Healthy Homemade Dog Food

Our Tasty Low Carb family not only consists of Joanie and Chris, but also two Havanese Sisters – Lulu and Kiki! If you have pets you know how they become part of the family and an integral part of your life. Our dogs are dependent upon us for virtually everything – in return they offer unconditional love and lots of fun. For that reason, we only make them Healthy Homemade Dog Food! We use only the best ingredients with no fillers or added sugars or spices. We also make all of their dog treats at home. Their food is very low carb!

Our furry family members are Chocolate Havanese. Often called “silk dogs,” most in this breed are white with brown or black markings. Some are brindle in color. Lulu and Kiki are each about 9 1/2 pounds in weight, although they look heavier with all their fur. They do require frequent brushing, but they are hypoallergenic and they do not shed. As you can tell, they are very much a part of our low-carb family – you do get attached to your pets!

Why Homemade Instead of Purchased Dog Food?

Myths and misconceptions abound on the Internet regarding homemade dog food. Also, there are a myriad of conflicting nutritional recommendations ranging from the 30-70% carbs found in commercial dog food to raw frozen foods that contains no carbs. Some owners feed raw meat and bones and say their dogs thrive.

However, many raw materials that are unfit for humans are legal for dog food. These may include spoiled supermarket food, slaughter house waste such as organs, heads, hooves, beaks, feet and other appalling ingredients. Ingredients often have vague names such as “animal by-product meal” and “meat by-product meal.” Read the article, “The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food” by Dog Food Advisor. It will convince you that making homemade food is a safer alternative to much of the commercial food.

Before commercial dog food, dogs ate table scraps – real food. During the Great Depression dog food companies marketed their products as an economical alternative. To boost their market, dog food companies advertised that their food was required for good health. Table scraps and real food suddenly became harmful. Pet food companies stepped up the onslaught and began using veterinarians to endorse their products.

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Today, commercial dog food is a multi-billion dollar industry that is often more concerned with profits, marketing gimmicks, and cheap ingredients. Dogs are hardy, resilient and capable of handling foods that may not be biologically appropriate, but just because they are alive and surviving does not mean they are thriving! There are some more conscientious manufacturers who do take pride in using better quality ingredients. If you must, search for those; we prefer to know exactly what our dogs are eating and know what they are not by making their food at home from scratch!

Since the rise of commercial foods dogs have suffered from chronic allergies and infections, obesity, digestive issues, cancerous tumors, diabetes, and a range of other health issues. NOTE: TODAY’S LEADING “SO CALLED” HEALTHY COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD CONTAINS 24% PROTEIN, 14% FAT, 10% MOISTURE, AND 52% COMBINED CARBOHYDRATES AND ASH! Dogs do not need processed foods containing carb-heavy fillers, by products, plant proteins, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives. The bottom line is, if it isn’t something that we would eat, then do not feed it to your dogs!

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Ingredients

According to WEBMD your dog needs protein from animal meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs. They need fat from meat or oil and carbohydrates from grains or vegetables.  In addition, essential fatty acids from plant oils, egg yolks, oatmeal, and other foods. The question is in what amounts? After much research, I created a recipe that our dogs love – they are healthy, have tons of energy, and their coats and eyes shine!

The listed ingredients are used most of the time. However, you can make substitutions. Fresh meats like lean ground beef, ground turkey, and chicken gizzards provide a heavy dose of protein. Tuna, salmon, or sardines are always used. The eggs also add protein and essential oils. There are fruits and vegetables in the mix and even rice for digestion, although no wheat grains or sugars! Our homemade dog food is human grade. The main point is we know and control what goes into their food!


Lulu and Kiki are active and fairly young. The charts tell us that to maintain their healthy weight they need approximately 275 calories per day. We feed them 1/4 cup, twice a day. They are approximately 9 pounds each. They do get healthy homemade reward treats for good behavior. Our recipe below provides them with approximately 260 calories per day – the rest comes from those healthy treats.

To get an idea of the nutrition level our recipe provides we used FDA standard calculators we use for all of our recipes. We worked on the assumption that since their caloric intake was approximately 13% of the standard label guidelines for humans that their nutritional needs, as outlined by the FDA Daily Values would mirror similar percentages. For their size, multiplying the FDA Daily Values by 13% would yield a normal carb intake of 39g per day, normal fat would be 8.45g per day, and normal protein would be 6.5g per day., However, we disregard these norms since we know we want a low-carb, high protein, moderate fat intake. We focus on these key nutritional elements.

If you double the numbers below for 2 servings each day you find that their food is low in carbs (10.4g), high in protein (25.4g), and provides moderate fat (10.4g) intake. The recipe is a bit low in calcium, so we do give them a calcium supplement and vitamins for balance. Most of the literature today for dog nutrition calls for a high-protein low-carb diet – we think our recipe is perfect for their health. The normal portion for each meal is only 1/4 cup since our dogs are small. It would be a challenge to cook for two 90 pound dogs!

Let’s Talk Dog Nutrition – Six Essential Nutrients Dogs Need

Here is a link to an article regarding Dog nutrition, originally published in Dogster Magazine in 2017. You can also link to the article by clicking on the picture below.

Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, M.S., is a canine nutritionist and co-author, with M. Jean Dodds, D.V.M., of two books including Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health. Their online course, Complete Canine Nutrition can be found at

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Healthy Homemade Dog Food – Nothing But the Best – Balanced with Fresh Ingredients!

Joanie loves to cook for Lulu and Kiki. She says, “they never complain, are so grateful and are always aware when I am cooking for them. They know at the end they will get a sample. It is truly a labor of love!” They are happy and healthy and living a Tasty Low Carb lifestyle!

Healthy Homemade Dog Food

Recipe by Joanie and Chris
4.9 from 164 votes
Course: Dog FoodCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Net Carbs


Total time



Healthy Homemade Dog Food is balanced nutrition for your dog! No fillers, no added sugar, no unidentifiable ingredients – just made tasty and homemade with love! Lower in carbs, higher in protein – a perfect blend!

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  • 2 pounds 2 pounds Ground beef

  • 2 pounds 2 pounds Ground turkey

  • 14 ounces 14 ounces Tuna 2 cans of "light tuna," in water

  • 1/2 pound 227 g Chicken gizzards

  • 1/2 cup 105 g Cottage cheese

  • 3 3 Eggs

  • 1 cup 185 g Rice brown cooked

  • 6 ounces 170 g Sweet potato softened in microwave

  • 6 ounces 170 g Green peas

  • 6 ounces 170 g Cauliflower

  • 6 ounces 170 g Broccoli

  • 1/2 1/2 Apple medium size

  • 3 tablespoons 3 tablespoons Coconut oil


  • Cook rice per label instructions. In a second pot boil the chicken gizzards until cooked thoroughly – about 10 minutes. Add eggs to this pot for the last 5 minutes to hard boil.
  • In a third very large pot cook the ground beef and ground turkey until browned. Drain off most of the fat and remove from the heat.
  • Use a food processor to grind the raw peas, raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, 1/2 apple (cored and seeded), cooled gizzards, and peeled eggs. This may take two batches.
  • Microwave sweet potato for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  • Add all ingredients, including the canned salmon or tuna, to the large pot with the beef and turkey. Add cottage cheese and coconut oil at the end. Mix well with a wooden spoon to incorporate.
  • This will make two weeks food for two nine pounds dogs. Place in freezer bags, label, and date.


Chef’s Notes

  • When you switch to homemade nutritious food you should incorporate the homemade food gradually with their regular food, as you would with any food change. This will avoid any digestive problems.
  • You should always use canned “light tuna.” You can also substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 132kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 5.2g
  • Protein: 12.7g
  • Fat: 5.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8g
  • Cholesterol: 40mg
  • Sodium: 71mg
  • Potassium: 217mg
  • Fiber: 0.6g
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  1. Hello,I have a Harvanese also. I have been cooking for her using your recipe. She loves it. Yesterday she has a blood test and it showed she might be at the beginning stage of kidney disease. What would you recommend ? Thanks so much .

    • So much depends on age, prior diet, exercise, and genetics when illness strikes. Just as it does with humans. I am pleased that she loves my food recipe. My recipe is designed to be low in carbs and sugar and with no added salt or spices. As a result, it should work well if the culprit is pre-diabetes. However, my best advice is to seek a top notch vet and follow their advice.

  2. Hi, Am I correct that 1 cup of tightly Packed in food is roughly 1,000 calories.

    • We feed our pups 1/4 cup to obtain 132 calories. So, a full cup would equate to 528 calories. Of course, nothing is precise. We strive first for nutritious food that is safe and healthy. Real food. As for caloric intake, I always recommend weighing and monitoring their weight to obtain the perfect healthy weight. Hope the food is a hit. Thanks . . . Joanie.

      • I hope you get a good laugh from this. When I looked over the recipe, I became very intrigued with the ingredients. You see, I’m 68 and have had two heart attacks. Don’t worry, both were actually no harm to me. No drama and no trauma. But in November I started Intermittent Fasting, and have progressed to OMAD. One Meal A Day, requires a stringent formula of highly nutritious meats and vegetables! Here is where your recipe comes in. It’s for my consumption! So, far Fasting has turned my blood lab from poor to normal! Now I get into real healing which Fasting does by the creation of millions of stems cells for cellular damage repair and growth hormones which also assist in healing damage. As well as a return to a normal overall hormone balance. So, As of today I start OMAD and will use your recipe to basically subsist on! Knowing the calories helps me determine roughly how much to eat per daily meal. And, same as a dog, will be weighing myself to adjust portion as needed. I will be packing down the cups tightly, which I assume is the correct way to measure out is this correct?

        • My recipe is human grade food. So, your plan is not that far fetched. However, two thoughts . . . one, the food is very bland as pups do not do well with spices. You may want to add some natural spices. Skip the salt though. Secondly, using any organ meats could be high in cholesterol. Based upon your situation, I would certainly check with your cardiologist, but I do know that the recipe is healthy and human food. Good luck, Michael and please stay in touch to let me know the results. Thanks . . . Joanie.

  3. Hi there, I have been thinking about putting my 9 year old dog on a low carb diet. She does not have any health issues but I want to be proactive and start early with her diet. The issue I run into is she has a meat protein allergy. If she comes into contact with any animal proteins, she has an allergic reaction and ends up at the vet. Do you have any suggestions for a vegetarian diet?

    • The problem with a vegetarian diet for dogs is the need for protein. Using lentils, beans, and chick peas will help replace the meats for protein. However, most vegetarian dog food recipes also increase the carbs with sweet potatoes, rice, oats, and wheat based fill. That defeats the benefits of a low-carb diet. Vegetarian diets for dogs also often lack enough healthy fats. I would certainly add a supplement for balance (such as Nupro). Not sure what you have been feeding your dog currently. I would discuss your choices with your vet, as well.

  4. Our golden retriever needs to lose 20 lbs. Vet says she should get 750 calories per day, so I figure about 3/4 c twice a day. Sound right?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Sounds about right to start. So much also depends on how active and how old she is, so no set rule. My advice is always the same, weigh before you start and every few days to see how she progresses. The process should be slow. Hope she likes my recipe . . . Joanie.

  5. In the ingredients, when you say 1 cup, cooked, of rice, do you mean I should cook rice and measure until I get 1 cup OR do you mean that I measure 1 cup dry? The same with the peas.. in the ingredients it says 6 ounces, cooked, so does that mean I cook peas and weigh until I get 6 ounces OR do you mean that I measure 1 cup dry?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Both are uncooked.Dry ingredients.Let me know how your furry family member likes the food . . . thanks. Joanie.

  6. Elizabeth Hill

    Do you have a conversion for making this in a crockpot? Thank you!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Some of the ingredients are raw so I do not use a slow cooker. Just a large stock pot on the stove top. I hope you will try the recipe – dogs love it and are healthier. Thanks . . . Joanie.

  7. THANK YOU so much for this recipe!!! I have a six year old, 13 pound shihpoo that is not only the pickiest eater but has horrible stomach issues. No matter what we would feed her she was getting diarrhea at least twice a month. Now we’ve been on this recipe for 3 months and she has not had one issue! She is strictly on this food and and the fishy treats (another AMAZING recipe!) and she is better than ever and LOVES her food! I can not thank you enough ♥️

    • Joanie and Chris

      So pleased, here! Always love hearing about how a special furry one enjoys my recipe and health and well being improves. Our two have been enjoying their food for years now and they are doing so well. Thanks so much for the kind comment . . . Joanie.

  8. Would Bison be a good substitute for the Beef, or Lamb?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Bison would work well. It is generally grass fed and will contain less fat. It would change the nutrition a bit due to that fact, but not enough to be that significant, especially since many people use leaner cuts of beed for their chuck. Give it a try . . . Joanie.

  9. Johnnie Ann Montoya

    Hi there!
    Is this recipe safe to feed a pregnant dog throughout her pregnancy?
    I have an 8 pound miniature dachshund who is about 2 weeks along. I have been feeding her this recipe for a couple months and I am wondering if I need to add any additional nutrients.
    Johnnie Ann

    • Joanie and Chris

      My recipe is high in protein, which is generally recommended for a pregnant dog. Usually, the guidance is to increase food intake for energy. The only supplement I recommend is Nupro Gold to add a bit more calcium. My recipe is wholesome balanced food and she should do well . . . Joanie.

  10. The nutritional info is for what quanity of food, per cup or per ounce?
    Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.2g | Protein: 12.7g | Fat: 5.2g | Saturated Fat: 1.8g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 217mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Net Carbs: 5g
    My Jack Russell needs to lose weight, she is 30 lbs now and should be 20 lbs.
    How much should I feed her? The vet said 420 cal per day thanks so much!

    • Joanie and Chris

      The nutritional data is for one serving which is 1/4 cup and provides 132 calories. Of course altering the ingredients will change the nutrition. How many calories a dog needs to lose weight is very hard to pin point since it would depend upon the age and activity level. The rule of thumb is usually 30 calories per pound. If your dog needs to be 20 pounds then 420 may be a bit low. My best advice is always to weigh the dog on a good postage scale and adjust the amount of food accordingly, just like a human would. One half cup twice a day would yield about 520 calories. I would start there and weigh every few days. Good luck . . .Joanie.

  11. Hello
    I have read everything on this recipe it sounds great a lot of good comments. I have a 70 lb Boxer and 2 toy poodles 5 lbs and 6 lbs. with your recipe you can adjust the servings but what is the serving size it’s based on ? Can you also recommend how much to give my dogs I’m kinda new to fresh made meals.

