Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

Simple Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

This chicken and pumpkin dog food recipe was formulated to be high in protein, high in fat and lower in carbohydrates. Making this complete and balanced chicken dog food recipe perfect for moderately active dogs, or picky dogs.

If you are not planning on transitioning 100% onto a fresh food diet – don’t worry. You can feed this recipe as a topper at 10% of your dog’s caloric needs without even needing the BalanceIT supplement. However if you plan to include this recipe in your dog’s routine at a higher percentage, I would recommend purchasing the supplement in order to keep your dog’s overall diet balanced..

Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe Ingredients:

Chicken Thigh: An excellent source a protein in a dog’s diet – very high in essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and Selenium

Chicken Liver: the addition of chicken liver covers our dog’s needs for vitamin B12, riboflavin, folate, and iron.

Salmon: a highly concentrated source of vitamin D, along with polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA & DHA to help balance our omega 3 to 6 ratio.

Oats: an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber along with filling in our dog’s need for manganese.

Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet: A wonderful source of EPA and DHA, along with vitamin E. Nordic naturals fish oil is a purified, third party tested oil that has an excellent EPA to DHA ratio perfect for balancing out the higher omega 6 essential fatty acids found in the chicken and walnut oil.

Safflower Oil Oil: An excellent source of linoleic acid and alpha-Linolenic acid – which are essential fatty acids that dogs need in their diet.

Mushrooms, Pumpkin and Apple: All three of these foods are antioxidant rich and full of phytonutrients. They also fill in our dog’s nutritional needs for potassium! Research studies has actually shown that adding vegetables in particular dark leafy greats and colorful veggies like carrots at least three times a week reduces cancer rates by almost 50%.

Ingredients for Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe


  • Protein: 47% or 112g / 1000kcals
  • Fat: 41% or 46g / 1000 kcals
  • Carbs: 12% or 32g / 1000 kcals
  • Calories: 993 kcal per recipe / 1.36 kcals per gram / 38 kcals per ounce

This recipe was created to be high protein, and moderate to high in fat, and lower in carbohydrates. This overall composition typically works well for picky dogs, weight maintenance of moderately active dogs.

Since this recipe is high protein it would not be appropriate for dogs with kidney or liver disease, certain urinary conditions or those that struggle with protein metabolism.

If you have a senior dog make sure to follow-up with bloodwork as recommended by your veterinarian while on this recipe due to it’s higher protein content.

How to Make Homemade Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food:

To start cooking your chicken in pumpkin dog food recipe you will want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

On a large baking sheet or baking dish place 1 pound (about 454g) of raw chicken thighs (without skin or bones), and on a separate baking sheet or dish place 4 ounces (or about 115g) raw chicken livers. Do not add oil – instead either use parchment paper or a non-stick baking sheet. Place in the oven to bake liver for about 15 minutes, and bake thighs for about 30 minutes.

A special note - chicken will loose water weight when cooked, thus we start with more raw chicken than what the final recipe asks for. You will be measuring all ingredients after cooked.

While the chicken is cooking it’s time to prep your produce!

In a large shallow dish add water until it fills the dish 1/4 of the way. Bring water to a boil. Then add 3-4 medium-sized white button mushrooms into the water to cook. Boil until just cooked through – about 5 minutes – then drain away water using a colander, or simply use a fork to remove.

Next chop or shred your apples and mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Depending on your dog’s individual digestive system they may do better with smaller pieces of raw fruit or vegetables included into their diet.

If you notice your pup has issues with raw fruit/veg shredding or pureeing the foods may be a better option. You can also lightly steam these foods if your pup prefers them offered this way.

Finally it’s time to cook your oats!

For this recipe you can use either instant or rolled oats. Keep in mind that the fiber content is slightly higher for rolled oats, and cook-time tends to be a bit longer.

We are going to use 1/4 cup of dry oats (plain, unsweetened) with 1/2 cup of water for this recipe. You can cook this either in a very small saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave. If cooking on the stove – place mixture on low-heat, stirring constantly and cook until water has been absorbed. If cooking in the microwave, cook in 1 minute increments, stirring between cooking until cooked through.

