***Please note, I am not a veterinarian, just a very passionate dog owner! The information in this blog post documents our own personal experiences, research, and the recipes that we feed our dogs under our veterinarian's careful supervision. Please, consult with your vet and use your own personal judgment when considering transitioning to a 100% human-grade food diet for your pup. This post was updated with video August 16, 2020, updated with additional recipe links 9/14/2020, updated 1/7/2021 with metric measurements, updated 1/3/2022 with recipe links for hydrating meals.***
At the end of 2019, during our yearly vet check, we received the devastating news that our 11 year old dog's blood work showed that he was in stage 4 kidney failure!
Honestly, I was a basket case, how on earth did we miss this? He seemed like he was just dealing with some symptoms of getting older - frequent urination, sometimes excessive water drinking. It definitely didn't feel like life-threatening symptoms. As much as the diagnosis was a shock, the price tag of the prescription diet he would need to eat for the remainder of his life was pretty horrifying too!
We spent the days that followed his diagnosis in-between cuddle puddles in the floor with him and Google deep dive sessions researching canine kidney disease.
After reading about a bazillion articles we found that there were a few super easy changes we could immediately make at home besides diet that would positively impact Hooch's health and make things easier on his kidneys.
- Filtered or distilled water only || The kidney's main function is to filter out the toxins in our bodies and since tap water can be loaded with chemicals and contaminants it is best to only give your dog clean, filtered water to drink. If you have a dog living with kidney disease like we do, you may also want to eventually invest in a slow water feeder as dogs with kidney disease can get quite thirsty and will actually start drinking water too fast which causes its own unique set of problems.
- Increase exercise || Luckily for us, right before Hooch's diagnosis we adopted a puppy. She has played a big part in making sure he is more active and on his feet playing a good portion of the day. We still have had to make a conscious effort to get out and walk with him more than we were before though. Dogs are just like us, the more they move, the better their bodies function and the easier it is for their kidney's to do their job.
- Vitamins & Nutrients || Humans don't get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need from a one-stop-shop kind of a diet and neither do our dogs! Whether your dog is eating a diet that consist of kibble or you are dishing up a homemade dog food recipe like this one, your pup needs vitamins! We really like and use the brand Dog Greens! It is a plant based vitamin and mineral powder that we just shake over the dog's food at each serving. They love the flavor and I love knowing that all of their nutritional needs have been met at every meal!
When people find out we make our own dog food at home they always ask us, "What about a raw diet?", so let's get that out of the way first....
There are LOTS of thoughts and theories on feeding your dog a raw diet especially a dog that is living with kidney disease. Our vet however, was personally opposed to feeding a raw diet due to the fact that dogs, just like us, are very susceptible to food poisoning. Besides that, a raw diet can be tricky to get just right! You run the risk of giving your dog a horrible belly ache by mixing a raw diet with cooked treats, so if you decided to go raw it is important to have both raw meals and raw treats planned for your pup at all times. NO MIXING the two! Since raw and cooked foods digest at different rates any combination of the two can wreak serious havoc on your pup's gut which can lead to some pretty unpleasant situations for you - if you get my drift.
Now, let's break down the recipe for my Easy Homemade Dog Food shall we?
The recipe box below contains a printable version of my go-to recipe for homemade dog food, which consist of lean ground sirloin, brown rice, carrots, hard boiled eggs, parsley, and a few tablespoons of oil that is high in Omega's. But sometimes, especially since social distancing, I've found that it is helpful to have a list of easy substitutes for when ingredients run low. Plug in or swap out any of the items below based on what foods your pup likes/needs and what you have on hand to create your pup's ideal dog food flavor profile.
***It is important to note that dog's can have food allergies too!!! The top 5 (in order) foods that dogs can be allergic to are beef, dairy, wheat, chicken, & egg. If you notice your dog having any issues after ingesting these ingredients you should contact your veterinarian.***
Meat || Lean ground beef, ground chicken, ground white or dark meat turkey, & ground pork are all great options. Just be sure to make sure that any meat you feed your animals is free of seasonings when purchasing! Dog's living with a kidney disease diagnosis need meals that are lower in phosphorus - so for us a lean ground beef like ground sirloin is best the way to go!
