my baby finger, or less… once a day. Is this is OK ? Do you think I should add some rice or pasta? I`m thrilled that they are getting good nutrition, just a tad concerned. Thanks again.

    • Hi Bev,

      If you want to add somthing to their diet don’t add anything grain-based including pasta! You could add a dollop of mashed sweet potato, squash or pumpkin. You can add any of the fruits and veggies from my article Fresh Whole Foods for Dogs’

      I notice you are using fat-free yogurt – I would recomend that you use 2% MF yogurt.

      As long as your little guys are not straining when the eliminate their stool – i.e. they are physically eliminating the same way the always did they should be just fine.

      Pawhugs K

      It

    • Thanks so much for your prompt replies. I clearly need to add fat since the percentages should be 60% protein, 30% fat and 10% carbs. Right now they are having 80% protein(80% lean ground beef and 20% chicken liver), and the rest is finely chopped carrots, sweet potatoe, zuccini, plus green peas, chopped fresh parsley and chopped blueberries. When I feed them I add 1 tsp. plain yogurt (I will get 2%), a dash of ground flax seed and a little bit of water. So, should I add olive oil instead of water to include more fat until I make a new batch of food and balance it off properly? My Vet suggested a multi-vitamin, do you think this is necessary? I have the liquid OptiPet Multi. My first batch included cooked lentils but I left it out the second time. Any recommendations of what to add or remove will be appreciated. And no, they are not straining at all.

    • Oh, and for snacks I give them each a baby carrot, or a little breath mint I made with chopped fresh mint from our garden, and a tiny bit of saltine cracker and hot water. It becomes a paste, I form little patties and freeze them on wax paper. Any suggestions for treats ?

    • Bev, if you are not following the recipe in the article above you will not be provding enough calcium, iron etc. I recommend that you follow the ingredients in the recipe. Most supplements are garbage – full of poor sourced vitamins and minerals, full of fillers and can contain chemical-based preservatives and slipping agents.

      The recipe above also tells you what you need to do in the way of supplementation.

      As to snacks – making ANYTHING out of a grain product (which crackers are) is not good for them. Wheat flour is not an appropriate food for any dog – even human grade flour.

      The best snacks are dog safe fruits and veggies, cheese, real pieces of cooked or dehydrated meat, natural peanut butter.

      You can find a complete list of fresh foods to use as treats in this article http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html#uds-search-results

      A few simple treat recipes…

      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/07/diy-smoothies-frozen-treats-for-dogs.html

      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/07/homemade-diy-natural-healthy-dog-treats.html

      Cheers, Karen

    • Thanks Karen, I think I got it right this time, and actually copied/pasted the list of appropriate veggies, fruits, proteins, carbs and herbs/spices from your website, and brought it with me today while shopping for the dog food recipe.

    • Hi Karen,
      I will be making my third batch of home made grain free dog food as per your recipe. I notice that you mention decaf green tea.. but I didn’t notice how much and in what form. Do I add the ground leaves from the teabags or make a tea and how many tea bags per water quanitity? Other than the green tea question, I’m following your recipe, exact quantities and ingredients. Thanks.

    • Hi Bev, tea, like the chicken stock is something that you can choose to add to the food at feeding time (you put the food in the bowl and then add some of the tea and/or chicken or beef stock if you want, on top of the food in the bowl). You brew the tea as you would normally do and then store it in a jar/pitcher/container in the fridge – at feeding time you pour out what you need for that meal and then return the jar to the fridge. Providing additional fluids at meal time helps the digestive system and urinary tract stay healthy :>)

    • Hi Karen, I have made many batches of the grain free dog food since August. Both mini schnauzers love it and am happy to say that they each lost 3 pounds. I use medium ground meat, lentils, and cottage cheese as protein, then add sweet potatoe, veggies plus chopped apple, chopped spinach, chopped parsley, olive oil and the herbs in the correct quantities. Before serving I add a bit of plain yogurt, ground flax seeds and a bit of broth, tea or water. For the past several days one of the dogs seems to have developed an acid reflux. Shortly after eating she regurgatates a bit of food several times, and this continues for approximately 30-45 mins. Is there something you can recommend I should omit or cut back on that could be causing this? Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Bev – here you go…

      Acid Reflux in dogs is called Gastroesophageal reflux also called GERD. GERD can result in esophagitis. Mild esophagitis is a mild inflammation of the esophageal lining. More severe esophagitis causes damage to the deeper layers of the esophagus.
      Causes of Acid Reflux (GERD)
      1.0 Consumption of a meal that is very high in fat;
      2.0 Consumption of too much food when the stomach is already full.
      3.0 Foreign matter in the esophagus;
      4.0 Genetic predisposition – brachycephalic breeds (Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, Pug, Shih Tzu) are most susceptible, however any breed may end up with GERD;
      5.0 Hiatal hernia in the upper portion of the stomach – dogs with genetic pre-disposition for condition;
      6.0 Megaesphagus – a condition caused by improper functioning of esophagus muscles;
      7.0 Result of surgery:
      7.1 From improper fasting prior to surgery and/or;
      7.2 Improper positioning of the dog or cat during surgery;
      7.3 Placement of the breathing tube (used to provide anesthesia) and oxygen during surgery.

      Other Conditions that may mimic GERD
      1.0 Disease – cancer of the throat or mouth;
      2.0 Tumor in the esophagus.

