The classic combination – beef and potatoes! Probably the most important part of this recipe is the fact that I am using LEAN ground beef – or 95% lean beef! The typical 80/20 ground beef is not a suitable substitute in this recipe – why? – because it is less concentrated in amino acids (or proteins) that are essential for overall health in dogs. I’ve also seen people try to use 80/20 or lower ground beef, then draining the fat – this also will not work. Because certain vitamins and minerals are fat-soluble, meaning they live within that fat that you are draining away. This could potentially create an unbalanced recipe and nutritional deficiencies!
So if you are looking to cook for your pup – ALWAYS choose lean ground meats (unless otherwise specified by your vet)!
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.
Sweet Potato: A rich source of dietary fiber, along with vitamins A, C, B, and several minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, and selenium.
Carrots: An excellent source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, vitamin A and antioxidants.
Bell Pepper: A great source of vitamin C, along with other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K1, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. Bell Pepper is also an excellent source of antioxidants such as lutein, quercetin, and luteolin.
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, calcium, copper, iodine, selenium, and vitamin D.
PERCENT CALORIE BASIS:
- Protein: 42%
- Fat: 25%
- Carbohydrate: 33%
- Moisture: 74%
- Calories: 1048
HOMEMADE DOG FOOD RECIPE
- 379g 95% Lean Ground Beef, pan-broiled
- 375g Sweet Potato, baked in skin
- 69g Green Bell Peppers, raw
- 46g Carrots, raw
- 3/8 tsp Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet
- 1 tsp Walnut Oil
- 4 1/2 tsp BalanceIT Canine
HOW MUCH TO FEED
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).
Start by warming the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Wash and poke the sweet potato with a fork and bake on a baking tray until you can easily peirce through with a fork (about 30-45 minutes). The potato will loose moisture as it cooks – so starting with about 400g potato will typically yeild the 345g cooked potato value you will need for this recipe.
While the potato is baking, brown about 1 lb or 454g of 95% lean ground beef using a cast iron pan. Do not add any additional oil for cooking, if needed use a tbsp or two of water to deglaze the plan. Cook until -just- browned, do not overcook. The 454g of meat should yeild almost exactly the 379g that you will need for this recipe.
After both the potato and beef are cooked, place them aside to cook and start to chop, or shread the carrots and bell peppers. I find most dogs find both these vegetables very tasty, but if you have a picky dog – puree them or dice them finely and measure to the amounts listed above.
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.
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 find 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.
LOOKING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP:
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.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR COOKING FOR DOGS:
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!
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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