    • Joanie and Chris

      As you can see from the comments, the best way to determine how much to feed is to weigh your dogs and then adjust the amount to make sure they maintain a correct weight. Each serving is approximately 1/4 cup, so a whole batch would yield about 12 cups. I would suggest starting your boxer with 2 cups for each meal and feed twice a day. For both toy poodles I would start with with 3/4 cup for a day. Each one should get 1/2 of that for the day – cut it in half and feed them twice a day. I give both of our two 9 1/2 pound pups 1 cup per day. So each get 1/4 cup for each of two meals a day. But do weigh them and adjust accordingly as some dogs are more active than others. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  12. thanks for all the information going to try it on my picky little toy poodle Loulou. She will not eat vegetables in any form and this sounds like a great recipe to introduce her to veggies. Will let you know how I get on.

    • Joanie and Chris

      Our LuLu and Kiki devour my recipe twice daily. Good luck with Loulou the poodle . . . Joanie.

    • Hello, my dog is 13 pounds. How do I know how much to feed her?

      • Joanie and Chris

        The first step would be to weigh her accurately. If her weight is where it should be, then start with 3/4 cup – divide it in half and give her half in the morning and half for an early evening meal. That should provide the calories needed, but check her weight every couple days. Active dogs need more, older less active dogs need less. Do not let her graze or eat other things. Good luck . . . let me know how she does . . . Joanie.

  13. I have a Shih Tzu who normally weighs right under 10 lbs. Due to some recent trauma he has lost weight. We also did some allergy testing and found out that he has lots of allergies. He can’t have dairy so what could I substitute for the cottage cheese? He also can’t have eggs, rice, sweet potatoes or turkey and chicken. I thought I could increase the ground beef for the turkey and chicken and use pumpkin or butternut squash instead of the sweet potatoes but am stumped for the cottage cheese and eggs and rice. Thanks for any help you can give me. I’ve been making him something similar to this and he does seem to love it. Your recipe has such good reviews I wanted to try it with your measurements. Thanks so much.

    • Joanie and Chris

      So sorry to hear about all the issues. The reason for the egg and cottage cheese is mainly to add protein. The rice is for some carbs. I believe that balanced-nutritious food is best. Substituting more ground beef and pumpkin are sound alternatives. Provided you add a supplement like Nupro, you could eliminate the egg and cottage cheese, and still achieve some balance. Good luck and thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  14. Hi Joan & Chris, I have been making your dog food recipe for a couple months. My 8 yr.old lazy Chihuahua Nala Is 10 1/2 lbs💕 and My 5yr.old poop eating rescue Maltese Maggie May is 14lbs.💕
    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong ? They have only lost a few ounces. They enjoyed the food in the beginning. I think I was feeding them to much so Now they both get 2oz. twice a day. They hate eating in the mornings. Sometimes I will hand feed them just to get them to eat. Should I use something like all ground chicken and something other than brown rice? ( Nala doesn’t like rice) l asked the vet she just says their fat. Big help there. Not! My daughter tells me to leave them alone. Any advice or suggestions? I don’t want to give up. I’m at my wits end! Oh once a day they get a couple homemade treats, 3 calorie chicken treats, or a piece of boiled chicken and Maggie May gets a dental bone. Thanks

    • My recipe is a balanced approach toward feeding. It is high in protein and low in carbs. We have heard from thousands of folks and really have never heard of one furry friend who did not gobble it up. As far as losing weight is concerned, it is an intake issue. I always suggest starting with an accurate weight on a postage scale, record the result, and weigh frequently, adjusting the food intake until you reach a desired weight. But, a gradual reduction is best. You could substitute a little sweet potato for the rice. They need some carbs and structure to the food. Take it slow . . . thanks for trying my recipe . . . Joanie.

  15. I have 2 very picky eater Yorkies. My girl 8lbs should be 7lb and my boy 10lb which is his perfect weight. They are both 13yrs old. My boy has a heart condition and is on medication for it (4) His last checkup they said his kidney levels were a little elevated and suggested a lower protein diet (I have the last 3yrs been making homemade usually ground turkey, carrots, egg whites, brown rice, green beans (switch sometime with spinach)and apple. They just recently mainly the boy stopped liking his food. Would your recipe be a good fit for both of them I really don’t want to get into making 2 different meals.

    • Generally, high protein diets are good for dogs with heart issues, but if there are kidney issues then the protein could be detrimental. I have never had any issues with followers indicting that their dogs had any problems with my recipe – they all love it. But, I would suggest sharing the recipe with your vet, since your dog has special needs. The protein comes from the turkey, beef, and tuna. Most of it is from the turkey. I do hope you are able to try my recipe and that your dogs stay healthy . . . Joanie.

  16. Erica for Lily the Basset

    Thanks for your reply! My husband did find some gizzards for me. She seems to really like the food!

    • Joanie and Chris

      So pleased she likes my food! You made my day . . . Joanie.

    • Tuna has mercury in it. Are we not poisoning our furbabies?

      • Actually, I have done a lot of research regarding this. In small amounts tuna is really good for dogs. My recipe has small amounts. Also, the tuna is light tuna, packed in water, with no added salt. Like anything, there are those who might argue otherwise. However, the consensus is that in small amounts, it is fine.

  17. Erica for Lily the Basset

    Hello. I have a 12 year old Basset Hound that was recently been diagnosed with bladder cancer and I understand that a low carb diet is recommended for dogs with cancer? I see even a keto diet recommended in some cases? I am getting ready to try this recipe and I have my husband out searching for chicken gizzards. What can I substitute if I can’t find them? Also, she is about 70 pounds so I’m thinking maybe starting at 4 cups total.. 2 in morning and 2 at night. Does that sound about right for her size?

    • So sorry to hear about your Basset, they are such sweet dogs. Gizzards can be hard to find, you can substitute liver instead. Try 4 cups, that may be a bit heavy, so watch the weight, but she may need the extra calories, so it is a good starting point. She should love the food. Best of luck . . . Joanie.

    • Hello. Thank you for the recipe and really appreciate easy metric conversion. I have a question. How much is quarter cup of this food in gm? I am not sure whether I am converting it right.

      • Joanie and Chris

        Conversions are always difficult since a lot depends on density. I would say around 60g per quarter cup. If you are measuring to determine how much to feed, my advice would be to weigh your dog before beginning, and then every few days to make sure the desired weight is maintained or achieved. Most folks overfeed, and are surprised by how small the portions of my recipe appear. I do hope you try it and would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  18. This looks like a great recipe. How much would I need to feed my mini Aussie? She currently weighs 32 pounds, but should weigh 26. I’m hoping this will help Her lose weight

    • I would try 3/4 cup and feed her twice a day. So that would be 1 1/2 cups per day. I always suggest weighing before you start, and then every three days to see progress in the beginning. Once she hits the desired weight, then adjust the amount of food accordingly to maintain her weight. Nice to see a “New Year” resolution! Best of luck . . . Joanie.

  19. Hi Joan and Chris my Yorkie has just been diagnosed with pancreatitis and diabetes I now have to give him insulin twice daily,he is chicken intolerant so I need a no fat diet can you help please

    • So sorry to hear about your Yorkie. Pancreatitis would suggest a low fat diet, thinking boiled chicken. But, you indicate an intolerance for chicken. Low fat ground beef or sirloin could work. Low fat cottage cheese, rice, beans, and potato would be okay. But, the problem is if you go that route you are using a lot of carbs, which turn to sugars, and that would not help with the diabetes. Honestly, my best advice would be to request help from your Vet. Determine if the pancreatitis is chronic or not. If not, stabilize your Yorkie in that regard and then work on a diet like our low-carb for diabetes. Best of luck . . . Joanie.

  20. Hi. I came across your recipe from googling “homemade dog food” and I just have a few more ingredients to get and need to purchase a food processor. I’m so excited to make this! I hope my picky little 3 yr old micro mini chihuahua Emmy will like it! I just have a simple question- how long does the food stay good before you have to freeze it ? Thank you for your time

    • I usually do not leave in the fridge more than 4 days (just like people food). Once you have a handle on how much she will eat in four days, I would package that amount and freeze similar amounts in packets. Then as one gets near the bottom, thaw another. She will love the food – so happy you are trying, thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  21. Hello. My pup is 11 months old, a morkie. He has stopped eating his kibble, orijen. So I decided to search for homemade dog food, found yours and he lovessss it! I am planning to add nupro gold supplement with it. I give him as your advise 1/4 cup or a little more twice a day. Do I need to leave him dry kibble? Small breed as i read are prone to hypoglycemia, or his teeth? I read too that they need to eat kibble to keep their teeth healthy? Please advise and I hope i am in the right track.

    • First, I am pleased your Morkie loves my recipe. Secondly, Kibble does not clean a dogs teeth, that is a myth. I never recommend leaving food out for a dog – grazing usually does nothing more than produce overweight dogs. Kibble contains a lot of starch (sugar) that simply gets trapped between teeth and under gums and will cause more teeth problems. Brushing with a good toothpaste is the real answer (although difficult with smaller breeds). Vegetables can help, as well. I give our pups a small raw carrot once in a while. Finally, try OraVet Chews before bed time. You concern for your dogs health means you are on the right track. Good luck . . . Joanie.

  22. Hi there. Just found this page and thought I might supplement my dogs’ diet with your recipes for meals and treats to provide some variety. I was curious as to why the proteins are cooked? We currently feed our dogs (110lb GSD and 60lb pittie) raw meats (mainly raw chicken leg quarters) with other supplemental dishes (we process raw veggies w/raw eggs and add to cooked rice). Our vet seems to think it’s great for them. I was always told that cooking removes quite a bit of the nutrients, but perhaps I was mistaken?

    • Gently cooking human grade proteins will not diminish the nutrients to a level to cause concern. No more so than it would for us. I have created a formula for homemade food that is balanced nutritionally, and is lower in carbs than most other recipes. Raw meats can contain E.coli or salmonella. I have read studies that suggest up to 86% of raw meats contain bacteria. I have always believed that avoiding food pathogens is best for our furry family members. Purchased raw food is also not always USDA certified – raw is just a catch word. The final concern I have always had with raw protein is the lack of nutritional balance. You indicate that you add vegetables, rice, and eggs. That is better, but the balance is a key. That is why I formulated our recipe and pretty much stick to it with each batch. Good luck, I hope your dogs enjoy the recipe . . . Joanie.

  23. Hi, I have now made 4 batches of your recipe and my yorkies love it 🙂 Thank you soooo much for sharing your recipe and answering so many questions even if its the same one you’ve already answered multiple times, I read all through the comments and didn’t see any question related to the one I need to ask so sorry in advance, as I mentioned I have the one yorkie that has so many allergies both food and environment 🙁 you would be shocked at the 11 page allergy report we have on him. He still continues to be itchy with yeast and I have been using the white rice instead of the brown due to he is allergic to the brown. So I make the recipe keeping everything original except changing the turkey ( he’s also allergic to) to chicken and using the white rice and only adding the egg yolks because he can’t have the egg whites. I am considering using quinoa instead of rice and pumpkin instead of the sweet potato to see if that might help, Would that change the calorie and nutrients by much? Is there a good ingredient calculator you could recommend so I can use it so I don’t have to bother you with so many questions? 🙂 I did buy the Nupro gold and the company told me for their weight the amount to give them per meal. I am also considering adding back a good probiotic because I have heard alot of allergies come from gut health.

    • Allergies are very difficult in dogs. You would not see a significant change in the nutrition using substitutes for the rice and pumpkin. Our nutrition calculations are all calculated automatically through our recipe card software. They contract with a professional nutrition company. LoseIt and My Fitness Pal can track nutrition and do a pretty sound job. I have used both to test our source and find they are very close. Mainly, I am happy you enjoy my recipe and I wish the best for your yorkies. Nice to hear from you . . . Joanie.

  24. Sorry I have another question 🙂 I bought frozen vegetables is that bad? Should I have looked in the produce section for fresh peas, broccoli, and cauliflower? Thanks, Lisa

    • Joanie and Chris

      I do use frozen vegetables, the nutrition is high due to flash freezing and I find it works well especially when traveling. Good luck with the Yorkies. They will have balanced, healthy food . . . Joanie.

  25. Hi, your furbabies are gorgeous, we are going to try your recipe especially after reading these comments :). I have been feeding The honest kitchen and Primal raw which is a bit expensive with more than 1 dog. I have 4 yorkies one has an 11 page allergy report including outdoor allergens, so it’s really hard finding a food that doesn’t have something he shouldn’t eat in it. I ordered the supplement as well. I had a really hard time in my area finding the chicken gizzards but finally found them. My question is will it hurt using white rice instead of brown? And I’m replacing the turkey with ground chicken because turkey, and brown rice are a no for him. Also wouldn’t it be healthier to use leaner ground beef? So your girls ever get tired of the same recipe? Or do u change up the recipe sometimes Thank? Thank you so much for this recipe I’m excited to cook it for my furbabies 🙂 Lisa “mother of yorkies” 🙂

    • Joanie and Chris

      To answer your overall question – yes, I do substitute for some ingredients. You can use white rice, and ground chicken is fine. I have checked the nutrition and those two changes do not change much. Just keep the balance similar. I like the beef mix. The overall amount of fat is not significant and dogs need an amount of fats in their diet. My Havanese Sisters never tire of the blend. They eat it exclusively and have done so for 6 years. They love it. I know your Yorkies will also. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  26. Hi! Your recipe looks great. How much should I feed a 22 pound dog? Also I believe your recipe uses brown rice but in the comments you mentioned that you use white rice because it is easier to digest. Which rice should I use? Also, can I substitute the ground turkey or ground chicken? I was told by my vet that ground turkey is too fattening for dogs, but I see that most recipes use ground turkey.

    • Joanie and Chris

      We feed our 9 1/2 pound dogs 1/4 cup, two times per day. So perhaps start with 1/2 cup, two times per day. Weigh your dog before starting and then every few days to achieve the correct weight. We usually either white or brown rice. You can use either. Our dogs are so used to the food after all these years that their digestion is perfect. You can substitute the chicken. I often grind my own. I know your dog will love the food – and be very healthy with all natural ingredients. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  27. So this food is ‘Complete and Balanced?’ No supplements need to be added? Also, how much would I feed my 17 1/2 lb chi-weenie if I were to use this recipe?

