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We humans don’t deserve all the fun. While we stress about how to make dinner interesting, our furry friends often get treated to the same ol’ meal, day in and day out. We can only imagine how boring that must be.

Why not actually treat them to something — as in, something homemade? These DIY dog food recipes are simple, cheap, and sure to make your pup love you…even more than they already do.

If you’re into formulas to make life easier (yes, please), most of the dog food recipes break down like this:

  • 50 percent cooked protein
  • 25 percent produce
  • 25 percent cooked complex carbs

Here are some general guidelines for how much chow you’ll need, depending on the weight of your dog. Keep in mind, you may need to cook more if your pooch is super active.

Dog weightFood per day
12 pounds1 cup
25 pounds2 cups
50 pounds4 cups
100 pounds8 cups

Before you dive into the doggie delicacies below, check in with your vet about what your four-legged friend really needs.

Each breed has different nutritional requirements to consider. Plus, many purebreds, like Frenchies and pugs, are known to be more prone to food allergies. Always work with a pup professional you trust.

It’s also a good idea to transition dogs slowly when introducing a new diet. Though they’ll beg you otherwise with those big, beautiful eyes, only give them a little new food at a time to prevent stomach upset.

Feed Your Best Friend Better is an amazing resource for those looking to mix it up in the kitchen and give their bestie all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they require. Hint: it’s a lot.

1. DIY homemade dog food

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Photo: Damn Delicious

While dogs and humans enjoy some of the same foods (peanut butter straight out of the jar, comes to mind), what we need to stay healthy and fit is different.

This recipe has a balance of 50 percent protein with ground turkey and peas, 25 percent veggies with spinach, carrots, and zucchini, and 25 percent grains with brown rice, but it can be easily adjusted for any dog’s nutritional needs.

Here’s the best part: Making this batch of food is cheaper than buying many popular all-natural store-bought varieties.

2. Healthy homemade dog food

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Photo: Where’s The Frenchie?

We talk a lot about food allergies… but dog food allergies? Yep, it’s a thing.

It could be super obvious, like smelly omg-what-did-you-eat farts or little piles of vomit on the floor. It could also be less obvious, like your doggo licking the area around their joints, a sign of inflammation.

If you suspect your dog has a sensitive stomach, call your vet to make an appointment and then try this recipe. This meal uses pumpkin purée, coconut oil, ground protein, grains, and a slew of colorful produce to create a feast that even finicky dogs can stomach.

It smells so darn good when it’s cooking, we’ve been tempted to eat it ourselves. (OK… we might’ve tried it.)

3. Homemade dog food

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Photo: Emily’s Little Homestead

Making homemade dog food may not be realistic to incorporate into your everyday routine, but that doesn’t mean your furry friend can’t benefit from a little DIY here and there.

In fact, this blogger only incorporates homemade meals about twice per week — better than never, right? The recipe includes many DIY dog food staples, like protein, grains, apples, and carrots.

This dish also throws in some blueberries, a known heart-healthy treat for humans, thanks to their rich polyphenol content.Rodriguez-Mateos A, et al. (2014). Berry (poly)phenols and cardiovascular health. DOI: 10.1021/jf403757g

Turns out, the protective effects of berries against free radical damage may have a similar impact on dogs with heart failure, though more research is needed.Sagols E, et al. (2010). Oxidative stress in dog with heart failure: The role of dietary fatty acids and antioxidants. DOI: 10.4061/2011/180206

4. Easy Crock Pot dog food

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Photo: Damn Delicious

When using a slow cooker, it’s important to use sturdy veggies that stand up to the heat and extra-long cook time.

This recipe sticks to the classics like brown rice, beans, ground beef, squash, carrots, and frozen peas. The dense ingredients ensure that the food freezes well, so you don’t always have to cook it from scratch (glory hallelujah).

5. DIY homemade dog food with chicken

If you think about a dog’s closest modern relative, the grey wolf,Pendelton AL, et al. (2017). Comparison of village dog and wolf genomes highlights the role of the neural crest in dog domestication. DOI: 10.1186/s12915-018-0535-2 it makes sense that a canine’s diet should incorporate at least some produce — perhaps a few greens in the belly of whatever omnivorous animal the wolf hunted down (sorry, little guy).

To that end, this recipe includes some of the other ingredients you’ve seen already, plus a few cups of spinach. Dogs don’t need much in each serving — a little greenery goes a long way.

Pro tip: You can also sub in ground turkey for this recipe.

6. Easy homemade dog food Crock Pot recipe with ground chicken

Chicken, kidney beans, butternut squash, and green beans served over a bed of white rice? Not only is this recipe super simple to make, this is basically a regular stay-at-home dinner for humans. Why not?

Chicken livers also work great in this recipe, though we understand if you are now less keen to take a bite. Make extra servings so you can store plenty of leftovers in the freezer.

If your dog seems less-than-enthusiastic about the nightly ritual of dried kibble — we all know that look — then why not put your cooking skills to good use? It’s just one of the many ways we can show appreciation for our best bud.

With a generous helping of protein, fresh produce, and hearty grains, these recipes will get that tail wagging again. Don’t be surprised when that bowl is licked clean.

Hilary I. Lebow is a health journalist with fitness and nutrition certifications through the Yoga Alliance and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). When she’s not working, you’ll find her playing on the beach with her two dogs or exploring around Miami, the beautiful city she calls home. Read more of her work here.