Homemade Made Easy

Why Homemade Food is the Best Choice for Your Pet!

Small dog large bone: EasyRawWhen we think about the finer things in life, food is always at the top of the list; and when we think of fine foods, we don’t think of them as plain, processed or overcooked.

We want our food full of fresh, colorful, whole ingredients exploding with flavor and nutrition. This slice of paradise isn’t exclusive to people…
our pets love it too!

Their sense of smell and taste are highly developed, meaning they dream of the fresh, bountiful ingredients just like we do!

So why are we feeding them boring kibble and canned food for every meal? It’s time to make a change; it’s time for homemade! But don’t panic; homemade doesn’t mean buying lots of ingredients at the grocery store and toiling away in the kitchen. There are a number of packaged homemade pet foods that only need to be mixed with water and served. It might sound simple, but it offers a whole new level of taste and nutrition for your pet.

Homemade isn’t just a food type, it’s a food choice! And it’s one of the best choices you can make to give your pets the gift of a long, healthy, and, most importantly, better quality life.

Top 5 Reasons to Switch to Homemade

(Be warned:  Pets love it so much, they won’t go back!):

1.       Homemade Means “Nature Made” as well

Your dog and cat are not “kibblevores”. They both have extremely advanced digestive systems that crave fresh, nutrient dense, raw foods. In nature, they would be eating an entire animal: this means plenty of raw meat with digestive system supporting probiotics and essential fatty acids; the stomach content of their prey, which would be filled with plant matter that’s high in vitamins and minerals; and a good amount of hydrating fluids from the blood and water rich organs.

Homemade pet food diets recreate this raw meat and vegetable feast, without all the mess!

Some of them feature large, appetizing chunks of raw meat that have been freeze dried, so the protein doesn’t lose the beneficial nutrients that are mostly absent from processed foods. And all of them contain human quality meat with an array of dehydrated fruits and vegetables. These fruits and veggies are not only delicious to your pet, but they’re rich in nutrients missing in the meat, like vitamin C and other antioxidants. Plus, homemade diets are prepared by you with fresh water, which hydrates your pet and offers them a delicious broth.

2.       Variety Is the Spice of Life

When you buy your pets’ kibble, you know the type and relative amount of protein because of the guaranteed analysis and ingredients list. But if you were to just look at the food out of the bag, would you know the ingredients? Probably not. That’s because most kibbles and canned foods are so processed and cooked, they become a single texture, with a single color, and a single flavor.

Homemade diets are different! Once you add water, you’ll see quality proteins that plump up, a flavorful broth form, and shredded vegetables that you can actually see. These combine to give your pets a variety of textures and flavors that will keep them happy and healthy.

3.       Who Wants Cornflakes Everyday Anyway?

When you commit to a kibble or canned diet for your pets, the most effective way to feed them is to buy the largest bag or case. Unfortunately, this is like buying a 40 pound bag of cornflakes or a bucket of canned pasta! With their relatively short shelf lives and depleting freshness once you open them up, kibble and canned diets are not the first choice when looking for a freshly prepared, homemade diet.

Homemade diets are preserved in unique ways (by freeze drying, air drying, or dehydrating) giving them a stable shelf life.

This lets you mix and match your flavors, so you won’t be feeding the same meal over and over again, giving your pets the diet diversity they crave. (To learn more about the importance of variety, please read our article “Why Switch Foods.”)

4.       Your Pet Is Family

Preparing meals for your family isn’t just a means of feeding them; it’s a ritual that teaches us the importance of connection, patience, and love.

EasyRaw Dog wearing chef hatNothing disrupts this experience more than simply dumping kibble or a can into a bowl. Homemade food lets you include your pet in the process! Their food can soak while you prepare yours, and even though most homemade mixes are complete meals, there’s no rule against adding some of your cooking scraps (Only healthy ones, of course. To learn more, read this article about dangerous pet foods to avoid by the ASPCA).

This process lets you bond with your pets in more ways than you might think. It lets you see their food first hand, so you know you’re giving them whole, nutritious meals. Plus, it’s a great way to reinforce your role in your pets’ lives. They’ll know you’re the one who decides when it’s time to eat. You’re not merely providing a meal, you’re providing a routine.

5.       Who Doesn’t Want a Homemade Meal?

The truth of the matter is that homemade tastes better, and is healthier for our pets! Most homemade meals allow you to just add fresh water, wait, and serve, which makes a huge difference when compared to processed, premade foods.

22 thoughts on “Homemade Made Easy

  1. There are many raw food advocates that believe feeding dogs raw turkey/chicken
    bones from the wings, neck leg (depending on size of dog) is not only okay but beneficial.
    The raw bones don’t splinter like the cooked bone does and it also serves to clean the teeth of dogs.
    This apparently is not ASPCA’s belief.

    1. I believe part of that is that like our government has lobbyist, the ASPCA and other organizations all work together with processed pet food companies. Another reason may be that some people don’t take the time to feed raw properly. For example not just any bones can be fed, you need non weight bearing bones and they can’t be cooked to avoid splintering.