    The protein seems to low from what I’ve been told. Shouldn’t it be 20-30%? Sometimes even higher, like 75% is what I’ve been told. But, I’m not sure about that.

    • Joanie and Chris

      The only supplement I recommend if Nupro Gold (it adds a bit more calcium which is good for bones). Begin with a scale to wight your dog to determine ideal weight and then monitor it as they get used to the amount you feed them. A rule of thumb is 30 calories per pound. You can start with 1 cup per day (broken into two feedings) and track the weight.Too much protein can cause kidney issues in dogs. 75% would be way too high. Our food is designed to provide a low carb, high protein and fat diet that will be balanced. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  28. Hi. My Havanese is seven pounder, feeds on home made food. I would like to try your recipe and wanted to know if ground beef can be substituted with ground chicken, and is it the same amount, 2 lbs? Can I cook it in instant pot all at once? You have mentioned about per day calorie intake (by weight). Could you also share how much each essential nutrient is needed per day? Thank you!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Yes, you can substitute the same amount of chicken for beef. I see no reason not to use an instant pot. I believe that our furry friends should have a low carb, high protein, and moderate fat diet. My recipe is designed to provide that mix. I stated the percentages we go by in our post. Best of luck. Our Havanese sisters are thriving on the diet and love the food. Thanks for the questions . . . Joanie.

    • Is the cottage cheese dry, 2%, 1%, skim?

      • Also, when you recommend ounces, you mean by weight?
        Sorry, Canadian here and I want to get this all right.

        • Joanie and Chris

          I am also Canadian, by birth. Go by volume, yet the difference would be minimal. Either way, our Havanese sisters get all the nutrition they need, from natural ingredients, and are so healthy. Good luck . . . Joanie.

      • Joanie and Chris

        Regular, full-fat cottage cheese. We are low-carb people, so fat is really a good thing and it is how the nutrition is calculated. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  29. Hi Joan and Chris!
    Under Nutrition, you wrote “Lulu and Kiki are active and fairly young. The charts tell us…”
    What charts? I’m trying to find out how much to feed my 11 month old standard Bernedoodle and a 3 month standard Airedale Terrier.

    FYI, they loved the Fishy Treats! Thank you.

    • Joanie and Chris

      I am happy to see they love the treats. Generally, dogs should have approximately 30 calories per pound, daily, to maintain weight. However, pups are more active and they will need more food than that based simply upon calories. My recipe yields approximately 260-270 calories per 1/2 cup. That is about what is need for 9 pounders to maintain that weight so I feed ours 1/4 cup twice a day. When they were younger they got a little more. So, I usually advise weighing them often to establish an acceptable weight. For example, if a good weight for the grown dog is 30 pounds then they would need 900 calories. That would mean about 3 1/2 cups per day. Never let them graze, feed twice a day, and weigh them often. I hope that helps . . . Joanie.

      • Hi, I’m going to try this and the treats for my pup. When you’ve defrosted the food, do you serve it straight from the fridge or bring it to room temperature?


        • Joanie and Chris

          My Havanese Sisters have no problem eating the food straight from the fridge. The treats should also be refrigerated. I get a pack out of my freezer, let it thaw, and serve – leftovers go in fridge for the next day. I hope my recipe is a hit . . . Joanie.

  30. Hi there, not sure if I have not correctly subscribed, but my comment isn’t shown? I thought I had done it all properly?? Thank yiu sorry abt this.

    • Joanie and Chris

      We will look into it. Just pleased that you have the interest in my recipe. Thanks . . . Joanie.

    • Can a diabetic dog eat this

      • Joanie and Chris

        Absolutely. My recipe is low in carbs and very balanced. You can check with your Vet, but we have heard many positive things about how my recipe has helped with diabetic dogs. However, diabetes is a very difficult disease so we do encourage you to work with an experienced Vet on other health care aspects. Thanks . . . Joanie.

  31. Melisa Whitecotton

    Hi, thank you for the recipe my beagle loves it. I was wondering about the calories listed on the recipe. Is that for 1/4 cup? I just want to be sure I’m not over feeding her .

    • Joanie and Chris

      I always love to hear about a furry family member loving my recipe! Yes, the 132 calories are for one cup. However, the essential feature is that the recipe is low in carbs and very balanced. I would suggest establishing the ideal weight for your beagle, then weigh her, and do so often until you establish the right amount of food to maintain that weight. They usually say for the average dog about 30 calories per pound. Our dogs are about 9 1/2 pounds so two servings or about 1/2 cup per day gets us close. A few of my dog treats and they stay the same – healthy, happy, and loved! Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  32. I’m about to make my 4th batch of your food for my incredibly picky Havapool puppy. I’ve noticed that since I switched from FreshPet puppy (that she would eat sometimes), to your food she’s had some really bad tear staining and eye drainage. I’m thinking something in the food is lacking, or maybe she’s sensitive to something? I don’t want to make any sweeping changes as she’s finally eating and holding her weight. Can you think of anything that may cause the irritation? I was thinking about making it with all turkey instead of the ground beef, the Freshpet was poultry based. Maybe we need to add a supplement? Any advice is welcome, I’m thrilled we have found something she will eat so I don’t want to change it too much.

    • I would recommend a supplement that we have used for years -> Nupro Gold. Our dogs get a little with each meal. Click the words and you will be able to see what we use. No guarantee that will take care of the problem you describe. Our pups are Chocolate Havenese and they do have some eye discharge (like many dogs) but no staining due to coloring. Staining can be caused by many things – allergies, dust, ear infections, and sometimes diet. I made my recipe healthy and balanced, though. I would try one thing at a time. Try our food with Nupro. If it continues, add more Turkey and see if either helps. If it is still bothersome check with a vet. Sometimes they need drops. I am pleased she likes my recipe and hopefully my reply will help . . Joanie.

  33. Hi Joan – My name is Melinda and I rescued the most amazing Havanese, Coco two years ago. She’s about six years old now, amazingly healthy, and I want to keep her that way. I’ve been feeding her commercial foods and want to stop ASAP and start making your food plus the Nutro supplement. I have a couple questions for you my friend, (1) she is approx. 28 pounds, I only feed her twice a day, can you please let me know how much to feed her for each sitting? Secondly, is it okay to also feed cats this same recipe? I have a very healthy 11 year old cat that I want to get off of commercial food as well. Thank you! 🙂

    • Havanese are our favorites (as you can see). If Coco’s weight of 28 pounds is normal, then she will need more at each meal than our Havanese sisters. Start with 3/4 cup twice a day and weigh her to see how she does and adjust accordingly. You would have to research cat needs, we have never had a cat. They do make Nupro for cats and that may be a good idea to balance nutrients. My suggestion would be to check a few homemade cat food recipes on Google and compare to my recipe. Good luck with Coco and thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  34. Hello from Australia – It is exciting to read your website and thank you. Our 6 year old maltese cross weighs 14lbs which is more than she should for her size our vet has said. She has problems with her legs so needs to lose and maintain some weight. Unfortunately if she eats any meats chicken or grains (other than kangaroo, lamb or fish) she develops ear and skin problems. She is also taking Prednisone for white shaker syndrome which makes her so hungry :(. Do you think I could substitute your chicken and beef with the ones she can tolerate please? Again thank you so much for your recipes. Regards Diane

    • You are basically substituting proteins, so the balance of nutrition should be pretty close. As for the weight issue, make sure she is not allowed to graze. Regular meals at regular times. Weigh her before you begin the weight control process, and often. We use a postage scale. Our food is healthy and balanced, but we would stay in touch with a good vet regarding her progress and issues. Good luck . . . Joanie.

  35. I seen on one of the comments that pumpkin can be substituted for rice, what amount of pumpkin to add to the recipe. I do not want my dogs to get to much rice when I just had to detox my son from arsenic poisoning because of eating to much rice. I would use rice once in a while but I would rather substitute with something else.

    • The rice in my recipe is to add some carbs (some are needed). I often substitute pumpkin for the sweet potato (it has less starch/carbs). If the rice is not tolerable, you could even add one regular white potato, as the one cup of rice does end up being two cups when it is cooked. If you do want to add pumpkin, no more than 6 ounces. Changing will impact the nutrition, but there are so many natural healthy ingredients that it will be fine. Just keep an eye on the weight. Thanks for the comment.

  36. Hi. I had written to you before. I am on my second batch of dog food. I have two Maltese mixes. For some reason one of my dogs is not tolerating the food anymore. As soon as she eats it she throws up. She is a ravenous eater who requires a slow feeder normally. She eats absolute everything. She is not fussy in the least. She will not eat the food anymore. She is afraid of throwing up. This morning I had to feed her eggs and sweet potatoes and she had no problem. I’m upset that she is having a problem. I was wondering if you have ever encountered this from any of the other people that have made this food. I would like to continue making it but I don’t know what I should do about this situation.

    • Have never heard of that before. We have had thousands of folks who have switched to my food and never a problem. My only suggestion would be to mix it in gradually with her normal food – if you gave her regular dog food she may miss the crunch. A real surprise to me. Please let us know . . . Joanie.

  37. I am going to use your recipe for my next batch of home made dog food, but my current batch has eggshell that I added to my food processor with some of the other ingredients that were steaming hot and then puréed them repeatedly before adding to my browned a hamburger and rice mixture, then cooked this mixture for a while longer.

    My question is, is this batch unsafe because I didn’t grind the eggshells to powder? I couldn’t see shell fragments by the time I had puréed them. What problems might this cause.

    Melody D.

    • You do need to make sure that any eggshells are ground to powder and I know many people use eggshells for calcium. That being said, a dog will digest things that we never could. When we first got our pups the breeder was only feeding them raw chicken (bones and all). We know that cooked chicken bones are a no-no, but our Lulu would eat a raw chicken wing. This was not balanced, so I spent a lot of time coming up with my recipe. Our two are so healthy and regular. I would suggest skipping the eggshells and try a little Nupro Gold. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  38. Hi I just got the nupro gold. I’m curious to know why they add garlic to the ingredients? I thought garlic is toxic to dogs?

    • Eating a lot of garlic can cause problems for dogs. That being said, if used in very small amounts, it has many benefits. Here is an excellent article on the benefits of garlic -> Garlic and Dogs. Nupro has been around for many years and truly helps dogs. Ours have been getting a very small amount of Nupro daily for many years and they are as healthy as can be. I do not work for or with Nupro, I just created a very healthy dog food out of love for my dogs. I would certainly contend that the ingredients found in most commercial dog foods are much more detrimental to our beloved dogs than Nupro supplement. I hope that helps – mainly I hope your furry one will enjoy my food recipe. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  39. Stephanie Sanzone

    Thanks for this recipe. I have 2 Maltese mixes. I was feeding them Wellness. I fed them the new mixture yesterday and today mixed with the Wellness to integrate slowly. They loved it !!!! I ordered the Nupro gold. They are a little over 12 pounds each. Should I give them an eighth of a teaspoon or more of the Nupro? 😊

    • The Nupro will come with instructions based upon weight. They will give you a little scoop. Plus the instructions will have you decrease the amount after a while.Mainly, I am pleased they enjoy my food recipe. It is so nice to see them eating healthy and enjoying their meals. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  40. I have two Shih-Tzu’s We went from feeding them SoJos w/Chicken to this recipe. They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. The only thing I’m noticing is that they don’t seem to be drinking much water now since they’ve been having this. Is this something that others have noticed? Like I said, they go crazy over this. They’re hooked.

    • So pleased that your Shih-Tzus enjoy my recipe so much. As far as the drinking issue -> the recipe contains no salt or spices or sugar. Plus, my recipe would contain more natural moisture than dry foods. Our two Havanese girls have never been big drinkers, yet they are super healthy and active. I will say I have never heard that question and many many people are using the recipe. I would keep an eye on them, but as long as they are active, healthy, and happy, you should be okay. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

      • Thank you again for making this amazing recipe.

        • I’m making this for the first time today. 🙂 Do you drain the tuna or include the water? Thanks!

        • My one 1/2 year old Havanesse is a very picky eater she’s 14 pounds I’ve try all kinds of wet and dry dog foods she Wouldn’t eat the vet wasn’t much help so I stared looking I made your recipe for the food and the treats and she loves it so much I’m so happy🙏🏼♥️ one question do I warm up the food? Or just give it to her room temperature ?Also can I keep feeding the same recipe or I have to change it up every know and then ? Thank you so much !!!!

          • Joanie and Chris

            So pleased your little Havanese loves my recipes! No need to heat the food – I often serve our Havanese pups straight out of the fridge – they love it. You can substitute similar items, but I would not change the basic balance. For example, you can switch a different vegetable for the beans, etc. I also suggest that our readers add a supplement. Our favorite is Nupro Gold. It maintains the needed balance. Just a little bit is helpful. You can see where to purchase it by clicking -> Nupro. Thanks again for the kind comment . . . Joanie.

      • I had my three miniature pinschers on dry dog food. Late November and early December we had a very bad round of gastro illness, two dogs almost died two weeks apart and we went two thousand dollars in debt to save them!! I immediately switched to home made dog food, and the first thing I noticed was they weren’t drinking so much water any more, and the oldest min pin didn’t need his 1:30 am potty break, he was sleeping thru the night now! No one is getting up in the night for drinks either. So, I would guess that the home made food has alot of moisture in it, they aren’t as thirsty as they were on dry food. Another thing I have noticed is the fatty tumors my oldest min pin has been getting all over him have very obviously reduced in size in only one month of eating only real food!
        I’m studying your recipe now and all the comments for ideas and making my plans to switch to it. I have been scouring the web trying to find a complete home made recipe that makes sense and includes all the vitamins and minerals, protein and fat that they need. I feel fortunate to have finally found yours! Thank you so much for sharing it with us all!! (you should see the recipe my vet gave me for my oldest min pin, OMG!). so so glad I found yours, Ive been doing something similar but not nearly as good, this will fill in the gaps and make it something they can do for life now. Thank you!! Becky

        • Sorry to hear about the problem your pinschers had with commercial dog food. As you can tell from our post, I am not a fan. Our Havanese are not big drinkers, either. You will also notice smaller sized stool. My food would also have more moisture than commercial food. Our pups have always slept through the night. I always suggest introducing any new food gradually, so they become used to the change. But, it sounds like yours have already been introduced to homemade food. I wish you continued success with my recipe. We all love our furry family members and try to do the best. Thank you for sharing your story . . .Joanie.

