When creating a diet for a dog for weight loss additional considerations need to be made BECAUSE the diet will be intended to be given at a reduced amount of calories. What this means is that the diet must be nutrient-dense – providing the dog with all the essential protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals that the dog needs – but with fewer calories. Feeding less of a regular diet can actually cause nutritional deficiencies if the food only contained borderline nutrients to start with, and since often weight loss takes between 6 months to a year, nutrient deficiencies may cause long-term disease or malnutrition.
Beyond just meeting basic nutrient needs, a weight loss diet is recommended to have a certain type of macronutrient composition. According to research studies – dogs lose weight while maintaining lean body mass best on a high protein (above 40% dry matter), low fat (between 10-20%), and high-er fiber diet (between 4-20%) containing complex carbohydrates. However, dogs can lose weight eating any diet composition.
- Read More: Weight Loss Diets for Dogs
Generally speaking, dogs should eat between 60-80% of the daily caloric needs at their current weight, and though treats can be given as part of our weight loss plan, all treats should be kept as a low overall percentage of the diet (less than 10%). Ideally using the complete and balanced diet as treats for training, and alternatives for dental health are the best option.
- Read More: Is My Dog Fat? Canine Obesity
Today’s recipe takes all these items into account to create a low-calorie diet, that is high protein, low fat, and high fiber.
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.
Beef Liver: Beef liver is high in mutliple different essential vitamins and minerals for a dog – folate, iron, vitamin B, vitamin A, and copper.
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.
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.
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.
Walnut Oil: An excellent source of linoleic acid and alpha-Linolenic acid – which are essential fatty acids that dogs need in their diet.
Supplement (BalanceIT Canine): Without using the supplement this recipe will be deficient in 5 different vitamins or minerals: calcium, vitamin E, iodine, manganese, and zinc.
PERCENT CALORIE BASIS:
- Protein: 60%
- Fat: 19%
- Carbohydrate: 21%
DRY MATTER BASIS:
- Protein: 67%
- Fat: 10%
- Carbohydrate: 23%
- Fiber: 7%
- Moisture: 78%
- Calories per Recipe: 784 kcal (can be fed to a dog who usually would eat 1000kcal per day)
- Calories per OZ: 26 kcal/oz
HOMEMADE DOG FOOD RECIPE
- 85g (3oz) 95/5 lean ground beef, pan-broiled
- 85g (3oz) beef liver, pan-broiled
- 340g (12oz) cod, cooked oven-roasted
- 79g (1/2cup) barley, pearled, cooked
- 46g (1/2cup) bell peppers, raw
- 184g (3/4c) Pumpkin, canned
- 1 tsp Walnut Oil
- 2 3/8 tsp BalanceIT Canine / Human Supplements
This recipe 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.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is pre-heating start your barley – place 1/2 cup barley and 1 cup water into a large saucepan, bring to a low boil and cover to cook for about 10 minutes.
While that is cooking place about 24 oz of raw cod on a baking sheet (this will shrink down to being the 12 oz you need for the recipe), and place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until completely cooked through.
If it is been 10 minutes make sure to check the barley to see if it done, and if so, remove from the heat to cool.
While the cod is cooking start on pan-browning your beef. Start with about 4oz or 1/4 lb of the 95/5 ground beef, and lightly brown without allowing to caramelize or burn – just cook it through. After it is cooked, removed from the heat and allow it to cool. After removing beef from the pan, add 4oz beef liver or 1/4 lb, and lightly brown as well, and cook through. DO NOT USE OIL TO COOK EITHER OF THESE PRODUCTS.
Check on the fish in the oven – the fish should become a dense white color after cooked through, but you can always check with a fork to see if the middle is also cooked. If the fish are completely cooked, remove them from the heat and set aside to cool.
While all the items are cooking it’s time to prep and weigh the other ingredients!
Take one belll pepper and remove the seeds, rind and top stem. Then chop or puree into small bite-sized pieces. I usually use my food processor for this and the shredding attachment.
Now since all your ingredients are prepped and COOLED, you will need to weigh each ingredient according to the recipe above using a gram-scale, with exception of the walnut oil and the BalanceIT supplement which you can use a tsp to measure.
HOW MUCH TO FEED
This recipe was created with the idea that would could feed it at a caloric deficit – meaning this recipe is complete and balanced for a dog that would typically eat 1000kcal per day, however that is condensed into a 780 kcal package. Prior to starting on any type of weight loss plan, please discuss your goals with your veterinary team, and make sure to rule out or treat any other concurrent medical condition such as Hypothyroidism or Cushings disease. Prior to switching to this diet, make sure it would be appropriate for your dog – this recipe is very high in protein, which some dogs may not do well on or be able to tolerate. The reason for the high protein rather than high carbohydrate value was to make sure this recipe was nutrient-dense (as far as essential amino acids and fatty acids).
|Weight||Reduced Calories at 80%|
Remember that you are not feeding your dog at a caloric deficit for their entire lives! Once your dog is at their ideal weight you will want to slowly start to increase the calories back within the normal range. Working with your veterinary team to come up with both a weight loss plan and continue to monitor your pup after weight loss is achieved is so important. If you do have a dog prone to weight gain, choosing a higher protein, higher fiber diet for long-term feeding might be a good idea.
RECIPES TO CONSIDER LONG-TERM:
- Pork and Oat Dog Food Recipe
- Beef and Sweet Potato Dog Food Recipe
- Turkey, Egg and Rice Dog Food Recipe
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT
You can find more homemade dog food recipes that are FREE on my website, I have recipes using a variety of different proteins, from fish to chicken to pork, and I also have both grain-free and grain-inclusive options. If you don’t see something particularly suited for your dog, or if you would like more support with the do-it-yourself process, feel free to reach out! I do offer Dog Food Consultations using BalanceIT, where I can create a recipe for your dog’s unique nutritional needs.
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 day (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, AS Animal Health -2013) 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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