Introduction: Homemade Dog Food - for Sensitive Tummies
For the first two years, my poor puppy could barely eat anything that didn't make her sick. We tried every dog food on the market and from the vet, but nothing worked. That's how I found myself cooking for the dogs. I introduced new foods slowly until I had enough ingredients for well balanced meals. I also worked out cooking methods that minimized the kitchen work. Here's how I got my puppy eating...
Step 1: Awesome Food
First, I should say that any dog will love this recipe. It helped my young dog with bad digestive problems eat and put on weight, but it's awesome food for all dogs.
Second, I'll make a disclaimer here that I did research, but I'm not a vet. My dog's stomach problems were very bad and everything we did, we did with the vet's approval. Also, I mixed my homemade food with some commercial food to make sure I didn't miss any nutrients that my growing puppy needed.
Step 2: Ingredients
(This makes about 3 weeks of only homemade food, or 5-6 weeks if I added kibble.)
2 lbs uncooked brown rice
Sunflower oil (About half a cup to 1 cup)
2 cans of string beans
1 pound of carrots - washed and trimmed, leave whole
6 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 to 2 pounds of yams - washed and trimmed, leave whole
and/or 1-2 cans of pumpkin
Note: I added ingredients slowly to my puppy's diet with each new batch of food, so I would know which foods were problematic. This is my final "good" list. For a dog who can eat anything, like my older dog, just follow the recipe as is, all at once.
I now add offal (hearts, liver, etc.) in with the chicken. My pup loves it. She picks out the hearts <3
Step 3: Cooking
This took me a while to work out - because how much time does anyone really want to spend in the kitchen cooking for the dogs?
1) Cook the rice (I use a rice cooker - set and forget)
2) In a really big pot (use a stock pot, if you have one), add the chicken first and all fresh veggies (carrots, yams) after. Then add enough water to cover everything. Cover the pot and cook on a medium heat on the stove. When the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 90 minutes, or until everything is very soft.
3) While the rice and chicken cook, make the eggs. The easiest way to cook the eggs is to break them into a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for a minute at a time. Stir in between. When the eggs are firm, they're done. It won't take long.
Step 4: Combine
1) Let all the cooked ingredients cool off a bit.
2) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut up into 1/2" pieces. Don't worry about precision. This is not gourmet cooking. Then throw it back into the stock pot.
Now this is the hard part. This gets to be a huge amount of food. You can try combining everything in the largest bowl you have or use the stock pot. Or, what I do, is mix everything in two batches. Whatever works for you.
3) Starting with the rice, oil and salt, thoroughly mix in one ingredient at a time. Make sure to break up the eggs. Stir in the chicken and veggies last. The veggies will fall apart as you stir. Stir in as much of the liquid from the stock pot as you can with out making everything soupy.
Use a heavy spoon for stirring. I get help when I can. It's a workout.
Step 5: Save in Batches
This recipe freezes very well. Freeze in batches that will last about 5 days each. I use reusable stacking containers.
Take a container out of the freezer and defrost in the frig about 2 days before you'll need it. Then you'll always have a fresh, thawed supply of food ready.
Step 6: Nom Nom Nom
I hope your dogs like this as much as mine do!
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Question 3 years ago
Hi! Thank you so much for posting this. I have an 11 month old, 75 pound Beauceron. She has tummy issues, I've tried many dog food kibble on the market, which didn't work out so well. So I decided to cook for her. I use chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, green beans when I have it on had, same with blueberries, I tried giving her a very small amount of olive oil, but it seemed to upset her tummy. On occasion I do give her about 1/8 of a teaspoon of coconut oil, but I heard that is not good for her. however, she doesn't get sick on the coconut oil. My question is how nutritionally sound is your recipe? Do I need to add any supplements to it? I've tried asking my vet for some sensitive tummy recipes, but theirs were pathetic. Thank you Linda
Answer 3 years ago
I make my Labradoodles’s food. It’s easy and has nutritional value - approved by the vet
-2 lbs of ground beef/ chicken/veal/ turkey- you choose. I always use beef as she’s allergic to chicken and turkey and veal is too greasy.
- Boil veggies ( peeled carrots, string beans, celery, peas) in water until soft- KEEP the water you boil them in
- cut veggies small and enough to fill a cup of all of them.