  41. Joanie, my 4.5 lb. 1 year old female (still intact) yorkie has been on your homemade food diet since I brought her home and is still very happy with her meals. I also give her 1/2 scoop of Nupro each day. I read somewhere that you recommended this but I don’t see it any longer. You did also say that you give your dogs a calcium supplement and a vitamin each day. Can you recommend a good calcium and vitamin supplement to give my Mina?? I also make your homemade treats for her too. Your dogs are gorgeous. They remind me of yorkies but with chocolate colored hair.

    • So pleased that Mina loves my food recipe. She will stay healthy and happy. Actually, I simply supplement our girls food with Nupro alone . . . and really not a lot. It supplies the calcium and vitamins they need. They stay regular, and are very healthy. Every day, I am pleased with their health and appetite. They do capture our hearts and become so much a part of our lives. Enjoy my food and Mina . . . Joanie.

      • Thanks. Yes I bought the small dog jar of Nupro and give her 1/2 scoop per day + your recipe for food and treats. I also give her powdered egg shells once in a while. I wash and bake the shells when I make her food and grind them into a powder. I substitute the rice with quinoa do you think that is a good alternative or should I stick to using rice?

        • A number of folks use ground up egg shells for calcium. Just make sure they are very well ground into a fine powder. Nupro should provide all the needed calcium, however. Quinoa can be substituted for the rice, as the carb count is virtually the same. Some would say it can be a bit harder to digest, but, that is not a proven concern. I think you would be fine, especially if Mina is regular. I would say Mina has the perfect owner. Keep up the good work . . . Joanie.

  42. Thank you for providing this recipe! I’m definitely going to try this at home. Our dog’s quite picky but I’m sure he’s gonna love this.

    • I have heard from so many who have said their dog “was” picky – the nicest part is they are saying “WAS” – I am sure your dog will love the food and you will love knowing it is healthy and balanced. Thanks for the comment . . .Joanie.

  43. hi my 8yr old terrier mix, just got diagnosed with diabetes 🙁 are peas good for diabetic dogs or can you use green beans. instead of the brown rice, can I use canned pumpkin or extra sweet potato. can I use frozen salmon? thank you for sharing your knowledge and recipes. I got your website from pet planet in chandler az
    thank you again

    • Hi neighbor, we live in Cave Creek. Sorry to hear about your dog. But, just like adults, we can manage diabetes with a low carb diet. I am glad Pet Planet recommended my food. Green beans would be less carbs and that would be better than the peas. Instead of the brown rice, you can use the pumpkin, it is easy to digest and works well. Your dog will love the food, they all do, and you will be helping with the diabetes. For treats, I would recommend tiny bits of hard cheese – no carbs, and dogs love that, as well. Good luck, and thank you for the comment . . . Joanie.

  44. My Maltese was just diagnosed with diabetes last month so I’ve been looking for a healthy dog food recipe for her. She was prescribed a dry dog food recipe from the animal hospital but she hasn’t really been eating it too often. Everything in your recipe was accepted by her veterinarian. She has to eat 2 times a day before she gets her diabetic shot and she weighs about 11 pounds. I’m going to mix your recipe with some of her dry diabetic dog food. After mixed in, how much should she be eating for each meal?

    • Sorry to hear about your Maltese. She is just 1 1/2 pounds more than our Havanese. I presume she is at her needed weight. Our dogs receive 1/4 cup of my recipe two times a day. Since you are still using a dry food, she should be fine starting her with 1/4 cup twice a day. I would suggest weighing her before you begin and then every few days to make sure she is maintaining the correct weight. You can adjust the food portion accordingly. I hope she does well . . . Joanie.

      • Hi there I am going to start cooking your recipe to my Maltese x boy, he constantly smells, nothing I do fixes it and the vet said he has a yeast infection and I know that can cause a smell. Do you think changing his diet to homemade it may help. Thank you so mush. Heather

        • Joanie and Chris

          So sorry to hear about the problem. There can be numerous causes of a yeast issue with dogs. Your vet should be able to identify the issue and help. Yeast problems can be more than just skin issues, it can also be a gut problem. I am not a vet, but what I can tell you is that healthy homemade dog food cannot hurt as it would be better for your dog’s health, overall. Please try our food and I would suggest re-visiting the problem with a vet willing to look a bit deeper. Thanks and good luck . . . Joanie.

  45. There are conflicting ideas on the web about whether or not a dog needs nutritional supplements. In theory, a balanced diet should be sufficient. One of your comments said you do supplement. Why do you do this and what do you use? I’m skeptical of dog supplements because of course it could slide under the radar and end up being harmful rather than helpful. It’s also a huge money grab. I would like to know your input on that.


    • Thank you for your question. We do give our Havanese girls a very small amount of Nupro. It is a natural supplement that has been around for many years. We do believe our food is balanced and have done extensive research and calculation on the benefits of a low-carb diet for dogs. It is simply better for their health and our ingredients are all natural. However, I have also researched Nupro and found a lot of benefits. Everyone should make up their own mind on supplements, just as they should on food. I understand your concerns and have voiced my concerns against “so-called” healthy commercial foods that are anything but healthy. This is similar to the decision on whether to add vitamins to our diets. Thanks again . . . Joanie.

  46. Hi again, getting ready to purchase all of the ingredients so I can make these for my two chihuahuas. One more question for you- when you measure out your food (for example the 1/4 cup for each of your dogs), is it 1/4 cup packed in or do you just scoop the 1/4 and shake off? I want to be sure I’m giving the right amount of food. Thank you in advance!

    • Our measurement is loosely packed. I would suggest weighing your dogs before you begin and weekly to make sure they stay where they should be. Then adjust the food accordingly. Dogs should never graze. I weigh our dogs often. We use a postage scale -> click here. They will love the food . . . Joanie.

  47. My 10-year old dog has just been diagnosed with Mast Cell Tumors. I just started using Plato Wild Alaskan salmon oil in her food to give her additional omega-3. Would it be okay to use the Nupro supplement in addition to the salmon oil? I am cooking her chicken and ground turkey and vegetables and replacing this with 1/2 of her Canidae dry food. She weighs about 44 pounds, so I am giving her about 1 cup of food at each meal. Thanks

    • Sorry to hear about your dog’s health issues. Research tells us that Salmon oil is good for dogs. It helps with immune system and reduces inflammation. We have been giving our Havanese dogs Nupro for years. It adds supplements that they need, makes them unbelievably regular, and we recommend small amounts as a dietary supplement. However, mainly we believe strongly in our Homemade Food. It is balanced, with no harmful ingredients, and we do not add it to any commercial foods, as we believe that would be counterproductive. I cannot comment on mixing Salmon oil with Nupro. Both are good products for health. Best of luck . . . Joanie.

  48. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Been working it into their diet for about three weeks now. They really like it. Problem is, because of covid for some reason, organ meats have disappeared. I found some canned beef tripe, but it has salt in it. Any suggestions? Thanks again for your time.

    • We have had a number of people ask the same question. The little amount will not make that much difference. At times I have found it difficult to find gizzards, so I just add a bit more beef or turkey. Since we give our pups just a bit of Nupro anyway, the nutritional change is modest. Plus, I would avoid too much salt. I like to stress that if the food is balanced, healthy, and homemade – you are doing fine. Especially if they love it! Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  49. Hi, I’m excited to try this recipe for my two chihuahuas. I was wondering what your method is for defrosting/heating your baggies that are in the freezer?

    • So pleased you are going to try my recipe. Since the food is cooked, freezing packets is only so I can make a large batch and have it handy for future use. I, then, only need to thaw it when needed. I take a packet out of my freezer a couple days before it will be needed and let it thaw in the refrigerator. There is no reheating involved. I usually mix in a few drops of coconut oil, some Nupro for vitamins, and blend it together with a spoon. I am sure your Chihuahuas will love it. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  50. Hi Joanie, our 10.5 year old ~70 Lab was recently diagnosed with insulinoma. she was not doing well at all and was put on a steroid which didn’t seem to help at first. several days later i made my first batch of your food and transitioned her to half your recipe and 1/2 her previous dog food then down to 1/4 3/4 etc. she has been on your full food for several weeks now. She absolutely loves it and is thriving. not sure if its the food or the low dose of steroid or a combination of both but she is doing SO WELL! My main concern is that she is always ravenous If I move she thinks i’m going to get her food! In order to keep her blood sugar stable i am feeding her 1 cup every 6 hours. so 4 cups total per day. you had said 1/2 cup is 275 calories so if i did my calculations right she is getting 2200 calories per day which should be enough for a 70lb older semi active dog. Just wondering if you agree or if there is something that i am missing. I am making a double batch of your exact recipe every Sunday.

    • Joanie and Chris

      It sure sounds like you are doing great! Steroids will make a dog ravenous. But that should not worry you. Our youngest Havanese is ravenous and she is not on a steroid. Just remember, you control the amount of food. We never let ours graze, and we watch their weight. Usually for less active dogs 30 calories per pound would be tops. That would mean 2100. So, your calculation is sound. Just watch her weight and adjust accordingly. I am pleased she is doing well on my homemade food. It takes a bit of work, but it is well worth it. Great job . . . Joanie.

  51. Looking forward to trying your recipe. When you say to cook the hamburger and turkey until browned, is that fried or boiled? Thank you.

    • Joanie and Chris

      It is fried. I hope your furry one enjoys my recipe. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

    • Hello… I just made this for my 4 yorkies and have been feeding for 5 days now… I have 2 girls that are fixed and gained ALOT of weight! The one needs to lose around 6lbs and the other 4lbs. I’m trying to figure out the amount to fed them and was hoping you would help me. The one should be around 5.5lbs and the other should be 3.5 to 4lbs (this is what they weighed before they got fixed) they are now at 11lbs and almost 9lbs. I have been feeding them all of them 1/4 cup twice a day and after reading some comments I’m thinking this may be to much for a couple of them but just right for 1 of them? Thank you in advance

      • Joanie and Chris

        Hi Annette! Thanks for the questions. First off, let me recommend a scale. Weigh them before you start in earnest and then keep a record weighing them every few days. We use the following scale -> SCALE. That is the best way to monitor weight. Your 5.5 pounder is roughy 2/3 of our Havanese in terms of weight and they get 1/4 cup twice a day. Each 1/4 cup yields 135 calories. That being said, about 1/3 cup in total would be what the analytics say. But dogs vary in terms of activity. That is why we weigh ours often. The 4 pounders would be best on 1/4 cup daily and a pinch more. You do not want hungry dogs so please weigh them and adjust the food accordingly. Thanks again . . Joanie.

  52. Is calcium and vitamin supplement that you add in food part of the New Pro supplements or should I add that as an extra?

    • Joanie and Chris

      I only use NuPro supplement. Lately, I have also added a drop or two of coconut oil. It is good for them. No extra calcium is needed. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  53. Kathleen A Anderson

    Could I substitute green beans for the peas?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Absolutely. The nutrition would be virtually the same. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

      • i have a 8 week old puppy what do you put on there home made dog food for the puppy stage? she is a bichon yorkie

        • Joanie and Chris

          We always suggest that you feed the puppies a bit more food since they have more energy and need more food to grow. The only supplement we give is a little bit of Nupro Gold. If you click the words a link will take you to the supplement. You will need very little. We also like to use a postage scale to monitor their weight and check it often. Again click the words to find it. Our little ones are both around 9 1/2 pounds and have maintained that weight for years. I hope your new puppy will enjoy the food, Thanks you . . . Joanie.

    • I’m concerned about the mercury in tuna. I know humans should only eat tuna no more than once or twice a week. Do you get one that doesn’t have mercury?

      • Joanie and Chris

        We have never seen any issues with the tuna we use. However, you should only use “canned light tuna” if you have concerns. It has 1/3 the mercury or regular tuna. We will make that note in our recipe.You could also use canned salmon as a substitute. There are so many other ingredients in the mix that it should not be an issue, but I would share your concern. Thank you for the question . . . Joanie.

  54. Thank you so much for this recipe! My four year old Maltese absolutely LOVES it. I’ve never seen her eat anything so fervently! She makes it look so delicious we’ve thought about rolling it into meatballs and trying it ourselves. All the store bought food I was buying her kept making her sick, even the sensitive stomach options. I will never make her eat that stuff again. Your recipe has changed her happy little life 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Joanie and Chris

      We get the same reaction with our Havanese sisters. I am so please my recipe is a hit! It is pretty bland for our tastes, but the pups love it. Don’t ask how I know! Thanks for the kind comment . . . Joanie.

  55. I am seriously considering making your dog food. My 8 year old, 4.5 lb. Maltese has developed horrible yeast infections on her body. From what I have read the dog food she is currently eating and the majority of kibble has a high carb level. She is SUPER PICKY so I am not even sure of she will eat this. How much should I feed her per day to maintain her weight?

    • Joanie and Chris

      I know your Maltese will love the food. I hope it helps. It is definitely low in carbs and healthy. She is half the weight of our dogs. Ours maintain their weight by eating 1/4 cup, 2 times a day. I would start with half that and see how she does. I would also recommend getting a postage scale (if you do not already have one) and weigh her every few days to make sure she is maintaining a proper weight. Good luck and thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  56. Kathleen A Anderson

    I’m getting ready to make another batch of food. Can I use frozen broccoli and cauliflower??

    • Joanie and Chris

      Yes you can. I always use fresh, just my belief that fresh is best for nutrients. Just thaw first. Glad you are making more. It is a labor of love for me, but when I see our Havanese so healthy and happy, I know it is worth it. Thanks for the comment . . .Joanie.

  57. I am making your food tonight for the first time and I think my dogs will love it because I have been feeding them homemade food for about 2 weeks now but I wanted to try your recipe. I know you said to freeze it because it’s good up to 2 weeks but I have a great Pyrenees who it is 73 lb and three little dogs under 25 so do you think this would last in the refrigerator for a week.

    Thank you so much.

    • Joanie and Chris

      Absolutely! Because of their size, they will eat that recipe amount quickly. I keep a package in the fridge all the time I just freeze what they cannot eat in a few days. For four dogs you will be cooking a lot, so increase the batch. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  58. Can you tell me what your postal scale looks like for weighing your pups? I looked on amazon and there is so many to choose from. I have a mini schnauzer.