For oats you want to add 1 part dry oat to 2 parts water. We will be measuring by weight after cooking for this recipe.
Homemade Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

Meal Prepping Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe:

Know that there isn’t really a “perfect” way to meal prep for your dog. This section will largely depend on the kitchen equipment you have, and batch size you are creating.

The chicken and pumpkin dog food recipe is 993 kcals which would feed a medium to large breed dog daily, or a small breed dog for several days. You can check out the feeding instructions below for more details on daily portion sizes by weight. What this means is you may need to adjust exactly how you are measuring or chopping things according to the batch size you are making.

But there are two rules I want you to follow regardless:

1. Supplements & oils should be added once foods are completely cooled to room temperature, as some supplements are heat sensitive. Typically batches of food take about an hour to cool in the fridge, or 15-30 minutes to cool in the freezer.

2. All foods are weighed after cooking, not before. Water will be lost during the cooking process, thus if you weigh before cooking you will actually be adding less protein to the recipe actually requires.

Cooking Equipment:

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How I Recommend Meal Prepping this Recipe:

Probably the easiest way to meal prep this recipe is if you have a large food processor. Personally I have a 12 cup food processor, which really helps me quickly throw together a recipe with minimal prep time.

I place my 12 cup food processor container with blade onto a the cooking scale.

First I do the chicken thighs. I use a knife to rough-chop them into thirds, then measure out 312g of cooked chicken thighs for the recipe.

Next I tare the scale. Then I add 86g of my cooked chicken livers.

Since a large portion of this recipe is meat – now is a great time to use the food processor to break up all that meat into smaller pieces to easy eating.

To this mixture I add 28g apple (without seeds or rind, but with skin), and 39g cooked button mushrooms. Then blend again to chop.

Finally add 123g canned pumpkin (pure 100% pumpkin without seasoning), your oats (88g), and 29gdrained canned pink salmon without skin and bones.

Blend once more. Now this bowl with all my cooked and raw ingredients is placed in my fridge to cool for about an hour.

After cooling completely I can add in my oils – the safflower oil and fish oil. Along with my supplements as per the recipe above.

A quick note on supplement choice. If you plan to re-heat the recipe before feeding it to your pup you will want to purchase the BalanceIT Plus. This Multivitamin is heat-stable and can be reheated. The BalanceIT Canine cannot be reheated.

If you use human supplements they will need to be ground using a pill grinder, and cannot be reheated.

If your pup does not like the taste of the supplements I would recommend either flavoring the supplements with a broth OR something sweet like honey (unless your dog is diabetic). OR choosing a recipe with more minimal supplementation.

Storage Instructions:

I suggest making this recipe in whatever size batch-size works easiest for your schedule and time management. The Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe as written makes around 1000 calories of food which will feed a 5lb dog for about a week, or a 65 lb dog for about a day as the sole diet. You can find a full feeding chart by weigh

Since this recipe uses human-grade fresh food ingredients it should be stored similar to human food. You can keep up to 3 days of this recipe in your fridge and the rest should live in your freezer. When you freeze fresh food some foods will change texture – if you have a very picky dog you might want to consider smaller batch sizes so food doesn’t have to be frozen.

Your Dog will love this Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe:

  • 312g or 11 oz Chicken Thigh without skin or bones, roasted
  • 86g or 4 oz Chicken Liver, roasted
  • 29g or 1 oz Canned Pink Salmon, drained solids, without salt, skin or bones
  • 88g or 3/8 cup Cooked Oats, regular or instant
  • 123g or 1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin, pure pumpkin, without seasoning
  • 39g or 1/4 cup cooked mushrooms, drained without salt
  • 28g or 1/4 cup chopped or shredded raw apples with skin, without seeds or core
  • 2.5g or 1/2 tsp Safflower Oil (high oleic) Oil
  • 10g or 2 tsp Fish Oil (recommended brand – Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet)
  • 3 and 1/8 tsp or 7.8g BalanceIT Canine OR 2 and 1/4 BalanceIT Plus

This recipe is formulated to be complete and balanced for adult dogs according to AAFCO and NRC nutritional profiles when full directions are followed and supplementation it added. This recipe is not balanced for puppies.

Without supplementation this recipe is not complete and balanced and should be fed at no more than 10% of your dog’s overall daily calories.

You can download the full recipe, cooking instructions, feeding amounts, and AAFCO nutritional printout here.