      Essential Elements for Treating GERD
      1. Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid;
      2. Replace enzymes, nutrients and stomach acid that are essential for digestion and enable health;
      3. Restore beneficial bacteria and healthy mucosal lining in the gut.
      Dietary Detail for Treating GERD
      1.0 With hold (fast) the dog for a day or two – this provides the esophagus with a chance to relax and heal a little;
      2.0 After fasting change the feeding schedule:
      2.1 No more large meals, (i.e. 1 or 2 meals/day) instead do;
      2.2 Frequent small meals throughout the day – i.e. 4 to 6 small meals/day.
      3.0 Add kefir rather than yogurt or you can use fresh sauerkraut (fresh sauerkraut can be found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store or speciality food store or you can make it yourself – don’t use wine sauerkraut or the unrefrigerated type of sauerkraut).
      3.0 Make a bone broth soup – bone broth contains glutamine – a metabolic fuel used by intestinal cells which helps the lining of the gut;
      4.0 Don’t add water to the food in the bowl as this can make acid reflux worse;
      5.0 Add two to three of the following bitter herbs (use either dry herb or tincture form with no alcohol) to each meal. Bitter herbs stimulate stomach acid production which helps with the proper digestion of food. Use 1/8 to ¼ tsp of each herb if using dry herb or powder, if using tincture add 1 to 2 drops of each of the 2 to 3 selected tinctures to food…
      Barberry bark
      Caraway
      Dandelion
      Fennel
      Gentian root
      Ginger
      Goldenseal root
      Milk thistle
      Peppermint
      Wormwood
      Yellow dock
      6.0 Mix the following together and add to each meal…
      – 1/2 tsp of organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar;
      – 1/8tsp of turmeric;
      – 1/8 tsp of fresh minced ginger or ginger powder;
      – ¼ tsp of marshmallow root powder or slippery elm bark powder (both herbs contain mucilage which helps to coat the esophagus and stomach lining creating a protective barrier against inflammation due to stomach acid.

      Cautions to avoid exacerbating GERD:
      1.0 While treating GERD eliminate all of the following from food and treats
      1.1 Grains;
      1.2 Legumes;
      1.3 Refined sugars;
      1.4 Starchy vegetables.
      1.5 Once the symptoms of GERD are gone legumes and starchy vegetables can be re-introduced to the diet;
      1.6 Do not re-introduce grains or refined sugars.
      2.0 Replace grains, starchy vegetables, grains with non-starchy root vegetables – pumpkin and squash, turnip and rutabaga.

  55. Thanks. I made the grain-free with chicken the other evening. The boys seem to love it. I didn’t see any mention of whether this food should be gradually transitioned or just switched to immediately, so I’ve been giving them 50% kibble and 50% cooked food in the morning and their normal kibble/canned food in the evening. It’s been 2 days and all poops look good, so will start doing 50-50 for both meals today.

    I’m waiting until they are on 100% homemade food before moving on to the the addition of a fresh food snack of fruits and veggies and yogurt. May I ask if you feel there are a certain number of hours that one should wait after a cooked meal before offering fresh food to ensure proper absorption of both meals? I know you feed your gang the fresh food in the late evening as the last meal of the day, but I was hoping to make it a lunchtime event for my guys, partly just to break up their day. Breakfast is usually served at 7am. Dinner is at 6PM. Would a 12-1PM fresh food meal work okay do you think?

    Thank you, and sorry to keep bothering you.

  56. Thank you so very much for responding so quickly! I want to get a batch of the food made this weekend. My pups will be so happy. I’ll definitely check out the links on the fruit/veggie preparation instructions. More questions:

    1. When you say a very low heat for cooking….would that be a bare simmer, or something even lower than that?

    2. Is it okay to use ground meats versus finely chopped? Would be so much more convenient if so. Or are they the same thing?

    3. If the ground is not acceptable, what cuts of chicken, beef or turkey, etc. do you recommend?

    4. Do you include the skin on poultry or remove it first? Should excess fat be trimmed away?

    Thanks again. From what I’ve read on your website so far, we seem to have very similar philosophies on dog-rearing and training/handling. I can see that you have a very happy crew there.:)

  57. So glad I found your site. I want to try making homemade food, but hadn’t found a recipe yet that wasn’t super complicated, too gross for my own squeamishness(raw), or rice-heavy, or that required additional supplementation.

    But I have a few questions:

    1. How many cups of food does the above recipe make?

    2. Why must it be cooked for so long? Seems like it would be most nutritious with a briefer cooking time,.

    3. I make homemade chicken broth for my dogs and hydrate their kibble with it every day. This is the really yummy kind….leftover chicken bones simmered in a pot for 24 hours. Do you see value in adding it to the fresh food (chicken version)? My dogs adore it.

    4. Regarding the fresh fruits and veggies you feed in addition to the homemade cooked food…..do you find that the dogs digest them well? I’ve read in many places that a dog’s short digestive tract can’t efficiently utilize the nutrients in these foods.

    Thanks, looking forward to checking out the rest of your website! :)

  58. Hello Karen, I am learning a lot from your website, Thank you for all the great information on home made food. My question is, the egg shell powder, does it matter if it is from fresh cracked eggs ? Or can you use the shells from boiled eggs as well?

  59. Hi – i live in India and where I’m located we do not get sweet potato year round nor do we grow asparagus – any recommendations for nutritionally appropriate substitutes?
    Also cottage cheese is rarely eaten here as well so the only kind you do find are imports and I’d rather not use that as well – is there another calcium source I can use instead?
    Thanks a lot for the info in any case

    Cheers,
    Aditi

    • Hi Aditi,

      You can use squash as a substitute for sweet potato. You can also use potato.

      As for the cottage cheese, you could use another type of similar local type of cheese or use a harder cheese like some of the types noted in this article http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/07/dairy-products-cheese-kefir-yogurt-are.html

      You also have the option of leaving the cheese out of the recipe and just adding it when you feed your dog a bowl of food – i.e. grate some cheese on top of the food.

      I know you have plenty of yogurt and kefir locally available so you could add yogurt or kefir fresh on top of the food when you serve it as another alternative. Both are good sources of protein and calcium plus so much more!