    • Joanie and Chris

      Here is the link to the sale we bought 4 years ago -> Scale. It is perfect for little dogs. We put a cardboard shoe box on the scale and press a button to zero it out and then put a dog in the box and get exact weight, pounds and ounces. Very sturdy and without any problems. We even use it for weighing food. It is a great idea to have one. Just click that word above and you will see our scale on Amazon. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  59. So I tried your recipe, and after reading the comments I can see that we are the only ones with an issue here. Our dog absolutely loved the food, the problem is, after a month of feeding twice a day she is so constipated she is miserable. Did you ever have a problem with this?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Never had a problem. Our girls go twice a day, like clockwork. My recipe has plenty of fiber so it would be surprising. Perhaps more water. I hope it gets better. Many have been using my recipe for years and have never heard this concern . . . Joanie.

  60. Thanks so much for this recipe!! I have
    Male German Shepherd 3yo 96#
    Female German Shepherd 5 yo 85#
    lab mix 10yo 55#
    miniature weiner dog 15 yo 8#

    This would mainly be for my female shepherd who is on thyroid medication and already getting a cloud over her eye. A friend said I should look into low carb meals. When we adopted her 4 years ago she already had signs of thyroid issues ? they have been on Kirkland’s brand of grain free turkey and sweet potato. I’m hoping your recipe can reverse my girl’s health issues and help everyone else thrive!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Low carbs and high protein would be good for a dog with thyroid issues. I would suggest confirming that with a vet, but my food would be better than most commercial foods. My food has 4 times the protein and 25% of carbs. I hope it helps. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

      • Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for a recipe to make for my very fussy 10 year old Labradoodle. I have tried many different commercial dog foods, and she will go 2 days without eating until we finally give in and mix table food in. I hope this recipe helps. She is 40lbs, how much do you recommend feeding her? Also do you freeze the whole batch after making it and defrost a bag for each serving, or do you keep a couple of days worth in the refrigerator?

        • Joanie and Chris

          I am sure your Labradoodle will love the food. A typical rule of thumb for a grown dog is 30 calories per pound, so 1,200 calories per day. One half cup of my food yield 275 calories so she should get around two cups a day. We suggest feeding two times per day so say one cup each time. That would give her 1,100 calories – which is likely good for an older dog as they are less active. Best idea is to weigh her once per week and see how she is doing. I usually keep a few days in the fridge, up to a weeks worth and freeze the rest in packets.Good luck and thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

          • Can you please tell me how much of this recipe I would feed my 71/2 lb min pin twice a day?
            I seem to not be figuring it out! I need to maintain her weight and not add any.

          • Joanie and Chris

            The best advice I can give you would be to buy a postage scale and weigh her once a week to see how she does. Our 9 pound dogs get 1/4 cup twice each day. They maintain their weight with a few homemade treats. I would start her on a spoonful shy of 1/4 cup twice a day and see how her weight fluctuates. Likely not much. Just like us, activity helps, but I do know she will love the food, get proper nutrition and do well on our food. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  61. Hi, great sounding recipe =) I was curious how far off would the calculations be if I used oatmeal instead of rice? I use an organic gluten free brand and prefer it instead of the rice. Also, is your measurement of the rice before cooking? Lastly, is the cottage cheese for calcium? Could I continue to give simmered and ground up turkey necks for a portion of the beef? Thanks so much for the assistance =)

    • Joanie and Chris

      You can use oatmeal instead of the rice provided it is cooked and you keep the portion small. Oatmeal also has more calories. The calculation for rice is for cooked rice. The cottage cheese is packed with calcium and other nutrients, adds moisture, and protein. It is a good thing for dogs. You can use ground up turkey necks, but they must be really fine and I would use sparingly. The beef provides texture. The ingredients you suggest are all healthy and that is the main goal. My recipe is very balanced nutrition and dogs love the taste. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  62. My 7year old Harvanese has been eating this food for a couple of months now. She loves it. My only concern is she developed skin tags on her body. Same thing happened when she was 2 years old, I added coconut oil to her diet. I noticed skin tags on her. Can I replace coconut oil with another oil?

    • Joanie and Chris

      I have never read about coconut oil causing skin tags? In fact, most literature says it is good for the coat, digestion, and health. It is a good thing. If you have concerns, feel free to eliminate the coconut oil – it is not essential. Best of luck – Havanese are our favorite, as you can see . . . Joanie.

  63. Kathleen A Anderson

    Hi, My Annie was recently diagnosed as diabetic. I think this would be good food for her. What vitamins do you use?

    • Joanie and Chris

      My recipe is low in carbs and would really help Annie’s condition. We do us a vitamin supplement. You can find it here -> Nupro. We give ours just a bit each day, since they are small. I believe it really helps. They are regular and never have digestive issues. For small dogs, that is a plus. Follow the directions and I hope my recipe helps Annie . . . Joanie.

      • Hi ,our 11 year old 16 lb. mini schnauzer Mr. Maxx is diabetic & pancreatic. He has been on your homemade food for about two weeks now and it’s going well. Just received the Nupro Gold vitamin supplement and was wondering how much to add to each meal. The guideline on package recommends 10-20 lbs 1/2 scoop. Seems like it may be to much? He is a very picky eater. We don’t wont him to stop eating the food because he can smell the powdered supplement but we want to make sure he’s getting all his nutrients to keep him as healthy as possible. May we please as what amount you suggest we should add. We are currently feeding him 1 cup 2 x a day as we are trying to put some weight on him. Thanks for your time

        • Joanie and Chris

          I am pleased that Mr. Maxx is doing well on my food recipe. My suggestion on the Nupro would be to cut the recommended amount in half. Remember, it is a supplement, and the food recipe will give him most of the nutrients he needs. I like the Nupro because it adds calcium and some nutrient boosts. It is also very good for their digestion. Our two are so regular and surprisingly fr little dogs; they have no digestive issues. Weigh Maxx and do so often. Remember, the food is the key for health. Good luck . . . Joanie.

    • Kathleen A Anderson

      Annie is doing great on your recipe. Her blood sugar is in normal range again. Thank you

  64. My 17 year old shih tzu is allergic to beef and egg. What are good substitutes?

    • Joanie and Chris

      You can leave out the egg, since it is not a binder, but rather for protein. You can substitute more ground turkey or chicken for the beef. Also, adding more tuna would work. The overall calories and protein would not vary that much and mainly what we are striving for is to eliminate the artificial ingredients and provide healthy nutrition. Best of luck, I hope your Shih Tzu loves the food . . . Joanie.

  65. My beagle weighs 43 lbs; we are trying to put him on a diet, but he doesn’t seem to be losing weight. I am going to try this recipe, but I’m not sure of how much to give Bailey. Also, do you mix the beef, turkey, tuna, etc. all together in one big batch or do you make separate foods with the beef, the turkey, the tuna, etc.? I also keep dry dog food on hand for Bailey; I give him Blue Buffalo Lifetime Protection and we’ve used Nupro for years. I stopped giving him canned commercial dog food because I think it was the culprit for his weight; he also likes to break into where the cat food is and I know it is too much protein for him. He is like a Houdini. Speaking of cats, do you have a good homemade recipe for cat food? I have a 10 yr old cat that weighs about 10 lbs, but has gotten very finicky with her food as of late. She doesn’t like her canned food anymore (American Journey) and eats Friskee’s Indoor Cat Seafood Sensation. She eats the dry, but I would like to have a good recipe for her. I am also going to check out your treats recipe. Thank you, in advance, for your prompt reply 🙂

    • Joanie and Chris

      The first suggestion would be to determine how much your beagle should weigh (a target weight). A rule of thumb is approximately 30 calories per pound. So, for example, if the target weight is 35 pounds then you would need approximately 1,050 calories per day. My recipe will yield about 260 calories per 1/2 cup. So in my example, I would suggest about two cups per day. However, that is only an example. I am sure your beagle will love the food so take him off the commercial food. My food is balanced and the only thing we suggest is a little Nupro. Dogs should not graze, so feed twice a day and keep the cat food away. Mix all of the food in the recipe (including meats) together in one big batch. We do not have cats, so no cat food, although that might be a good idea. Good luck . . . Joanie.

  66. Hi Joan and Chris – my Miniature Schnauzer has just come through a bout of Pancreatitis so I’m looking to homecook for her. The fats in her diet need to be no more less than 10% whereas the makeup of your recipe is rather higher than that. Is the bulk of the fat in your recipe concentrated in the Cottage Cheese or the Coconut oil. I love the ingredients you use and would like to adjust the recipe to suit her needs. Thanks Julie

    • Joanie and Chris

      A lot of the fat comes from the ground beef. Try using a more lean ground beef. Also, you can substitute for the chicken gizzards with lean white chicken meat. And, yes the coconut oil adds a lot of fat. You can eliminate that entirely. Cottage cheese should add much fat. Your dog has special circumstances. You would still be pleased that all of the ingredients would be healthy with no fillers. She will love the taste. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  67. Lydia Cable Repnoy

    Hi Joan and Chris,
    I’ve been looking for a dog food recipe with more of a variety of ingredients and this is perfect! We’ve decided to do half kibble and half homemade food for our hound husky mix who was recently super ill with anaplasmosis. She is on the mend and loving the homemade food! Thanks!

    I do have two questions. Do you think it would be ok to cook the vegetables to make them more easily digestible? I was wondering why you have them raw. Also, do you think canned salmon is ok instead of tuna or would that be too much calcium since the bones are in there?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Yes, you could cook the vegetables, with a slight less nutrient value, but digestion is so important. You could use salmon. I use salmon in my homemade dog treats without issue. Dogs love it and will not be harmed. I am pleased to hear you dog is doing better. Ticks can be a problem, but antibiotics should help. My food should cure any lack of appetite. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  68. Thanks for the reply Joanie. Could you advise what cup you are using so I can get a similar measure for my pup? Thanks again

    • Joanie and Chris

      Weigh your little one, try 1/4 UK cup if that is what is needed and continue to weigh to achieve a consistent weight for the dog. When you get down to 1/4 cup the difference between a UK 1/4 cup and US 1/4 cup is minimal. Good luck and thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  69. Do you reheat before you serve?

    • Joanie and Chris

      No, it has already been cooked. I simply put in bags for the freezer and thaw whenever needed. Our pups love it cold. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  70. Hi – I am interested in trying your recipe. We have two Staffies and are about 23 to 26 pounds. How much would you recommend they be fed daily? And do you add the egg shells to the food processor when grinding everything up together. Thanks very much.

    • Joanie and Chris

      I would start with 3/4 cup twice a day (unless they are pups, since they need more). I would weigh them periodically. Some folks use egg shells very finely ground for calcium. But, they would not be fine enough in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Many do that separately in a coffee grinder. They would need to be a powder. You could also try using very small bits of cheese as a treat. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  71. Thank you, would I just add an equal amount of sweet potato? Would Kidney beans work as a substitute for rice?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Yes on the sweet potato. Dogs can eat beans, but we have never given them. Carbs can be greater. Experiment and watch the weight. Thanks for the comment.

  72. Hi, I have 2 senior dogs that we are looking to start making food for. One of them is on a grain free diet due to allergies. How much extra veggies/fruit should I add to replace the rice for him? Or could I just leave the rice out all together with no other adjustments needed? Thanks!

    • Joanie and Chris

      I would suggest substituting sweet potato, as they do need some carbs. Perhaps some pumpkin, as both are also very good for them. So pleased you are trying my recipe . . . Joanie.

  73. I have a 65 lb dog. With my calculations I think he gets 1.75 cups of food twice a day?

    • Joanie and Chris

      Your math is excellent and your dog will love the food. We do suggest weighing your dog periodically to make sure the weight is where it needs to be. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  74. Giovanna Bella

    I am so glad I stumbled onto this recipe as I have been looking for something that my dogs would like. I have a 4 pound imperial shi tzu and a Jack Russell mix however my.shi tzu is such a finicky eater that I have tried almost everything in the kitchen to cook for her but she rather eat rotisserie chicken she doesn’t want anything to do with vegetables . So hooing fingers crossed that she this !! In addition should I add some vitamins or minerals to their diet?

    • Joanie and Chris

      I love to hear about a finicky eater trying my food. I have never heard of any little furry ones who do not love it. My recipe is very balanced and provides needed nutrition. We do add a supplement for our dogs called Nupro. You can read about it by clicking the link -> here. Best of luck, please let us know how they like the recipe . . . Joanie.

      • When chicken gizzards aren’t available, what can I use instead?

        • Joanie and Chris

          Chicken liver will also work. It would also not change very much to use regular chicken meat (breast or thigh). The food is so healthy and they love it so much, they will thrive. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  75. I have two little Italian greyhounds, one is about 8 lb and the other is about 11 and the little 8 lb has recently been diagnosed with hopefully early stage lymphoma. Is the recipe you printed for any dog? I have printed it and want to start making it for them.

    • Joanie and Chris

      So sorry to hear about your little one. I am sure you have a good vet to help. Our food is for any dog. It is nutritious and very balanced. I am sure the dogs will love it. My best to you . . . Joanie.

  76. Hi. This recipe sounds great and I am going to try it on our little shih-poo. I see the reference to a 1/4 cup throughout these comments. What type of cup should I be using for the food measurements? Alternatively what is the approximate weight per 1/4 cup? Thanks!

    • Joanie and Chris

      So pleased you are trying my recipe. We use 1/4 cup US Standard. We never think of it in terms of ounces or weight. Our pups are 9 pounds each and 1/4 cup for each twice a day is sufficient to maintain their weight. It has not varied for years. Weigh your little one, try 1/4 UK cup if that is what is needed and continue to weigh to achieve a consistent weight for the dog. When you get down to 1/4 cup the difference between a UK 1/4 cup and US 1/4 cup is minimal. Good luck and thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  77. I have been looking for a balanced home cooked meals for my pup. I am glad I found your site. I also have a Harvanese who is 7 years old. She has sensitive stomach. Sometimes she would have mucus in her poops. She was on raw diet and now on refrigerated cooked food. I have some questions….since she can’t digest rice, can I substitute with something else? If I can’t find gizzards can I use something else?

    • Joanie and Chris

      As you know, we love our little Havanese dogs! That is what the dog food is all about. Our youngest will have some stomach distress if anyone slips her a commercial dog treat or any table food. But she is perfect on my food – they both are. Excellent digestion, healthy coats, and so happy. If the rice is not good add a bit more pumpkin or sweet potato. You can substitute for the gizzards – just a bit more chicken. Not exactly the same as my recipe, but you will know what is in the food and know it is not full of the bad things from commercial food. Good luck and thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  78. Would I be able to start off a 3 week and 5 day puppy with this food when she turns 4 weeks? I bought her blue buffalo but I teed mixed reviews and I’m scared to buy her regular dog food.

