Fish and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

When creating this recipe using BalanceIT I really wanted to make something that was a good choice for the dog with poultry allergies – however this recipe could definitely be used for the average healthy pet as well.

Why do we like fish so much in comparison to other proteins like Venison or Lamb for food allergies? Well the main reason is because fish not only works as a novel protein for most dogs, but it also contains lots of naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to help with dogs with other types of allergies – such as seasonal or environmental allergies. Meaning that if a dog does have BOTH seasonal and food allergies – FISH may be able to help with both sides of the equation – leading to an overall better quality of life.

Dog staring at homemade fish dog food recipe

However there are some drawbacks of a fish based diet – mainly the possibility of toxins and heavy metals. Fish in particular as you go up the food-chain have higher and higher levels of heavy metals (like mercury) present in the fish. So ideally choosing fish towards the lower-end of the food chain is ideal. There is also some debate over wild-caught vs. farmed fish on both an environmental impact, and also nutritional standpoint.

In general, nutritionally it is better to choose wild-caught, clean water fish over farmed fish. And lower food chain fish to higher food chain fish. Every type of fish has a different nutritional profile – some fish are more lean, some are more fatty – and some have different types of proteins/amino acid composition than others.

So why Salmon AND Cod? The truth is that Salmon is a VERY fatty fish, and in order to balance out the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio along with providing enough protein – the recipe would be TOO FATTY for the average dog. It needs a lean protein to balance it out and provide the rest of the protein.

Now the “ideal” way to do this would actually be to pair salmon with either eggs or poultry (because it also contains the omega 6s that balance things out, while also providing lean protein). But in order to keep this recipe poultry-free I chose a lean fish instead – COD. But as you can see, you need a lot of Cod in order to balance out the fat in the Salmon. Then we needed to add in a good source of omega 6s – Walnut Oil – to balance out the omega 3s from the fish.


Cod: A great source of lean protein, providing essential amino acids while keeping fat content low. Also a great source of B Vitamins, and Vitamin D. Though it does still contain omega 3 fatty acids, it does not contain as much as other fish.

Salmon: A great source of omega 3 fatty acids, and a good source of protein – however fat content tends to be higher limiting the amount that can be added into the diet. Also a good source of B-vitamins and Vitamin D.

Ingredients in diy fish dog food recipe

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

Brown Rice: A great source of healthy fiber, 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.

Pumpkin Puree: A good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and works as an excellent prebiotic – to help feed your healthy gut bacteria – which supports the immune system.

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.

Tomato: A great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidants lycopene, Beta carotene and Chlorogenic acid. It also contains a powerful flavonoid called Naringenin which has been shown to decrease inflammation.

Supplement( BalanceIT Canine): WITHOUT THE SUPPLEMENT: this diet will be deficient in… choline, riboflavin, vitamin E, calcium, chloride, copper, iodine, iron, and zinc.



Nutrient Profile for Fish and Pumpkin homemade dog food recipe.
  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 43%
  • Carbohydrate: 32%
  • Calories: 1074 kcal


Recipe Card for Home prepared fish dog food.
  • 230g Wild Caught Cod, cooked – dry heat
  • 96g Wild Caught Salmon, cooked – dry heat
  • 268g Brown Rice, cooked
  • 8 ⅛ tsp Walnut Oil
  • 90g Tomatoes, raw
  • 68g Spinach, cooked
  • 92g Pumpkin Puree, cooked
  • 3 ¾ tsp BalanceIT Canine


Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake all the fish until cooked through – this may be between 20-40 minutes depending upon how large of a batch you are making.

While the oven is heating up start your rice – add two parts water to one part rice. You can either do this in a rice-cooker OR you can do this in a pot over the stove. If using a pot over the stove heat water until boiling, then add rice, once boiling reduce to low and cover for about 20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes and stirring. If using a rice cooker follow the directions of your particular model for cooking.

Bowl of homemade fish and pumpkin dog food.

Next you will want to prep your veggies. The easiest way I have found to do this is to purchase frozen chopped spinach. Then microwave for 30 minute increments until defrosted. However you can also purchase fresh and wilt down to cook in a pan with some added water (a tbsp or so).

For the pumpkin puree you can either purchase canned, unseasoned pumpkin puree OR you can make your own. Simply bake at 350 degrees until soft (depending on the pumpkin this may be 30 minutes or up to an hour and thirty minutes).

Finally for the raw tomato – chop up and remove the seeds. I highly recommend using a food processor in order to get the texture smooth and easy to mix into the other ingredients.

Once you have all the ingredients it’s time to measure everything out, you will need a gram scale to do this accurately.

When I prep fresh food for my pups I will portion out all the meals and then add in the vitamins and oils the day of. Simply put a small post-it note on the container with how much to add to make things easier. I like doing this because then I know that the oils and vitamins are as fresh as possible and have not degraded after being placed in the food. I also know that some vitamins (like vitamin E) are extremely heat sensitive. So if I am portioning while the food is still warm, I could actually lose the vitamin E content of the supplement by adding it to hot food that is not eaten right away.

Thus if you are going to put the supplement and oil in during your prep, make sure the food has cooled completely prior to adding.

NOTE: When you cook food items they will loose water! Meaning that the values listed above are the COOKED not RAW values. This is extremely important – the cod that I purchased strunk a TON after cooking (I used almost 600g of raw frozen cod to make the 230g of cooked cod in this recipe!). 


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 adding 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.


I hope you found this recipe helpful and fun – let me know if you try it out for your own pups! I know my dogs loved this recipe as a fun addition. Have a happy pumpkin season everyone – definitely looking forward to the fall weather over here!

Til next time my canine health nuts!

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4 thoughts on “Fish and Pumpkin Dog Food Recipe

  1. Hi there! I just wanted to say I love your website and it’s giving BMI a ton of ideas for balanceIT recipes for my dog. I love cooking for him and balanceIT is an easy way to assure it’s balanced. I stopped using it for awhile because of the limitations it had that you mention in the negatives, ie no organ meats. I’ve just recently come back to balanceIT and they do now have organ meats along with a whole host of other ingredients available since they revamped the autobalancer. I find I need to use way less supplement since I now have these options. It would be awesome to see what you come up with recipe wise with the new expanded autobalancer. Anyways thanks again for a great website😊

    1. Yes exactly! I was so excited when they expanded BalanceIT to using organ meats. They are stilling missing some other ingredients that can be useful for formulating minimally supplemented recipes – but overall I’m very happy they are continuing to improve on their balancer! 🙂

    1. If you head over to the USDA database you will see that water or moisture is included within the analysis of foods per 100g. Thus, if out of 100g there is say – 40g of moisture – the item is 40% moisture. To calculate the entire food you do this, but base it off amount fed as well – So if you add 20g of something that is 40% moisture + 20g of something that is 60% moisture you have an average moisture of 50%. Truthfully the % moisture is an estimate – if these recipes were created by a pet food company a sample of this recipe would be sent out for analysis to get a true value for the guaranteed analysis. Hope that helps!

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