      Cheers, Karen

  60. HI there, I have been feeding my dog the grain free diet for a month now. It has been going great, but he is losing weight fast and is already skinny. I feed him 2x a day and give him the chick pea snack 1x a day. Should I incorporate the rice to help him gain weight? THANK YOU!!!

  61. Hi Karen, I made your grain free dog food and my girls love it. I also feed them Wysong Epigen. It is grain free. Have you heard of this product and is it good. Any info will be much appreciated. Thanks

    • I think you must be feeding your girls the Wysong Epigen Optimal Performance? (Wysong’s other dry dog foods are grain-in). Their product is pretty good. However like all commercially made products they do mess around some…and their product like all others is not nutritionally complete, but it is better than most.

      My main beefs with the product…

      They make quite a show of putting probiotics into the food however it is very important for you to understand that these are not viable as the probiotic micro-organisms cannot survive the processing required to make the kibble. You need to supplement with viable probiotics – you can read my series of articles on probiotics :>) I give my dogs plain natural yogurt and fresh sauerkraut – real source rather than processed supplements :>)

      The ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omegga-6 fatty acids is out-of-balance. You need to add more Omega-3 fatty acids to the girl’s diet – you can read my articles on Omega-3 fatty acids. You can supplement with code liver oil, salmon or krill oil. Also give them a small piece of real fatty fish, etc.

  62. Hi am i supposed to drain the water from the meal? Do I store it in the fridge with it in water or drain it out once it’s done cooking? Thanks!

    • If you end up with a watery stew, yes drain the excess liquid off by pouring it into a container. You can then store the liquid in the refrigerator and use it to pour over-top of your dog’s food. Don’t throw the liquid out as it is full of nutrients. Next time you make the recipe only add as much water as you require to just cover the ingredients and simmer it at a low temperature. The consistency that you want to aim for is that of a very thick stew with very little liquid. Cheers, K

    • Thank you!!

  63. Hi Luis, yes you can feed your dog just the cooked food, however the one thing you do have to add is additional omega-3 fatty acids. No dog food, including raw diets offer enough Omega-3 fatty acids – supplementation is always necessary… http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/fatty-acids-for-dogs-omega-3-omega-6.html

  64. Is it ok to just feed your dog this daily and not the other fresh fruits and veggies and snacks, or does it have to be all of them to be a complete diet?

  65. I’ve just found your site. I’m wanting to try this diet as my boxer has had chronic ear infections her entire life (she’s 4 now). Her breath smells BAD and she is constantly scratching at her head, particularly the left side. My vet has said that we can’t just willy nilly start giving her a grain free diet (and I can’t afford those $50 bags of grain free food!), because we don’t know that grain is what is causing the allergic reaction. Anyway, is there an easy way to find out what is causing her problems?

    Also, in your recipe you called for 2 cups (16 oz)(yellow, brown, or green) but it didn’t say what the ingredient is!
    What ingredient is that supposed to be, please?

    Thanks so much!!

  66. Hi!

    I have a 1 year old boxer with colitis. He is currently eating:

    1 Cup chopped raw veggies (sweet potato, spinach, green beans/carrots, pears/apples, cranberries)
    1 Cup (1/2lb) raw meat (hamburger, turkey, or lamb)
    1/2 cup Ultramix Natural kibble

    He gets that twice a day. Then when we have it in the house we add either plain yogurt or pumpkin to it. 1-2 times a week we throw in a whole raw egg.

    However, he needs to gain some weight (reason #1 he gets kibble mixed in as meat is expensive and he can’t do chicken unless its mixed in as the lesser protien). He is currently between 55-60lbs and needs to gain at least 10lbs.

    If I made the grain free recipe how much would he need to eat each meal? Is there anything else I should add?

    Also what does this mean?
    2 cups (16 oz) (yellow, brown or green);

    And do you put the fruit into the boiling pot as well or just the veggies?

    Thanks!!!!

    • Hi Nicole,

      I was in adding something to the text yesterday and the word ‘Lentils’ go accidentally erased :>)The green, brown, orange is lentils :) You would need to replace the lentils as they are not a good food for dogs with colitis.

      You could replace the lentils with a mixture of 1% MF cottage cheese and one or two eggs or some additional grnd beef. You would need to feed him as much cooked food as you are currently feeding him in the other food – matching volume for volume.

      You could add 1/2 of a mashed banana to his food and a heaping tbs of cottage cheese on top of each meal.

    • And please make sure you only use green beans, carrots, spinach in the cooked food recipe – don;t use cruciferous veggies (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) as they can increase inflammation of the intestine/small colon in dogs with colitis.

    • Thanks!

      I have actually been giving him lentils this past week before I saw your post. He seems to be doing ok on them, but I will keep an eye on it.

      I also saw (I believe it was here) that if you see chunks of veggies coming out that you should chop them up better or steam them so this past week he has had:
      cooked lentils with steamed veggies chopped up nice and small (sweet potato, snap peas, carrots, zuccinni, with pear and blueberries mixed in. Then meat.

      Also been adding sourkrout and cottage cheese on top at least once a day.

      What about chickpeas…would it cause the same thing as the lentils? I ask because I have made him some Satin Balls to help get his weight up but trying to go grain free I made it up with hamburger, chickpeas that I cooked and ground up, peanut butter, egg and cheddar cheese.

      If NOT cooking them can he have broccoli and those other veggies?

      Sorry for all the questions!!! Trying to get D back up to health :) And with the colitis (which seems to be non existent when off the kibble) it is hard to find the right diet and know what to do

    • Hi Nicole,

      Yes it is best to chop vegetables up fine – to avoid chocking hazards and to ensure that the dogs digestive system has the maximum opportunity to absorb the nutrients.

