How to Make Healthier Dog Food In Your Own Kitchen

Shower your pooches with affection by making them delicious and healthy home-cooked meals!

Labrador Eating from Dog BowlPhoto: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

One of the biggest perks of homemade dog food is that you control the ingredients—just like when you make delicious meals from scratch for your human family members. You can make the meal fresh, organic and tailor-made for your furry friend. Here is a selection of our favorite recipes.

1. Basic Homemade Dog Food

This home-cooked meal is a freshly prepared alternative to store-bought canned or dry dog food options. Dogs need protein, veggies and grains as part of their daily diet. For this meal, you will need the following ingredients:

1-1/2 cups brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 pounds ground turkey

3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

1 zucchini, shredded

1/2 cup peas (thawed, if frozen)

Directions:

1. Cook rice in a large saucepan with 3 cups of water according to package instructions; set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.

3. Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Your little fluff ball will be thanking you for this new twist on premade dog food. The only sounds you hear will be the dog scarfing this down.

2. Beefy Dog Treats

These yummy snacks are wholesome dog treats that your pet will enjoy fresh out of the oven. You will need the following ingredients:

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)

1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

2 tablespoons boiling water

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup cooked long-grain rice

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1 jar (4 ounces) vegetable beef dinner baby food

1 large egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In another small bowl, dissolve bouillon in boiling water. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, milk powder, wheat flour, rice and gelatin. Stir in the baby food, egg, oil, yeast mixture and bouillon mixture until combined; knead until mixture forms a ball.

2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. bone-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Let stand for 24 hours or until hardened. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 3 dozen.

This hearty snack will have your furry friend begging for more!

3. Veggie Smoothie

Your dog might be jealous when you go to Jamba Juice without him, because smoothies aren’t just for humans. This recipe is jam-packed with fruits and veggies, and blends in yogurt and cream cheese for a protein boost. You will need the following ingredients:

¼ cup of minced veggies, like carrot, squash, zucchini and/or green beans

¼ cup minced apple, peach, pear and/or banana

¼ cup fruit juice (but not grape juice)

4 tablespoons yogurt

1 tablespoon cream cheese

Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Slurp, slurp, yum!

4. Cheddar Dog Treats

These savory treats are made of real ooey gooey cheddar cheese. This recipe contains only four simple ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1/3 cup whole milk

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and cheese. Stir in butter until combined. Gradually add milk just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 8 to 10 times.
  2. Roll dough into a 12×9-in. rectangle; cut into 3×1-in. strips. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand in the oven with the door slightly open until cooled completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

Dogs will follow their noses into the kitchen as they get a waft of this recipe baking.

5. Chicken Casserole

Did you know canines also love a homemade casserole? It’s not just for potluck dinners, it’s for the dogs! To make this casserole, you will need the following ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

Oil for frying

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup chopped mixed vegetables, like carrots, green beans, potatoes and/or broccoli

1/4 cup rolled oats

Directions:

  1. Chop the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and sauté them in oil until cooked.
  2. Add the chicken broth, chopped vegetables and rolled oats in the pan and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Your pup will be begging for seconds!

6. Meatloaf

This meatloaf is beloved by humans and dogs alike. Buy 3 cups of a ground meat of your dog’s choice—beef, chicken or turkey—then add the following ingredients:

1-1/2 cups grated mixed vegetables and/or fruit (like broccoli, carrots and apple)

2 large eggs

1 cup grated grated mixed vegetables and/or fruit (e.g., broccoli, carrots, apple)

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup rolled oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Hand-mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined thoroughly. Press evenly into a loaf pan.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze in slices for easy serving.

Put it in the oven for puppy and me and presto, a protein-packed meal!

7. Sweet Potato Frozen Yogurt Pops

Don’t forget dessert! These frozen treats are a healthy snack for both people and pups. You will need the following ingredients:

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

1/4 cup fat-free milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 freezer pop molds or paper cups (3 ounces each)

Directions:

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Pour into molds or paper cups. Top molds with holders. If using cups, top with foil. Freeze until firm. Yield: 6 servings.

For your dog, you can skip the stick, to prevent a potential health hazard.

This treat is a great way to cool down your pup on a hot day, or a year-round delicious after-dinner treat.

Your pup will thank you for whipping up these healthy eats! For more recipe ideas that are perfect for you and your dog to share, check out these delicious ideas.

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Meg Scanlon
Meg Scanlon is an actor, improviser, writer, filmmaker and member of SAG-AFTRA. She received her acting and filmmaking training from NYU Tisch's Stonestreet Studios. She studied and performed improv and sketch comedy at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, The PIT, The Second City NYC and Gotham City Improv. Her writing can be seen on Funny Or Die, BarkPost, Love TV, The List, Home Life Media, Taste Of Home and Bridgehead Media. She is also sometimes called Megan or Meggie. And Scantron, Scantown, Scandalous and just about any other word that has "Scan" in it.