A Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipe

Updated September 3, 2021

More and more dog owners are choosing to make grain-free or raw diets. Most vets, on the other hand, recommend premium commercial foods. Neither group is likely to change. I think it’s time vets put aside their beliefs to help dog owners get these homemade diets safely balanced.

If you prefer, click here to scroll down to a raw dog food recipe designed by a vet. Or click here for advice on home-made vegan diets. However, I hope you can stay for an explanation first. This vet-approved raw diet should be better than most, but it’s different, and I’d like to explain why…

Should Dogs Eat Wolf Diets?

raw food balance

Most raw diets are based around the theory that dogs should be fed the diet of their wild ancestors.  While this is definitely good thinking, as a vet I have two concerns:

The diet I’m going to build will keep referencing wolves but also take into account the changes in domestic dogs. It will also make a great (but still not guaranteed!) effort to be balanced.

Homemade Diets For Puppies?

Many breeders are now selling puppies already on raw diets.  Personally, I’m uneasy with this and would wait until adulthood. The consequences of getting the diet wrong are worse for puppies, and raising puppies properly is complicated enough as it is!

Update 2021: there’s now a page on Raw Puppy Diets including some new evidence.

Cancer Diets?

The following diet also won’t meet the requirements of cancer diets designed for dogs. Follow this link to learn more about this special case.

Raw Diet Ingredients

So what should we put in a raw diet and why?

Meat Selection For Dogs

If feeding raw, red meats such as lamb and beef should be chosen over poultry. Read here why feeding raw chicken is hazardous to dogs and people. If you need more convincing, think about wolves again. They catch and eat mammals, not birds.*

It’s absolutely true that chicken is better tolerated by dogs, especially at high amounts. This isn’t telling you that chicken is better, just that you’re putting too much meat in. Wolves don’t fillet out the best cuts and discard the rest. Being a ‘whole prey’ feeder means just that: eating an awful lot more than just muscle.

You can just as well use goat, camel or kangaroo. However, and I am on record on this point repeatedly, Australia’s pet food industry is under-regulated. Until this is fixed, I would only feed meat to dogs raw if it was fit for human consumption. This does add a lot to the cost.

*(Cats, by contrast, do naturally hunt birds; read here how & why I feed raw chicken necks to cats.)

Grains In Dog Food

There’s actually no firm evidence against grains, but they aren’t necessary or especially healthy either, so I’ll avoid them. One exception is rice, which for a long time has been recognised as beneficial to dogs. We even use rice to treat some tummy upsets.

This is where my ideal wolf and dog diets will differ. You can use brown rice, which I fully support, but I’ll use Basmati rice as it has a similar or lower glycaemic index and is a lot easier to prepare.

Fillers In Dog Food

Fillers are bad, right? Yes, but remember what I said about high meat diets. You do need something to balance out the rich ingredients. In a wolf’s world, this would be all the stuff they scavenge between kills, like bugs, roots, and the lower-value parts of their prey like gut contents (ick!)

I really like using pumpkin as it’s more fibrous and less starchy. However, there’s nothing to stop you experimenting with whatever you can get by the box at the farmer’s market. Just take a look at these bad foods for dogs first.

Raw Fruit & Veg

Any puppy owner who visits me knows I do go on a bit about raw fruits and veges. As long as you avoid grapes (onion too, but only an idiot dog would eat raw onion) they are great fun to try.

Add this after cooling to preserve the vitamins destroyed by cooking. Alternatively, you can do what I do and put a fresh bit from your own diet on each day’s meal. Dogs love a surprise ingredient. 


Eating raw bone is natural for wolves. If you’re open to trying raw bone feeding, calcium should be no concern. Otherwise, adding a finely ground eggshell to the recipe will help. I believe you can make raw bone feeding low-risk by following these guidelines.

Despite what I tell my clients about never leaving a dog alone with bone, I trust my own dogs to be sensible so that they can chew on them when they desire. This keeps a steady mineral supply going in, firm poop coming out, and happy dogs throughout.

A Homemade Raw Dog Recipe

dog homemade ingredients

Serves the requirements of an 8kg dog for 3-4 days

  • 250g chopped beef or lamb, raw
  • 1 cup chopped carrots, raw
  • 1 cup chopped apple, raw
  • ¼ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1½ cups chopped pumpkin or squash
  • ⅔ cup brown or basmati rice (will cook to 3 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons sunflower oil
  • 4g fish oil
  • Other ingredients? See below

Method: no need to get fancy.