      Chickpeas fall into the same category as lentils when it comes to colitis – no chickpeas.

      Cruciferous veggies (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, whether fresh-raw or cooked are also a no. What you could do is what a while, see if his colitis is truly gone and then if you want to add one cruciferous veggie (cooked) back into his diet at a time.
      Cheers, K

  67. Hi I have a question. I have 2 1/2 yea pit and she DEFINATELY has allergies.. She sheds like crazy, she itches, and her ears stink if she eats human food or dog treats.. vet suggested cutting out human foods and going grain free diet. I LOVE your recipes, AND SO DOES SHE!! SSOOOO, my question is.. I was looking into Dinovites.. what do you think of that supplement? Thanks!

    • Hi, Dinovites gets a thumbs down from me…here is why and I think you would be far better off giving your Pittie girl the real stuff, more effective and it will cost you less as well…

      As well, Dinovites includes grain – which will end up causing her more ear infections. The ear infections are caused by an intolerance to grain which becomes a food allergy (grains are not part of a dog;s natural diet, small amounts of grass are part of a dog’s natural diet – but not the seed of the grass – which is what grain is).

      Go to the bulk food store and purchase some ground flax seed or flax oil. She will need 1 heaping tbs of ground flax seed mixed into her food twice a day, or one tbs of flax oil mixed into her food twice a day. You could also give her a small piece of canned mackerel or sardines once a day – read about that here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/fatty-acids-for-dogs-omega-3-omega-6.html

      Buy some plain, natural yogurt and give her 2 heaping tbs of that a day.

      Buy some organic apple cider vinegar – benefits and dosage are provided in this article http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/apple-cider-is-good-for-your-dog-and.html

      Forget the pre-made processed supplements most are junk.

      Cheers K

  68. Thank you, Karen! I have been searching, searching, searching for ideas on homemade dog food that isn’t raw! My Belgian Groenendael/Springer X is sensitive to grains (although, I say sensitive is a huge understatement – they make him break out in a horrible rash with pustules and hair loss). He’s been on a Natural Balance LID bison and sweet potato diet for the first 4 yrs of his life, but not that NB has sold out to Del Monte, I feel like it’s my wake-up call to do something better for him. I wanted to steer clear of a strict raw diet, since therapy dog organizations refuse to certify any dogs fed a raw diet. I think your recipe and suggestions will be a very happy alternative. :)

  69. I have a collie that needs a gluten free diet but suffers from IBD. Do I leave the grain free recipe as is? Thanks!

  70. Hi Karen,
    Just wanted to share – my boxer pup LOVES the home made food. I’m mixing it with Fromm puppy food to make sure she’s really getting all the nutrients she needs.

    A question: have you ever figured out the amount of calories in, say, a cup of homemade food? I want to make sure I’m giving her enough calories (and not too much!!!). According to some research I’ve done, she needs 1600 calories a day at this stage (she’s a European Boxer and will be about 80 lbs at full grown).

    Thanks for all the great advice you have!!

  71. Thank you for the information. I made your grain free recipe and Ashley my dog could not wait, I have never seen her get so excited SHE LOVES IT. If you have any more recipes for organ meat or lamb please let me know. THANK YOU SO MUCH. She is an older dog with allergies and I appreciate your advice a lot of Vets don’t know how to make home cooked meals.

  72. I feed my dog a grain free diet. But I have a hard time finding recipes for lamb, I find a lot for fish and I have been feeding her that with, beef, turkey, I also feed her a mix of oils, 1 tsp Flaxseed oil, 1tsp cod liver oil, 1 tsp of wheat germ oil, and 5 oz of extra virgin olive oil with a tsp of garlic and rosemary mixed well and stored in refrigerator it stays good for two months. my dog is 25 to 50 lbs. Its says to use one to two tsp one each meal and a tbl for dogs over 50 to 100 lbs. I hope this is okay.

  73. Hello Karen,

    I have a GSD. He is 2 years. One of my friend rescued him from a Butcher with whom he spent the 1st 3 months. The butcher fed him only meat for 3 months.
    At the age of 3.5 months Ricky (GSD) came to me. He underwent a treatment for 6 months for his stomach because it was all ruptured. He is a fighter, he survived.
    Now, the problem is, he cannot digest food like chicken, cow milk, white rice and eggs. He eats vegetables and Royal Canine. Could you please advise what else I can feed him also please provide me if you have any other baked recipes without grains.

    Thank you very much.

    Sneha

  74. Hi Karen! I just wanted to know if it is ok to use this great recipe to feed puppies, pregnant females, and elderly dogs. Is it ok for dogs of all ages? Thanks :-)

  75. Hi Karen,

    Have you noticed any actual increase in life length with your dogs in using this diet for their whole life or have you just moreso seen a reduction in disease through their life? Curious if you have seen the actual survival age increase significantly?

    • I am assuming you mean in comparison to feeding commercially manufactured dry dog kibble :>) The difference in health and longevity is significant, but it is also important to further support their health…
      1) I don’t use chemical based household cleaners;
      2) I don’t walk my dogs on the road in the winter where road-salt is used;
      3) I don’t put them on chemical-based flea and parasite preventatives;
      4) I don’t inoculate them on an annual basis;
      5) They don’t drink flourinated water;
      6) They also eat fresh whole foods, fresh herbs, etc.

      So while getting your dog off of commercial dry kibble will definitely support better health and longevity, it is also important to reduce your dogs exposure to toxins, carcinogens etc.

      Always best to address thinks in a comprehensive manner :>)

  76. Hello Karen,

    Thank you for the information i am getting a puppy in may where do you recommend i begin with the recipes listed in your posts?