- 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal. Use water from the veggies you just boiled to dampen the oatmeal. Do not over saturate or it will be too mushy!
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- big squirt of ketchup
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of fresh parsley ( helps the breathe stay fresh!)
- 1 egg
Mix it all very well. Make a loaf and stick it in the oven for 90 minutes or so at 350F
Let it cool and the you can partition it into slices that you can freeze .
My dog is 35 pounds and I give her 5 ounces per meal. Each meatloaf makes about 8-9 slices.
She absolutely loves it
For breakfast she gets a plain scrambled egg and a slice of papaya as it helps keep her “ regular “
Answer 3 years ago
Hi! Sounds like you're on the same journey of trial and error I've been on for 5 years now :-)
I've had the same problem with vets. (They mostly wanted to put her on prescription foods, non of which were tolerated.) This instructable has one of my earlier, simpler recipes. I found that after a while (when my dog's stomach had settled down), I could mix in some high quality kibble, which assured that I wasn't missing any nutrients. This was especially helpful, because with a big dog, it's hard to keep up with the cooking. Also, I've recently posted another recipe, https://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Big-Dog-... , which I put together after a few more years of trial and error, and a lot of research. This one uses animal fats, which might be better for your dog. I can't think of a reason a dog should tolerate EVOO. I've also added some things like flax for the nutrients, but you have to make sure this works for your dog. I would make one of these recipes with only ingredients you know are okay, and then add an additional ingredient to each subsequent batch. (Or just add a small amount to a meal or two). I think my recipes are nutritionally sound, especially the newer one, However, I'm NOT A VET.
All this being said, I think it's fine to feed your pup the homemade food for a few weeks or months and then see if she tolerates some added kibble if you want. I've found the right balance for my dog, though she gets primarily homemade food, and my vet says she's doing great. In fact, she's gained weight, which is a big deal for her, and a good thing!
Please let me know what you try and how it goes :-) Good luck with your puppy!
Question 3 years ago on Introduction
My 7 year old Labradoodle has a chicken allergy. I have been making her food since she was 2. I usually make her a meatloaf but this sounds interesting and nutritious. What can I substitute the chicken with that will be easy to cook as you advise?
Many thanks and regards,
Question 4 years ago
Hi! Thank you for this. Sounds like similar issues my dog has. We are looking into starting to try to make our own foods as well. She refuses to eat her prescription diet (plus it’s extremely expensive). I was just curious, when you say slowly start adding ingredients can you please explain? Use her current food then add little chicken, then add the other ingredients gradually? Or make the recipe and slowly add more as time goes on?
Answer 4 years ago
I meant that I started my first batch of food with ingredients I knew my dog had before and would tolerate (chicken, oil, rice, egg). I added a new ingredient, usually a vegetable, with each new batch. If she reacted badly to a batch, I'd not use the new ingredient again. I hope this helps!
Question 4 years ago on Step 6
Hi, can I ask what weight your dog is? Would like to tailor the recipe to my dog, she's 45lbs
Answer 4 years ago
Hi! My dog is 60lbs. Because she's doesn't care a lot about food, I leave food out for her and don't measure, so I'm not sure about portions. Please let me know what works for you. Lots of people are interested :-)
Question 4 years ago on Introduction
Hi, I just wondered in what quantities this should be fed?
Answer 4 years ago
Hi : )
I think you'll have to ask your vet about your dog. I've never had to worry about how much my pup eats, because she tends to under-eat. However, she's a lean 60lbs and eats about 4 cups on a good day. I also give her supplemental puppy food (even though she's an adult now) and let her eat what she wants. Feel free to share any feedback you get on quantities. Thanks!
4 years ago on Introduction
I make my own dog food also, and buy only ground meats; almost ALL meats come in ground form, including chicken, bison, lamb, beef and turkey! Saves SO much time cutting meats up. I also save all my leftover veggies from dinners, and freeze those. After rinsing off any additives, I throw those in too. I add a can of slivered beets for antioxidants, a can of pumpkin for bulk, and a can of salmon for the fish oil. I have used a large crockpot when I don't have a lot of time to stand over the stove, but usually it only takes me about an hour from beginning to end if I cook on the stove in a very large pan!