Grains || Brown rice has all of the fiber from the hull of the rice grain still intact and it's easily digestible, which makes it a great ingredient for homemade dog food! If you are limiting phosphorus in your dog's food due to kidney disease you can use white rice instead. Other grains like oats, quinoa, and even whole grain pasta are also easily digestible options. Gluten grains can be included in a dog's diet too, however it is important to note that gluten is one of the top 5 dog allergens. In our personal experience with Hooch over the years, gluten has been a real problem that causes him extreme gastrointestinal discomfort, so we avoid it.
Eggs || Eggs are one of the top 5 allergens for dogs and the yolks are very high in phosphorus -which you want to limit in dog's with kidney disease. But, eggs are also one of the highest quality forms of protein you can feed your pet! Ultimately, a hard-boiled egg is Hooch's favorite thing on the planet so, with our vet's approval, we opted to leave them in his food.
Vegetables || My dogs both really LOVE fresh shredded carrots and fennel, so if I have either of those on hand I use them, but there are LOADS of other great dog-friendly veggies too! Frozen veggie blends that contain peas, corn, carrots, and green beans are a wonderful choice that our dogs love! Cooked sweet potatoes are a great addition to bulk up their meals too, just never feed your dog raw sweet potato as it can cause serious blockages! Canned 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, is another great addition to your dog's daily meal. A tablespoon or two mixed in at each feeding really ups their fiber intake and can work wonders for your dog's digestive system!
Herbs || Lots of fresh and dried herbs are great for dogs! The curly, not flat-leaf, variety of parsley is great for preventative kidney health. It’s cleansing for the organs (which will help prevent disease). However, for a dog with an actual kidney disease diagnosis, you may want to limit their intake of parsley altogether. Herbs like cilantro, thyme, or basil are delicious options for your pup that are loaded with health benefits too!
Oil || You will want to drizzle a few tablespoons of oil that is high in Omega 3's into each batch of dog food you make. I usually just stick with olive oil or safflower oil because I typically have them on hand and they are affordable. There are great Omega oil blends available on the market too that contain Omega's 3,6, & 9 but they tend to be a bit pricier.
Hydration is VERY important for dog's with kidney disease.
Dog's with kidney disease are in need of hydrating fluids wherever they can get them! The benefit of feeding food that is saturated instead of dry is that the kidneys won't have to work as hard to perform their normal function in the body.
There are lots of ways to add more liquid to your pup's meals. Obviously, a bit of water mixed in is one option, but we prefer hydrating with a liquid that adds nutritional value as well.
Bone broth recipes for dogs should be very different than those for humans! Dog's cannot eat certain ingredients that are typically used in bone broth for humans like onions.
This recipe is full of dog-friendly ingredients like apples, ginger, and mushrooms and can be made on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or slow cooker!
You can hydrate your dog's food while also boosting their immune system, improving liver health, supporting healthy digestion, and helping to relieve joint pain by adding homemade bone broth to your dog's daily meals.
Our bone broth delivers on the nutritional benefits of a homemade broth in a convenient powder form and is used to re-hydrate dry food, or as a simple, nourishing drink.
Use code "THISMESSISOURS20" at checkout for 20% off your order!
Unlike most pet food, which is feed grade, this 100% human-grade goat milk from The Honest Kitchen is made with human-grade ingredients and produced in a human food facility. That means higher quality ingredients and more safety standards, just like you would expect from your own food!
This topper is easy to make too —simply add warm water to the dehydrated mix and stir to combine.
How much and when should you feed your dog?
This will vary from dog to dog, but a general rule of thumb is for every 10 lbs your dog weighs they should be fed roughly 1 cup of prepared food.
For our 80 lb Hooch, that means 2 meals a day each containing 4 cups of food. It is important to note that, dogs with kidney problems often feel better when fed several small meals throughout the day rather than just one or two large meals, so you may find that you need to adjust your feeding schedule as time goes on accordingly to keep your pup comfy!
What kind of snacks can I feed my dog with kidney disease?
Our dogs walk a bit on the wild side when it comes to snacks as they love thin apple slices, banana chunks, carrots, whole unsalted peanuts in the husks, and dehydrated sweet potatoes! Dog's with kidney disease should avoid meat-based chews/treats that are high in phosphorus, so you may find that you need to explore doing friendly fruit and veggies for treats like we have. We still on occasion will offer Hooch bully sticks or a jerky treat, but it is better for him if we limit his intake due to the levels of phosphorous that those treats contain.
