Alternatives to Commercial Dog Foods to make dogs healthy

Though homemade dog foods are not the mainstream idea and actually an alternative approach for healthier dog food many people will defer, you should give it a try as it is pocket-friendly, healthier and safe.

Dogs are the best as a pet also as a companion. The number of dog lovers is increasing day by day, in turn, the amount of pet dogs is also multiplying at a rapid rate. Most of the dog owners are affectionate as well as careful to their dog’s health because they want to give their dog the best in terms of nourishment, food, and comforts. For that reason, most of the dog owners do follow the diet chart given by the Veterinary doctor, strictly.

But those Vet’s suggested dog foods usually come very costly as compared to any human food. There are many places around the globe where those packaged dry foods for dogs are not easily available. Especially in rural areas or hilly terrain, the dog foods are not easily available there, but that does not strain the dog lovers, so at the end, they will pet dogs and will be giving the best food which, they can provide.

Apart from the above said, there are also many people who just do not want to spend that extra money on dog food, instead, they want to turn the dog habituated to the normal domestic human foods. Whatever the case is, here we have come with some solution for homemade dog foods, which can be used as alternatives of any packaged Dry food from the store.

Also, in commercially packaged food, there is various kind of chemicals been used as preservatives, which may be harmful to your pet. Though there is a given standard by the governing agencies, then also who has the proof that all of those commercial food has all the nutritional elements and has no extra chemicals within it. So, homemade food is also safer for your pet for sure.

So, go through this article to know which foods you can prepare at your home and serve your dog. Be sure about the food which we are going to suggest are just more than good enough for all kind of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibre and fat needs of your dog.

If you are thinking, then why the Vets suggest packaged food only, let me enlighten you that not all the Vet are same, but most of the dose as it is a competitive market out there; so most of the dog food production company give a good amount of commission to the Vets, so they promote the company’s products naturally, this point is also applicable to the shopkeepers who do sell this kind of products. These kinds of kickback-oriented marketing can be seen throughout the Medicine industry as well as throughout the pet food and pediatric food industry.

homemade dog foods available
Image source: oplexcareers

There are many dogs back there at jungle till date, who are much healthier and active in terms of health compared to many pet dogs, but those jungle dogs do not consume commercially packaged foods. So, just do not worry and give your dog a try with domestic food for a month and you will notice the difference by yourself. If you are still not convinced then ask some Vet or doctor who is close to you socially to know the truth.

The big question

Which one is better Raw food or Cooked food for Dog?

In the case of Raw food,

There are many dog owners who are the believers of the so-called BARF diet (a diet which includes raw meats, bones etc). The logic behind this belief is many people even some of the experienced dog owners believe the raw and natural foods actually replicates the food habit of any dog which they possess naturally. So, serving a dog the food which it might have acquired if it was in the wild would have been beneficiary to its health.

But the problem is that the raw meat may possess a dangerous bacterium called “Salmonella”, which may cause some serious health hazard. While cooking (160-degree Fahrenheit) the meat or the flesh neutralize this threat.

Now there is also cross logic appears that the dogs in the wild eat raw meat regularly but a very small number of them are affected by these bacteria, and they do survive very well. This actually happens because the dog’s digestive system is different from humans so that in most cases they can digest Salmonella-infected meat too.

If talking about Bones instead of raw meat then another point arises. In most cases, the owners provide the dogs with Pork, Beef, Mutton, Lamb or Chicken. Chicken is the most common meat provided to dogs in all the countries around the world. Here the Chicken bones come up with a unique problem.

Though any of the bones can become a potential threat for choking on the throat or blocks at the intestine or even internal intestine punctures and ulcers. But the problem is mostly seen in case of chicken bones only.

The raw chicken bones have their own flexible tissues which are actually easy to digest for any kind of dogs. But the point is that in most cases the cooked bones become the reason behind the risk of internal intestinal punctures. So, if you ask me to keep your dog out of the harm’s way you should feed your dog cooked or half boiled meat without the bones (especially chicken bones).

