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10 Homemade Dog Food Recipes for Small Dogs (Vet Answer)

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By Dr. Emma Chandley

a young woman cooking with her dog in the kitchen

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Written by

Dr. Emma Chandley

BVetMed PGCertSAS MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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In recent times, it has become increasingly common for dog owners to start making their own dog food at home. It may seem like a simple thing to do, but it comes with great responsibility. Cooking food for dogs is slightly more complicated than cooking food for humans. There are some important guidelines to follow in order to keep your dog fit and thriving.

Dog owners that cook for their dogs at home may often find recipes that are suitable for larger dogs and use up lots more ingredients. They aren’t convenient for small dogs as due to the amount of food cooked, it will end up going off fairly quickly. If you have a large freezer, you can fill it up, but there might not be any room for anything else! This is why we have come up with handy recipes for small dogs.

All of the recipes below make small batches of food. They will last a couple of weeks and won’t clog up your freezer or end up with you wasting lots of ingredients. Read on to find out more.

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The 10 Homemade Dog Food Recipes for Small Dogs

1. Meatloaf Dog Food Recipe

Meatloaf

Meatloaf Dog Food Recipe

The creator of this delicious meatloaf recipe has a picky eater and wanted to create tasty food on a budget. This one has the added bonus that it will make your house smell amazing too!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Cuisine Dogs
Servings 24
Calories 1500 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 Large mixing bowl for the oven

Ingredients
  

  • 3 1/4 Cup Grated veggies (sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, zucchini) You do not have to use all the veggies that are mentioned.
  • 2 Lbs Ground beef
  • 1 1/2 Cup Old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 Unit Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Cottage cheese
  • 1/8 Cup Ground flax seeds

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Lightly butter two meatloaf pans and place ingredients in the pans. Bake in the oven for 20 to 24 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool. You can cut the meatloaf into single-serving portions and keep them in your freezer.
  • Defrost each portion a day in advance in your refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 84grCalories: 1500kcal
Keyword Meatloaf, Meatloaf Dog Food Recipe

 

  • Get the full recipe here.

2. Chicken and Veggie Dog Food

chicken breast on a white background
Image Credit: SUNG MIN, Shutterstock

This is made by the same person, and the best thing about it is its ease and simplicity—it’s simply grilled chicken breast and veggies! It also takes very little time to prepare and is packed with nutrients, and you can add some brown rice to bulk it up if you want.

Ingredients
  • Lean chicken breast
  • Mixed veggies (broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, zucchini)
  • Brown rice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook the chicken breast without any salt or seasoning. Chop up veggies and steam until cooked but still a little crunchy.
  3. After the chicken is cooked, chop it up into bite-size pieces, and mix in with the veggies—but make sure there is more meat than veggies. Save and refrigerate any leftovers for another day.
  • Read the full recipe here.

3. TexMex for Pups

Man hands in black gloves cutting chicken fillet on oak board
Image Credit: GCapture, Shutterstock

This recipe by The Dog Bakery is packed full of protein and vegetables. While this may take a bit more prep and cooking time than some other recipes, your dogs will adore the rich flavor of this bean-infused meal.

Ingredients
  • 4 sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of drained black beans
  • 1 cup of drained kidney beans
  • 1 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Cook chicken in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat until it is no longer pink.
  2. Add the cooked chicken, beans, carrots, tomato paste, and chicken broth into a pot and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Allow mixture to cool and then serve and refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days
  • Check out the recipe here.

4. Beefy Rice

savory fried rice in a bowl
Image Credit: zhangtingzhi, Pixabay

This recipe is a take on fried rice, but healthier and beefier. Again, there is a fair amount of prep, but your pooch will love the rich rice and beef combination. You can even add a couple eggs for added flavor and a protein boost.

Ingredients
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 small, medium-sized potato (thinly sliced)
  • 6 green beans, chopped
  • ¼ cup rice
  • 3 ¼ cup water
  • 1 or 2 eggs (optional)
Instructions
  1. Brown the beef mince in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Combine the rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 4 minutes (depending on the rice you choose)
  3. Add 3 cups of water, beans, and potatoes to a pot and simmer until tender
  4. Drain vegetables and add to meat with rice. Stir until well combined.
  5. Wait until cool to serve
  6. If adding eggs, fry them off in a rough omelet style, and add before serving.
  • Read more on how to make it here. 

