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Dog watching homemade dog food being prepared egg chopped on cutting board

The Complete Guide to Dog Food Recipes in 2021 | Azestfor

Complete and balanced nutrition is the foundation of health in all species, including our canine companions. Sadly, the incidence of diet-related health issues is on the rise.

According to AKC, the top five diet-related health issues in dogs are obesity, poor skin and coat condition, reduced immunity, pancreatitis and diabetes.  

Novel studies show that there is indisputable link between kibble-based diets and behavioral issues.

Both, the physical and behavioral issues can be prevented or if already developed, successfully managed through feeding complete and carefully prepared homemade diets.


Chapter 1: Dog Feeding Basics


Chapter 2: Dog Food Preparation: How to Make Your Own Dog Food


Chapter 6: Different Type of Dog Food and How to Pick The Right One


Chapter 7: Dog Food Recipes for Special Diet


Chapter 1: Dog Feeding Basics

dog feeding basics homemade dog food dog in front of blackboard

What are Homemade Dog Foods?

Homemade dog foods are meals you make for your dog from scratch while using whole food ingredients that you can buy at the supermarket, grocery store and butcher shop.

This includes raw diets if the ingredients are served raw and organic diet if the ingredients used in the home-cooking process are organic.
Read our blog post on foods safe for dogs to eat.

The ingredients in the Azestfor Homemade Dog Food recipes are cooked. Cooking improves digestibility and kills bacteria. If you choose to make the recipes using raw meat - follow basic food safety protocols.

Vitamin supplementation is based on caloric consumption - meaning you add the vitamin premix to the whole food ingredients to make the food complete and balanced. Rule of thumb - add 1 1/4 teaspoons per cup of homemade dog food.

Benefits of Homemade Dog Food?

Making homemade dog food for your dog takes no more time and effort than cooking for yourself, and it boosts your dog's overall health and well being. The lasting health benefits for dogs eating homemade dog food include:

  • Extending Your Dog's Life: A paper by Dr Gerard Lippert & Bruno Sapy published in 2003 on the factors that influence a dogs life expectancy showed that dogs eating fresh homemade dog food lived around 13.1 years on average while dogs eating commercially available canned food lived for 10.4 years. The two-and-a-half-year difference is remarkably significant equating to 25% more life.
  • Improved Digestion: Fresh whole food ingredients are gentler on the dogs digestion system. Gently cooking helps break down the starches in the carbohydrates making them more easily digestible.
  • Boost Immunity: The nutrients in fresh whole food are more bio available to the body to process and absorb nutrients from than processed fast food i.e. kibble. Diets that are lacking in one or more nutrients can impair the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies.
  • Reach & Maintain Ideal weight: Body weight management your dog's body will change in appearance. Overweight dogs will lose weight and underweight dogs will gain body condition.
  • Sustained Energy: Fresh whole food ingredients release sustained energy through out the day to support a dogs caloric needs.
  • Peace of Mind: You know exactly what is in your dog’s food bowl. Although commercially available food formulas have labels and ingredient lists, they are not easily understandable. For example, do you readily know the difference between the terms “meat”, “meat by-products or derivatives” and “meat meal”? Or, when the label states “permitted colorants, flavors, and preservatives,” you know they are there, but you cannot know exactly which types. Finally, the guaranteed analysis lists the minimum amounts of protein and fat and the maximum amount of fiber and moisture, but it does not say anything about their sources’ quality. When preparing homemade meals, you are in charge of what your dog eats.
  • Tailor Your Dog's Diet: Finding a commercial dog food formula that suits a dog with special dietary needs is difficult, therefore being able to individually tailor your dog's menu is useful for dogs who suffer from allergies, gastrointestinal issues, and skin problems. Homemade dog food diets allows you to have complete control over the ingredients to meet your dog's unique needs and avoid allergen's and troublesome ingredients
  • Less Waste - The whole food ingredients in homemade dog food are dense in water. When you feed a cup of homemade dog food the dogs body can readily process and absorb the nutrients needs. Where as when you feed a cup of kibble the dry food will absorb water literally doubling in size inside the dog's body, resulting in big poo's.

  • Less Smell - Picking up your dog's waste will be more pleasant as the reduced amount of waste the body produces will be almost odorless. Commercial pet food manufactures add chemicals and additives that result in dog poo with a pungent stink.

