Have you ever seen those recipes online where food bloggers will re-create restaurant food as homecooked recipes? Well, today I am going to do that exact same thing – but I am going to make the Wellness CORE Original dog food kibble into a complete and balanced homemade dog food recipe using BalanceIT!
At this point I think most people realize that there are some benefits of fresh food for our dogs – there are some scientific studies pointing to benefits for overall digestibility, and microbiome health. We also have some retrospective studies citing benefits for fresh food for things like cancer and skin health. But probably the thing our dogs love the most is the fact that fresh food is just super tasty.
But there are some drawbacks of fresh food too – the major ones are that its much less convenient to feed/store, and it’s typically more expensive.
- Wellness CORE Original Dog Food Recipe
- Overall Composition
- Re-creating the Wellness CORE as a Homecooked Recipe
- Homemade Dog Food Recipe
- Overall Composition
- Cooking Instructions
- How Much to Feed
- The Cost of Feeding Fresh Food vs Kibble
Wellness CORE Original Dog Food Recipe
According to the company website, the Wellness CORE Original Dog Food is a diet that is composed of “mainly” meat, is “protein-rich” and packed with superfoods and supplements to “ensure your dog have everything they need to thrive”
- Protein: 34%
- Fat: 16%
- Fiber: 4%
- Moisture: 10%
Converted to a Percent Calorie Basis
Using a modified Altwater
- Protein: 32%
- Fat: 37%
- Carbohydrates: 31%
Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Lentils, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Chicory Root Extract, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.
Creating our Home-cooked Dog Food Recipe:
Our homemade recipe will have some slight differences in ingredients to the Wellness CORE Original dog food recipe. The main difference will be the quality of ingredients. As Wellness is not a human-edible kibble, they are actually using feed-grade ingredients. This means the ingredients are those that have been recycled from the human food industry, and may or may not have been processed and stored in a way that is suitable for human consumption. Our homemade dog food recipe will have ingredients sourced from our local grocer that are human-edible, and the BalanceIT supplement is also a human-edible ingredient.
The next thing is our homemade dog food recipe will not contain any preservatives. Wellness CORE using Rosemary Extract and Mixed Tocopherols – which are natural preservatives in order to extend the shelf-life of the kibble. Our fresh food option will need to be kept in the fridge or the freezer, similar to how our own fresh food is stored.
Another item of note is the the “potatoes” within the Wellness CORE recipe are dehydrated in the ingredients list, whereas the Deboned Turkey is actually fresh, meaning it will contain a higher water weight – pushing it to higher on the ingredients list in comparison to the potatoes. The bone included in the turkey and chicken meal will also push these ingredients up the ingredients list in comparison to the potatoes due to the added bone weight. In our homemade recipe, all items are kept at their original full-moisture weight. Thus the potatoes actually make up a higher portion of the overall recipe.
Lastly, our ingredients list will be A LOT shorter, and those powerful antioxidant foods will actually make up a larger portion of our homemade diet than this Wellness CORE recipe. You can see that the Blueberries in the Wellness recipe are in similar quantities as the supplements added (like vitamin E) – this is indicated because ingredients per AAFCO regulations actually have to be listed by weight. Within the recipe “Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale” are all listed after other items like “ground flaxseeds”, “vitamin E” and “choline chloride”.
Copycat Wellness CORE Homemade Dog Food Recipe
- Protein: 31%
- Fat: 36%
- Carbs: 33%
- Moisture: 72%
Potatoes, Chicken Breast, Ground Turkey, Spinach, Carrots, Blueberries, Apples, Flaxseed Oil, BalanceIT Supplement Mix, Fish Oil.
- 106g Ground Turkey 85% lean, pan-broiled
- 152g Chicken Breast, roasted
- 362g Potatoes, with skin, baked
- 68g Spinach, boiled
- 41g Carrots, raw
- 37g Blueberries, raw
- 27g Apples, raw
- 1 ⅛ tbsp Flaxseed Oil, cold pressed
- 1 tsp Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet Fish Oil
- 4 tsp BalanceIT Supplement or with Human Supplements
This recipe was created using BalanceIT and is complete and balanced for adult dogs if all ingredients are included and the recipe is prepared as described below. Without the BalanceIT Supplement, this recipe is deficient in: Choline, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Phosphorus, Selenium, and Zinc.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.
Place about 200g or ½ lb of chicken on a baking sheet, along with about 1 lb of potato. Use a fork to peice the potato. Then bake in oven until chicken in cooked through and potato is “fork tender”.
In a nonstick cast-iron pan cook about ½ lb of ground turkey until cooked through. Remove from the pan, clean. Then add water and allow the water to come to a boil. Add about ¼ lb of spinach to the water and boil until limp – about 1-2 minutes – remove from the water using a strainer and allow to cool.
Once cooled all ingredients should be weighed to the original recipe amounts then should be cut, chopped or pureed into bite-sized pieces. This can be done easily using something like a food processor, then they should be mixed together well.
As foods are cooked they will lose water weight – which is why the raw values are greater than the recipe values. I have over-estimated the raw weights needed in the cooking instructions for this reason. You may have leftovers when cooking this recipe – these can either be saved to use as treats or used in your own meals for the week.
How Much to Feed:
This recipe contains 1103 calories.
The amount that you feed your dog will be based on their individual metabolism and lifestyle needs. Calories needed can range up to 50% high or lower than the “average” amount and still be considered normal.
Overweight or obese dogs trying to lose weight should be fed to their “ideal weight” – if your dog needs to lose weight please discuss your dog’s individual caloric needs with your veterinarian
The below chart is the average calories needed for a dog of a particular weight. If you are using this recipe as a treat – the portion should be kept in the “treat” category. If feeding as a complete and balanced meal, you can either re-calculate the recipe using BalanceIT or feed according to your dog’s caloric needs (average suggested amounts within the “food” category).
What is the Cost of Feeding a Homemade Diet to your Dog?
Prior to switching to something like fresh food it’s important to realize the cost and time investment you are making for your dog.
Cost of Wellness CORE Original Kibble per 1000 calories = $1.58
Cost of Wellness CORE Original Canned pet 1000 calories = $6.75
Cost of Homemade Recipe per 1000 calories = $6
- 1 lb raw meat: $3.25
- 1 lb potato: $0.75
- ¼ lb fruit & veg: $0.75
- Oils: $0.25
- Vitamins/Minerals: $1
Typically when you think of the overall cost of home cooked foods – we find that it is very similar to canned foods, however significantly more than kibble. For example this recipe is about 3 ½ times as expensive as the kibbled version – but it is almost exactly the same as the canned version of this recipe. Thus it may be beneficial – both financially and health-wise to use a complete and balanced homemade food as an alternative.
Looking for other options to home-cook for your dog? Make sure to check out my full list of dog food recipes using fresh ingredients straight from your local grocer. And don’t forget to come over and join the conversation on instagram or facebook where I post fun and educational content all about dog food and nutrition to help you optimize your dog’s overall health and wellness.
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!
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