    Thank you
    Deb Ledbetter

  77. Hi there Karen I love your site. I was wondering if the diets posted are balanced using the AAFCO or NRC guidelines? I also have a problem I was wondering if you might could help me with. I have been trying to home cook for my dogs for a few months but I think my older dog is allergic to the nutritional yeast is there anything else I can use instead of that and if so what and how much? I know it isn’t grains because I don’t include them in her home cooked meals.

    • First regarding AFFCO
      I strongly recommend that the consumer never judge a dog food product’s quality based on AAFCO guidelines and here is why…
      Just because a dryor wet dog food or treats are AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) approved, does not mean that the food is a good or even safe to consume product.

      Although AAFCO promotes themselves as a ‘governing’ body of the pet food industry – they are self-proclaimed.
      While AAFCO does include some US state and federal representatives, AAFCO it is NOT a federal or state government organization.
      AAFCO is a partisan organization that includes people directly involved in the pet food manufacturing industry.
      AAFCO’s true reason for existing is not to support the health of your dog, it exists to promote the pet food industry in its drive to produce the biggest possible margin of profit.
      AAFCO is directly responsible for the unclear labeling on pet food products including dry and wet dog food and treats;
      AAFCO allows toxins and carcinogens into the food that they ‘approve’;
      AAFCO is responsible for the confusion around poor vs. good quality.

      Yes the recipe above (the grain-free version) meets NRC guidelines. Species Appropriate Diet for Dogs – Get the Grains Out of Your Dog’s Diet – For Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/species-appropriate-diet-for-dogs-get.html

      I would not be too concerned about eliminating the brewers yeast from your older dogs diet. Some dogs do have a food sensitivity or an actual allergy to Brewers Nutritional Yeast. You can simply add some other food stuffs that are high in Vitamin B complex in place of the yeast. The following food items are all high in B complex and are safe for dogs…
      Liver (my dogs get a little fresh cooked once a day)
      Beef
      Tuna
      Turkey
      Bananas (my larger dogs (65-75 lbs eat one small banana a day)
      Potatoes
      Legumes (already present in the recipe)
      Kefir (My dogs eat kefir or yogurt once a day)

      Read Fresh Whole Food for Your Dog’s Health
      Fresh whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat, healthy oils, herbs and spices offer our dogs digestible, nutrient rich food without the dangerous additives found in many pet store food products…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html and

      Foods Rich in Probiotics – Beneficial for Your Dog
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/foods-rich-in-probiotics-beneficial-for.html

      Cheers, K

  78. Could you comment on your grain free dog food in terms of the ratio of protein/carbs/fat compared to a dogs nutritional needs? with 1.5 ibs of meat and 4 cups of sweet potato/lentils plus the rest of the ingredients how closely does this match the goals you set of 56% protein, etc. Thank you, I love your site!

    • Hi Ryan – The protein in the recipes above are derived from the following protein rich (and nutrient rich) sources:
      Meat;
      Lentils, chickpeas – while being high in protein they are also nutrient dense, excellent source of fibre and also a carbohydrate;
      Cottage Cheese – high in protein
      Goal is matched

  79. Hi, I have a question for you on the homemade dog food. Instead of cooking all of the veggies and any fruit you decide to add in, would you suggest leaving part of it raw and mixing in with the food after it is cooked? That way they get a mix of cooked and raw fruits and veggies?

    • I strongly recommend that you make the recipe as is and feed them raw fruits and veggies as per 2.0 below

      1.0 Leave the recipe as is
      a) It is designed to provide nutrients/vitamins/minerals etc that work together to ensure maximum absorption value;
      b) fresh fruits and veggies digest at a different rate than cooked food, than protein – if you add fresh fruits and veggies they will push this food through the GI tract faster than it should be and the nutrients in the food will not have an opportunity to be fully absorbed.

      2.0 Feed Fresh Fruit and Veggies…
      The third meal of my packs’ day is a nice bowl of fruits and veggies with yogurt, finely chopped pumpkin seeds (natural dewormer and nutrient dense), finaly chopped peanuts (human grade – not feed grade, feed grade can contain aflatoxins, and cinnamon. Read this article to understand how to prepare and feed your dog raw fruits and veggies http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html

  80. See the comments on feeding amounts that I have added above, as to fresh food you can look at some of the comments and answers provided above and you can then judge how much fresh food to feed your dogs. If you want an answer tailored to the needs of your own dogs you can engage my consulting services. Cheers, K

  81. What would be the serving size for a 10 lb toy poodle and a 20 lb dachshund? I want to do the grain free version with added Kefir and grated lemon so if you have those measurement for my dog’s weights that would be excellent.

  82. I am glad I came across your site re: homemade dog food. When I was young we bred Minature Schnauzers.My mom had always made the food for them and all the dogs there after. Funny story: so when I was older and had a toddler a friend and I were visiting and stayed a bit longer than planned, my child was hungry and I hadn’t brought any extra prepared baby food with me…mom said just heat up a bit of dog food and my friend just about fell over. We still laugh about that. Mom’s dog food was made with beef, beef bones (removed after cooking) and vegies. The oldest lived to be 17+ years old! She was in good health and died of natural caused. I’ve become dependent on commercial food and recently adopted a senior beagle mix female. She is a sweet old girl and just doesn’t like any commercial food so I have been looking for a good recipe to make for her. I will try your recipe for grain free. Thanks.

  83. I have just taken my dogs off of Blue Buffalo after going through a mast cell tumor removal on my 20 lb, 5 yr old female Pug. I would like to add in some rolled oats into the grain free version (I think my one Pug might be sensitive to rice). Would you suggest I not use the rolled oats if one of my Pugs just had a mast cell tumor removed? Should I use regular potato instead of sweet potato and limit her intake of apples and sugary fruits? I have heard sugar can feed the cancer. Knowing she does have cancer, do you have any other suggestions for me (lemon zest, cottage cheese, garlic, turmeric)? I tried to give my female turmeric in one of her meals and she wouldn’t eat the food (1/2 tsp) – I know it can be bitter to some dogs. Any suggestions for getting her to eat this beneficial supplement?

