Homemade Chicken and Vegetable Dog Food Recipe · The Wildest

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You – Yes, You – Can Make Your Dog Homemade Chicken and Vegetables

Behold: the power of a home-cooked meal

by Claudia Kawczynska
31 October 2023
Pregnant woman cooks recipe in the kitchen with her dog
Boris Jovanovic / Stocksy

Instead of opting for a stressful visit to the pet store for dog food, many dog parents have a new take on Ina Garten’s famous advice: if you don’t like store-bought, homemade is (more than) fine.

To take the guesswork out of cooking for your pup, here’s a recipe from experts who have experience with homemade dog food.

This recipe will make approximately 9 kilograms of food, enough to feed a 20-kilogram dog two meals per day for a week. It contains 1,200 kilocalories per kilogram or about 34 kilocalories per 30 grams. This recipe was created with the help of an animal nutritionist, Dr Susan Lauten, and is balanced according to the National Research Council’s (NRC) guidelines.

The directions say you should use an electric pressure cooker, but a variety of other methods, including slow cookers (aka crockpots), poaching, roasting, sous vide or steaming are fine. It is much easier to use an electric pressure cooker, if we’re being honest.

The ingredients are fresh and uncooked, unless otherwise noted. The amounts must be followed closely, but you have flexibility in the choice of fruits and vegetables that you use. You can use thawed-out frozen varieties, too. The supplements are specific brands and provide a unique mix of necessary vitamins and minerals. As a note, in this homemade dog food recipe, we use organ meat including chicken hearts, livers and gizzards, and it’s important to use a kitchen scale to weigh each ingredient.

Because this recipe has a large volume of ingredients, make it into two batches; it will not fit into one pot, even the larger sizes. These cookers should not be filled to more than three-quarters of their capacity. The recipe can also be cut in half to make 4½ kilograms of food. Note that a 9-litre model was used in testing this recipe.

Homemade Chicken and Vegetable Dog Food Recipe

This recipe can be made in a slow cooker. Yields approximately 9 kilograms

INGREDIENTS

Animal protein sources
Important: Chicken can shrink by up to 30 percent during cooking; start with 4.5 kilograms of raw chicken to get 3 kilograms of cooked chicken.
2.5kg chicken breast meat, skinless, boneless (raw)
2kg chicken thigh meat, skinless, boneless (raw)
200g ounces chicken liver
85g chicken gizzards
85g chicken hearts
Six eggs (raw)
700ml chicken stock (made from cooking the chicken)
100g ounces canned sardines in spring water, drained

Vegetables and fruit
680g sweet potatoes (unpeeled)
280g carrots (unpeeled)
225g cabbage or broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.
115g kale or other leafy greens
225g butternut squash or similar squash
115g blueberries (or other kind of berry fresh or frozen)
340g green beans or peas
170g pumpkin purée
60ml parsley, stems included
225g apple

Seeds and grain
170g quick oats (dry)
115g dried chickpeas
45ml ground pumpkin seeds
45ml ground sunflower seeds
15ml chia seeds
15ml ground flax seed

Supplements
1 vitamin E, 100 international units
25ml calcium carbonate made from eggshells
10ml taurine powder
1 tablet zinc copper
2 tablets ground Centrum Women daily women’s multivitamin
1.25ml kelp powder

DIRECTIONS

STEP ONE

  • Using an electric pressure cooker, cook the dried chickpeas in 475 millilitres of water, using the ‘bean/chilli’ setting on high pressure for 20 minutes. This will produce 225 grams of cooked beans. Or you can use drained canned chickpeas.

  • Drain and cool the beans. Empty the pot.

STEP TWO

  • Cut the chicken into large chunks, trimming most of the fat. Roughly chop the organ meat (liver, etc.). Place half of the meat into the pot with 355 millilitres of water and cook on low pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl or pan. Reserve the broth.

  • Return 355 millilitres of broth to the cooker and add the rest of the raw meat. Repeat the cooking process.

  • Reserve the broth.

STEP THREE

  • Finely dice the sweet potatoes and the other vegetables and fruit, including the parsley, using a food processor, or by hand. Grind the cooked (or canned) chickpeas in a food processor.

  • Place half of the cooked chicken back into the pot, along with 340 millilitres of the reserved chicken broth and half of the vegetables, and cook for five minutes on low pressure; use the manual release. (Since the chicken has been cooked, ingredients only need to be cooked lightly – hence the shorter time.)

STEP FOUR

  • Add three beaten eggs, 115g of ground-up chickpeas, half of the ground seeds (excluding the flax seed, which is heat sensitive and will be added later), half the sardines, and 85g uncooked oats.

  • Stir together. The chicken and other ingredients must be mixed in well.

  • Keep warm in the covered pot for a few minutes (time for the eggs and oats to cook). Then remove the inner pot from the cooker and let the food cool.

Note: The oats, eggs and chia also act as binding/thickening agents.

STEP FIVE

  • Move that batch into a large bowl, then repeat the cooking process for the second batch of ingredients.

STEP SIX

  • Stir in and dissolve the supplements and ground flax seed in a small amount of the stock. If using the vitamins in capsules, be sure to break or cut in half, and grind the tablets. Sprinkle half on each batch of cooled food and incorporate it well. It is very important that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

  • Use the pulse function on a food processor to blend everything together. This will ensure that all ingredients have been equally dispersed and the food has a mushy, thickly puréed consistency. Or do it manually using a food masher, or even by hand.

  • Be sure to break apart the pieces of chicken (which should already be well-shredded) and mix with everything else extra-well.

Note: While some commercial fresh-cooked meals have recognisable bits of ingredients, that’s done mostly for our benefit. For dogs, a mush-like consistency aids in digestion and bioavailability.

Nutritional Information

Every dog is an individual, and amounts will vary with age and activity level. This guide is based on the estimated needs of an altered, moderately active adult dog.

Body Weight: 5 kilograms
Daily kcal: 349
Daily amount into two servings: 285 grams

Body Weight: 10 kilograms
Daily kcal: 586
Daily amount into two servings: 480 grams

Body Weight: 15 kilograms
Daily kcal: 794
Daily amount into two servings: 650 grams

Body Weight: 20 kilograms
Daily kcal: 986
Daily amount into two servings: 825 grams

Body Weight: 25 kilograms
Daily kcal: 1166
Daily amount into two servings: 965 grams

Body Weight: 30 kilograms
Daily kcal: 1337
Daily amount into two servings: 1100 grams

Body Weight: 35 kilograms
Daily kcal: 1501
Daily amount into two servings: 1250 grams

Sources Of Total Calories
Protein: 45.4 percent Carbohydrates: 24 percent Fat: 30 percent

Illustration of food bowlDog

Note: while caution was taken to give safe recommendations and accurate instructions in this article, it is impossible to predict an individual dog’s reaction to any food or ingredient. Readers should consult their vets and use personal judgement when applying this information to their own dogs’ diets.

Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bark for 20 years. She also edited the best-selling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot.

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