How Much Food Does Your Dog Need

A dog's energy requirements are influenced by age, activity level, environmental temperature and the diets digestibility. The below chart is starting point.

How Much Homemade Dog Food To Feed My Dog

Dog's Weight Calories Kcal Energy Needed / Day Chicken & Rice Dog Food Recipe Per Day Beef Sweet Potatoes & Peas Dog Food Recipe Per Day

3 lbs

139

1/2 cup

4/9 cup

4 lbs

172

5/8 cup

5/9 cup

5 lbs

203

3/4 cup

2/3 cup

6 lbs

233

6/7 cup

3/4 cup

7 lbs

262

1 cup

5/6 cup

8 lbs

290

1 cup

1 cup

9 lbs

316

1 1/7 cup

1 cup

10 lbs

342

1 1/4 cups

1 1/9 cups

15 lbs

464

1 2/3 cups

1 1/2 cups

20 lbs

576

2 cups

1 6/7 cups

25 lbs

680

2 1/2 cups

2 1/5 cups

30 lbs

780

2 5/6 cups

2 1/2 cups

35 lbs

876

3 1/6 cups

2 5/6 cups

40 lbs

968

3 1/2 cups

3 1/9 cups

45 lbs

1057

3 5/6 cups

3 2/5 cups

50 lbs

1144

4 1/6 cups

3 2/3 cups

55 lbs

1229

4 1/2 cups

4 cups

60 lbs

1312

4 3/4 cups

4 2/9 cups

65 lbs

1394

5 cups

4 1/2 cups

70 lbs

1474

5 1/3 cups

4 3/4 cups

75 lbs

1552

5 3/5 cups

5 cups

80 lbs

1629

6 cups

5 1/4 cups

85 lbs

1704

6 1/5 cups

5 1/2 cups

90 lbs

1780

6 1/2 cups

5 3/4 cups

95 lbs

1852

6 5/7 cups

6 cups

100 lbs

1925

7 cups

6 1/5 cups

We suggest dividing the daily amount into two servings, one in the morning and one in the evening. Every dog’s nutritional requirements are a little bit different due to age & amount of exercise. If your dog is losing weight, increase food by 1/4 cup a day, if they are gaining weight reduce accordingly.

Chicken & Rice Dog Food Recipe 275.6 calories per cup
Beef, Sweet Potatoes & Peas Dog Food Recipe 310.7 calories per cup

What Should Dog Food Contain?

A well-balanced diet is essential for good health and wellbeing. Each meal should consist of the following ingredients in adequate amounts.

  • Protein (beef, chicken, fish, lamb, venison, poultry, rabbit) – main energy source and building block for all cells, enzymes, antibodies and hormones.
  • Fat (from meats and oils) – the most energy-dense nutrient, necessary for transporting certain vitamins around the body and responsible for the food’s taste.
  • Carbohydrates (rice, quinoa, potatoes, couscous, beans) – offers easily digestible sugars that serve as important glucose sources.
  • Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, iodine, selenium, zinc) – necessary for strong bones, muscle contractions, transportation of nerve impulses, healthy skin, functional taste buds, transporting oxygen, normal hormone production and so much more.
  • Vitamins (A, E, K, D, C, B-complex) – important for healthy skin, healthy bones, healthy eyesight, maintaining proper mineral ratios, regulating cellular processes, proper enzyme function, activating the blood-clotting cascade and much more.

When Should You Feed Your Dog?

How many times a day a dog should eat depends on its age. To keep consistent energy levels and achieve proper growth, puppies need several meals a day.

Generally speaking, for the first three months of life, puppies need between four and six meals a day. While three to six months old, they need three meals a day. Once six months old, puppies can be fed twice per day.

Adult and senior dogs should be fed twice a day with around an eight to 12 hours gap between the two meals.

In the past, it was popular to feed dogs once a day. Because the dog’s stomach empties itself every eight to ten hours, it is safe to assume that feeding once a day is not enough. Namely, if you feed early in the morning, the dog’s stomach will send a signal that it is empty, and the dog will feel hungry by the afternoon.

Therefore our advice is to give dogs two meals a day. If there is a medical condition or the dog is overly active, the number of meals per day may even increase to three or more.

