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As puppies grow and develop, what they eat will be a big determining factor in their health. If we want to ensure their diet is one of quality and beneficial to their health, homemade dog food for puppies might be a good option. It allows us to carefully select the ingredients, ensure no additives are added in the preparation and we know the cooking process hasn’t been compromised. Doing this is not as straight forward as some dog guardians may think. If we don’t know the nutritional requirements of puppies, we may end up damaging their health.
In this AnimalWised article on homemade dog food for puppies, we discuss canine nutrition and provide 5 recipes to get you started. Before you do consider a homemade diet for your dog, you should first discuss it with your veterinarian.
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Should you provide homemade food for puppies?
While there are many different varieties and ingredients you can choose in terms of what to feed your puppy, there are two main categories: commercial dog food and homemade dog food. There are different considerations to make for both of them. If you are thinking of making homemade dog food, here are the advantages and disadvantages:
- You can use organic and natural products.
- You can select foodstuffs which are more digestible by your puppy.
- There is the option for a rich and varied diet.
- We can improve the dog’s immune system.
- Puppies should grow more vigorous by eating quality food.
- It is usually more palatable and accepted than commercial food.
- We avoid the use of additives and preservatives.
- The cost is very low in small and mini-breeds.
- Preparation is much more time consuming.
- It is not easy to ensure the dog’s nutritional needs are met.
- If not supervised by a veterinarian, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
- There are no quality checks as occurs with commercial dog food.
- The cost is very high in large breeds.
As dog guardians, we will need to assess the pros and cons of a homemade diet for dogs. Commercial dog food does not have production methods set to the same standards as human food. There are many cheap and inferior quality products on the market which can appeal to those on a budget. However, there are also very good products which provide high quality feed. The nutrition of these products has been carefully selected and can be part of a balanced diet for your puppy.
If you have the time, capacity and economic resources, you can prepare homemade food for your puppy. You will need to speak to your veterinarian first. They will be able to assess the puppy and check for any underlying medical conditions which will be affected by diet. They can also provide general guidance to ensure you provide the best diet for your pup.
Homemade dog food recipes for puppies
1. Potato and heart for puppies
This recipe is usually very appetizing for puppies. It is also rich in vitamins A, B and C, as well as being full of potassium and other minerals. Heart is a cheap cut from the butcher, so it might also be good for your bank balance.
- 150 g of beef or sheep heart
- 100 g of white potato
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1/2 zucchini
- 2 carrots
- A pinch of turmeric
- Sunflower oil
- Peel and chop the vegetables into very small cubes, appropriate for the size of the dog.
- Boil potatoes celery and carrots.
- Lightly grill or bake the heart (using oil if necessary). Add the turmeric.
- Wait until all ingredients are cooked and the heart has cooled.
- Chop the heart into bitesize pieces. Mix with the cooked vegetables.
- Allow to cool and serve.
2. Rice with salmon for puppies
This rice and salmon dish is rich in healthy fats and Omega-6 fatty acids which are essential for our dog. It will also be good for hydration and is incredibly appetizing to a dog. For this homemade recipe you will need:
- 30 g brown rice
- 150 g salmon
- 1 small piece of raw cow femur
- 20 g cauliflower
- 1 pinch of parsley
- Sunflower oil
- Rinse the rice and bring to boil in a saucepan of water (see packaging for specific instructions).
- Dice the salmon and chop the cauliflower.
- Sauté or bake the salmon and vegetables together. Sprinkle parsley on top.
- In a food processor, chop the raw piece of cow bone into fine pieces.
- Once rice is fully cooked, mix all the ingredients together.
- Add a splash of vegetable or olive oil.
Puppies under 12 weeks of age will not be able to chew bones, so we can add the fine pieces of chopped bone. The bone should not be cooked. Only add bone to their dish once a week as too much can lead to constipation.