    • Joanie and Chris

      She will need more calories than full-grown dogs, as puppies are so active and burn off so much. They also will eat and eat so watch her weight. Feed her a few more times a day than a grown dog, but do not let her graze. She should be fine, my food is balanced and nutritional. Let me know how she does, thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  79. Hello!
    Thank you so much for this amazing simple recipe my dog absolutely loves it. Definitely boosted his appetite!
    My dog is a yorkshire terrier shihztu mix he is 1 year old and weighs exactly 5.9kg (13lb). I am not sure how to calculate how much food to give him honestly can you PLEASE help and how many meals per day as well with the quantity.
    Thank you!

    • Joanie and Chris

      So pleased to hear that your dog loves my recipe. Our dogs are approximately 9 pounds and each will eat 1/4 cup twice a day. If your dog is full grown he is 40% larger than ours. So approximately 40% more food. Perhaps try 1/3 of a cup twice a day and see how he does with weight. We use a postage scale to weighs ours.That way you will know whether it is enough or should be cut back. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  80. Can this be adapted for a large dog? I have a German Shepherd who is allergic to chicken so we decided to create a homemade diet for him. Not into raw, but homemade and low carb seems to be the best option. He would eat about 900 calories per meal

    • Joanie and Chris

      The recipe is for all dogs. I worked hard to obtain a balanced recipe that was low carb, with no fillers, and one that supplied needed nutrition. You certainly can eliminate the chicken gizzards or the turkey and perhaps add more beef. This will change the nutrition. I would advise that if you do this add a good supplement. We like Nupro product- you can find it here -> Nupro Supplement. I would also suggest switching food gradually and weighing often to make sure a proper weight is maintained. Good luck . . . Joanie.

  81. Greetings! Stumbled on your blog & looking forward to dog recipe. I too have a Havanese dog, 3 yr old male. Recently his liver enzymes have sky-rocketed, putting him on meds until rechecking levels in a few weeks. Have your dogs gone through this? He came from a reputable breeder and at 9 months has always had problems with his breath and occasional throw ups after eating his meals, especially in the morning. I thought that was normal because I read about occasional bile throw ups since he does that too. He has allergies because he scratches himself. He started with Canidae dry food, then vet placed him on VET prescription Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein a year ago . He’s never been quite keen with just dry food, so at times I’ll add chicken/turkey along with rice & pumpkin puree. His little butt now weighs 12.70 lbs – Ouch! Your thoughts on this recipe to help with liver? Vet requested he eat a Hepatic/liver diet until further testing. His mood and appetite, as well as bowel movements are good for the most part after discovering the elevated liver enzymes. Vet feels he may have letrosporosis based on condition … started coughing, more like a hack for a few days & then after a hacking episode he threw up his morning food, so I called vet immediately. First time dog owner and sadly, I feel that I already let my little fur baby down. Glad I came across your blog because it made me smile to see Havanese doggies – don’t come across a lot of them. Any info you can supply is greatly appreciated. xo

    • Joanie and Chris

      We enjoy hearing from other Havanese owners – they are simply the best dogs! So, sorry to hear about the issues you are having. Ours have never had any health issues and have been eating my food their entire lives (6 and 5 years). As you can see from our post, we have strong reservations about commercial dog foods. Your little Havanese does appear to have health issues that need to be corrected and may need a special diet specifically made for liver issues to get him healthy. My recipe is for wellness, and we know it provides balanced nutrition for a dogs needs. Just make sure you have him going to a good Vet, get him healthy, and gradually switch over to our recipe. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  82. I commented earlier, but forgot some stuff… My dog does have yeast and allergies issues. I could swap the sweet potatoes for pumpkin and white rice to more veggies & fruit. If I take out the rice, how much more vegetables or fruit would you add to the recipe? I was thinking blueberries, raspberries, more broccoli or cauliflower, or maybe some zucchini and squash.

  83. Hi Joanie! I have been reading your site the last few days because I’m planning to start a low carb diet for my overweight 13 year old shih tzu. She’s always been 12lbs and was on the same food (taste of the wild salmon) for years due to allergies, but the vet recommended we change her to senior food. I purchased whole earth with ground turkey, and followed feeding guidelines, along with no treats, but she has gained almost 10lbs in a short amount of time since switching her food. We ran all sorts of tests to ensure it wasn’t a health issue. She’s healthy as ever. The doctor recommended keeping her on the food, but cutting it by a 1/3 per day. I don’t care for that idea because whole earth is obviously a higher kcal food and can’t be that great for her.

    I followed your recipe this morning- minus the gizzards & beef. She and the cat circled my feet while I made everything. She licked the bowl clean too. =)

    If I am feeding her based on 12lbs- it’s 1/3 cup twice daily. Cut in half for a diet, it’s 1/3 cup a day. She should be getting about 2.5 tbsp. per meal, if served alone. I plan to add this with her current food to transition her over. I will probably do 1.5 tbsp of the homemade food mixed with 1.5 tbsp of kibble each meal and see how it goes. Hopefully she loses weight before her recheck in two weeks.

    Should I add turmeric and other seasonings that are recommended? How much would you recommend to add to the batch of food earlier?

    I read that you use a few different supplements for them too. Right now she just takes a hip & joint soft chew with glucosamine 250mg, chondroitin 100mg, MSM 25mg, vitamin C 25mg, & Maganese 25mg. I plan to order the ones you have spoke about too. If I order the supplements you discussed, should I continue the hip & joint chew? And, do I need to look for supplements specific for senior dogs?

    Thank you,

    • Joanie and Chris

      As you can read in our post, I have strong reservations regarding feeding commercial dog foods. Our two pups have eaten my food their entire lives and are healthy and happy. Your one issue seems to be weight and your base calculation of a 1/3 cup twice a day would be correct to maintain a 12 pound dog’s weight. I would definitely get an accurate scale for pounds and ounces. Weigh her often. We use a postage scale and their weight never varies more than a couple ounces. We always advise switching food gradually until they are used to it. You can cut a small amount from the 1/3 cup, but not too much – that is why you weigh her. Weight should come off gradually. We do not recommend turmeric or any other seasonings. Dogs do not need seasonings. Supplements for older dogs are fine for joint health. We recommend Nupro – you can find it here -> Nupro Supplement. Nupro also makes and excellent Glucosamine product. If you want to add pumpkin instead of the rice that would be fine. I am not a big fan of fruits. Good luck – weigh her often and enjoy the food . . . Joanie.

  84. Hi Joanie! I have decided to try out your recipe for my own dogs, but wanted to make sure I had done the calculations for how much to feed them first. I have a 9-month old puppy that is about 17lbs, so by your calculations (from what i’ve read in the comments), he would require 520 calories per day, roughly 1 cup of your recipe. My other dog is a senior, 13 year old dog weighing about 28lbs, so she would need 840 calories per day, or 1 1/3 cup of food per day (to equal 780 calories). Is this correct? Thank you!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Your calculations are correct. However, puppies usually require more food since they are so active. I would give the little one a bit more. We also found it very helpful to keep weighing them and make sure you do not see an unwanted pattern (either up or down). We also feed twice a day and no grazing. You will also find that their bathroom deposits will be smaller (less carbs in the food). I know they will love the food . . . Joanie.

  85. Hello, I may have missed this in the comments, can I switch the chicken gizzards to chicken hearts? I’m very excited to start my teddy bear morkie in this recipe. We have tried raw and small breed kibble and she is still iching. I really want to give her some relief without having g to resort to medications. Thank you and stay healthy.

    • Joanie and Chris

      You can make that substitute! I am so pleased that you are going to give my recipe a try. Our Havanese Sisters have never eaten anything but my recipe and they are so healthy. Never any allergies or itching. Plus, they devour each meal. Good luck and stay safe and well . . . Joanie.

  86. This is my third batch of homemade dog food. I wanted to tell you how much my dogs love this. they use to get excited when feeding time came around, but now they go to their feeding places and dance and bark while we fill their dishes. we do mix up their recipe a little by using pumpkin instead of sweet potato and liver or kidneys for the organ meat….but my dogs are sure happy I found this recipe! Thank you for shareing it!

    • Joanie and Chris

      The story sounds so familiar – our Havanese girls react the same way and are so happy and healthy. Substituting a little is fine. We often use pumpkin instead of sweet potato and vary the meats. I am so pleased that your dogs love my recipe . . . Joanie.

  87. Hi Joan and Chris
    We got a golden retriever puppy week and a half ago. Even before getting him I had decided to give him home cooked food. But not sure how much I should feed him. He always looks hungry, even after finishing his food he keeps coming back to look for more or keeps following me for more food. His veterinarian also said that home cooked doesn’t have all the nutrients that they need. I do give him multivitamin and add missing link superfood supplement and still not sure if he is getting everything or not. Can you please suggest me how much should I feed him and which calcium supplement do you give your dogs? And are there any other supplements that you would recommend? Looking forward to hearing back from you!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Congrats on your new addition! Puppies grow fast and need more food, at first. Usually dogs need 30 calories per pound, but puppies are more like 40 calories. One-half cup of my food is about 260 calories. So if your pup is 10 pounds and would need 400 calories (for now), that would be 1.5 times our half cup or 3/4 cup. However, it is a good idea to get a scale and weigh him to see how he does. Puppies will eat 3 or 4 times a day so he is normal – just like little babies. Our food is nutritionally balanced – your vet is not correct. We do give Nutro Gold (click the words to find) as a supplement as it does add a bit of calcium that we like them to have. I also suggest Dental Chews – click Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews for the best! We use those for a bed-time treat. Finally, a doggie toothbrush and an good enzymatic toothpaste is a sound idea – again click the words. Our dogs love the poultry flavor. Good luck . . . Joanie.

  88. I love your recipe!!!! I feed our dogs all homemade as well. Question…Is 6 ounces of raw vegetable about 3/4 cup?
    Thank you so much!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Actually ounces would refer to liquid and cups would be referring to volume. That is the technical answer, but a cup is generally seen as 8 ounces, so yes, 6 ounces would equal 3/4 cup. So pleased you like my recipe. Enjoy! . . . Joanie


        How much homemade food for 80lb dog?

        • Joanie and Chris

          Ours are roughly 9 1/2 pounds each and they maintain that weight by eating 1/4 cup twice a day (1/2 cup in total). The math and nutrition would indicate 4 cups per day. Calorie-wise that would also be a bit shy of 30 per pound which is often used as a standard, based upon activity and age. We would try that as a starting point and weigh after a couple weeks to see the result. We know your dog will love the food and be healthy. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

          • Hi there problems finding food my old huskys will eat.. one girl is 15 dropping weight.. my boy 12 has stomach problems.. very sensitive. So big big boy around 60pounds.. wondering how much should I feed them a day of your receipt. Thanks janice

          • Joanie and Chris

            Everything will vary, as you say, with weight issues, stomach issues etc. However, a general rule of thumb is 30 calories per pound. So, your 60 pound dog would likely need around 1,800 calories. Our food is 132 calories per 1/4 cup. So the math would indicate just shy of 3 1/2 cups per day. However, so much depends upon how active they are. Advice I usually give is to weigh them often when starting any new food and adjust accordingly. I do know the food is healthy and so tasty. Have never heard of a dog not loving the food. It is all natural. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

      • Thank you for this great and instructive recipe. I wish I had it a few years ago as I always felt it so overwhelming to cook my dogs’ food. But my Suzie, 7 yrs, just had a cancerous tumor removed and I am determined to put her on a Ketogenic diet in hopes that it will prolong her life. Thank you for all your informative tips — you are providing an immense service to all the dog lovers out there who want to throw away the kibble and canned food! My two Labradoodles, 7 and 9 yrs, gobbled up their first meal today and I’m going to make your Fishy Treats ASAP. Do you have a blog?

        • Joanie and Chris

          I am hoping for the best for your Suzie. Thank you for the kind comments and letting me know that your Labradoodles love the food. That makes it all worthwhile. Our blog ( is actually designed to help everyone see the benefits of Keto living. You can see we post a lot of low-carb people food. Just so happens we love our “Havanese girls,” so I did a lot of research and developed a healthy homemade low carb food for them. It is a “labor of love.’ Thanks again . . . Joanie.

  89. I just decided to start making homemade dog food. This recipe looks fabulous. Unfortunately our Tucker is overweight. He currently weighs 47 pounds but should be closer to 35. How much should we feed him each day to help him get down to his healthy weight?

    • First, we always advise everyone that weight loss for an overweight dog is just like it is for a human – it happens slowly. Weigh him often on the journey and for the most part, skip any commercial dog food and treats. The latter is a big culprit. Most literature says about 30 calories per pound. Our dogs are 9 pounds and they need about 270 calories per day. They get 1/4 cup of my food twice a day. Basically you need Tucker to be 4 times the weight of our dogs (4 X 9 = 36). So, try Tucker on 1 cup twice a day or two cups in total. Adjust accordingly and watch how he reacts. Good luck . . . Joanie.

      • Hi Joanie! I’m the super proud parent to a 9 month old Siberian Husky pup. She’s been on the same dry puppy kibble the breeder sent home with her. I’ve tried (very) gradually to switch her over to other brands with zero success and horrible/explosive gastrointestinal issues. She’s my best friend and I want to give her the best life so I recently started to research how to make homemade food for her and was so excited to find your recipe, as it seems so complete compared to others I’ve found. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I’m wondering if I should peel the sweet potato before grinding it, or leave the skin on? Also, I read in another comment that chicken liver can be substituted for the gizzards, would it still be the same amount?
        Thank you in advance for your help!

        • Joanie and Chris

          Yes, peel the sweet potato and the liver or gizzards should be equal in amounts. I am excited to hear that you will give my recipe a try. Our youngest pup has a more sensitive stomach than her Sister and has been super healthy, regular, and happy as she eats only my recipe. Best of luck with your “best friend.” Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  90. Would this be good for a diabetic dog?

