This recipe technically falls under what some would call a species appropriate diet due to it’s restricted carbohydrate composition, and its use of fruits/vegetables, rather than dense carbohydrates for their antioxidant and vitamins/minerals.
I think of this recipe a bit differently… Though this recipe is restricted in carbohydrates – it is also high in protein and high fat – meaning this dog food recipe is energy dense, and highly palatable. Perfect for dogs who are extremely picky, dogs who need to gain weight, dogs who have high energy needs (sporting or performance dogs) or even dogs who need a diet that is highly palatable while undergoing cancer treatments in order to keep them eating.
This recipe is also a bit different than your “average online recipe” in the sense that it isn’t giving you a “chart” to pick off of in order to “balance the recipe” – the idea that you can do 80% of any cut of meat, plus any secreting organ to achieve balance is not quite true. As you will see below – even after adding in my organ meats – this recipe still has over six nutrient deficiencies that need to be accounted for.
So let me show you how we build a complete and balanced high protein beef recipe for our dogs.
- Protein: 49.9 %
- Fat: 44.5 %
- Carbohydrates: 5.6%
- Protein: 65%
- Fat: 27%
- Carbohydrates: 8%
- Fiber: 1%
This recipe was formulated to be restricted in carbohydrates, high in protein and high in fat. This would be appropriate for picky dogs, dogs who have high energy needs (such as hunting, agility or sporting dogs), dogs that require a highly palatable diet due to a disease process such as cancer, or dogs who need to gain weight.
95% Lean Beef
The first ingredient in our recipe is going to be 95% lean ground beef. It is important to note that the beef does need to be 95% lean or greater because we are trying to keep fat content lower in this recipe, and we need to provide all the protein (essential amino acids) our dogs need.
Beef also provides the bulk of the vitamins and minerals that our dogs need – including minerals such as iron, zinc, sodium, chloride, most of our b vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.
However it is important to note that lean beef by itself does not cover all the essential nutrients that our dogs need. In fact we still have twelve other nutrients missing from this recipe.
Starting to fill in some of those nutritional gaps, we will add in beef liver. A little bit of this guy goes a long way in this recipe as beef liver is extremely high in vitamin A. But it also provides needed folate, ribolflavin (a B vitamin), and copper! Organ meats such as ruminant livers are truly nutrient powerhouses – beef livers in particular are extremely nutrient dense, meaning just ½ to 1 ounce can cover a 50 lb dog’s vitamin A and copper needs – where you need a combination of poultry organs including liver to do the same thing, and at higher quantities.
Shellfish are probably one of my favorite ingredients to add to dog food (and as a treat). They are naturally low in fat, and high in minerals that are often missed in traditional “meat and organ” recipes found online. In particular eastern oysters provide this recipe with thiamine (B vitamin), and magnesium. They are also an excellent source of manganese and zinc – helping us meet minimum requirements for this recipe.
If you are keeping count – we are now down to six nutritional gaps within this recipe! So let’s keep going.
This fatty fish is an excellent source of not only omega 3 fatty acids, but much needed vitamin D! Unlike humans which can manufacture vitamin D from sun exposure, dogs cannot do so, and it must be provided in this diet. Salmon happens to be an excellent source of vitamin D, and also provides additional b vitamins and protein to this recipe.
Spinach, Bell Peppers & Blueberries
This trio of fruits and vegetables has powerful antioxidant properties – which help to handle oxidative stress, and scavenge free radicals. They also provide additional Manganese to this recipe in order to meet our dog’s nutritional requirements (primarily from the spinach, which supplies about 30% of the Manganese for this recipe).
Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet (Fish Oil) & Walnut Oil
There are two main reasons for the addition of the Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet (which is a fish oil for dogs), the first of which is that we want to balance out the omega 6s found within the beef of this recipe with some omega 3s creating a more anti-inflammatory, rather than pro-inflammatory recipe. The second reason for the addition of this oil is as a source of vitamin E!
Walnut oil happens to be a highly concentrated source of linoleic acid for dogs – for a 50 lb dog a tsp of this oil will cover basic nutrient needs, whereas you would need several tablespoons of olive oil, or need to provide almost ½ cup of coconut oil to achieve similar amounts of this nutrient.
Supplements: Calcium & Iodine
Even with all these wonderful whole food ingredients, we do need two other essential nutrients – in particular a source of Calcium, and Iodine. There are several different ways to get these nutrients, which I break down in my step-by-step recipe, from purified supplements to whole food ingredients. There are many different options we can use for our pups.
The High Protein Beef Recipe is formulated to be complete and balanced for adult dogs according to AAFCO nutrient standards. This recipe is not appropriate for puppies, pregnant or lactating dogs.
This recipe was created using the software from BalanceIT – which is a software created by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to allow the creation of homemade dog food recipes that are balanced for adult dogs.
This low carbohydrate beef dog food recipe is complete and balanced for adult dogs. This recipe printout includes a 7-page document that has a: small & large batch size – perfect for weekly or monthly meal prep, ingredients list, cooking instructions, supplement recommendations, meal prep and storage instructions, the original BalanceIT recipe, and the full AAFCO/NRC nutritional profile breakdown.
Happy Cooking dog lovers!
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!