At the end of the day, the feeding is dependent upon each owner. But remember one thing that if you are serving bones to your dog thinking that it is the only or the best source of Calcium then you are wrong. There are many other foods which can provide enough calcium and all other essential minerals to your dog. So, only for the sake of Calcium, there is no need of taking the risk of feeding raw meat or bones to your dog.

There is a huge no of dogs who love taking a bite from the vegetables or fruits around the table. Those uncooked vegetables and fruits also do possess the threat of bacteria within it. So, if your dog loves veggies and fruits add these to your dog’s recipe after washing and serve it after cooking it well.

So, according to my experience and research homemade cooked foods are the best for any dog. Cooked foods are the best alternative to any kind of raw veg or non-veg food.

What kind of Nutritional balance a dog need?

While making food for your dog the goal is not only providing safe food or hunger management, but you have to keep in mind that you must provide your dog with all-around nutrition. The food must have a good balance among protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals (calcium, manganese, iron etc.), fatty acids and fibers, otherwise, any dog can become a victim of malnutrition, regardless of how much food it eats or how much it likes the food.

Foods dogs can eat easily—

  • For Fiber, vitamins and most of the ground minerals adding Carrots, green beans, spinach, Cauliflower, Capsicum, Bell pepper, Pumpkins, cooked Green Papaya, Gourds, Beetroots, Broccolis, Celery, Peas, Corns can be done. Wash the veggies very well before adding it to the recipes.
  • For providing the essential fatty acid you can add the Leafy greens (like Spinach, Parsley, Basil etc.), cooked salmon fish, Herring fish, cooked Sardine fish, flax seeds, ground nuts, cashew nuts (make a grinded paste out of it)
  • The need of Calcium can be fulfilled by adding the Green Banana, Cottage cheese, plain yoghurt or curd, adding boiled and cooled cow-milk to the diet (if the dog can digest it), Soya milk, Almond (make grinded paste), Tofu, Navy beans, Sunflower seeds to the recipe. Green Banana is very good for good quality potty also.
  • Brown rice, brown bread, barley, Cheese, pasta, oats etc are a very good source of Carbohydrates.
  • You can feed your dog some slices of Apples (without the seeds) or some Sweet potatoes, Blueberries, Banana, Strawberries, for some more vitamins and vital antioxidants which will increase the immunity.


You do not need to provide all the food said above daily, as you can Pick one item from each of the categories and can make a meal for your dog. Change the ingredients and recipe on a regular basis so that your dog can keep up with new mouthfuls every day without getting taste-bored.

There is no need for giving a single pinch of commercial dog foods to your dog if you provide the above-said foods in ample quantity. Though if you force enough, for your own mind satisfaction you can add some chunks of the commercial food as a topping on your home-made food. In this way, you can use a single packet of food for a month long of feeding.

Food to avoid giving dogs—

There are many common foods which should not be given to your dog as they can cause reactions and reparations of many kinds. Mild discomfort, rapid hair loss, indigestion, stinky breath, stinky skin to a serious medical condition like cardiac arrest can happen because of bad food habits.

  • Foods like Chocolate, Caramel etc never to be given to your dog.
  • Vegetables like Onions, Garlic, Avocados, Macadamia nuts, Uncooked potatoes, Wild mushrooms are never to be added to the dog’s diet.
  • Fruits like, Grapes, Sweet lemon, Raisins, Apple seeds (not to be consumed by human also), Nutmeg are to be avoided.
  • While cooking using of any spice must be very limited, you can add some Turmeric powder as it is a good antiseptic and natural pain killer, use a very little amount of sugar (just a little pinch) and that’s it. Never add salt to dog’s food. Do not use cumin powder or Coriander powder, a little bit of black pepper powder can be used but not needed necessarily.
  • Do not provide often Sweets or ice crème to your dog. Normal biscuits are not good for dog’s health if consuming at high rates. Keeping your dog away from any kind of sweet dish or dessert would be a very good idea otherwise the chance of Tapeworm infestation increases.
  • Do not add oil to your dog’s food. Though a little bit of Vegetable oil is not going to harm as it has vitamins in it, but do not make it a habit. Do not provide any kind of Sour (acidic dishes) dishes, Oily food or spicy food to your dog.
  • If your dog can not digest Milk do not feed him milk anymore. You can feed fish but it can cause an odour problem of your dog. Feeding too much butter, vegetable oil is not harmful but can cause obesity and hair loss related problems.
  • Egg yolks are to avoid if your dog has good health already, as it can cause obesity on regular consumption.
  • Do not let your dog drink Tea or Coffee on a regular basis, keep away from this bad habit.
  • Some dogs also do face difficulty with digesting Corns while many others can do it easily.