  1. Cook the rice and pumpkin together until soft, and allow to cool
  2. Mix in the raw ingredients (dogs mostly also like their peas raw)
  3. Feed the required quantity per day, refrigerate the remainder
  4. Can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 2 weeks

Other Ingredients

Analysis of almost any homemade meal would show multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In practice, this may be tolerated by your dog but I recommend a vitamin and mineral supplement. Balance IT is designed for home-made diets and can be ordered from the USA. If not using, the following supplements can be ground together and mixed in the recipe after cooling:

  •  1 Cenovis® Zinc Tablet (25mg)
  • 1 Trace Nutrients or Interclinical Copper Plus tablet (2mg)
  • 1 g Iodised salt
  • 1 Centrum® Advance Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement

Most dog owners will have a favourite extra ingredient like chia or sardines. For me, each of my dogs gets fish oil. If you’re feeding something unusual it’s a good idea to check with your vet first. Also be careful with large amounts of oil due to the risk of pancreatitis.

Click here to discover why is there no offal in this diet.

How Much To Feed

dog food portions

Sorry! You’re going to have to do some maths. Using the diet above, 32 divided by your dog’s weight equals the number of days of food it will make. For example, if you have a 4kg Maltese, it will feed for 8 days. It’s up to you if you feed each daily portion in one meal or divide it into two or three.

Then watch the change in your dog’s weight and adjust the amount accordingly. No two dogs eat the same amount. Visit our page on how much to feed your dog for a longer discussion on the subject.

Finally, if you want the best and don’t mind spending $300, we have access to excellent veterinary nutritionists.  They can design you a balanced homemade diet tailored to both your dog and your preferences (such as higher meat levels). All you have to do is ask!

Related reading: Food Allergy and Elimination Diets | Healthy Treats For Dogs

A disclaimer: this diet, like most homemade raw diets, has not been analysed or tested. It is impossible to guarantee that it is nutritionally complete or that bacterial contamination will not occur. Use of this diet is at the dog owner’s own risk. Cooking the meat is safer and will not alter the diet significantly.

Have something to add? Comments (if open) will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

53 Replies to “A Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipe”

  1. Hi Andrew. Is this particular diet still a current recommendation (in Oct 2022)? If so, would it be okay to lightly cook the ingredients, say using poached meat and veg along with the rice and pumpkin (or use a slow cooker)? I’m not keen on raw, but interested in a balanced home-cooked recipe.
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Michelle. You will see in the text that I in fact cook it myself as I prefer not to feed meat raw. As for whether it’s current – this is an area where it’s really more about opinion then science so that’s up to you to decide!

    1. It is expensive to import, especially the postage. Try Predamax instead, it’s the same thing and available in Australia.

  2. Sorry – and if we add the supplements are the
    Ones listed corresponding to the quantities given. What I mean is do we need to double the supplements if we double the recipe?

    1. Everything should be added in the same proportions, so if you double the recipe you also double the supplements.

      1. Thank you for answering my questions so promptly. My dog had his first lot today and scoffed the lot! Previously has rejected apples! I guess they are well hidden

  3. Is the measurement of balance IT you previously suggested in the comments the same for the raw preparation? You referred to cooked food before

    1. Hi Rachel. That’s because I’m not differentiating between whether the meat is cooked or raw – it shouldn’t make much difference to the final balance.

  4. Hi Dr Andrew,
    Is Predamax a good substitute for added vitamins and minerals? It is available in Australia, and is already mixed.

    1. Hi Meryl. Predamax is unlikely to be a perfect replacement, but I thank you for informing me about it.

  5. Hi Andrew,
    You said in an earlier reply that diet changes doesn’t help much for dogs with itchy skin. Is there any particular changes to diet that you know of that have helped? Similar to the earlier post, my Rottweiler bites/licks/gnaws at his front paws until they are raw and sometimes bleed. I don’t want to pay 10-15x the price for special hypoallergenic dog food if it does nothing.

  6. Hi Andrew, I have not been able to source the suggested Trace Nutrition Copper Plus tabs. I have found x2 US web sites but they do not ship to Australia. Do you have an alternative source or product.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Rosemarie. I’ve checked on the TGA website and there is an equivalent called InterClinical Professional Copper Plus. It says ‘practitioner only’ but I suggest emailing them about your specific use. Alternatively, I see a website called iHerb offering Solaray Copper 2mg in Australia which might be possible.

  7. Hi Andrew, can I substitute cooked chicken for the red meat and if so how much.
    Thank you.

    1. That’s a good question – unfortunately, as the diet was formulated using red meat, I’m not exactly sure of what would be required to correct it for white meat. However, the changes are likely to be minor, and as long as the chicken is cooked there should be no safety concerns.

  8. Am going to try this with my 9yo Lab who is currently overweight and has arthritis. Unfortunately, he has a bad habit of licking and chewing his paws, sometimes until they bleed. Would this diet be beneficial to him and maybe assist with the paw chewing/licking? As he is an old dog is it dangerous for him to have bones, or is there something he could have as a replacement?
    Look forward to hearing your thoughts
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Angela. Despite what you are often told, changing the food has very little effect on most skin problems in dogs. Having said that, it is possible. Also, giving older dogs raw bones for the first time can be dangerous if they haven’t developed good habits from a young age. People do do it safely though but you have to be careful.