      Precautions must be taken to achieve well being, and this requires research especially if your vet won’t work with you.

  2. I’ve been preparing my dog’s meals in my own kitchen for the past couple of years. I don’t trust commercial pet foods since there were so many recalls and–let’s face it–pet food producers are only in it for profit. My dog requires a very lowfat diet (vet’s orders) and has several food allergies, so I can address these issues when preparing her food. I do NOT feed raw meat, but cook it. Her protein is very lean grass-fed bison with organic veggies, fruits and a bit of oatmeal. I don’t use those dry packaged “mixes”, either. I cook from scratch because she’s worth it. I can’t put a price tag on the joy she’s given me, and I am happy to take care of her.

    Contrary to what too many people think, although wolves may have been domesticated dogs’ original ancestors, canine pets have evolved far beyond wolves. I’m so tired of reading that pet dogs would eat raw meat, fur, bones, etc. “…if they were in the wild.” Listen, people–pet dogs are NOT in the wild. They live with people! They are not strict carnivores, but omnivores. My dog loves veggies and fruits! She’s trim, healthy and happy.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association, the FDA and the CDC all recommend NOT feeding pets raw or undercooked meats or other foods from animal sources because of potential pathogens, such as salmonella and campylobacter, as well as possible parasitic infestation. The AVMA states in it’s FAQs on this topic that raw food advocates have not proven their claims, which are only testimonial. No published peer-reviewed studies exist to support claims that raw food diets are beneficial to pets rather than harmful.

    I realize my comment is controversial and will stir up a hornet’s nest among raw food advocates, but I prefer to listen to my dog’s vet, the AVMA, the FDA and the CDC about this matter.

      1. I would like your recipe also. I have a mini schnauzer and I want to keep her from getting pancreas problems as they are prone to it.

    1. I’ve been homecooking for my dog for the last year. I love it and find it fun to give him variety and healthful food. I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve written, except the part about bones. I’ve found that raw bones do splinter also. My dog got a bone stuck in his trachea that was sharp. He was choking and vomiting blood. It finally passed on its own just as he was about to go into surgery. The only bones I give him are the round marrow bones.

    2. Hello, I agree with Jaye ( reply #2). I poach salmon, add small diced yams, green peas, and small diced carrots. Also I use ground turkey, lamb with same veggies.
      Happy loves it and is thriving. No more allergies, more energy, it is lowfat so it has
      lowered his weight which was necessary.

      1. My dog has allergies in that his nose runs (thick mucus) constantly. I think I will give your recipe a try. We put him on antibiotics and it did not do any good.

    3. Thanks for your comments. I too cook my dogs their food. They had serious digestive issues and just really were not interested in kibble or canned food and after all the recalls I just did not trust commercial foods anymore. My dogs get all organic meat and vegetables. The food I make them consists of boiled, chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and green beans. I think they eat better than I do, but like you I agree they are totally worth the effort. My dogs too love vegetables and fruit. I also am in agreement with you about not giving my guys raw meat and bones. My rule is if I will not ingest it then my dog should not either.

      1. Hi Tara, I have a mini schnauzer and want to start making her own food and I like your list, can you please give me some recipes or guidelines on how to put a morning meal and an eve meal together properly. Thanks!

    4. Your comment isnt controversial, it is wrong. Numerous peer reviewed, published studies exist that outline campylobacter and salmonella existing in commercial animal food in substantial amounts. A study by the National University of Ireland in 2008 shows irradiation and pasturization on commercial pet food reduced vitamin A levels below that required for growth and reproduction. The physical requirements of an animal, developed over thousands of years, do not change because it has been domesticated. It doesn’t change because it lives with you.

      That said the diet you prepare for your dog sounds like a good one. I prepare a different diet for my pet, for different reasons.

      Please dont close you mind to new things. Do the study required to have an informed opinion. I was a lobbyist by profession, and can tell you that the AVMA, the FDA and the CDC, and perhaps even your Vet, can all be wrong. The money to conduct studies to support a new idea is often just not there. That is not because the supposition is wrong; it is because commercial interests can fund one point of view that supports the view that lines their pockets. In that situation one can wait for the science to catch up, or gather enough information on his own and draw his own conclusions. Until the argument about raw feeding has developed enough to cause the trade organizations and medical establishment to change their opinions (or not) I will continue to inform myself and make decisions for my beloved pets accordingly.

    5. I now have 4 rescues, all with different issues and I have been home cooking for them for several years. I use organic grass fed beef or bison, fish, eggs, lots of vegetables, oatmeal, rice, salmon oil. I load it up in the crock pot and cook it on low. They all love it and have all been helped, from weak kidneys, allergies, overweight. I also keep Dr. Harvey’s Miracle Canine Mix and Honest Kitchen on hand which are both organic and human grade. I would never feed them canned dog food, full of the 4 d’s (dead, dying, diseased, disabled). They would each one defend me to the death if required, and they deserve the best I can give them. There are lots of recipes online, just google homemade dog food (and cat food) recipes. Good luck!