3. Meat with tomato for puppies
This recipe is one of our homemade puppy food options which is completely grain free. It is usually enjoyed by puppies and should go down a treat. You will need:
- 200 g stew meat
- 3 tomatos
- 2 carrots
- 20 g of chard
- 1/2 raw beef knuckle (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Peel and chop carrots, then grate the tomatoes. Finely chop the chard.
- Sauté the vegetables and meat in a shallow pan.
- Add the processed half beef knuckle if they have not had bones that week.
- Once the tomatoes are reduced and meat cooked, cool and serve.
4. Chicken risotto for puppies
This recipe is very rich in protein, healthy fats, hydrates and calcium. It is very tasty and great for puppies who are still teething. You will need:
- 150 g chicken or turkey
- 30 g white rice
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 yogurt
- 20 g asparagus
- Vegetable oil
- Boil the eggs in a saucepan and shell once the yolk is hard.
- Grate the eggs with a cheese grater.
- Crush the egg shells very finely.
- Dice the chicken.
- Boil another pan with rice.
- Sauté the asparagus in a pan and add the rice.
- Stir the rice and then add some of the boiling water.
- Stir occasionally and incrementally add more water as the rice absorbs it.
- Add the chicken pieces and grated egg halfway through.
- Add yogurt and finely crushed egg shells.
- It is done when the rice is cooked.
5. Meatloaf for puppies
This is a rich and delicious recipe for puppies which can provide several portions. Try not to choose too fatty a meat, but it will need to have some. There is also lots of protein.
- 150 g mince meat
- 30 g sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon of brewer’s yeast
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of thyme
- 30 g of kefir
- Cube sweet potato and cook in pan of boiling water.
- Sauté the meat with olive oil and thyme until brown.
- When sweet potatoes are boiled, mix in the kefir and brewer’s yeast.
- Mix all ingredients into a cake.
- Finish off in the oven at 350 ºF until cooked through.
- Cool and serve.
What to feed a puppy at different stages
Now you know these 5 recipes for homemade puppy food, you will need to know how often you should feed them. How much you feed will depend on the size of the puppy, but they are generally quite self-regulating. If you are at all unsure, check with your veterinarian.
Puppy feeding schedule (by month):
- Before 1 month: if a puppy is less than one month of age, they should feed solely on their mother’s milk. In case the mother is ill, has died or has rejected the puppy, you will need to buy artificial puppy formula. This product is sold in veterinary clinics and pet stores.
- 1 month: after this time, a wild dog mother will start to regurgitate solid food to offer to their puppies. They will do this alongside offering milk as part of the weaning process onto solid food. At this time, the baby’s teeth start to emerge, but they will not be strong enough for solids. We will need to ensure any food they eat is properly mashed. If using dry commercial food, you will need to add water.
- 1 – 2 months: the mother dog will progressively stop feeding her puppies. We will need to observe when this happens and offer them 1 to 2 portions of soft food a day.
- 2 – 6 months: at this stage, the puppy has stopped feeding on breast milk and will start eating food on their own. 3 portions per day is ideal at this stage of the puppy’s life. If using bones, you will still have to crush them very fine to avoid choking.
- 6 – 12 months: from a year of life, we can go back down to feeding our dog 2 portions per day, as we do with adult dogs. Some larger breeds may need more time to develop, but this will need to be discussed with the vet.
Remember that puppies will eat and gain benefit from the same ingredients as adult dogs. We just need to ensure the consistency is palatable and we control portion size according to their age and development. We have all the information you need if you require homemade puppy formula as a milk replacement.
It is best to vary your dog’s diet as much as possible. Use all different kinds of meat and vegetables, but ensure they are the right kind for your dog. Do not offer any food which is toxic to dogs. While dogs will have a stronger stomach than humans, we still need to ensure the food is clean and free of bacteria. This is especially so for puppies who are vulnerable to disease.
If you want to read similar articles to Homemade Dog Food for Puppies, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.
- If you observe vomiting or diarrhea, contact a veterinarian immediately.
- If you want to give bones to your puppy, crush them finely before serving.
- Use high quality and fresh ingredients.
- Have the veterinarian examine the puppy first and continue monitoring their progress.