While on the subject, it is worth mentioning a word or two about the on-going debate about free-feeding over limited time feeding methods.

Free-feeding is a popular feeding regimen. However, it is only suitable for cats, not dogs. This is because cats have more self-control. Dogs, if allowed to eat as much as they want, will become obese. Cats can also get obese but usually due to lack of exercise and not overeating. Dogs, however, tend to overeat if given the opportunity.

The free-feeding regimen can also be hazardous:

  • If the dog prefers to graze, in which case the remaining food may spoil
  • If you have more than one dog or another pet they may eat their siblings food
  • If the dog lives outside and a bowl with food attracts insects, rodents, or raccoons.  

When it comes to dogs, it is best to practice a two-meals-per-day regimen.

Alternatively, if dealing with a grazer, you should practice a 15 minutes mealtime. This approach is known as the timed feeding method. You give your dog its food bowl and leave it available for 15 minutes. If there is any food left in the bowl after the allotted 15 minutes just discard it. You can repeat the same procedure several times per day until your dog has eaten its daily portion.

Dog Feeding Guidelines - Do's and Don’ts of Feeding Your Dog

The DOs of feeding your dog

  1. Do feed your dog the ideal diet based on its nutritional requirements (based on age, sex, breed, activity level, lifestyle). Also, keep in mind that the dietary requirements change if the dog is pregnant or nursing, if the weather becomes too cold or too hot, and for dogs recovering from a medical condition or surgery.
  2. Do watch the dog, not the dish – this old saying means the portion size is determined by the dog’s body condition, not the amount of food eaten or left in the bowl.
  3. Do check whether certain human foods are safe for dogs before serving them. Not all human foods are dog-friendly. In fact, some human foods can be quite dangerous.
  4. Do give your dog space while eating. Dogs appreciate being left alone and undisturbed during mealtime.
  5. Do introduce new foods gradually. Abrupt diet changes can wreak havoc on the dog’s sensitive digestive system and trigger abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and temporary loss of appetite.
  6. Do discard the uneaten food. This is particularly important during hot weather when the food can quickly spoil.
  7. Do use stainless steel feeding bowls as they are easier to keep clean. Plastic and ceramic bowls are harder to clean and harbor potentially harmful bacteria. Plastic bowls can also cause allergies.
  8. Do follow basic hygiene practices and wash the food bowl with soapy water after each meal.
  9. Do invest in a slow-feeding food bowl if your dog tends to gulp down on food, an interactive toy feeder if your dog prefers grazing, or an elevated food bowl if your dog is deep-chested and large-sized.
  10. Do make sure your dog has fresh drinking water available at all times. To promote water consummation, you can place several water bowls around the house and yard.
  11. Do ask your dog to perform a trick before giving its food bowl. This is a good positive reinforcement training technique. Plus, it will calm down the dog, which is essential for dogs perceiving the mealtime as an overly-exciting experience.
  12. Do give your dog a potty break about 15 minutes after each meal. Dogs tend to relieve themselves soon after eating.
  13. Do a feeding schedule and stick to it. Also, do make sure all family members respect the dog’s feeding schedule and regimen. Dogs are creatures of habit and like doing things in a particular order and at specific times of the day.
  14. Do seek professional advice (your trusted vet or a licensed canine nutritionist) if in doubt regarding your dog’s nutritional needs.
  15. Do learn how to say no. If you back down every time your dog begs for food, your dog will start manipulating you. In the long-run, this undermines your pack leader status and can lead to behavior issues.
  16. Do visit our Azestfor Recipes page, where you will find amazing recipes for complete and nutritionally balanced meals.

