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Author Jessica White
Jessica White
Updated on Apr 9th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

How to Make Your Own Dog Food: Is It Easy?

Providing a balanced diet for your dog is essential for their well-being. Just like humans, dogs require a variety of nutrients to maintain optimal health. A balanced diet can help prevent numerous health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart problems. Yet not all commercial dog foods meet the specific needs of every dog.

Many dog owners are turning to homemade dog food as an alternative. They appreciate the control over ingredients, the ability to customize meals to their dog's specific health needs, and the absence of artificial preservatives. Preparing your own dog food can also be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if you're careful about sourcing your ingredients.

Nom Nom offers the benefits of homemade without the extra effort. It provides customized, vet-formulated meals using fresh, high-quality ingredients delivered to your door. Before making any changes to your dog's diet, always consult with a veterinarian for professional advice.

Quick Guide: How to Make Your Own Dog Food

  1. Speak to your veterinarian: Discuss your dog's specific nutritional needs and get guidelines on ingredients and caloric intake.

  2. Source high-quality ingredients: Choose organic, non-GMO meats, grains, and vegetables based on your vet's recommendations.

  3. Prepare your recipes: Cook the proteins, boil the grains, and steam the vegetables, following the recipe and vet's guidelines for a balanced meal.

  4. Add essential nutrients: Add extra vitamins, minerals, or oils as advised by your vet to maintain a balanced diet.

  5. Store and serve: Store meals in airtight containers and freeze portions that won't be consumed within a couple of days. Always serve your dog the correct portion size.

Why Make Your Own Dog Food? 

Making your own dog food has some advantages for you and your pet. Whether your dog has special dietary needs, or you're simply looking for a more personalized feeding approach, creating meals at home can offer a range of benefits.

  • Allergies and Sensitivities: If your dog has allergies or a sensitive stomach, homemade meals allow you to eliminate problematic ingredients.

  • Control Over Ingredients: Knowing exactly what goes into your dog’s food can bring peace of mind. You can avoid preservatives and allergens and opt for organic, non-GMO ingredients.

  • Customization: You might want to tailor meals according to your dog’s specific health conditions, age, and taste preferences.

  • Freshness: Meals made at home are fresh and can be free from artificial preservatives, improving both taste and nutritional value.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: If done right, making your own dog food may be more economical in the long term.

  • Rewarding Experience: Just as home-cooked meals are often better for humans, the same can be true for your pet, providing a better quality of life.

Image of a bowl of Nom Nom's recipe surrounded by bowls containing each of the fresh ingredients
The benefits of a homemade dog food without the hassle

While making your own dog food has its merits, it's not for everyone. Services like Nom Nom offer a convenient alternative, delivering balanced, fresh meals tailored to your dog’s needs right to your doorstep.

How to Make Your Own Dog Food

Step 1: Consult Your Veterinarian

Consulting a veterinarian is the first step before making your own dog food. Your vet has the expertise to assess your dog's specific nutritional needs. They’ll take into account a variety of factors, including your dog’s age, weight, health conditions, and activity level. They can guide you in creating a meal plan that meets all your pet's nutritional requirements.

Image of a vet listening to the heartbeat of a French Bulldog with a stethoscope
Always check in with your vet if you want to change your pup's diet

Your vet's advice is invaluable for identifying foods or ingredients your dog should avoid. Your dog may have allergies or intolerances that you're not aware of, and some foods that are safe for humans can be harmful or even toxic to dogs. Understanding the appropriate caloric intake for your pet is also essential to avoid underfeeding or overfeeding.

Step 2: Source the Ingredients

The next step after consulting your vet is sourcing high-quality ingredients. You can focus on finding organic, non-GMO, and human-grade meats, grains, and vegetables. Always ensure that you're sourcing from reputable suppliers or stores, as the quality of the ingredients directly impacts the health benefits of the homemade meal.

