5 June 2007

Homemade dog food

Alice with her 'baby'.
I have struggled to justify the keeping of pets in a simple life. I know it's not an issue for most people but I want to cut unnecessary expense and non-productive animals from my life. I have tried to be practical about this, and examined my need to keep non-working dogs, but all I came up with is this: I love them and they make my life better. I don't think a simple life should be devoid of pleasure, quite the contrary, it is about finding joy in the everyday happenings of ordinary life. So for those of you who are mathematically minded, here is the equation: airedales x 2 + rj = happiness. Okay, now that's out of the way...
I want to keep my two Airedale Terriers in good health but also spend the least amount of money on their food, so I make their food myself. Rosie and Alice are 10 and 11 years old and still very active and healthy. They've only been to the vet a couple of times - to be treated for the paralysis tick - and both times the vet was amazed at their excellent condition and asked what we were feeding them. This is the recipe.

1 kg beef mince - or pork, chicken.
1½ cups raw brown or white rice
1 cup raw barley OR lentils
1 cup raw pasta
2 cups chopped vegetables - it can be whatever you have on hand but NOT ONIONS or LEEKS.
1 spoonful of Vegemite (optional)
Place all the above ingredients into a big stockpot. Cover with water and stir to break up the mince. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When it's finished cooking, top up the stockpot to the rim with water and leave to cool.
When it's cold, place into portion sized plastic containers and freeze until you need them.We make this once a week. It feeds our two dogs for seven days. The dogs love it and it's got no preservatives or artifical flavourings in it. It costs around $7 a week.
They also have a scoop of Omega 3 dog biscuits in the morning.
ADDITION: Alice weighs around 22 kgs and she gets two cups of this food per day.


  1. HI ! I love your blog and have been reading for a few weeks now. I'm curious why in your dog food recipe you use white rice instead of brown . Thanks !

  2. Oh dear ! I just reread your post and it says brown or white. I thought it said raw BONES or white rice. haha

  3. Julie, I use whatever rice is in the cupboard. Welcome. : )

    Welcome realgranola. : )

  4. Hi Rhonda

    Can you tell me how much is a portion size?
    I have two labs and a basset and I think I might try this.
    Also where do you get the omega 3 biscuits?


  5. I am wondering if this would be a cheaper option for us feeding our dog. How do I determine a proper portion size?

  6. Just wondering, have you tried using Kangaroo mince instead of beef? I'm considering using it as a beef substitute.

  7. Are you still feeding your dogs this homemade formula? I too make my own dog food, but the meat is left raw.

  8. Hi Rhonda,

    I wanted to try this dog food, but I couldn't figure out the meaning of : " top up the stockpot to the rim with water and leave to cool." does this mean that I take water off or that I should add water?

  9. Darren, I haven't used kangaroo.

    Linda, Alice is still eating this food. Raw meat tend to give her an upset stomach.

  10. sorry the post again, but I'd really like to understand if I should add or take out water? Please Rhonda????


  11. Shandy, I did come looking for your comment yesterday but it wasn't showing up. Anyhow, it means you add water - enough to fill up the pot, then leave it to cool. :- )

  12. Hi Everyone

    I work as a vet and I thought I could weigh in on some comments (hope you don't mind Rhonda)

    Darren; kangaroo meat is very low in fat, so bear this in mind; most dogs are overweight anyway though!

    Linda; raw meat can contain infectious organisms that pets can pass on to people so cooked can be better in this sense.

    Also this food is very low in calcium so don't feed it to puppies/young dogs without supplementing, and I would advise against feeding it to pregnant or lactating dogs.

    Rhonda, love your blog! Thanks for all your useful info.

  13. It sounds like human food to me. There are people who advocate a raw foods diet for their dogs.

  14. Wow this is great. I'll share this with my daughter. She takes care of the family's pets.

  15. I think this would be a great (and cheaper) alternative to the bagged food we are currently feeding our dog. Thanks so much for posting this! A few questions. Do you drain off any water, or is it served as somewhat of a gruel. It seems so, but I wanted to make sure. Does it have to be beef? I found a package of chicken breasts that got lost in the freezer and has gotten freezer burned. The off taste wouldn't suite well with the family, so I was thinking of cooking it up for the dog anyway. Also, we are overrun by wild hogs. I can't stand the taste myself and was wondering if pork could be used as well.

    Thanks so much for a great blog, you have had me reading for a few hours now, lol.

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  18. I am also wondering if it should be like soup. I just made a big batch and it is very soupy. Is that the correct consistency? Thank you so much for posting this. We have 2 dogs that have terrible allergies and have lost most of their hair. We can't afford the expensive dog food that is recommended, so I'm hoping this will work for us.

  19. Rhonda, I just made this recipe last night. I fed a portion to my mixed breed dog this morning and he LOVED it!! He kept returning to his bowl to lick it after eating all the food.

    I also discovered that my local butcher makes his own "dog food" which is the left over pieces. He sells it for 89 cents a pound. This is what I used in the recipe.

    Keep up the outstanding work! I greatly enjoy reading your blog.

  20. Hi Rhonda, I presume you do leave all the added liquid in this recipe as there is no other reason for adding it. I'm enquiring about the barley! In one of the dog food articles I've just been reading it says not to feed dogs barley. Though your dogs are obviously living proof that it's ok. So I guess I'll alternate lentils and barley. Thanks Rhonda for your fantastic and knowledgeable site.

  21. Diane, it's fine to include barley. There are a lot of crazy notions out there. Check this out - these are the guidelines for dog food: http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/dogfoods.html

    And leave the liquid in, yes, it soaks in as it stands. We let our food stand until it cooled, then we'd freeze it in portion sizes.

  22. I am just making this now and it even smells like dog food! ����❤ any idea how this turns out? I would like to use it as training treats - any tips in adjusting the recipie to suit? Also what veg do people use? I'm trialling carrots and bit of broccoli x

  23. One of my goals is to make dog food and I'm now ready to give it a go. Do you still use this recipe Rhonda? I also like your dog biscuits and will add the oil for the Omega 3.

    I think Samson would love a warm dinner over his dry food any day. Also not only is this cheaper it is much healthier for him too.



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