The DON’Ts of feeding your dog

  1. Don't skip adding the vitamins and minerals to homemade dog food. They provide essential nutrients.
  2. Don’t fall for fad dog diets. Some popular dog diets, rather than being science-based, are hype-based and can actually do more harm than good i.e. fat free
  3. Don't change your dog's diet to provide novelty. The Azestfor Homemade Dog Food recipes are nutritionally complete and balanced and will provide everything your dog needs to thrive.
  4. Do not forget to include the treats’ calories in the daily caloric intake. Treats should not comprise more than 10% of the daily food intake. Limiting the number of treats is particularly important during training – you do not want to end up with an obese dog that obeys commands only when there is a treat in your hands.
  5. Don’t reward your dog with a perceived higher value treat if it does not eat its food. Treats are high in calories, but they are not complete and balanced, which means they do not offer all the necessary nutrients and therefore are not a meal substitute.
  6. Don’t worry if your dog refuses to eat, skipping a meal is perfectly natural. Pick up the bowl after 15 minutes and store it in the fridge. At the next scheduled meal time present the food again.
  7. Don’t feed your dog the moment you get back home, as this practice encourages separation anxiety. There are more positive ways of saying hello, like playing, cuddling, or even grooming.
  8. Don’t free-feed your dog. This can lead to obesity or eating spoiled food if the food spends too much time in the bowl before being eaten.
  9. Don’t feed your dog just before going on a car ride. Just like us, dogs can experience motion sickness.
  10. Don’t let your dog be too active 30 minutes before and an hour after each meal. Vigorous physical activity around mealtime increases the risk of developing life-threatening bloat.
  11. Don’t let your dog drink too much water before or immediately after meals. This also increases the risk of bloat.
  12. Don’t feed your dog table scraps or "left over" ingredients such as fat trimmings, bones, vegetable peels, etc. Follow the homemade dog food recipes provided to ensure that the meals you give your dog are nutritionally complete and balanced.
  13. Don’t feed your dog from the table as you eat - they will learn to beg.

The Symptoms of Changing Dog Food Too Quickly

Making sudden diet changes is likely to cause a digestive upset manifested with diarrhea, vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain and based on severity, maybe even lethargy and dehydration.

The digestive upset occurs simply because the dog’s stomach finds it easier to process ingredients it already knows. When faced with the challenge to digest something new, it often needs time to adapt and simply put, learn how to deal with the new foods.

The time the stomach needs is popularly called transition period. The length of the transition period is not the same for all dogs.

So, how long should the transition period last? Well, in healthy dogs the transition period should last around seven days. Anything less than seven days is sudden and likely to cause digestive upset. In dogs with food allergies and digestive issues the transition period is much longer – around three weeks. Anything less than three weeks is sudden and likely to cause digestive upset.

A dog with digestive issues triggered by a sudden diet switch needs to be fed a bland diet for around five days. Bland means a mixture of 50% white rice and 50% boiled chicken (skinless and boneless). The mixture can be enriched with a high-quality probiotic.

There are only several justified reasons for food switches:

  • Going from puppy to adult formula
  • Going from adult to senior formula
  • Going from regular diet to vet-prescribed diet
  • Going from commercially available options to healthy, homemade food.
transition dog to new food in a slow and methodical method

How To Transition a Dog to New Food Time Line

Day New Food % Old Food %

1

25%

75%

3

50%

50%

5

75%

25%

7

100%

0%


Chapter 2: Dog Food Preparation: How to Make Your Own Dog Food

dog holding knife in mouth about to cook

It is a non-disputed fact that homemade meals are the healthiest option for dogs. However, preparing homemade meals is a time and money-investment in the short-run but will save you the frequent trips to the vet’s office in the long run.

As a valued family member, your dog deserves to be fed complete and nutritionally balanced meals using trusted, human-grade ingredients.

Here we will talk about the preparation and equipment needed for making these healthy homemade meals. We will also provide some useful tips on safely storing homemade meals, thus eliminating the need to cook every day.

Preparation

To prepare the ideal homemade meal for your dog, you need the right ingredients. Luckily, we are not talking about hard-to-find ingredients. All of our healthy Azestfor recipes can be prepared using basic ingredients easily found in most supermarkets or delivered directly to your doorstep.

To be more accurate, you will need some of the following ingredients – chicken, beef, venison, poultry, eggs, tofu, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes, quinoa, black-eyed peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and sunflower oil.

It goes without saying that you must enrich the perfect homemade dog meal with our Azestfor Vitamin Mineral Supplement.

Once you have all the ingredients at your kitchen top, it is time to start cooking. When cooking for your dog, it is vital not to stray from the recipe. When cooking for us, we all tend to slightly modify the recipe based on personal preferences. This slight modification and ingredients substitutes are not permissible for dogs. Our Azestfor recipes are scientifically formulated and veterinary-approved. Changing the formula may lead to nutritional imbalances.

When preparing homemade meals for your dog, use the ingredients listed in the recipe and follow the instructions as directed.