To ensure a balanced diet, aim for a mix of the following essential ingredients:

  • Proteins: Chicken, beef, fish, or turkey

  • Carbohydrates: Brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes

  • Vegetables: Carrots, peas, and spinach

  • Fats: Fish oil or flaxseed oil for Omega-3s

  • Supplements: Vitamins and minerals, as recommended by your vet

Screenshot of an image of the Beef Mash recipe alongside a list of ingredients: beef, potatoes, eggs, carrots, peas
The top ingredients in Nom Nom's healthy Beef Mash recipe

Sourcing the right ingredients contributes to your dog’s long-term health and well-being. It also makes a tasty meal for your pup. Remember that if it's not good enough for you to eat, it's probably not good enough for your dog.

Step 3: Prepare Your Recipe

Once you have the ingredients, the next step is preparation. Cooking the food properly is crucial for your dog’s safety and digestion. Typically, you'll need to cook the protein thoroughly to eliminate any harmful bacteria, boil the grains to make them easily digestible, and steam the vegetables to preserve their nutrients.

Image of a woman smiling as she preps vegetables in a large kitchen
Prepping your dog food recipes probably won't be as calm and relaxing as it looks in this photo

Measuring each ingredient accurately is equally important for a balanced meal. Portion out each component based on the recipe you’re following and the guidelines your vet provided. Meticulous measurement ensures that you're providing a meal that meets your dog’s specific caloric and nutritional needs, contributing to their overall health.

Step 4: Add Nutrient Blend

Extra additions might include vitamins, minerals, or fish oil for Omega-3s. These additions are more than just "extras"; they're essential for balancing your dog's diet. They supplement nutrients that may not be naturally occurring in your primary ingredients, ensuring a well-rounded meal for your pet.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog

Vitamins and minerals play crucial roles in your dog's overall health. Here are 5 key vitamins and their benefits:

  • Vitamin A: Found in carrots, fish oil, and eggs. Benefits include weight management and enhancing eye and skin health.

  • Vitamin B: Present in whole grains and green vegetables. Important for cell growth and development.

  • Vitamin C: Sourced from fruits like potatoes and green beans. Boosts the immune system and aids in healing.

  • Vitamin D: Found in fish oil and beef. Vital for strengthening bones and teeth.

  • Vitamin E: Present in leafy greens and seeds. Acts as a powerful antioxidant and promotes eye and skin health.

Minerals also contribute to a range of biological functions in your dog. Here are 5 key minerals and their benefits:

  • Calcium: Found in tofu and green beans. Vital for blood coagulation and muscle growth.

  • Phosphorus: Present in meats and fish. Aids in nervous system function.

  • Potassium: Sourced from fruits and grains. Regulates cell balance and muscle function.

  • Magnesium: Found in nuts and whole grains. Supports muscle and bone development and aids in calcium absorption.

  • Iron: Present in red meats and eggs. Critical for oxygenating red blood cells and strengthening the immune system.

Image of different ingredients of a Nom Nom recipe next to a bowl of a complete meal including chia seeds, green beans, and flax seeds
Nom Nom's recipes are measured accurately and contain the right balance of nutrients

Accuracy in measuring these additives is as important as getting the main ingredients right. Juggling all these nutritional specifics can feel very daunting. Nom Nom’s recipes are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist and meet the nutrient profiles set by AAFCO. This takes the guesswork out of providing a balanced diet for your dog.

Step 5: Store and Serve Correctly

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the freshness of your homemade dog food. After cooking, transfer the meals into airtight containers to keep them fresh. If you've prepared food in large quantities, consider freezing the portions that won't be consumed within a few days. This ensures that your hard work in meal preparation doesn’t go towaste due to spoilage.

Image of a labrador watching a packet of Beef Mash being opened ready to pour into the bowl next to the dog
Nom Nom's recipes are conveniently portioned and ready to serve

Stick to the portion sizes recommended by your vet. This is important for maintaining a balanced diet. This can be a tricky aspect of homemade dog food; it's easy to over-serve or under-serve when you're estimating portion sizes yourself. Keep a close eye on your dog's weight and overall health as you adjust to this new feeding routine.