    Also, how much should I feed my 20 lbs. Pugs of the homemade grain free food per day? I don’t want to overfeed them. Thanks so much for your blog and its information!!

  84. I have a G Shepherd/Akita 5 yr old Male dog. He weighs 107 lbs. The vet says he is overweight. That his ribs should show. I feed him 1 cup grain dog food and half an egg or I use chicken with the grain. In evening 1 cup grain and chicken with peas or carrots at evening. Is this too much? I want him to be healthy but he is always hungry.
    I have used your recipes for months now.

  85. Thank you for the links, I look forward to reading them today! Just wanted to share with you my experience yesterday…I have been so excited to share my news of Phoebe’s progress with her doctor that I decided to give him a call yesterday…omg…one of his nurses is always very interested in asking about Phoebe so, when she answered the phone, I thought that I would also share my exciting news with her…she actually froze on the phone and, when she was able to recover her wits, she (in a whisper tone) relayed to me that the doctors are going to be “very upset” to hear of me feeding her this way! UPSET????? So, you are telling me that they will be UPSET that Phoebe is feeling GOOD ?( I said to her). Oh Debi, she said, there is NO WAY that you can be giving her all of the vitamins and minerals that she needs by making food for her…then, one of the doctors walked out (over hearing our conversation) and began to lecture me on my deciding to do this!!! I did not even wait for her doctor to come out, I simply looked at the room now bursting with staff and said, ” If ANY of the doctors here had been able to make her feel this good, with all of their prescriptions and advice and medical expertise, we would not even be having this discussion”…and I left. Wow…when a caretaker is telling you that your patient is doing great for the fist time in 6 months, I would have thought that they would have a way different response….how terribly disappointing. Thanks again for the links…maybe I will send them to the vets office :)

    • OMG Debi, humans are so stupid – if you will pardon me for saying so. It has been my life experience that one of the most predominate traits among the human race is arrogance, which then leads to lack of perspective, which then leads to a very narrow outlook which disables the ability to evolve, truly learn and understand. The basis of their drive to be a veterinarian, trainer, behaviorist etc. is so imbedded in selfishness rather than balanced between a desire to earn a living, evolve , learn and give back to the very beings that they are supposed to help. Logic, common sense is not the measure by which they make decisions, learn and grow, Instead the focus is self-centered, emotional (greed, arrogance – these are emotions as well as a state-of-being). And it is by embracing this state that so many dogs are harmed in both the ‘training’ world and the canine health care discipline (or should we say lack of).

      They are in fact not caretakers but simply takers. In order to care one must give something back – something that comes from the soul, heart – a place of selfless caring…it has nothing to do with taking money for services – which we must do to make a living – but instead whether or not you bring added-value to what you do….which the bulk of humanity does not do.

      You need to get yourself another vet – good ones are hard to find…but try to look around and don’t place your trust in other peoples opinion of a vet unless you truly have reason to respect the person giving the opinion. Most of my clients come to me after spending many hundreds and thousands of $ on trainers and behaviorists, veterinarians – as those ‘professionals’ end up causing more damage than good. From now moving forward rely on your instinct and intuition (your instinct and intuition is good)to choose a new vet.

      Very few commercial dog foods (perhaps 5% of what is available on the market) can deliver good nutrition and even then supplementing will still be required.

      Go to this page ( http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/p/index-of-articles.html )scroll down and read all of the articles on nutrition, avoiding cancer, allergies, toxins, probiotics, dental care, treating ear infections, diarehea and you will be in a much better position to understand what your vet does not. Your dogs will live longer lives and you will reduce the need to go to the vet.

      Keep in touch with me and let me know how your Pittie does – you can email me at ottawavalleydogwhisperer@gmail.com

      Paw-hugs, Karen

  86. Our 13 1/2 yr. old pitbull recently had a laryngeal tieback surgery that required her to be fed entirely differently than ever before. She had always been on Evo (grain free) and baked skinless chicken. Now, the doctors prescribed that she must eat wet food only and be hand fed in small meatballs. The surgery itself is quite intense but the rehab is even more so. Phoebe has always had a very delicate stomach. I noted that to the doctors. We tried every premium canned food , all with the same awful results…diarrhea. She was sick all of the time and loosing weight rapidly. Every time that her stomach sent acids etc into her throat, she would faint…it was beginning to be a daily occurance…her life was all day sick on the couch, not wanting to eat and needing to relieve herself every two hours. We were a nervous wreck about the fainting, as was she. The doctors finally agreed to allow me to make a gruel out of her kibble and process it together with her chicken and feed her in tiny meatballs, by hand. She remained sick to her stomach still. They then decided to put her on an antibiotic and two stomach meds…much to my dismay…but, I was desperate to make her well and felt completely out of control with the situation. Finally, I woke one morning 5 months had passed and I had had enough…I was reclaiming my dogs health and happiness that day. Period. I scoured the internet for advice and stumbled, by the grace of God, onto your site. The recipes for homemade dog food had the exact same ingredients as the premium kibble only minus the fish that I long suspected had been a source of aggravation to her digestion. Anyway, the food had everything that she has loved all of her life…broccoli, berries…yumm! Well, I made the first batch and she went nuts…now, this is a dog who I was forcing food on…and it would come out just as fast. She has been on your recipe for one month now. She is gaining back the weight that she lost. Her brindle colors are bright again. She is perky…grabbing toys and wrestling with the other dogs and greeting everyone at the door as they come home at night. Her bowel movements are absolutely perfect…I mean PERFECT!! I cannot thank you enough…my family cannot thank you enough because you have brought joy and health back into her life. I add a bit of Vitamineral Green to her mixture because she had gotten into such a poor condition. And, the best news, she is not on any stomach meds at all! Her doctors keep insisting that she would have been fine to stay on the EVO! NOT SO. She is a completely different dog today than she was a month ago and it is all because of the food. PERIOD. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…by the way, the other dogs love it too! We all really appreciate you and your recipe more than you will ever know! Love, Phoebe and family