5. Very Berry Biscuits

homemade blueberry dog treats
Image Credit: RoJo Images, Shutterstock

Did you know it’s possible to make your own delicious dog treats too? This recipe is by the same author and provides all the details of how to knock up a batch of these irresistible biscuits. They contain eggs for added protein, plus nutrient-filled berries for a flavor your pooch will adore. These biscuits are the perfect training tool, too!

Ingredients
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups almond meal
  • ¾ flax meal
  • ½ cup berry mix (blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking or parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients together until well combined to form a dough.
  4. Roll out the dough and use whatever shape you like to cut out individual biscuits.
  5. Bake them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Wait until cool to serve.
  • Check out the detailed recipe here.

6. Easy Doggie Omelet

Egg omelette on a plate
Image Credit: mhburton, Pixabay

This recipe is quick and easy to make for your dog from scratch, and especially useful if you haven’t got any food batch-cooked in the freezer and need a quick meal. Plus, it’s delicious and contains eggs for a great protein boost and salmon with healthy omega fatty acids.

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • Smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Lightly grease a small oven-safe bowl with olive oil.
  3. Add ingredients to the bowl and stir.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Cool and serve.
  • Read the full recipe instructions here.  

7. Chicken with Oatmeal

Oatmeal on a white bowl
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

This recipe uses oatmeal as the main carbohydrate. This can be useful if your dog struggles to digest wheat or grain, plus it has chicken as a healthy protein source and delicious veggies too. Best of all—it’s quick and easy to prepare.

Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts (diced)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dog-friendly vegetables (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the chicken in the oil until browned.
  3. Add the broth, oats, and vegetables to the pan.
  4. Simmer the food for 10 minutes.
  5. Be sure the meal is completely cooled before feeding your pet.
  • Read the full recipe here.

8. DIY Homemade Dog Food

woman is cooking food in the kitchen
Image Credit: Joe L, Pexels

This is a versatile recipe that can be chopped and changed depending on what you have in your fridge and cupboard. It uses turkey as the main protein source, which can be a great change from chicken or beef. It’s also packed with nutrients and easy to prepare.

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds of ground turkey
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • ½ cup peas, canned or frozen
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan with 3 cups of water, cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned (about 3–5 minutes), making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
  3. Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas, and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through (about 3–5 minutes).
  4. Let cool completely before serving.
  • Read more details about this recipe here. 

9. Homemade Dog Food in a Crockpot

Crockpot in a kitchen
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

This recipe is convenient and easy as you can just throw all the ingredients into your crockpot and let the pot do the work! It will make around 12 cups of food and is a balanced and nutritious meal for your pooch.

Ingredients
  • 2 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 ½ cups chopped carrots
  • ½ cup peas, frozen or canned
Instructions
  1. Stir in ground beef, brown rice, kidney beans, butternut squash, carrots, peas, and 4 cups of water in a slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 5–6 hours or high heat for 2–3 hours, stirring as needed.
  3. Let cool completely before serving.
  • Check out the full recipe here. 

10. Doggy Style Beef Stew

beef stew on white background
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

This recipe from Canine Journal is packed full of iron and is quick and easy to make. We all love a hearty beef stew, and your pooch will adore this delicious, healthy recipe! Depending on your dog, you’ll also have plenty of leftovers you freeze or refrigerate for additional meals.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound of beef stew meat
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup of carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup of green beans, diced
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm but tender. Set aside.
  2. Slice the beef into small chunks about the size of a nickel. Cook the pieces in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10–15 minutes or until well-done.
  3. Remove the beef chunks from the pan, reserving the drippings.
  4. Heat the drippings over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour and water to the drippings while whisking to create a thick gravy.
  5. Add the meat, diced sweet potato, carrots, and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat.
  6. Cook until the carrots are tender (about 10 minutes).
  7. Let cool and serve, and store the remaining stew in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Read the full recipe here.

