Homemade Pet Food

A cat in a box. Peter Johnson/Nifty Homestead

One day, I realized that the pre-packaged food I was giving my pets wasn’t healthy for them. I took the time to consider what they would be eating in the wild, and it definitely wasn’t highly-concentrated food pellets. Sure, grains are good for them, but it just didn’t seem to be enough.

A picture of a silver water and pet food dish.
This processed food pales in comparison to what they would eat in the wild. franchise opportunities / Flickr (Creative Commons)

The switch to making my own pet food wasn’t just about my pet’s nutrition. It was also about avoiding processed foods in my household all together! I went in search of companies that made all natural pet foods that didn’t have any unnecessary fillers and processing. Many of the pet foods I found had high prices.

Additionally, I had seen news about processed pet food being contaminated with chemicals that cause harm, and in some cases death. That certainly gave me the last push I needed to make my own pet food for good.

Important Details About Canine Diets

It is a common misconception that canines are carnivores. In reality, dogs are omnivores and like fruits and vegetables.

There is a lot of “can” and “can not” when it comes to feeding your canine fruits and vegetables, so I broke down the information into a list below. If you stick to this list and avoid anything that you don’t see on the list, you should be fine.

Keep in mind that some animals have food allergies, so if you’re trying a new food, you should give the animal a little bit at a time while monitoring them for an allergic reaction.

A brown, curly haired dog in grass.
A healthy dog enjoying a day at the park. dave.see / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Fruits & Veggies For Your Canine

  • Apples
  • Bananas (in moderation)
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli (small amounts)
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupes
  • Celery
  • Cranberries (small amounts)
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Peaches (small amounts)
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Pineapples
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries (in moderation)
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potatoes (avoid skin)
  • Watermelons

Some Dogs Are Vegetarians

Feeding a dog a vegetarian diet is possible, but a little tricky. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is important for many biological processes. Some amino acids cannot be made by the body and have to be processed in food. These necessary amino acids can be found in meat, but dogs are able to get the same amino acids from specific plant proteins.

When feeding your furry friend a vegetarian diet, you will need to think about these necessary proteins to keep your dog healthy. Balance is important for the animal’s health, growth, and development. By incorporating the right variety of plant-based proteins, you will provide the necessary amino acids.

Important Details About Feline Diets

Like dogs, cats are also omnivores. The only difference is that their vegetables should always be cooked. Raw vegetables are a choking hazard for cats since it’s more difficult for them to chew.

cat in a box
A cat in a box. Peter Johnson / Insteading

The fruits and vegetable list I found for cats is a little shorter than the one for dogs, but there are definitely still some great suggestions. Cats are picky when it comes to food, so these are fruits and vegetables from the list that my own cats enjoy.

Fruits & Veggies For Your Feline

  • Skinned Baked Carrots
  • Baked Winter Squash
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Steamed Green Beans (in moderation)
  • Melon

Homemade Dog Food


  • 1 lb. lean beef
  • ½ lb. turkey
  • ½ lb. chicken
  • ½ lb. peeled carrots
  • ½ lb. sweet peas
  • 3 c. whole grain rice
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 ½ c. chicken broth
  • ½ c. turkey stock
  • 2 c. water (approximately)

Note: You can mix and match any kind of meats with those listed in the recipe, like duck, lamb, rabbit, and fish.

happy puppy on a hiking trail
Keep your pups this happy with the right diet! Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading


  1. Gather the meat into a pan.
  2. Turn the burner on to a manageable heat, and cook the meat together until it’s browned.
  3. Add the rice, broth, stock, and water, cooking over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetables and eggs, allowing the food to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Turn off the burner and let the mixture cool, you can now serve or store the food safely.
homemade dog food
My homemade dog food! Elaina Garcia / Insteading

One way to store the pet food is by placing it in the freezer. All you have to do is thaw the food before serving (or you can spoil your pet by heating it up a little bit!).

It is best to avoid including any seeds/pits of fruits and nuts. For example, apple seeds and peach pits can be harmful to pets because they contain cyanide.

Homemade Cat Food


  • ½ c. of their favorite meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork)
  • 1 tbsp. mashed veggies
  • ⅓ c. oatmeal (or ½ c. brown rice)


  1. If you choose to use poultry or beef, cook the meat until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. If you choose to use pork, cook the meat until it has reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Chop up the meat into small, bite-size pieces.  Alternatively, you can puree the meat in a food processor.
  4. Combine the ingredients until it has the consistency of lumpy paste.

You can use any of the veggies listed as safe for cats to eat to make this dish. Additionally, you can replace the meat for fish. If you opt for fish, keep in mind that fish is ok for cats in moderation.

That being said, you may want to alternate between making fish-based food one week (or day) and making a different meat-based food the next week (or day). Make sure to include the rice or oatmeal, because it thickens the meal, keeping it together as a pâté.

In my opinion, knowing what your animals are consuming is just as important as knowing what you are consuming. Natural foods have a healthy impact on us and improve our animal’s well being. Generally, a superfood for us is a superfood for them. I know we don’t all have time to make our own pet food, but you can still find an all natural cat food and an all natural dog food provider to ensure your animal has a balanced diet.

Our animals’ health should be as important to us as our own. I am pleased with the switch I made for my pets, and so are they!

Today’s article is about making your own homemade pet foods. It is brought to you by Elaina Garcia. She is a natural healer who lives in a tiny house on a tiny homestead.

Written by Insteading Community Authors

This blog post was submitted by one of our community members (scroll up for their personal bio). We welcome guest posts from the community that fit with our writer guidelines. Click here to learn more about how to write for Insteading.


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    • Hello Angela, I sure can! So all you have to do is adjust the recipe to make as much as you’d like in advance. I find that freezing the food in a reusable container works just fine, although my cat is picky so I bring his serving to room temperature before feeding it to him.

    • Hi Martin! I know some animals can be picky but typically all dogs love this food. You can make a batch and try it out with him. If he doesn’t like the food it is completely tasty for humans too if you add a little seasoning. One thing I’d like to warn you of is that sometimes when you change an animal’s diet it can give them a little diarhea but it should pass.

      • One thing you can also do Martin is to add a little of the homemade food to his normal dry food every day, slowly increasing the amount over time. This should help him ease into the transition.

  1. Hello. I agree that a home-made diet is far better than canned or kibble for our fur babies. However, your recipes appear to lack some essential ingredients:
    A source of bone, such as bonemeal or dried and ground eggshells or calcium carbonate. Also, for cats, taurine is essential. Cooking destroys taurine, so it would have to be added after cooking. In addition, both dogs and cats also need organ meats like liver. And there is a strong argument that cats do better without any grains at all (like oats) added to their diet. So your cat diet of half grains seems way out of proportion.

    I hope you and your readers will take this comment in the spirit in which it is offered – in the best interest of our beloved pets.

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