    • Hi Debi, I am so glad your Pittie-girl is doing so much better! I have to admit that I have a very soft spot for Pitbulls in my heart :>)

      You have good instinct Debi – unfortunately the same can’t be said for many ‘professionals’ veterinarians, pet food manufactures, pet supply stores and their staff :(

      Most veterinarians know little about nutrition and less about the many seriously bad ingredients put in commercially made dog food. An excellent example is the kibble sold in most veterinary offices…Royal Canine, etc – these products are full of toxins, carcinogens…for example genetically modified corn – which has now been proven to cause the growth of tumors). Corn and grains, soy (most of which is GM in North America and terrible for a dogs reproductive organs) are not species appropriate foods for dogs. You can read more about that here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/how-to-choose-good-kibble-for-your-dog.html

      EVO uses genetically modified vegetable oils…seriously bad and a cheap source of Omega fatty acids. Evo uses a lot of fish meal – fish meal contains a very high level of ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin causes kidney damage and it is a known carcinogen.

      It gets worse, not only do they use carcinogenic fish product but it is important to understand… while fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines etc. are excellent when added in small daily amounts is excellent for a dog – if fed exclusively OR in large amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. You can read more here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/foods-that-dogs-should-never-eat.html

      Thank you for letting me know about your dear Pittie girl. Good health and paw-hugs to your doggies and you! Cheers, Karen ❀ᵔᴥᵔ❀

  87. Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this information. I will take your advice immediately. The bassets ate the food for the first time tonight (just had a bite earlier today to try), and Althea was literally jumping up trying to get to her bowl before my husband sat it on the floor! They LOVE it and I love seeing her with so much energy!
    You are a saint for caring so much about dogs that you’re willing to share your knowledge. They’re my babies, after all.

    Thanks again-
    Shannon

  88. We just made the grain free version for our basset hounds. I was drawn to a homemade diet after my 9 year old female basset, Althea, developed lymphoma. She just started chemo, but I was searching for something I could do. I came across your blog and am very happy with everything! The food is easy to make and, being a vegetarian myself, doesn’t totally gross me out. :) I do know my doggies need meat, and this is the best of both worlds. They both absolutely love it. I’m also going to try your idea of the apple cider vinegar for the yeast smell. Basset hounds do tend to smell that way, after all.
    Thank you again for all your knowledge! It is truly appreciated.

    Cheers
    Shannon

  89. Hi Karen!

    I came across your blog:http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/home-made-diy-dog-food-recipes-grain.html

    and am every so grateful that I did!

    My 6 year old miniature schnauzer has been on a commercial food diet ever since I got him as a pup. But he was always prove to skin problems and recently I figured that he has got doggy dandruff.

    So when I came across your blog and saw that I easy it is to make food for him, I cut off all the kibbles and started him on the grain version of the dog food + Nutrient Rich ‘Pebble’ Treat.

    His fur has never looked better and he’s just so much happier! I’ve never seen him this happy during meal times before.

    My only concern is Karen, ever since we changes his diet, he always seen hungry! He’s every ready to eat and to steal food from our hands, something he has NEVER done before!

    Can you please share your thoughts on this?

    Much appreciated,
    Kiran
    Malaysia

    • Hi Kiran,

      If you are feeding him enough and he is not/has not lost weight (assuming he was not overweight :>) then this new behaviour is one that you have inadvertently created. This can happen very easily…i.e. if you were very excited about giving him new food and perhaps even gave him tidbits while you were making the food.

      Please read the following article and then decide if his new behaviour is psychological rather than systematic.

      Is Your Dog Hungry or Looking for Attention
      If your dog is always hanging about you looking for food, whining for food, begging for food you might wonder is my dog really that hungry? Should I be concerned? Well to figure our if your dog is truly hungry or just using food to get attention take a look at your dog…if they look to be a good weight – not to thin (no bones protruding, etc.) and not to heavy (they have a nice waist line) then you know that the demands are just that – demands. Check the chart below to assess your dog’s weight…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2011/12/is-your-dog-hungry-or-looking-for.html

      After reading the article, if you decide his behaviour is instead triggered by true hunger feed him more and/or
      1) Supplement his diet by providing him with a separate (additional) little meal consisting of some fresh fruit and finally chopped veggies, etc. that you select from the article listed below…

      Fresh Whole Food for Your Dog’s Health
      Fresh whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat, healthy oils, herbs and spices offer our dogs digestible, nutrient rich food without the dangerous additives found in many pet store food products…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html

      Cheers, Karen

  90. Hi Karen, Thank you for the recipes, they sound easy, tasty, and nutritious. My dog, who was a stray that I adopted two months ago, tends to be itchy and smelly (a vinegar rinse helps a lot), so I am going to try making his food in hopes that will help. Why do you advise not mixing types of meat? With the chicken, are you including the bones (it sounds like you are)? Could I use eggs (from a home flock) instead of meat? If so, how many, and can I include the shells instead of adding shells? Thanks!