If you would like to use human supplements instead of using the BalanceIT Multivitamin you will need:

- 5/8 tablet Centrum Chewables 400 IU Vit D with no Xylitol
- 2 1/4 tablet Calcium Carbonate - 500mg per tablet
- 1/2 tsp Morton Lite Salt Solution (source of iodine)
- 3/8 tablet Solgar Chelated Copper - 2.5mg per tablet

Want MORE Dog Food Recipes?

You should receive your Free Dog Food Recipe Ebook within 24 hours of subscribing! Make sure to check your spam folder. The recipe ebook is over 90 pages long so make sure you have a good internet connection when you go to download it. Afterwards you will receive weekly Canine Nutrition Updates every Tuesday on different topics related to canine nutrition & homemade dog food!

Amount to Feed of Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

Below is a feeding chart for this chicken and pumpkin dog food recipe by weight. It is important to understand that every dog has their own unique metabolism. Some dogs will need more (or less) calories than others. In order to account for some of this variation there is a recommended feeding range.

This chart shows the amount to feed per day as a sole diet without treats or other diets. If you choose to feed twice daily simply offer half the listed amount in the morning, and half at night. Adjustments will need to be made to account for treats or if you choose to combo feed this recipe.

Calories: 993 kcal per recipe / 1.36 kcals per gram / 38 kcals per ounce
weight (lbs)weight (kg)amount to feed
(inactive adult)
amount to feed
(active adult)
Transitioning from Kibble to Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

How to Transition to Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe:

First understand that it’s not a race, and that transitioning to a homemade diet really isn’t any different than transitioning between different premade diets. The only difference here is YOU are preparing the meal. Thus we need to work around both your schedule, while also taking into consideration your dog’s needs.

Second – don’t make things more complicated than your need to. And YES – you CAN mix the food. Even if it’s kibble. It’s totally fine. I’m honestly not sure who started the myth that you can’t mix fresh food & kibble but it’s just not true.

Our Dog’s Digestive System is Adapting NOT Detoxing

Transitions are done in order to help your dog’s digestive system adapt to the new diet. Including both the ingredients and the composition of the recipe. Did you know that your dog adjusts the digestive enzymes and their stomach pH according to the types of foods that they are digesting? Yep – it’s pretty cool. But it needs time to adapt and make these adjustments.

But it goes beyond just digestive enzymes – the microbiome – or the helpful bacteria within your dog’s large intestine also need to adjust too! Certain bacteria help with the digestion and breakdown of nutrients and byproducts within a food. As your adjust the diet the gut microbiome needs to change – and this takes time.

The Transition Period

Typically most dogs do well on a 5-7 day transition from one food to another, slowly decreasing one diet, and increasing the other. However for those of that cook a 5-7 day transition leads to weird batch sizes and/or cooking on days where we might not actually have the time.

So instead what I typically recommend is the “Two Week Transition”

Basically what you do is cook a week’s worth of the chicken and potato dog food recipe, then you are going to divide it out.

  • 4x 25%
  • 6x 50%
  • 4% 75%

Then you just fill in the old diet to equal 100% of daily calories. This will give you a two week transition.

If both diets are similar in composition & ingredients this timeline should work well for your dog. However it’s important to note that some dogs may need a longer transition – and honestly if you are just starting to cook for your dog you might need a transition period too!

Quick Tip!

Consider adding on a quality probiotic during the transition period to help support your dog's microbiome during this adjustment period!

Transitioning is not a Race

If cooking the first batch was overwhelming. Do it at 25% of the diet for four weeks (a month). Then next time go 50% for two weeks, then 75% for a week. And if any part of the journey it becomes too much. Look at alternative options – 50/50 with a premade diet, or just hang out where you are.

Remember to monitor your dog’s stools during the transition. They should remain firm or normal during the transition period – if they don’t then stay at the percentage you are at. If you can’t seem to advance the transition it might be a good idea to re-evaluate your recipe.

What you should know about cooking Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

Monitoring After the Transition to Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe:

Monitor weight every 2 weeks for at least 3 months after transitioning onto the chicken and pumpkin dog food recipe.

Follow up with your vet to see if additional testing or monitoring is needing. Often for dogs on homemade dog food recipes examinations every 6 months are recommended, along with yearly blood values.

