Vet-Approved Nutritionally Complete Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Cooking for your dog can be a lot of fun and strengthens your bond with your canine pal. But did you know that many homemade dog food recipes are deficient in one or more essential nutrients? Over time, an unbalanced diet can cause serious health problems for your pup.

Homemade dog food recipes are often incomplete and not safe for long-term use. Fortunately, you can get a free recipe for complete and balanced homemade dog food from Balance IT® or Just Food for Dogs®. These companies offer recipe creation software and DIY kits to make dog food that is safe to feed every day.

It’s always a good idea to discuss major diet changes with your veterinarian first. But I want to show you what’s available to you. So, in this article, I’ll share a couple sample recipes from the professional animal nutritionists at these two companies.

You Can Make Safe Homemade Dog Food

In general, homemade dog food needs a source of protein, all the essential fatty acids, all the required vitamins and minerals and enough fiber to optimize digestion. These components must be present in the proper ratio to the other ingredients.

It’s not an easy thing to make a safe homemade dog food recipe!

Researchers have analyzed hundreds of recipes for homemade dog food. Invariably, they find the recipes are deficient in one or more vital nutrients. 

One of these studies done in 2013 looked at more than 200 recipes and found that only a handful of them was nutritionally complete and balanced. And all of those were written by veterinarians! (1)

It is possible to create safe, nutritionally complete and balanced dog food at home. But it requires careful analysis based on data that are difficult for consumers to find.

Thanks to a couple of innovative companies, anyone can make nutritionally complete homemade dog food. And these recipes are safe to be fed every day, long-term.

If you are the owner of a healthy adult dog, check out the free recipe software at The company was founded by board-certified veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Sean Delaney. There, you can choose from hundreds of common and exotic food items to produce a recipe and instructions for making safe, nutritious dog food. 

You also need to order a powdered supplement from them to make it complete and balanced. I’ve been using these products for years, and I know that dogs accept them. The supplement is easier to use and is no more expensive than buying a bunch of separate supplements.

If your dog has specific health issues or is a puppy under 12 months old, you can purchase a custom recipe made by one of Balance IT’s veterinary nutritionists. 

Complete & Balanced Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Here are a couple of sample recipes from and Just Food for Dogs. They’re both simple and made with ingredients found in any grocery store. 

You can make your own custom recipe based on your dog’s unique needs at You can find five other recipes on the Just Food for Dogs website. Ask your vet for help deciding on ingredients appropriate for your dog.

Both recipes are appropriate for healthy dogs, not dogs with significant health conditions. is the best place to get a recipe for dogs with health conditions (you’ll need help from your veterinarian).

This recipe was reproduced with permission from

Hands mixing chicken and rice in a large metal bowl (recipes for homemade dog food)

Turkey & Rice Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Recipe for one day’s worth of food for a healthy adult 35 lb. dog. 

Ground turkey, 85% lean, 15% fat, pan-broiled crumbles (approx. 83% lean)202 g/7 1/8 oz
Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked220 g/1 1/8 cup
Oil, corn, all purpose salad or cooking11 g/2 3/8 tsp
Beans, snap, green, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained without salt85 g/5/8 cup
Applesauce, canned, unsweetened, without added ascorbic acid61 g/1/4 cup
Balance IT® Canine powder9.1 g/3 5/8 teaspoon
  1. All ingredients should be purchased and prepared. The method of cooking, if any, is typically listed within the ingredient name.
  2. Measure or weigh and then chop large pieces.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  4. Prepared food can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.

NOTE: Food should not be re-heated after Balance IT Canine powder is mixed in. For batch cooking options, make your own recipe and choose Balance IT Canine Plus powder which can be re-heated once.

Nutrition Facts (for entire recipe)

  • Calories: 909 Calories
  • Protein: 25% protein calories (226 Calories)*
  • Fat: 47% fat calories (432 Calories)*
  • Carbohydrate: 28% carbohydrate calories (252 Calories)*
  • Moisture: 70.4%
  • Deficiencies: None, based on AAFCO, with supplement added, 15 deficiencies without supplement added.

Just Food for Dogs® is a California-based company that sells prepared fresh dog food made from human-grade ingredients. They employ veterinarians and animal nutritionists on their staff and have been offering high-quality products since 2010. JFFD products are a great option if you want to feed fresh, human food to your dog without having to cook it yourself. 

In addition to prepared dog food, they offer DIY Kits with a recipe and powdered supplement to make your own dog food at home. The company states that its recipes have been through third-party feeding trials and are complete and balanced according to AAFCO approved canine nutrition standards.

At last check, they offered six different protein-based recipes and supplements–the recipes are free but the powdered supplement is paid. They have options for feeding puppies as well as recipes to make in an Instant Pot® or slow cooker.

I’ve made several of the JFFD recipes and they’re simple and well-accepted by my dogs.

lean ground beef cooking in a pan

Beef & Russet Potato Homemade Dog Food

Recipe for 9 days worth of food for a healthy adult 35 lb. dog. 

lean ground beef, 80/20 or 85/15 5 pounds, raw weight
Beef liver, diced or ground2.5 ounces, raw weight
Russet potatoes, with skin3 pounds 9 ounces
Sweet potatoes, with skin1 pound 14 ounces
Carrots, finely chopped5 ounces
Green beans, finely chopped5 ounces
Green peas, finely chopped2.5 ounces
Green or red apples, cored, seeds removed, finely chopped2.5 ounces
Safflower oil3.75 ounces
JustFoodForDogs Omega Plus Fish Oil1 Tablespoon
JustFoodForDogs Beef and Russet Potato DIY Nutrient Blend3 Tablespoons


  1. Wash all vegetables thoroughly.
  2. Use fresh vegetables whenever possible, but if one or two items must be frozen, make sure there are no added ingredients such as salt or sugar.
  3. Be sure to use ripe potatoes, without any shades of green.
  4. Prepare a 1-quart ice bath. Once the potatoes are cooked, the ice will be used to cool them and to stop the cooking process so they retain their texture.
  5. Make absolutely certain that all apples have been cored and all seeds removed — apple core/seeds can be toxic to dogs.