Reply 4 years ago
Excellent suggestions!! Thanks for sharing them!
5 years ago
Hi! I estimate this recipe makes about 12 quarts. That sounds like a lot, but it freezes really well. I freeze one week portions and put them in the frig to defrost a couple of days before the last weeks' portion runs out.
You should probably check with your vet about fat proportions, since pancreatitis is so fats-sensitive.
I hope this helps!! Please let me know how your puppy does on this food - I'd love to know and so would others : )
ps My girl is almost 5 now and I've got her bad tummy almost completely managed. She can eat other foods if we're careful, but I always go back to homemade food when her tummy acts up. The biggest problem lately is that she's soooo spoiled and only wants her homemade meals : )
Question 5 years ago on Step 2
Can you advise how many cups or quarts, or however you judge to be the final amount of food this makes, please?
My young ‘Tsu has bad tummy troubles. One year old and three bad rounds of pancreatitis already. It’s a challenge! Been looking for a basic recipe, and this was very well written. Thank you!
5 years ago
Thanks for this! My dog Archer looks exactly like yours - down the long legs and super large,deep chest! He took has sensitivity to lots of food and we are looking at going down this journey for homemade dog food. It is such a difficult process and I am hoping your pupper is doing well
Reply 5 years ago
Wow! In 5 years I haven't seen another dog that looks so much like mine. Even the way he reaches out to your other dog is the same. Do you know what breed he is? Is he also very skittish?
My girl is doing much better. I now give her a combination of puppy food and homemade food. And when her stomach starts acting up, I immediately give her otc anti diarrhea and antacid pills. (You'll want to check w a vet on meds)
Also, it's counterintuitive, but she does well with fats. Meat drippings, chicken skin, etc. You'll have to see what works for Asher.
Thank you so much for sharing! Let me know how he does : )
Reply 5 years ago
I was so surprised how similar they looked to each other - right down to the "Widow's peak" fur pattern on their head! He is a foster fail, and we got him DNA-ed and it came back as 50% Doberman (Which makes sense because of his deep chest) and 25% German Shepherd and 25% Lab. He is hyper-alert and will bark at a mosquito coughing across the street but he does love everyone and not too skittish.
He has lots of allergies to food and we have been feeding him Kangaroo kibble from Zignature, but I think I am going to try homemade food with Bison or something and start there. He does well with fats and coconut oil and also kefir with his food keeps him very regular and firm!
Thanks for all your support in this journey!
6 years ago
Thank you for sharing your journey. We have two year old dogs with rough digestive issues. Both came from the same place. Brother and sister. I bottle fed Mister (White one) gave him colostrum, (He was the runt) and he grew and eats everything, BUT when I say everything I mean everything! From sticks, to furniture, to poop, to pens, paper, books, We have them on organic, non grain kibble like food with extra organic chicken and he vomits...alot...I am about to buy a muzzle to protect him from himself. I can't leave him for 60 seconds without finding him chewing on something. The other one Kissy, is very diva like and barely eats. Dear Lord...I am slowly changing their diets to home made food and after another awakening this morning with Mister vomiting and just paying off thousands of dollars in vet bills I am desperate. How is your sweet pup doing now? I hope you found your answer.
Reply 6 years ago
Hi Lynn. I understand your frustration! My girl is almost 4 now and is doing much better. I still worry about getting her to eat, and she still throws up when she doesn't eat, but it's far less often. I now have her on dry puppy food mixed with extra protein - chicken, tuna etc. I sometimes also add extra fat, like beef drippings, if her weight is dropping too much. In addition, I've learned her subtle indications that she's starting to have a bad tummy episode. This allows me to do a few things. I'm usually able to get her outside before she vomits. This makes everyone happier. When her tummy is making loud noises, I know it's time to give her Imodium (vet approved), before she gets diarrhea. When there's nothing more for me to do, the vet prescribes anti-everything to get the episode under control.
Good luck. Let me know how it goes for you. I hope your pups start doing better!!
6 years ago
Thanks for sharing the recipe, my pet dog absolutely loved it, unfortunately I didnt take pictures. I could tell the happiness of my dog after watching his face. I saw another website that shared some homemade dog food recipes for sensitive stomach. However I am unsure should i try them, i just needed an advice from you.
Can you please review the recipes? Are they worth trying?