    • Absolutely, it is low in carbs that would turn to sugar. We have a lot of users with diabetic dogs who use our food. Another tip, as long as your dog is not lactose intolerant, would be to eliminate all store bought treats and substitute a little bit of cheddar cheese. There are no carbs in cheese. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  91. Hello there, I am amazed with your recipe and have been doing something similar with my shih tzu but you have really educated me and I’m switching to this recipe 100%!!! You really cover all the basis and explain almost every ingredient. I do have three questions though… There’s research suggesting that dogs don’t actually process carbs for energy like humans do, so is the white really necessary? What other nutrition does it provide? Secondly, how do you serve it from the freezer bags? And do you mix the supplement in with the entire recipe or just add to each meal? And third, do you have any concerns about the food being too soft? I know dogs are supposed to have some amount of crunch to their food. Although dulling of the teeth can occur, dry crunchy food has proven to be beneficial for overall dental health in dogs. Should I just give her an actual bone every so often? I really appreciate your time, the recipe, and article. I hope you get something from the supplement company for suggesting them because I used the link hahaha

    • I am pleased you see the benefits of my food and have switched. Bravo! I have read that research, and also a lot that suggests that they also need rapidly digested carbs for balance. Nutrition has never been an exact science and, as with people, theories and studies abound with varying outcomes. To us, outcomes and common sense provide guidance – our pups have been healthy, strong, and happy. We hope the same for yours. The freezer bags are for storage in our freezer, thaw, and serve. We add a very small amount of supplement to one meal per day. We are not fans of hard bones, however, for teeth health we do give them a very small “bed time treat” that they love and will keep their molars working. You can view that product by clicking that word treat. Thanks for your questions . . . Joanie.

  92. Joanie…..I have a 4 1/2 month old female Yorkie. At her last vet visit 1 week ago she weighed 3 lbs. I made your low carb food and the treats yesterday. The recommendation of my breeder was to give her cottage cheese/yogurt in the morning and she loves it. I see that you have 2-9 lb. dogs (they are gorgeous) and you feed them 1/4 c. twice a day. I have recently taken my pup from 4 feedings per day to 3 feedings. So she gets her cottage cheese/yogurt in the morning but I am not sure how much of the food to give her for lunch and dinner. It was my thought that because she is a growing puppy (probably will end up being 5-6 lbs.) that 1/4 c twice per day along with breakfast would work. At 6 months I was going to reduce her to 2 meals a day. My breeder said to give her the cottage cheese for her entire life. I am more inclined to eventually stop the cottage cheese and feed her just the low carb food. I could probably just add a bit more cottage cheese to the recipe. If your dogs are 9 lbs each and get 1/2 c per day my full grown 6 lb. dog would get less but that surely doesn’t seem like much food. I guess I just need to watch her waist line. Write now she has filled out nicely and is getting a little pudgy but she is a puppy. So any advice on portion size for my puppy needs and then full grown needs I would appreciate. SHE LOVES THE FOOD and the treats. Her head doesn’t come out of the bowl until it is all done. My yorkies have always had tooth issues and I read that a high carb diet causes that and this is why I am now using your diet. In the last 8 months I have lost 3 dogs and it has been very traumatic. We now have this new puppy and I want to do everything the right way for her.

    • Puppies need more food, as they are growing. Your long-range plan to drop the cottage cheese and eat our balanced food twice a day is better. Until you get there, monitor weight closely. I use a postage scale for our dogs. Weigh before the morning meal and record the results. Then adjust the amount of food to help her maintain her weight. Ours have weighed 9 1/2 pounds consistently (they are 5 and 4 now). For now, start with 1/4 cup twice a day, but cut down on the cottage cheese. She will likely be 2/3 of our dogs’ weight. Some say 30-35 calories per pound, so 6 pounds would mean from 180 to 200 calories. Ours get 275 per day (with treats included). Eventually, a stingy 1/4 cup should maintain her weight. I also give Nupro Original as a supplement. Click the word Nupro to purchase. Finally, little dogs do tend to lose teeth. You are correct that low carb means less sugar and better for teeth. I would suggest buying a very small dog tooth-brush head and some enzymatic toothpaste. Brush the outside of the teeth daily (their saliva takes care of the inside). Click the word toothpaste to see my recommendation. I am so pleased that your pup loves my food and treats – good luck with her . . . Joanie.

      • Joanie and Chris….thank you for your response. I have cut out the cottage cheese (Mina is now 21 weeks old) I give her 1/4 c of the homemade food 3 times per day. She lets me know when she is hungry and because she is a puppy I give her 3 meals per day. When she turns 6 months old I plan to cut her down to 2 stingy 1/4 c. of the homemade food and of course the tuna/salmon treats for her potty training outside. BTW….she LOVES the food and I have shared your recipe with a lot of others looking for a good homemade diet. I just ordered the Nupro (1 lb. size). As far as her teeth go…..I have always had small dogs (Yorkies and Chihuahuas) and yes their teeth issues are a nightmare. That is one reason I wanted a low carb diet. I have tiny kitten tooth brushes and I brush her teeth daily. She is not happy about it but we are slowly making progress. I lost 3 fur babies in 8 months and it was totally devastating to me so I am a bit obsessed with the care of my new baby.

        • Sounds like Mina is on the right track. I am so pleased she loves my food! It is obvious there is a lot of love involved in her care – that is what it is all about. Ours are more than just a “part of the family.” Thanks again . . . Joanie.

  93. My poor Chihuahua used to be spry and active. Since gaining weight she canno even jump on to the couch and she is quite heavy to lift….poor thing. I’ve had Chihuahuas before but it gains weight and then they lose it but she’s not losing any. She’s so heavy she snores. We’ve never experienced that before and I am concerned. The vet said to just feed her less but I truly feel that’s not the only solution. We have 2 Chihuahuas and I make their food and mix with a small amount of dog food. Ipthey don’t get treats everyday either. You seem to have this down to a science so I am asking your opinion. I’m really concerned and am at my wits end partly because she’s so fussy as well. Thanks so much for your time

    • So sorry, I can understand your concern. Provided your Vet has ruled out any medical issues for the weight gain, here is where I would start. First, buy a postage scale and weigh your dog in the morning. Record that and continue to weigh her every couple days – recording each time. Establish a goal weight (you probably already have that), and be patient. A smaller dog will need approximately 35 calories per pound to maintain a weight. Our recipe will yield around 130 calories per 1/4 cup. Use that to estimate how much to feed her daily. We suggest feeding twice a day, so divide the needed amount by two. Skip the packaged dog food! Try our recipe and monitor her weight. We designed our food to provide proper nutrition. She will love the food. Hope that this helps you . . . Joanie.

  94. Do you know if there are any recipes that will help with dog breath? My dog seems to have horrible breath, and also tartar I can’t control. Wondering if there might be a good diet I could use!

    THANK YOU!!!

    • Most often the bad breath is caused by teeth issues. You mentioned a lot of tartar. Sometimes a dog will have an abscess or a bad tooth and that will cause the bad breath. We would first suggest ruling out teeth issues with a visit to a reputable vet. The best diet is a healthy diet, like ours. Our dogs do not have bad breath and have been eating our food for their whole lives (they are 5 and 4). Some dog food companies push their manufactured food as preventing bad breath. That is a marketing idea. We do give our pups a bedtime treat – an Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews. So, three ideas. Get the teeth checked by a vet, try our dog food, use Oravet chews. Click the Oravet words to purchase. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  95. This is the best recipe I’ve see so far – thanks for sharing! A few questions… is it ok to leave out the rice all together? And what about adding beef liver and heart?
    Also, where do I start with calcium supplementation with a 200 lb dog?

    • We have balanced our recipe so that our dogs receive the proper amount of basic nutrients (carbs, protein, and fat). Some carbs are needed for energy and the rice serves that purpose. It is also good for digestion. Nupro Original Gold is an excellent supplement. The amount is based upon the weight of the dog. Just click on the link in this reply. As for organ meats, gizzards are what we use. They can eat heart or liver, but use instead of gizzards. Too much organ meat will cause loose stools and too much liver can cause liver stones. So, moderation is the key. We hope you try our balanced homemade dog food. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  96. Hi. I am making this today. Can you please tell me the exact name of the supplements you use? I would like to purchase. We have a precious bichon we home cook for. Thank you so much

    • Joanie and Chris

      Our Havanese girls are actually in the Bichon family, so we know what you mean by precious. The supplement we use is Nupro Nutri-Pet All Natural. Simply click those words and it will link you to the exact product. It is high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. No wheat or corn. We just sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon on their food and mix in, just once a day. Ours are only 9 pounds so you do not need much. Good luck, your Bichon will love the food. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  97. I need help on figuring out how much to feed my Newfoundland. Can you or someone please help me? She’s 158.8 lbs right now, but she HAS TO get down to 119 lbs for health reasons. Thank you!!!

    • Getting your Newfoundland to lose 25% of her body weight will take time. Diet is the main determinant for weight loss and diets low in carbs and high in protein will speed the process. That is what our food is designed to provide. A larger dog will need approximately 20 calories per pound to maintain their proper weight. In your case the ideal weight of 120 would yield 2,400 calories per day. Check with your vet, but we would likely start with that for a couple weeks and drop to 2,000 if needed. Our dogs need 275 calories per day and that equates to about 1/2 cup of our food, so they get 1/4 cup twice a day. No dog should graze with food available at all times. In your case we would probably start with 2 cups twice a day. Weigh your dog oftenand track the progress. Certainly, avoid commercial foods and give our homemade food a try. One last thing, to feed a large dog our recipe will require a lot of time in the kitchen, but remember it is healthy and a “labor of love” for your dog. Good luck and please let us know how she makes out. Thanks . . . Joanie.

  98. Thank you for the recipe! We are going to try it this week. We are having a hard time finding chicken gizzards. Do you think we could substitute another organ meat? We do have chicken liver where I live.

    • Chicken gizzards are not essential. Cooked thoroughly gizzards do contain protein, iron, vitamins, and glucosamine, but we usually give vitamin supplements anyway. The protein is the likely real benefit, but other meats will suffice. Not essential or adding other organ meats. When not available you can skip. Dogs will devour the food and stay healthy with or without. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  99. I am very curious, health wise, why you chose white rice over whole grain brown? My yellow lab has been diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, which is beyond horrible. We have taken her off her store bought food and switched her to a raw diet, which she absolutely loves. One of the big issues with Cushing’s is their insatiable hunger and need to drink gallons of water a day. She could eat a whole cow, and that has been a huge struggle for us, knowing she’s eating the correct amount but that her body is still telling her that she is starved. We’ve educated ourselves and figured out, finally, that these store bought foods brought us to where we are at today with the overload of wheat, soy, and corn, and I absolutely hate myself for using the convenience of not having to “think” about her nutrition by just trusting the dog food industry. We are finally at a place where we are feeding raw meat, except for chicken, and I’ve figured out that I can just throw the various vegetables I am using that day, into my food processor, grind em up and mix it all with their meat and they are happy as bugs in a rug. My lab would never eat raw vegetables before, but now, mixed with her meat she loves it – especially when I throw some blueberries or an apple in with the mix. To throw this back around to my question, over the course of this disease journey, I have questioned myself as to why I am feeding her whole grains to begin with since they raise blood sugar levels. . She is getting healthy carbs with her vegetables, so I am just wondering what your thoughts were about the rice. Do you have a purpose for it beyond what I am seeing?

    • So sorry to hear about the Cushing’s Disease. It always hits us hard when our dogs have health issues – they depend so much on us. I use white rice in our basic recipe for two reasons. First, I created the recipe with an eye on balance and nutrition, and also keeping the carbs low. They do get carbs from the vegetables; however, the rice also aids in digestion and curbing their appetite. Our pups are small (9 pounds) and often little ones have more difficulty with being regular. Our recipe keeps them daily and normal. Secondly, I have read countless articles about white rice versus whole grain brown rice and found that the white rice was more easily digested. With our first pup we started with a raw diet and found that she lacked too many nutrients and was not doing well. That was the main reason I created our low-carb and balanced recipe. The fact you are using vegetables in your mix is great, but the nutrition will vary more than our standard mix. I like knowing exactly what nutrition my pups receive. All that being said, I hope this answers your question and do hope your Lab stays healthy. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  100. I just got a teacup poodle. Genevieve is 8 weeks old and is just under 2lbs. Her breeder gave us Iam’s and a little cooked chicken and suggested adding some Cesar wet food. She eats 3 small meals a day. 1st meal at 9:00am, 2nd meal 3:00pm and 3rd meal at 10:00pm. How much should I feed her at each meal? I love the ideal of cooking her food from scratch. Thank you so much! Elaine

    • Puppies are growing little dogs, so they usually require more food than you would think. They are so active, they burn it off. Our 9 pound mature dogs are given 1/4 cup of the homemade food, twice a day. Your pup will need less. So much depends on how big she will get. As a teacup, she will likely remain small. Try her in the morning with a small amount (less than 1/4 cup) and see how she does. We would say to also monitor her weight – we used to weigh ours, when pups, every three days. One thing we know for sure is she will be healthy and do well with proper nutrition. We never gave ours any of the commercial foods or canned foods and they are the same weight all the time, have healthy coats, are never ill, never allergies, and they are so regular. They even sleep perfectly. Good luck . . . Joanie.

  101. Thank you for the recipe — my two Havanese, Kiki & Kai, loved it.

    BTW, love the names of your pups. If I ever add a third Havie, the most likely name is Lulu, short for Honolulu, much like Kiki is short for Waikiki and Kai is short for Kailua.

    • So glad that Kiki and Kai love the recipe – it is a “Havanese Special!” Our girls were named after characters on General Hospital – two cute girls. Your names have a more special meaning. You might also want to try my Homemade Fishy Dog Treats. Our pups just love them. We use them for rewards and have used them for training. Enjoy your Havanese fur babies and I hope they enjoy the food for years to come. Thanks again . . . Joanie.

  102. I just made this for my doggos and they loved it! I appreciate all the variety in this mix and being low carb makes it that much better! Franc, Eleanor and Phoebe thank you!

    • Thank you so much for the comment. We have two furry babies who eat this recipe everyday and are so healthy and happy. They never tire of it and I never worry about their nutrition. Please spread the word – we know it will help dogs and owners. Thanks again . . . Joanie.

  103. Our ten year old boy, Dingo, had a large intestinal tumor removed 9 months ago, his cancer has returned, his prognosis is maybe up to 6 months with chemo. We are not putting him through that. We are going to battle, natural foods, low carb, high protein, no sugar. Not going to feed these tumors! Thanks for your recipe. I may add a little turmeric as that has cancer fighting properties. We are also adding CBD oil to his regimen. Will update after he has been on new diet for a little while..again, thank you for recipe.

