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How to Make Dog Food with Your Food

Updated on June 14, 2013
Let's eat dinner together!  How can you say no?
Let's eat dinner together! How can you say no?

Share Dinner with Your Dog!

If you're looking into feeding your dog a cooked diet, it's easy to convert any recipes you may be having for dinner into recipes that will support your dog's health, nutrition, and energy levels.  Your dog has different nutritional needs than you do, and this must be taken into consideration if you decide to share dinner with your dog.

Sharing dinner with your dog is fun!  Your dog will love dinnertime, you'll have to do very little extra work, and the bond  between the two of you will strengthen.

Note: There are many, many ways to feed your dog aside from opening a dog food package or can.  There's raw feeding, "BARF"ing, "SARF"ing, home-cooking, pre-mixes, etc. etc. etc.  Any of these might work just fine for your dog.  This is just one way, and I hope it will work for someone.

Share dinner with your dog?  Yes!
Share dinner with your dog? Yes!

Modify Your Recipes for Your Dog!

It's simple to turn pretty much any recipe into a dog food recipe by following a few simple guidelines.  If you plan correctly, you and your dog can have the same basic diet, and you'll both be getting a wide variety of foods!  Your dog will look forward to dinner far more than he would just having his bowl of dry doggie cereal, he'll feel fuller longer, and you'll notice a drop in dog breath and doggie odor!

Add Calcium

Dogs need more calcium than humans do, so add bone meal or seaweed calcium for pets (both available on Amazon) in the recommended amount on the label. Calcium is not option or debatable. Mix it into the dog's diet. Because the label tells you exactly how much to give, you can't make too many errors.

However, if you give a high calcium food one day, cut down on the bone meal. You may want to give a little less than the recommended amount on some days anyway, just to balance things out over time.

Solid Gold bone meal is certified to be free of lead, heavy metals, and contaminants, which cannot necessarily be said about other bone meal supplements.

Do not give excessive amounts of calcium to growing puppies. They need calcium, but giving too much can harm their growth. Give the recommended amount based for their weight, as listed on the label.

It's no surprise that dogs love meat.  It's good for them, too!
It's no surprise that dogs love meat. It's good for them, too!

Modify the Proportions

In my experience, a good balance of carbs, meats, and veggies is 1/3 of each.   In other words, have equal weights of cooked meat, carbs, and veggies in your dog's dinner.

This is a higher percentage of meat than what is recommended in the human diet.  See what works for your dog... some owners add slightly more meat and some add less.

Small pieces infrequently on the greasy fast foods!
Small pieces infrequently on the greasy fast foods!

Cut out the fat and grease

Drain ground beef and rinse the fat off, and take the skin off poultry.  Avoid feeding large amounts of greasy foods such as bacon or burgers. 

When meat is consumed raw, fats are beneficial and full of fatty acids.  Dogs benefit from raw meat fats.  Cooked meat fats, however, turn into grease and can cause a lifetime battle with pancreatitis. 

Don't give your dog greasy, fatty foods regularly.  A piece of bacon or a lick of a greasy plate once in a while is ok; more than once in a while is asking for trouble.

Organ meats...yay!

Wild canids get a good amount of vitamins and nutrients from organ meats.  Several times a week, supplement your dog's food with different organ meats, such as chicken livers, beef liver, heart, kidneys, and green tripe, if you can get it.  Give a good variety of these meats to give your dog all the different nutrients he may need.

Consider Serving Raw Meat

The intestinal tracts of dogs are equipped to handle raw meat and small amounts of salmonella and bacteria that would make humans sick. 

Raw meat contains more nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids than cooked meats and has more nutritional benefits for the dog.

My dog, for example, receives half a pound of ground turkey with his rice mix in the morning.  In the evening, he gets half a pound of raw pork chunks with his cooked food.  Occasionally, he gets raw beef.  He dislikes raw chicken!

Get a good vitamin supplement

If your dog does not get a variety of foods or enough organ meats, supplement her diet with a home-cooking premix or a vitamin pill or mix. 

Buy one without calcium supplementation since you are already giving a calcium supplement.  Do not over-supplement the dog with calcium. 

Avoid highly processed foods

Highly processed foods are bad for you and they're bad for your dog.  A piece of pizza once in a while is fine for both of you, but it shouldn't be a diet staple.  Boxed, canned, and frozen pre-made dinners or snacks should be avoided, and if an ingredient contains a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives, it's a good indication there's probably not a whole lot of good nutrition in there.

Stick to whole, real foods!

Don't give your dog bad stuff!

Do not feed your dog grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate, coffee, caffeinated substances, cooked bones, or large amounts of grease.  All of these can be dangerous to your pet.

If you notice your dog itching his ears, developing hot spots, or getting a funky smell, cut out the grain (corn, wheat, pasta) and switch to potatoes for carbs, or remove carbs entirely and feed a veggie / meat mix.  Rice is a grain that is fairly well-tolerated by most dogs.  My dog eats it twice a day.

If your dog is allergic to or intolerant of any ingredient, common sense would dictate that you avoid that food in her diet.

There you have it...

By following these (fairly) simple steps, you can share your dinners with your dog, get more variety in your own cooking, and lead a healthy lifestyle with your dog.

This is just one way of feeding your dog, and it may not work for every dog and owner out there.  Good luck!


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    • MoRita profile image

      MoRita 7 years ago from IL

      Thanks, AJ! My dog eats both raw and cooked foods, and he's in great health :0) Thanks for voting me up!

    • fundamentallife profile image

      fundamentallife 7 years ago

      Great information here. Raw and real foods are best for our four legged friends.

      Voted up and awesome.