  9. I’m told Raw veg can’t be digested properly. Needs to be blitzed. Chopping and even grating not enough. Steam, ferment or pulverise for good results.

  10. Hi Andrew
    Thank you for the recipe. I intend to use the recipe with the BalanceIT. I was wondering if I should also include the 1g of salt as well. I thought it may be required as a source of chloride for the dogs HCL stomach acid production. The BalanceIT contains very little chloride. Do you think I should include the salt also if I am using the BalanceIT?

  11. Hi Dr Andrew, you mentioned raw bone feeding – how often do you offer bones? Once or twice per week and in place of a meal?

      1. On average, yes, due to the difficulty in formulating a balanced diet and the consequences of getting it wrong.

  12. I am not fond of sunflower or fish oil for dogs.
    I am wondering if I could use cold pressed walnut oil instead of the 2 oils above.

    I went to the Balance IT website and used their calculator for amount of supplement to use. Their calculation is based on cooked food rather than raw so I doubt the calculations would be accurate. Do you use Balance IT for your dogs.

    1. Hi Tully. The oils are being used for essential fatty acids so any change would require a recalculation that’s beyond me I’m sorry. Regarding the balance IT, the calculation shouldn’t change for raw or cooked if added afterwards. To give an idea, Balance IT is added at a rate of roughly 5g per 350g of cooked food.

    2. My vet recomminds Hemp Oil, or “Natural Animal Solutions” Skin Pack is good it has Digestavite Plus Powder it balances dogs diet Omega 3, 6 & 9 Oil & Vitamin C powder, My Pet Warehouse sell NAS supplements you can buy these supplements separate
      I was giving my dog – 3 Almonds a day as a treat, just make sure he chews the almonds, I was bitting & eating 1/2 the Almond & giving the dog the other 1/2 Almond..

  13. Hi Andrew, If you were to feed your dog kibble which would you recommend? I want to feed our dogs the diet above however with a 47kg Great Dane x French Mastiff and a 25kg mixed Mastiff we can not afford to due to the sheer amount that Rosie (the dane) eats. We use to do half kibble half meat. We currently feed them black hawk.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Julia. BlackHawk seems a fine choice. If you’re OK with grains (my dogs are), Hills and Royal Canin foods work well. What you should find is that these foods require less fed to maintain the same dog as cheaper foods. I also find that dogs appear healthier.

  14. Hi Dr Andrew,

    If adding the vitamin and mineral supplements, do I need to take into account that the Centrum® Advance Multivitamin already contains Zinc 7.5mg and Copper 500 micrograms. So is it necessary to add the additional copper and zinc tablets?

    1. Hi Jayne. I applaud your attention to detail! The extra copper and zinc is indeed likely to be needed.

      1. I would try not to substitute it due to the essential fatty acids, but you could possibly use safflower oil instead

  15. Hi Andrew, is it safe to feed our dog human grade fish oil? Or should I be buying one specifically made for dogs.

    Thank you

  16. Would you add eggs, yogurt or cottage cheese to the recipe you have provided and if you what would be the quantity?

    1. Hi maria. Tricky question. I personally don’t advise dairy foods for dogs due to the higher rate of adverse food reactions. Eggs would be good but the story (as with all these ingredient questions) is that once a diet is formulated, it’s rather inflexible. A bit like deciding halfway through a game of Jenga to swap a brick at the bottom! Possible but hard.

  17. Hi dr Andrew
    We have a 9mth, 40 kilo Hungarian Viszla male, Armani.
    Armani is a therapy dog, working in Mildura.
    I have started a raw diet for Armani about 1 mth ago.
    He is very happy with the raw meat & veg diet, so far.
    As others, im not 100% clear about how much & how often. 1 meal a day ? 2, with a small lunch ?
    Hope you have some advice & maybe a receipe or 2 for this hungry young dog

    1. Hi Michele. The diet I formulated is calculated to serve the requirements of an 8kg dog for 3-4 days, which means it won’t be enough for even one day for Armani! That said, it’s just a case of making bigger batches, and thankfully small chest freezers are quite cheap to buy and run. As to whether you split the daily ration into one, two or three that’s entirely up to you (I give one meal). As for how much, my advice works for my dog, but I suspect that a Vizsla will have a higher requirement. Therefore, the best thing with any new diet is to start with the recommendations, watch for a change in weight and adjust the amount accordingly. Thanks for reading!
      (by the way, 40kg is a big Vizsla, especially at only 9 months!)

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