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Why Make Homemade Food for Your Dog?

There are many advantages to making your own dog food. One of the main draws is that you can control precisely what is going into the food, so you know that your dog is getting fresh, good-quality ingredients. You can source the food from reputable places and use organic products if possible. Whole food ingredients are considered a healthier option compared to processed food from factories. Before you decide to start making your dog’s food, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Calculate how many calories your dog requires per day. If you are not sure how to, your vet will be able to guide you. This depends on your dog’s age, weight, exercise levels, and any underlying health issues. There are a few things that will influence how many calories your dog burns per day. It is important to get this right before you start as too many or too few calories will have detrimental effects on your dog’s health.
  • Ensure the recipes you use are vet approved and complete. They need to contain the correct proportions of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and other nutrients. If you are missing any of the major food groups, this can do severe damage to your dog’s health long term.
  • Making your own dog food is time-consuming. Ensure you have enough time to dedicate to cooking and storing the food each week.
  • Ensure you can afford to buy the ingredients each week. Normally batch cooking homemade food does work out cheaper compared to raw or fresh commercial dog food, but it is usually the same price or slightly more expensive than kibble. Make sure you factor this into your weekly shopping and budget for it.
  • It may be necessary to batch-cook a few different recipes and store them if you have a picky eater. This way you can offer them different foods on different days to keep them interested.

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Correct Nutrition for Dogs

Dogs have specific nutritional needs just like humans do. Correct nutrition is so important for dogs as imbalanced diets lead to nutrient and vitamin deficiencies which, long term, can cause a lot of problems for your dog.

There are 6 essential nutrients all dogs require.

These are:
  • Water
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates (including fiber)
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Homemade diets require the correct amount of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fiber. Due to the fact that in the wild, dogs would usually eat animal or vegetable matter, including contents of smaller animals’ intestines and bones, they would be getting the correct balance of nutrients. If we are making our own food at home, we don’t usually include these parts, so vitamins and minerals need to be added.

A rough guide for the composition of food includes:
  • Protein: At least 10% but aim for closer to 20%, especially if your dog is a youngster that is still growing.
  • Carbohydrates: Usually around 50%
  • Fiber: 3–5% This can come from the carbohydrate source or vegetables
  • Fat: 6%
  • Vitamins and Minerals: This depends on your dog and its health status. Some dogs require more of certain things, always consult your vet before picking a supplement.

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How Much Food Should I Cook at Once?

As mentioned above, the first thing you need to do is to calculate how many calories your dog requires per day. Then you need to find some recipes and work out how many calories each portion is. When you know these things, you can start planning how much of each recipe you need and how much you want to cook for the week.

Food in the fridge will last approximately 5 days, depending on the sell-by date of the ingredients used. If you freeze some of the food, it can last up to 6 months, however, you need to allow time for it to defrost every day. Remember to divide your food into individual portions so you can easily grab one from the fridge or the freezer.

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Making the Transition to Homemade Dog Food

If you have recently decided to change your dog to homemade food from commercial dog food, there are a few steps you need to follow for a smooth transition.

Start by adding small amounts of homemade dog food to your dog’s commercial food. Monitor their reaction closely.  After a week or so, gradually increase the amount of the homemade food and reduce the commercial food. Continue to do this until you have completely phased out the commercial food.

If your dog has any vomiting or diarrhea, stop giving the food and continue with their usual diet. Reintroduce components of the new diet on an individual basis to test which one was making them react. Avoid anything that causes adverse effects. Importantly, if your dog has any health issues do not change their diet without consulting your vet first.

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Conclusion

Dog nutrition is so important, and it’s great when owners decide to get involved and make their own food for their dogs. Always check with your vet if you are planning to make any changes to your dog’s diet, and only use vet-approved recipes to ensure you are feeding complete and balanced meals containing all the essential nutrients.

Ensure you know how many calories your dog should be eating, especially if they are a small breed so that they aren’t under or over-fed.

Happy cooking!

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Featured Image Credit: G-Stock Studio, Shutterstock

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