    • So sorry to hear about Dingo. It sounds to me that you are doing everything you can for his well being. I believe our food may be a good choice. It is low carb, high protein, and no sugar or additives. The CBD oil will help and turmeric is fine. We will say payers and wish him well. Thanks for your comment . . . Joanie.

  104. I have another question… does cooking vs not cooking the vegetables ahead of time effect the nutrients in the fruits and vegetables?

    • I did not cook them in our recipe. It would result in a loss of some of the water soluble vitamins and nutrients, so raw would be the most nutritious. Our dogs have no problem with raw vegetables. We do soften the sweet potato, however, as it is easier to mix. They just love the food, and have been so healthy for years now on the recipe we posted. Thanks for the questions and good luck . . . Joanie.

  105. Hello! I was wondering what the fat content of the hamburger you used was? I am interested in trying this recipe for my lab and blue heeler. I already make homemade food but I was unsure of my calorie count. I like that you already have all of the fine details complete for me!

    • We generally look for very lean ground beef. For our food, we like a 80-20 blend as the fat is fine on Keto/lowcarb. However, for the dogs we look for a more lean mix. As long as you drain the fat you should be fine with 80-20. The recipe, as stated, used a 90-10 mix. Making homemade food your dog is wonderful – we love making our recipe for ours. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  106. Vanessa Esperanza

    Lulu and Kiki are so cute! I have two small pups as well, James and Pip. I’ve been making their food for a couple of years now and I really appreciate the recipe. I also add in a supplement mix called Azestfor to make sure they are getting all their vitamins. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the comment. Making homemade food for you pups is truly a labor of love – they thrive and love it! Vitamins are a great idea to make sure they get all they need. We do give ours calcium and it really helps. Our best to you, James and Pip . . . Joanie.

    • Kimberly Testerman

      Hey! We have recently decided to try cooking for our little 11lb shih tzu Alfie he has had tummy problems for several years now, I LOVE the nutritional value of your recipe. I was wondering if adding crushed egg shell powder is an option for added calcium? If so how much would you recommend? I had read some where it was a teaspoon per pound of meat but that seems like alot! Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you. Beautiful doggos by the way!!

      • Joanie and Chris

        Some people do add very finely crushed egg shells for calcium. If you try it we would start with 1/8 teaspoon with each meal. However, we have also read where crushed egg shell does require an increase in stomach acid for absorption and if Alfie has some digestive issued this may not be good. We like Nupro Gold as a supplement. It has calcium and a lot of other essential nutrients and the calcium citrate does not require an increase of starch acid. If you click the words you will see more about Nurpo. Our dogs thrive on my food and are doing so well – no digestive issues. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  107. Miss Molly, my small chiweenie dog has gained so much weight over the last six months, and I blame myself. I have cut down her snacks now to just a couple a day……….but I get so confused on the amount of food to give her. Then I came across your recipe and like it the best of all. I will be making it very soon and I think with 1/4 cup twice a day, I will see a big difference. I don’t want her unhealthy and like a butterball that can hardly walk (I have seen little dogs like that) so I want to get right with it. I have a question about the rice….was wondering if brown rice could be used in place of the white rice. Thank you so much…love your site! Also, she isn’t a real active dog….but will be out walking as soon as the snow decides to melt!

    • Hi Sandi, our Havanese are 9 1/2 and 9 pounds and have maintained their weight and health for years with our homemade food. They each eat 1/4 cup, twice a day. Not sure how much Miss Molly weighs? One quarter cup would contain about 130 calories and our dogs needs about 275 calories a day to maintain their weight. So they get about 260 calories from their food and the rest from our “Fishy Treats.” You can see that recipe on our site. Normally dietitians say about 25-30 calories per pound for a grown dog.Looks like your are on the right track – maintaining a healthy weight is so essential and we find our low carb, high protein food is perfect. We use white rice, but brown rice is a bit higher in protein and with less fat. It would be fine. Good luck and thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  108. I have a 7 year old Coton De Tulear who is about 12 lbs. He seems unhappy with his kibble (nutro ultra small breed adult). I want to try this recipe and transition him to homemade foods. I have no idea how much he actually eats in a day as the food is always available to him and he self limits. He is not overweight and he is not very active. I just think he would be more excited to have fresh food because he is always begging while we are eating even though we do not feed him table scraps. I am also sure it will be healthier for him. I am worried about the transition and the digestive issues. I am uncertain how to feed him 75% old food and 25% new food and gradually change. Do you have any advice for for us? (snowy thanks you in advance)

    • It is always best to introduce a new food gradually. We suggest feeding twice a day and remove the bowl in between. Dogs should not graze. A 75-25 start with the new food is a good idea and gradually increase our food over a two week period. Our dogs are 9 pounds and eat about 1/4 cup each, twice a day. Since your dog is 12 pounds and that is 33% more than ours, you would likely find his weight would remain the same if you used 33% more than our dogs get. If our math is correct that would be 1/3 cup twice a day. Of course, introduce it gradually to get to that point. Check the weight to make sure it is where it should be and adjust the food, as needed. You will notice a change in his stools – he will not have as many and they will be smaller as he will be digesting and absorbing more healthy food. Good luck. Let us know how he likes his new food . . . Joanie.

  109. My 25 lb beagle mix seems to like this food. I’ve had a ruff time getting him to eat since his big sister passed in September. Have tried every kind of food there is, with only random luck. I’m keeping my fingers crossed with this one. Thanks for sharing! ?

    • Our Lulu was a fussy eater when she was a pup – breeder encouraged all raw food. Once I started making our well balanced, all natural, and low-carb homemade food she has been the best eater. Her younger Sister Kiki has always been a ravenous eater and now the two of them maintain a consistent weight, clean up every morsel of food, coats are so shiny and they are so healthy. We have had so many positive comments on the food and we feel the recipe is a proven winner! We really hope your beagle enjoys the food and prospers! Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  110. My Joe Buck is a 11 yr old silky, yorkie mix, he found me about 9 years ago. He needs to lose about 6 pounds according to his vet, she says he should be eating about 350 calories daily. I have been making his dog food for about 1 year now and obviously not feeding him the right amount or kind of foods. Please advise what I should be feeding him and the amounts to help him lose weight. He has allergies to grass and pollens and is on medications right now to help him breath better and other meds for skin irritations for about the next two weeks. He is not very active but so sweet and mellow. I am a novice at homemade dog food. Please help.

    • Our dogs eat 260 calories a day. Each 1/4 cup of our recipe is 130 calories. If you feed your furry one 2/3 cup of our food each day he would have a total of 350 calories. You might want to try 1/3 cup twice a day. If he does not lose weight then cut the amount down. You will know that his food is balanced. Give it a try for a couple weeks – you should be surprised. He will eat well and have a balanced (yet low carb) diet. We have received many positive comments from dog lovers who really appreciate the benefits of our low carb and high protein balanced food. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  111. I have a 10-year-old Min Poo who recently had surgery to have lumps and bumps removed and a dental cleaning. His glucose reading was 7 mmol/L prior to surgery but his fat level was too high to test his thyroid. The vet suggested a low fat Kangaroo diet several weeks before surgery. After surgery the fat content reduced enough to run the test but his glucose spiked to 28.6. It was suggested he start on insulin but we asked to change his diet back to what we were feeding him before (homemade gr.beef/veggies/eggs w/shells and a little rice), as the diet change to low fat was too high in carbs for him. I
    t was agreed to try for 4 days but to feed him a diet that included all his minerals and vitamins and a “just add meat” with lentils (slow carb) dog food was suggested. After 4 days he read at 23 mmol/L so we asked for a little more time. After another week, still no luck with getting it down so started on insulin (14 days now).

    I was going blind giving 2 units 2xday and wasn’t happy with how he was looking and decided to purchase a glucose meter. I was shocked when his first reading was 30.4 mmol/L. I was unsuccessful getting his blood since then for the meter to read, so I visited the vet for help. We tested the sample and his glucose was 31.7 (4 hours before his scheduled feeding). His glucose went up rather than down over a 10-day period. He had already lost 1kg since the surgery and we are trying to stop additional weight loss but he lost another .3 kg in the 10 days so it wasn’t being controlled at all.

    I immediately made your recipe that night (minus the rice and sweet potato (used suggested pumpkin)) and being fearful of his recent readings, decided not to transition him as he is food driven and usually only takes 1 – 2 meals to convert. Yesterday his morning/night time readings were 25.1 / 27.0 mmol/L. I was disappointed his night time was higher but thought it won’t happen overnight. This morning, after 1.5 days (3 meals) his reading was 16.8. We were over the moon with excitement to see such a drop in such a short time. The aim is to get him down to the 4-6 range.

    I haven’t figured out his needs but last night I totally messed up and gave him 6 oz. then realized cup measurements don’t convert to ounces the same way. It was WAY TOO MUCH (mind you he did not complain and his body was starving him). This morning I’ve cut him back to 3.5 oz 2 x day. He now weighs 6.3 kg, down from 7.6 just before surgery.

    So I must end with a big Thank You. I’m grateful for your sharing and hope my story will encourage someone in a similar situation to give it a try.

    • The love you show for your dog, your story, and efforts to help him really warm our hearts. We are not expert dietitians, but we do know what works for our Havanese sisters. They are healthy and happy. If our homemade dog food will help control your dog’s numbers and weight we are ecstatic. That is why we do what we do. Please let us know his progress. Thank you for sharing . . . Joanie.

  112. I have a Havanese puppy!! So happy to see a recipe tried and true for Havanese. I’ve tried many different foods: raw (both frozen and homemade) and freeze dried raw. She was on a gently cooked puppy food for the first month I had her. No matter what I give her, she will only eat a couple times and then stops abruptly. Is this common with this breed? What adjustments, if any, do you feel I should make for a 5 month old puppy (5 pounds)? Thank you!

    • When we got Lulu I tried raw food, and freeze dried. As you found, she became very finicky and was not gaining weight. However, it is not common to the breed. When Lulu was 11 months old we got Kiki and I started making my homemade recipe for them. Kiki has always been a ravenous eater and perhaps influenced Lulu. What I do know is that as soon as I perfected our homemade recipe Lulu became a great eater, gained weight, and we have never looked back. Perhaps it was a puppy thing. They now smell their food cooking; it fills the kitchen. Puppies usually do need a bit more food so even though your puppy weighs less, she may do fine with 1/4 cup twice a day. Try and see how she likes the food. Based upon what others have said and our experience this should work well for you. Thanks for the comment and let us know how your Havanese puppy likes the food. Joanie.

  113. My Wheaten had anal cancer removed, has ports on both sides to remove fluid from her chest weekly and she is incredibly finicky. My dog is 36.8 lbs., what would I increase the serving size to? One cup per meal for two meals a day? Since my dog also has acid reflux feeding her three times a day is ideal for her. If I am able to continue feeding her three times a day what would the serving size be for that?

    • So sorry for the illness. Hopefully your dog will love the food and end the finicky nature. Our first suggestion would be to make a batch and make sure your dog loves the food. Our 9 pounds dogs eat 260 calories per day and that equates to 1/4 cup two times per day. So, they basically eat 1/2 cup per day and your dog is 4 times their weight. If eating 3 times a day is best then keep that routine and divide accordingly. A general rule of thumb for a medium size dog who has normal activity would be about 25 calories for each pound. That would equate to about 1,000 calories for your dog or about two cups a day. Give it a try and measure the weight to get to the right amount for maintenance. Thanks for the comment and best of luck.

  114. Anne-Marie Reynolds

    I have a dog that needs to lose about 20lbs, will this suit her and how much should she have per day? The vet tried to get me to pay for a special food but I refused and said I would try natural foods. My dog is 9 and spayed and I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle with her weight. Thanks

    • This will depend upon the actual weight your dog needs to become based upon her breed and size. If the preferable weight for your dog is 50 pounds then you can establish the calories needed each day to maintain that weight. If your dog is inactive then around 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day would be a good starting point. Start with that and see if the weight begins to drop. Here is a website that should help = You do not want a hungry dog and just like with humans, weight loss should be gradual. We do know our food is healthy and nutritious and our dogs have maintained a steady weight for virtually their entire life and just love the food. Let us know how you make out with the food. Thanks for the question.

  115. Looks like what we are looking for but how much is one serving for the 132 calories. Thank you.

    • Joan and Chris

      The serving size is 1/4 cup for 132 calories. Our 9 pound dogs need 275 calories per day. So they get 1/4 cup two times per day. The remaining calories come from our homemade treats. We know your dog will love the food and you can rest easy knowing what is in it! We just posted a delicious “fishy treat” for dogs. Thanks for the comment.

  116. Do you think this is low carb enough for a dog who has been diagnosed with Mast Cell Tumor cancer?

    • Joan and Chris

      So sorry to hear about your dog. Our homemade food is very low carb, but we do advise consulting your vet when your dog has a serious health issue.

  117. Hi there!

    Love the sound of your recipe, I have decided to make this for my small chihuahua mix, Bean.
    She started having some serious reactions to her Primal Freeze Dried raw nuggets and since then I have decided to make food myself so that I can control exactly what she eats.
    I know you said you give your pups some extra vitamins and supplements, I wanted to ask you which particular ones you give them? I asked my vet when we went in and she informed us about BalanceIt,
    Do you by chance give them the same or something different and how much do you put in each meal.

    Looking forward to hearing back!
    Warm hugs!

    • Our recipe should be perfect for your little Bean. Our Lulu and Kiki are around nine pounds, like chihuahua’s can have reactions to processed foods. They love the recipe and we feel great about it being human grade and all natural. We use Nupro Original Gold supplement. Each dog gets about 1/8 of a teaspoon mixed in with their 1/4 cup meal. Joanie usually mixes a bit of Sea Kelp in with the Nupro in a jar so there would be some Sea Kelp in their food also. We like a bit more calcium and this helps. We have not tried Balanceit, but we will look at their site. Nupro has no grains, no fillers, no sugars, no wheat, and no preservatives. If you click on the words in this reply you can purchase the supplements. Good look – let us know how Bean likes the recipe, and thanks for the question.

      • Hi, I have a 10 month old Great Pyr that has struggled with yeast allergy for about 3 months now. We’ve tried 6 different kibbles, all high quality low grain or no