Ideas for some Recipe for dogs

Cooking for a dog is even easier than preparing a meal for the family. I am not a cook at all, so I will not be advising some specific recipe but you can find loads of them on the web especially on YouTube. Before following any such preparation from YouTube just check whether any prohibited food ingredients are getting used or not and also is that preparation covering all sort of food nutrition needs of the dog or not. If everything is alright then you can go ahead.

Do not worry about your culinary skills as you are not about to make a dish full of flavours and spices, and the taste buds of dogs are not as strong as ours. As long as the smell of the meat is present in your dog’s food, it is going to eat it.

That is why I found myself that a chicken stew with all kind of vegetables and added rice is a very good homemade dog food recipe. You just have to keep changing the vegetables used and also you can add eggs one day and fish on the other day. You can also change the meat in every two days like two days chicken then two days lamb then pork, then beef and so on. Just do not use any prohibited food or spices in your dog food preparation.

While serving you can spill some chunks from your commercial dog food packets to give it a flavour which your dog is going to love.

Instructions for cooking dog-food

You need to add at least 40% of protein, 50% vegetables and 10% starch and carbohydrates in the ingredients of your dog-food.

  • Fill a large bowl with water, put it on the oven and heat it for a slow boil.
  • Add some freshly washed and chopped potatoes. You can include the skins of potato.
  • Add some fresh and washed meat of turkey, beef, boneless chicken (breast pieces) to the bowl.
  • Now add some fresh or frizzed vegies. You can use a variety of from the given list above. Let’s say, you took some carrot, spinach, green banana, beet roots and beans.
  • Now add some well-cooked oatmeal or pasta or rice and put it in the mixture.
  • Now add some turmeric powder and a couple of drops of vegetable oil and keep stirring and let all the ingredients boiled well and mix well.
  • Now remove the bowl from the oven and let it cool. Never serve hot or warm food or frizzed food to your dog.

See this get some recipe ideas: DIY Homemad recipe ideas

Other Tips for making dog foods

  • No need for adding any seasoning or flavours as dogs do not need them as humans do. So never add any salt, pepper or tomato or chilli sauce or anything like these.
  • In any supermarket you will find that the fresh vegetables cheaper than any branded canned or frozen vegetables, and they also do contain more food value within them, so buy fresh vegetables only.
  • Using canned vegetables is prohibited as they contain salt and some other preservative chemicals within them.
  • It is not a good idea to use human leftovers for dog food preparation.
  • Inform your Vet about your dog’s diet and also ask your dog need any nutritional supplements or medicine for digestion or liver meds, vitamin meds or not.


Wrapping up

Now a day most of the people like to feed their dogs only home-cooked food, which is a good and healthier idea of course. The point is unless your Vet instructed to give your dog homemade foods only, for some specific health reasons, you can mix and match different ingredients as well as you can feed your dog the commercial food some also. You can also mix the homemade and commercial food as an alternative diet plan for your dog.

If you are one of those confused or over concerned dog owners but these alternative dog food and diets sounds appealing to you and your budget (as homemade food is healthier and pocket friendly) then you must consult with your Vet doctor to make sure that your dog is in a healthy enough stage to change his/her diet plan.

Even after changing the diet keep a close eye to his/her health and keep in touch with the vet. Though homemade dog foods are not the mainstream idea and actually an alternative approach for healthier dog food many people will defer, you should give it a try as it is pocket-friendly, healthier and safe. Go through this alternative path for 1-2 month and you will notice the result with your own eyes.

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