Looking for a Custom Dog Food Diet Plan?

Looking for a bit more help moving your pup onto a fresh food diet?

Or maybe you are trying to figure out how to combo-feed your dog?

Would you like to discuss your dog’s nutritional needs in detail to make sure you are feeding them appropriately?

Then a Dog Food Nutritional Consultation may be for you. During a dog food nutritional consultation we will discuss:

  • An overview of your dog’s nutritional needs – including macro-composition (protein, fat, carbs), caloric needs, and micronutrient needs due to disease states.
  • An audit of your dog’s current diet to see if it fits your dog’s current nutritional, behavioral and lifestyle needs.
  • Recommendations of how to improve your dog’s diet: this may include switching recipes, a homemade diet, combination feeding, supplements, enrichment activities, etc
  • An overview of how to transition between pre-made/manufactured diets or onto a homemade dog food.
Nikki, The Canine Health Nut
Complete and Balanced Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe. A simple homemade dog food recipe perfect for active dogs or picky dogs.

About the Author: Nikki is a Registered Veterinary Technician (Veterinary Nurse) and Dog Mom with over a decade of experience with dogs and cats. Since graduation from college (BS Biology, Dip. Animal Nutrition, AS Animal Science) she has adopted two mixed breed dogs – Ranger and Ash, and has focused her time learning about pet food and nutrition.

Nikki shares information on a range of dog nutrition topics: from how to create a homemade complete and balanced dog food recipes, to how to choose a dog food. Nikki strives to give dog parents the information they need in order to make the best nutrition decisions for their pup!

You should receive your Free Dog Food Recipe Ebook within 24 hours of subscribing! Make sure to check your spam folder. The recipe ebook is over 90 pages long so make sure you have a good internet connection when you go to download it. Afterwards you will receive weekly Canine Nutrition Updates every Tuesday on different topics related to canine nutrition & homemade dog food!


Personalized Pet Nutrition Consultation

8 thoughts on “Chicken and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

  1. I’m curious about the recommendation of so much pumpkin. I petsit for a living and one of my clients was told not to feed their dogs more than 1 tbsp of organic pumpkin purée as it can be bad for their liver (or kidneys, I can’t recall the specific details) but this was all new to me at the time so I remembered it. Could the amount of pumpkin be a typo?

    1. Great question! So there is a difference between foods being added to be part of a complete and balanced recipe, and foods being added on top of a balanced recipe. The pumpkin in this recipe and its nutritional content have been taken into consideration with the formulation of this recipe. In this recipe, we are using it as a complex carbohydrate source, and to provide certain vitamins and minerals – and those nutrients have all been kept in balance with the other ingredients/nutrients in this recipe. But as an addition to a balanced recipe – we want to keep any additions to 10% of the overall caloric needs- this will prevent us from unbalancing an already balanced food.

      In particular, what your client’s vet was probably referencing with pumpkin and kidney disease is that pumpkin is very high in phosphorus – with the nutritional management of kidney disease in particular we want to actually limit/control phosphorus content within the food. So adding additional phosphorus (in the form of pumpkin) to a complete and balanced diet (which already contains adequate phosphorus) would potentially exacerbate the progression of the disease.

      Hopefully that makes sense! If not – I’d be more than happy to clarify.

      1. That makes sense! I hadn’t thought of the fact that it was in addition to the already balanced diet. Thank you for clarifying!

  2. When portioning for meals (my pup gets 3 meals a day) how do you know how many calories are in each meal ? Also does your weight/calorie chart mean that many calories a day? Or per meal?

    1. Hi! So the weight chart tells you how many calories per day (this is an estimate based off the caloric needs of a dog that is lightly activity – aka one to two walks per day, if your dog is less or more active your dog might need more or less). This recipe contains 1025 calories – so if your dog needed about 500 calories per day, then I would divide this recipe into two contains. Then if I fed my dog three times per day, I’d feed 1/3 of my container for each feeding. Hopefully, that made sense! If not – feel free to reach out and I try to break it down in a different way.

    1. You can freeze portions, however I typically don’t recommend doing so for over a month – some vitamins and minerals (along with fatty acids) are temperature/moisture sensitive. Typically if freezing for over a month I recommend to vacuum seal.

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