Blood tests don't lie and Hooch's numbers shifted drastically in just the first 6 weeks we made these diet and lifestyle changes!
He noticeably had more energy, was suffering less from inflammation, was shedding less with a more luxurious coat, and for the first time EVER he had zero bloating! NO GAS for the first time in his entire life! The best news though, was that those stage 4 kidney disease blood levels he had at his yearly checkup had climbed back up to to midrange stage 1 kidney disease blood levels! The extra time and energy invested in making his food and the other small changes we made to his lifestyle have given us more quality time with our beloved Hooch which is more than we could have ever hoped for!
If you’ve made our Easy Homemade Dog Food for your pup I would be so grateful if you would rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! I just love hearing from you and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours. Want to be a part of our online community outside of the blog? It’s easy!! All you have to do is follow @THISMESSISOURS on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, or PINTEREST to see cooking demos, and peeks into our day to day life.Print
Easy Homemade Dog Food
To make prepping this homemade dog food a cinch and to save LOTS of time and dishes in the process I like to cook the hard boiled eggs and the rice in my Instant Pot!
I start with cooking the eggs first, then while the rice is cooking the Instant Pot I brown the sirloin and get all of the fresh ingredients together. It really does help make the process of meal prepping homemade dog food so much easier!
See recipe notes for Instant Pot cooking tips and times!
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 13 cups 1x
- Category: gluten free
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: homemade dog food
- Diet: Gluten Free
6 cups cooked organic brown rice (3 cups uncooked rice)
2 pounds ground lean beef, cooked through, fat drained
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced small
3 medium sized carrots, shredded or thinly sliced
¼ cup minced curly parsley
3 tablespoons of olive or safflower oil
Combine all of the ingredients together in a large container and stir to combine completely.
Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator in-between feedings.
The amount of food you feed your dog each day varies by weight. Our 80+ pound senior dog Hooch eats 4 cups of this food twice per day and our 40 pound Rebel eats 2 cups of food twice per day.
This food can be individually portioned out for smaller dogs and frozen to store for longer periods of time than a week. Just thaw the amount you need when you need it.
790 grams cooked organic brown rice
700 grams ground lean beef, cooked through, fat drained
4 (200 grams) hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced small
207 grams carrots, shredded or thinly sliced
14 grams minced curly parsley
22 grams of olive or safflower oil
Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs: Place the metal trivet into the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Add uncooked eggs on top of the trivet. Place the lid on top, lock to sealing, and cook high pressure for 5 minutes. Release pressure valve manually at the end of the cooking time and carefully remove the hard boiled eggs to a water bath to cool.
Instant Pot Rice: Combine the desired amount of rice and water in an Instant Pot. Place the lid on and set the pressure to sealing. Select the rice function, allow the pressure to release naturally when the cook time is complete.
No fresh parsley? You can substitute it in this recipe with ¼ cup of our Homemade Dog Food Seasoning Blend.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 288
- Sugar: 1.9 g
- Sodium: 119.7 mg
- Fat: 10.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 24 g
- Protein: 22.9 g
- Cholesterol: 197.8 mg
Keywords: dog food, homemade dog food, dog food recipe
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We aren't the only people that have converted to making homemade dog food and are LOVING the results! Check out the links below for more homemade dog food recipes your pup will LOVE!
Easy Crockpot Dog Food from Damn Delicious || This simple homemade dog food recipe combines ground beef, brown rice, kidney beans, butternut squash, carrots, and peas in the slow cooker so you can set it and forget it!
Homemade Dog Food Recipe from College Housewife || Elizabeth's sweet dog Rascal suffered from all sorts of health issues which led them to having him allergy tested. Turns out Rascal was allergic to all sorts of things - even beef! So, Elizabeth developed a homemade dog food recipe that is just perfect for Rascal's sensitive belly that is filled with ground turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini squash and macaroni noodles!
DIY Homemade Dog Food from Damn Delicious ||Chungah's dog Butter's battle with stomach issues led her to start making dog food at home. This recipe is easy to make and super good for your pups too! It combines a delicious blend of 50% protein, 25% veggies and 25% grains and is made of ingredients like ground chicken, brown rice, shredded zucchini, spinach, carrots, and peas.