    6. Read Kymythy Schultz’s book and Dr. Ian Billinghurst’s book. The evolutionary timeline: Prehistoric carnivores (dog’s ancestors) were 120 million years ago. Commercial pet food=60 years ago. In relation to 120 million years ago, 60 years ago was yesterday! Dogs have been being forced to settle for commercial food out of convenience for people (or no one would have pets). Also, the healthy, naturally raw-fed dog’s body is made to deal with bacteria and contaminated foods. See Give Your Dog a Bone by Dr. Ian Billinghurst (a veterinarian).

  3. We have been making dog food for 25 years. We stopped chicken because of possible allergies, but we do give them eggs (we have fresh, free range eggs) beef, lamb, pork, fish and kidney beans, veggies, brown rice, and pasta. We of course add a multi-mineral vitamin, and I make dog biscuits (for treats) with soy, whole wheat,and rye flours; eggs, canola oil, cornmeal, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, molasses, garlic, bone meal, kelp, Vitamin C and brewer’s yeast. I brush a molasses, egg and oil mixture on top before baking. THEY LOVE IT!

  4. After my dog had two surgeries for oxalate bladder stones, I went to UC Davis Vet. Nutrition Dept and had a custom homemade diet formulated. That was 7 years ago. My little guy is now 15 and no one can believe it when they see him. Sure, he’s lost some hearing and has minor issues, but is in great shape for his age and I attribute it mainly to his food and supplements (and lots of love!). There is a vitamin/mineral supplement the people at UC Davis have developed that anyone feeding homemade should look into. You can find it (as well as recipes for homemade diets) on this website: http://www.balanceit.com

    1. Thank you, Lori for the web address of UC Davis. I also make my dog’s food from fresh, and she loves it. I am also now being very selective with immunizations and flea and tick treatments, as my girl has had two negative reactions. Like everyone here, she means the world to me and I really enjoy watching her clean her food bowl with such enthusiasm. I also give daily vitamin tablets and add fish oil, glucosamine, plant enzymes and probiotics daily and cranberry powder(this just 2 times a week). Now when we are training, I use Ziwi Peak as rewards because they are little tiny square pieces of raw food diet; they keep well in your pocket, are clean to handle and good nutrition instead of junk. My girl is a beautiful all black GSD and my constant companion. I would love more recipes to try. This is all wonderful information.

      1. Hi Marcia, just wanted to tell you about a natural flea product I have been using on my precious baby that really works and no harsh smells like some of the natural flea treatments. I refuse to put those poisons on my Queenie and I now only use a product called Flea The Scene by Happy Tails. I work part time a a dog daycare and we started carrying it the beginning of the summer and it works wonders. I spray her before we go on our walks to potty and no fleas. Just wanted to give you an option that I discovered.

  5. I began home cooking for my dog several years ago, due to the fact that for quite some time he had uncontrollable seizures that were made much worse by chemicals. (Both in food, vaccinations and flea/tick products.) Once the food issue was resolved, I had to deal with how to make treats. I bought a dehydrator and it was the best product I have ever purchased for him. I wait for quality meats to go on sale and cut them up and dehydrate them. I freeze them and take the baggies out when needed. He absolutely loves everything–chicken, beef, bison, chicken hearts, etc. I recently started dehydrating sweet potatoes and bananas and he loves them as well. Besides being much healthier, it has turned out to be far less expensive than the organic treats bought in stores. One of these days, I am going to start dehydrating for the humans in the family as well!

  6. I am interested in the correlation between seizures and diet. My 3 year old GSD has a history of diarrhea and weight loss. She recently began having seizures and is now on meds to control them. She is definitely very different since beginning these meds. I had been making home cooked stew for her as a puppy and also fed a dog food suggested by her vet. After much reading about dietary issues I thought perhaps she had an allergy and started a limited diet by Natural balance and stopped the home cooked stew. Now I just don’t know what to do.

    1. I have a cat with hydrocephalus (high pressure in the spinal canal and brain) He began having seizures at 18 months. Because it was a cat, I began to feed an all chicken raw diet (from UCDavis) It reduced the seizures about 50%. That was enough to avoid medication. Of course no one knows why it had this effect, but I am guessing the no carb diet has a diuretic effect, which is helpful in seizures from hydrocephalus. That would not be a good diet for a dog of course. And his seizures most likely have a different cause. I did learn a lot from consultations with DVM neurologists in my area. That might be something you could do. Neurology is fairly rare and most Vets dont have much experience with it. Good luck to you and your little guy..

  7. Very good post!
    I feed my dog and cat with home made food.
    The cat is on the raw diet, I follow the recipe from the book :Dr. Pitcairn’s complete guide to natural health for dogs and cats by Dr. Pitcairn.
    This book has good info. about common illness.
    My dog is also home made diet but it’s cook diet and I am thinking to switch to raw.
    I never thought much about food till I lost my cat. Then I started to read about health and diet. I am not a vet. but now (after all my reading..and I never stop to read about the subject) I am very confident and I can talk to my vet. with some knowledge.
    Thank you for the suggestions!

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