When making your own all-natural dog food, it's important to ensure your homemade meals will meet all your pooch's nutritional needs. Dogs are omnivores requiring a mix of meat, veggies and carbohydrates to get their necessary nutrients. Here are a few basic all-natural dog food recipes that will cover all the nutritional bases. You can tweak these recipes to you and your dog's liking.
Your dog will love the chance to chow down on some tasty meatballs specially designed to fit his health needs. To make muttballs, first preheat your oven to 350 F. Then heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pan on medium heat.
In a large bowl, mix one pound of ground beef, one finely grated carrot, 1/2 cup of frozen peas, 1/2 cup of cooked whole grain rice, one egg, one tablespoon of tomato paste and two tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix the ingredients by hand until they are just combined. Overworking the meat will make it tough. Next, scoop the meat mixture with an ice cream scooper and roll it into balls with your hands. You should have 24 meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You can adjust the ball size to suit the size of your pup.
Brown the muttballs on top and bottom in the oil you heated earlier. Transfer the muttballs to a non-stick cookie sheet and place the tray in the center of your oven. Bake the balls for about 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through with no pink inside. Allow the balls to cool completely before feeding them to your hungry pup. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator until next time.
Want your doggy friend to join in on the holiday festivities? This recipe is a great one to make with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner leftovers. To make "Thanksgiving Dinner for your dog," first heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized pot on medium-low heat. Next, add one cup of mashed sweet potatoes to the pot, and gradually whisk in one egg. Continue to stir the sweet potato and egg mixture occasionally.
In a separate pan, heat another tablespoon of oil on medium-low heat. Reheat one cup of cooked, diced turkey and one cup of cooked green beans (or other green vegetable of your choice) in the oil until they are warm. When the egg in the potato mixture is fully cooked, add a serving of this mixture to your dog's bowl. Layer a helping of the veggie and turkey mix over the sweet potatoes. Serve your Thanksgiving Dinner to Fido when it has cooled to room temperature.
Make sure to store your leftovers in the refrigerator. This recipe will make about three cups of food, but it can be adjusted to suit your dog's appetite and how many leftovers you'd like to share with him!
Hearty-Healthy Beef Stew
A hearty and healthy beef stew is a satisfying treat for your furry friend. To make your own doggy beef stew, first cut beef stew chunks into 1-inch pieces (smaller for very small breeds), then brown them in a large nonstick pot on medium heat. When the meat is browned, sprinkle it with two tablespoons of all-purpose or whole wheat flour. Turn the meat until it is completely coated and the flour absorbs the rendered fat from the meat.
Next, slowly pour six cups of beef stock (preferably low or no sodium added beef stock) over the meat. Add one cup of whole grain rice to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low or medium-low, bringing the stew down to a simmer.
At this stage you can add vegetables to your stew, such as frozen peas (one cup), and frozen sliced carrots (one cup). Allow the stew to simmer, covered, for one hour, or until the meat is fork-tender and the stew liquid is thickened to your liking.
Ladle a serving of stew into your pup's bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature before serving. This recipe will yield about eight cups of stew. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.
It's grilling time and your dog's tongue has just about reached the ground. If you want to include your pooch in the fun of barbecuing while still meeting all his nutritional needs, mix up a batch of these pup burgers just for him. You can grill them right alongside your own chow, just don't get them confused!
To make pup burgers, combine one pound of ground meat (this can be beef, pork, turkey or chicken) in a large bowl with one egg, 1/2 cup of quick oats, 1/2 cup of cooked green peas and 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
To form the patties, take a handful of meat mixture and form it into a patty, first rolling it into a ball, then flattening it and rounding the edges. Repeat this process until all the meat is formed into patties. Customize the patty size to fit your dog's needs -- make small patties for little pups and larger patties for big guys.
Cook the burgers on a griddle, in a large frying pan, or on the grill until they are well done. It is especially important to cook ground meat to well done to kill any pathogens. Your pup burgers should be browned on the outside with no pink left in the middle. For pork or poultry burgers, cook until the meat is white and firm.
Allow the pup burgers to cool to room temperature before letting your pal chow down. Leftover patties should be stored in the refrigerator.
Once in a while it's okay to let your dog indulge in a little dessert. This recipe for frozen yogurt will give your dog the chance to enjoy a sweet treat while still getting healthy servings of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
To make fido fro-yo, place two ripe bananas, two tablespoons of honey, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and four cups of plain low-fat yogurt in a food processor. If you mash the bananas ahead of time you can mix up this recipe by hand or with a mixer, but it will take a bit more time.
When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, transfer the blend into the bowl of an ice cream maker. If you don't have an ice cream maker, simply pour it into a freezer-safe container and pop it in your chill box.
If using an ice cream maker, run the machine for 25 minutes, and your fido fro-yo is ready to serve. Store the leftovers in a freezer-safe container in the freezer. If you are letting your yogurt freeze in a container, it will take about two hours until it is firm enough to scoop.
This recipe will produce about 10 - 1/2 cup servings of frozen yogurt for your furry friend to enjoy. If you prefer pre-portioning, you can spoon the yogurt into a popsicle tray and then freeze. This recipe should only be used if your dog is not lactose intolerant.
Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.