  1. In a nonstick skillet, brown beef and beef liver over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Add carrots, green beans, peas and apples while beef is slightly pink. Continue to cook until beef is fully cooked and vegetables are soft. Do not drain. Let the mixture cool until it is warm to the touch.
  2. Bring water to a rapid boil in an appropriately sized pot. In the meantime, dice the russet and sweet potatoes (do not peel) to 1/4” or an appropriate bite size for your dog. Add potatoes to the water and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until fully cooked (soft to the touch). Add ice to stop the cooking process. Drain. Let the potatoes cool until they are cool to the touch.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, after the food has cooled completely, combine all ingredients, including oils. Slowly sprinkle in DIY Nutrient Blend until fully incorporated.
  4. Portion into individual-serving sizes and store in freezer or refrigerator. Stored in the refrigerator, this recipe will stay fresh 4-6 days.

NOTE: See the website for instructions on freezing and thawing extra food. The food should not be reheated as that can decrease the nutritional value.

This recipe was published with permission from JFFD. You can find more FREE recipes on their site under the DIY Homemade Kits section. You must order and use the nutrient blend to make the recipe into a complete and balanced diet for long-term use.

Homemade Supplemental Dog Foods

Maybe you’re not ready to jump in with both feet on feeding homemade food just yet. You can still give your dog the enrichment of eating fresh food while providing most of his nutrition from commercial dog food. Just make sure that you keep the quantity small, not exceeding about 10% of the total food allotment.

You can make it up in a batch and freeze part of it and refrigerate the other part. It should keep fresh in the refrigerator for 4-6 days. 

rotisserie chicken

Homemade Dog Food Topper Recipe

NOTE: This recipe is not meant for long-term feeding. It is appropriate as a commercial food topper only and should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily nutrition.

IngredientVolume Measure
Rotisserie chicken, diced (no skin or bone, meat only)1 cup
Instant white or brown rice, cooked per package instructions1 cup
Frozen green peas, cooked¼ cup
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet2 tsp.
  1. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and stir to mix well. 
  2. Use about 2 tablespoons for a small dog, 1/4 cup for medium dogs and 1/2 cup for large dogs as a food topper. Remember to reduce quantity of dry food to avoid overfeeding.
  3. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks. 

You can chop the mixture in a food processor if your dog prefers it that way. You may also add low sodium chicken broth to make it a smoother texture. 

Instead of chicken and rice, you can make this with other lean meats like ground turkey, beef, pork or even canned tuna. It’s OK to substitute another cooked/chopped vegetable for the peas. Try broccoli, green bean, asparagus or Brussels sprouts. 

Introduce any new food slowly and watch for stomach upset.

What home cook doesn’t love making treats for their dog? You can find recipes and photos on Pinterest that look like they came out of a Parisian Bakery.

While those are fun to look at, let’s admit it–dogs scarf treats down super fast and the aesthetic beauty is completely lost on them. 

Why not try a simple, healthy dog treat recipe that requires only one ingredient? These are very popular with dogs and keep them busy chewing for a while.

sweet potatoes for dog chew treats

Homemade Dog Chews Recipe


1-2 Large sweet potatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F.
  2. Wash and dry sweet potato with clean water. 
  3. Slice lengthwise into ¼  inch thick slices with a large, sharp knife or mandoline.
  4. Place slices in a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  5. Cook in 175 degrees F oven for 4 to 8 hours, checking hourly for doneness. Cooking is finished when slices are dried but still a bit pliable.
  6. Allow slices to cool and dry for about 8 hours before giving to your dog for best results. Store extras in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.

How to Safely Add Homemade Food to Your Dog’s Diet

Many dogs are very sensitive to food changes. When they eat one kind of food for a long time, their gut microbiome becomes accustomed to those ingredients. The good bugs might have a hard time metabolizing new foods, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

To avoid the digestive upset, introduce new food gradually over a period of 7 to 10 days. If you’re feeding commercial dog food with a homemade dog food topper, start with a teaspoon for small dogs and a tablespoon for large dogs.

Feed that amount for a few days and watch for signs of digestive upset. If you notice changes for the worse, stop the food for a few days and start again more slowly after digestion returns to normal.

Key Points

  1. Homemade dog food must have a source of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for proper digestion.
  2. Most homemade dog food recipes are deficient in one or more essential nutrients. Complete and balanced recipe formulation requires the advanced knowledge of a professionally trained animal nutritionist.
  3. BalanceIT and Just Food for Dogs both offer free recipes for easy-to-make homemade dog food that are nutritionally complete and balanced.
  4. Homemade dog food toppers and treats are easy to make but should not comprise more than about 10% of a dog’s total caloric intake.
  5. Talk to your veterinarian for help choosing an appropriate homemade dog food recipe for your dog.

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Stockman, J., Fascetti, A. J., Kass, P. H., & Larsen, J. A. (2013). Evaluation of recipes of home-prepared maintenance diets for dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 242(11), 1500-1505.