Homemade Dog Food Recipe: Beef and Rice

This beef and rice dog food recipe is a great option for active, high energy dogs – naturally a bit higher in fat – beef gives lots of great long-lasting energy to dogs who do hiking, running, and even agility. The rice within the recipe not only lends some wonderful vitamins and minerals but provides a great source of fiber and that quick energy source that our active dogs need! This recipe is a great option for the beginner home cook – as the entire recipe should take less than an hour to cook and prep, and it requires no special equipment for grinding meats or cooking ingredients.

However, one thing you do have to keep in mind with using ground beef is the fat percentage. In order to fill your dog’s nutritional needs for amino acids – you have to use a very LEAN ground beef (95% lean ground beef to be exact). Using less lean grinds such as 80/20 will actually not meet your dog’s nutritional needs and end up with deficiencies! And no, you cannot cook the 80/20 ground beef and drain off the fat, that will actually REMOVE all the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals from the meat.

As always, when I create recipes for my dogs I use BalanceIT – this software was created by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to allow pet owners, and veterinary professionals to create complete and balanced recipes for their dogs. Using BalanceIT gives me confidence knowing these recipes are “vet-approved” and complete and balanced for my dogs.

The recipe today is formulated to AAFCO standards and is complete and balanced for adult dogs if all ingredients are prepared as listed and all supplements are included. If any changes are made to the recipe it will no longer be considered balanced and should be considered a “treat” or “addition” and be kept to 10% of your dog’s overall daily caloric needs.


95% Lean Ground Beef: Lean ground beef is an excellent source of essential amino acids along with many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin B6, niacin, and phosphorus.

Brown Rice: A great source of healthy fiber, an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, vitamin b6, vitamin b1, selenium, iron, and a good source of certain types of antioxidants such as phenols and flavonoids.

Spinach: Provides many different essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2. Spinach also contains several antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol – which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Zucchini: A great source of antioxidants such as carotenoids (like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene), and an excellent source of fiber to support a healthy microbiome.

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

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.

Supplement (BalanceIT Canine): Without using the supplement this recipe will be deficient in riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, calcium, copper, iodine, and vitamin D.



  • Protein: 47%
  • Fat: 28%
  • Carbohydrate: 24%
  • Moisture: 73%
  • Calories: 961


  • 383g 95% lean ground beef, pan-broiled
  • 106g Brown Rice, long-grain, cooked
  • 45g Spinach, cooked – boiled
  • 90g Zucchini, cooked – boiled
  • ½ tsp Walnut Oil
  • ½ tsp Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet
  • 4 ⅛ tsp BalanceIT Canine


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).


If you have a rice-cooker this recipe is going to be VERY simple to do. The recipe calls for about 1 cup of cooked brown rice. So start with about ½ cup of dry rice, with 1 cup of water, and follow the directions on your rice cooker for perfect rice!

For this recipe you will need about 1 lb of 95% lean ground beef to start as it will loose water while cooking – place the ground beef in a nonstick pan (I prefer cast iron), and cook until lightly browned. DO NOT ADD OIL while cooking. We do not want to add any extra fat to the recipe.

In a separate stainless steel pan add 1 cup of water and boil. Chop up about 180g of Zucchini (about 1 large), and add it to the boiling water. Cover and allow to soften for about 3 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool. In the same pan add a 1/2 of water and boil, then add in spinach mix until softened, then drain and cool. If using fresh spinach add twice as much as weight listed, but if using frozen use the same amount as listed in the recipe.


Depending on your dog’s size you can either add everything into a food processor prior to feeding, or you can chop all elements into bite-sized pieces and mix together.

Allow everything to cool prior to feeding or adding any additional supplements. I highly recommend if you are batch-cooking meals for your dogs to portion all ingredients EXCEPT oils and supplements into containers. Then add supplements and oils the day-of feeding. This will keep everything fresh, and allow you to reheat the food if needed prior to serving. However – if you find it easier to have everything mixed in that should be okay, just do not reheat any food items.

The food should be fine in the fridge for about 3 days, and in the freezer for about 30 days. If you plan to make even larger batches I would highly recommend a deep-freezer and vacuum sealable bags, as otherwise the food may start to loose nutritional value and get freezer burn.


I feel like BalanceIT is a great place to start if you want to jump into the home-cooking realm (which is what I used to formulate this recipe), however, it does have some limitations/negatives in my point of view. Mainly the fact that recipes on BalanceIT do not contain organ meats.

Organ meats often provide many different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that cannot be found in other food items. Thus, after you have gotten the hang of cooking for your pup, if you’d like to take the next step to add in organ meats I’d highly recommend working with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to formulate a fully custom recipe for your pup! You can find more information about finding an ACVN diplomat along with the other options for home-cooking for your dog in my blog post on DIY Dog Food.


As someone who has homecooked for several years for their pups – cooking over 50 lbs of food every two weeks for my two 50 lbs dogs – I’ve used several products over the years that I LOVE. Below are some of those products.

The following links are amazon affiliate links, if used I will receive a commission on the purchase of the item at no additional cost to you.

I hope you all had fun checking out this recipe – make sure to let me know if you try it out for your pups! You can absolutely use this recipe as a ‘topper’ for your dog’s regular food is you do not want to use the BalanceIT supplement, just make sure you keep it to 10% of your pup’s overall calories for the days (including other treats and additions). I hope you all have a wonderful day and a fun rest of the week!

Til next time my canine health nuts!

Love, Nikki - The Canine Health Nut and Registered Veterinary Technician

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