  91. I’ve been looking for a good grain free recipe for my two year old Australian Terrier, Iona, and thanks to you I found one! Very informative yet easy to read site! Thanks, Efrain (Chicago, IL)

  92. I’ve been looking for a grain free recipe– this sounds great! Very informative! Thanks!

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. Hi there,
    I have been so excited to read your blogs!! This has inspired me to start making my own home made food for my beagle who is 5 months old. I was wondering, I am having trouble finding out if beagles are ok with grain. Do you have any suggestions for the beagle breed? I know they are very susceptible to weight gain, could adding certain grains cause her to put on weight?

  95. Thank you! Great information and help, much appreciated!

    Gwendolyn

  96. Great information! Thank you so much!

    Gwendolyn

  97. Happy cooking June! Your doggies are going to be very pleased with you, woof!:>)

    • Great recipes! How much o the grains version should I feed my 100 pd Doberman? He gets two feedings a day, one in the morning and the other at about 6:00PM. Also, what do you think about using ground venison or fish? Thank you!
      Gwendolyn

    • Great recipes! How much of the grains version should I feed my 100 pd Doberman? He is given two feedings per day – AM and PM. Also, what do you think about using ground venison and fish? Regarding the fish – what kind? Frozen OK? Thank you!
      Gwendolyn

    • Hi Gwendolyn,

      Ground venison is fine. Fish is also fine as long as it does not represent more than a small portion of your Dobbie’s daily diet…

      Fish – in large quantities are dangerous, small quantities are beneficial
      If fed exclusively or in large amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. A small amount of cooked or canned fatty fish such as anchovies, salmon, sardines, shad, smelt, mackerel are very good for your dog (on a daily basis is fine – in small amounts) as these types of fish are nutrient rich and a good source of omega fatty acids.

      I would say that you are better off using the venison and then if you want to you can put a small piece of fish on top of his food. I give all of my dogs a little fish (salmon, mackerel or sardines) every day.

      As to how much of the Grain Version recipe to feed your dog you will need to experiment. My GSDs and Boxer (they are around 70 lbs and very active) get a half cup of the food in the morning and at night with a tablespoon of cottage cheese and 1/8 cup of the ‘Nutrient Rich Pebble Treat’ as per the recipe http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/07/homemade-diy-natural-healthy-dog-treats.html

      And they also get a large bowl of fruits, veggies, yogurt, fish etc. you can see pictures of their daily fresh food bowls here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html

      So my 70 lb dogs eat per day:
      – 1 cup of the food;
      – 1/4 cup of the Pebble Treat;
      – 2 to 4 tbs of cottage cheese;
      – 3 tbs of yogurt, about 3 tbs of fish;
      – 1 tsp of coconut oil, 2 tbs of olive oil, 1 heaping tbs of flax seed; 1 healing tsp of brewers nutritional yeast;
      – and several cups of fruits and veggies

      So, how much of the Grain Version you feed your dog will depend on what other food and tidbits you are feeding him. If you are only going to feed him the Cooked Food then you will likely need to do about 2.5 to 3 cups at each meal – or 5 to 6 cups a day. You will need to use your judgement.

      If you want to use fish use salmon, mackerel of sardines…canned, fresh or frozen.

      Cheers, Karen

    • My vet says no peas,carrots,sweet potatoes rice or oatmeal or any carbs so the dogs lose weight he said that all these foods(which i always added fresh or steamed before.) and also fruits add either too much sugar and or bulk he said just add more fresh chopped veggies of other types to feed their insistant hunger pangs i found they all did lose weight i excercised them a lot more plus swimming as usual but i did start adding quarter cups of all the above in big batch cooking afterall i do have six pets so once it is divided up they don’t get that much any thoughts ???

    • My dogs eat a lot of fresh food on a daily basis – my larger dogs – the German Shepards, Boxer, Aussie, etc. eat much more than 1/4 cup of fresh food a day. My dogs also eat the grain-free homemade dog food (as per the recipe above). They also get cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and other fresh foods every day. Providing your dog with fresh veggies and low calorie fresh fruits (such as berries) not only help them to loose and then maintain a good weight but also deliver first quality antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help boost your dog’s immune system,detox their system, help keep teeth healthy, etc. I do not agree with your vet’s advice to cut all carbs from your dog’s diet as their are many beneficial nutrients derived from a healthy carb such as sweet potatoes – the key is to not feed an inactive dog to much. As for grains – they should not be part of a dog’s diet – especially not the grains found in many commercially manufactured dog kibble. Not only are the grains feed grade (rather than human grade) and therefor subject to inclusion of aflitoxins. In addition grains such as corn are also genetically modified, are a poor source of nutrition – grains are also not species appropriate food for a dog.

      I suggest you read these to understand more about your options for feeding your dogs fresh foods…

      Coconut Oil is Good for Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/coconut-oil-is-good-for-your-dogs.html

      Fatty Acids for Dogs – Omega 3, Omega 6, Health Benefits, Best Sources, Dosage
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/fatty-acids-for-dogs-omega-3-omega-6.html

      Fresh Whole Food for Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html

      Foods Rich in Probiotics – Beneficial for Your Dog
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/foods-rich-in-probiotics-beneficial-for.html

      Garlic For Dogs – Health Benefits, Preparation and Use, Safe Dosage
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/garlic-for-dogs-health-benefits.html

      Vitamins, Minerals & Foods that Support Oral Health in Dogs
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/vitamins-minerals-foods-that-support.html

  98. I see on the crockpot. Thanks for the response, Karen!
    Cheers,
    June

  99. You are so very welcome :>)

    I don’t have a crockpot, so that is one question I can’t answer, but I usually cook it for about 2 hours – bringing it to a bowl and then turning it down to simmer.

    Cheers, Karen

  100. Hello there!
    Thank you for the tips, I’ve really enjoyed reading your experiences and tips!

    Quick question on the dog food: Have you tried making them on a crockpot? If so, how long will it cook?
    Many thanks!!

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