Making Your Own Dog Food: Precautions and Tips

Crafting your dog's meals at home comes with a lot of responsibility. Dogs may survive on an unbalanced diet, but they certainly won't thrive. An unbalanced diet can lead to severe deficiencies and long-term health conditions.

Key Precautions and Tips:

  • Always Consult Your Vet: The first step in this journey should always be consulting your veterinarian for tailored advice.

  • Introduce New Foods Gradually: New ingredients should be introduced slowly to your dog's diet to avoid upsetting their stomach.

  • Balance is Key: Ensure the meal plan you're preparing is nutritionally balanced based on your vet's recommendations.

  • Avoid Harmful Foods: Stay away from foods that are toxic to dogs, like chocolate, onions, and grapes.

Improperly formulated homemade diets can harm your dog's health. Lack of fatty acids can affect the skin and coat, while insufficient calcium and vitamin D weaken bones. Missing minerals can lead to anemia and tendon issues, and protein deficiency may cause muscle wasting and heart issues. It's vital to balance homemade meals to avoid these risks.

Nom Nom as an Alternative to Homemade Dog Food

The process of making homemade dog food can be time-consuming and complex. Nom Nom offers a simpler solution. It provides balanced, customized diets for your furry friend without you having to fret over measurements, ingredients, or nutritional values. Additionally, it serves as a useful benchmark for those who are keen on making their own dog food at home.

Benefits of Nom Nom:

  • Vet-Formulated Meals: Nom Nom's recipes are created by veterinary nutritionists and meet the AAFCO nutritional profiles for all life stages.

  • High-Quality Ingredients: Fresh, human-grade foods ensure your dog only gets the best.

  • Convenient Delivery: Meals are delivered right to your doorstep, saving you time and effort.

  • Customized Meal Plans: Pre-portioned food eliminates having to guess serving sizes.

Opting for Nom Nom makes it easy to provide a balanced diet for your pet. It also offers the quality and customization of a home-cooked dog food diet.

The Bottom Line: Is It Easy to Make Your Own Dog Food?

Making your own dog food can be rewarding, but it comes with its own set of challenges. The upside includes control over ingredients and potentially saving money. However, the effort to ensure a balanced diet can be time-consuming, not to mention the vital importance of consulting a veterinarian for your dog's specific nutritional needs.

While homemade dog food is an excellent option for some, it's not for everyone. For those looking for convenience without compromising on quality, services like Nom Nom offers a scientifically-formulated, balanced diet that's delivered right to your door.


Is it cheaper to make your own dog food? 

The cost of making your own dog food varies. Factors like ingredient quality, where you shop, and whether you buy in bulk can affect the overall cost. In some cases, homemade food may be cheaper than premium commercial options, but it might not always be cost-effective when considering time and effort.

Is homemade dog food healthy?

Homemade dog food can be healthy if done correctly. A well-researched, balanced diet, vet-approved and rich in essential nutrients, can be beneficial for your dog. However, an improper or unbalanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies or excesses.

Is Nom Nom better than homemade dog food?

Nom Nom offers a convenient and scientifically-formulated alternative. It provides vet-formulated meals that meet AAFCO nutritional standards and uses fresh, high-quality ingredients. If you find making homemade food too complex or time-consuming, Nom Nom is a reliable option.

Can you feed a puppy homemade dog food?

Feeding a puppy homemade dog food requires extra caution. Puppies have specific nutrient requirements for proper growth and development. Always consult your vet to ensure that the homemade recipe meets these specific needs and avoids nutritional imbalances.

How long can homemade dog food be stored?

Homemade dog food can typically be stored for up to 3-5 days in the fridge. For longer storage, you can freeze portions for up to 3 months. Always use airtight containers to maintain freshness.

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