Equipments

The good news about preparing the Azestfor homemade meals is that they require minimal equipment. Of course, if you want to save on effort and preparation time, you can use sophisticated, high-tech utensils and appliances, but you can achieve the quality of the meal with minimal equipment as well.

Plus, if you decide to invest in kitchen tools, keep in mind that they will serve a dual purpose. Namely, since you are using human-grade ingredients when preparing homemade meals, all of the kitchen tools used to prepare your dog’s food can be used when cooking for you and your family.

Basically, the minimal equipment includes:

  • A set of knives
  • A chopping board
  • A pan and a pot
  • A digital scale.

The knives and the cutting board are necessary for chopping the ingredients into size-appropriate chunks. The pan and pot are required in the cooking (boiling) part. Finally, the digital scale will be used for two purposes – weighing the ingredients before cooking them and measuring the portion sizes once the meal is cooked.

Additionally, it might be useful to have a colander, a spatula, and a mesh skimmer on hand.

If taking things onto the next level and looking to ease the preparation process, it would be a good idea to invest in the following kitchen utensils:

  • A food processor
  • A meat grinder
  • A high-speed blender.

You can use the food processor to cut into finer chunks certain veggies like sweet potatoes and carrots. You can chop them into rough pieces and then place them in a food processor. To avoid choking accidents, the chunk’s size should be compatible with your dog’s size.

The meat grinder is useful if purchasing larger meat cuts. Alternatively, you can use a chef's knife and a cleaver to grind up the large meat cut.

The high-speed blender is ideal for grinding small amounts of food instead of using a food processor.

How To Choose a Dog Feeding Bowl:

From silicone and metal through elevated and automatic to deep and steep-sided, the world of dog food bowls is quite versatile. The presence of so many different types of dog food bowls is not a marketing trick. Namely, different dogs benefit from different types of food bowls. When choosing the right bowl, there are three primary considerations:

  •         The dog’s size
  •         The dog’s mouth and snout anatomy
  •         The dog’s eating style.

Here are some basic dog-bowl matches:

  •         Elevated bowls – suitable for giant dogs that will find eating from an elevated surface more comfortable; deep-chested dogs prone to digestive issues (gastric dilatation and volvulus); senior dogs that find it hard to eat in a standing position.
  •         Slow-feeding bowls – suitable for fast eaters that tend to gulp down on food. Skipping the chewing part poses a choking hazard, decreases the nutritional value of the food, and increases overeating tendency.
  •         Automatic feeders – suitable for dogs that spend several hours per day alone and benefit from a programmed feeder that will provide a tasty meal when the time is right.
  •         Shallow bowls – suitable for small and medium dogs with shorter snouts.
  •         Deep bowls – suitable for medium and large dogs with longer snouts.
  •         Steep-sided bowls – suitable for dogs with long ears (Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels). They are specifically designed to keep the ears out of the food and clean.
  •         Bowls for picky eaters – feature double bottoms and allow placing nice-smelling food under the dog’s regular meal.
  •         Bowls for messy eaters – feature surrounding mats and elevated edges that will prevent the spilled food from messing with your carpet.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the food bowl’s size should be proportional to the dog’s size. This is because more often than not the size of the bowl can be misleading and result in overfeeding or underfeeding.

Storage

Preparing homemade meals is healthier, but it is time-consuming. To save time, it is advisable to cook in bulk and then adequately store the meals for future use.

But what does adequately mean? Adequate storage means putting the meals in an airtight container and either in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

Unless properly stored, homemade meals spoil quickly. This is because, unlike commercially available dog foods, homemade meals do not contain harmful preservatives.

If you let your homemade meal spoil, not only have you wasted perfectly good ingredients, but you also lost the time you previously invested in preparing the meal. What is worse, if the dog eats the spoiled meal, it can get really sick.  

Generally speaking, when talking about storing homemade dog meals, there are two primary considerations:

  • Method (refrigerator vs. freezer)
  • Type of container.

Both considerations depend on when you plan to use the stored meals.

Refrigerator vs. freezer

If you plan to use the meals within the next few days of preparing them, storing them in the refrigerator is perfectly safe. In general, our Azestfor homemade meals can be refrigerator stored for 5-7 days.

Before serving the meal, it is advisable to warm it up in a microwave as most dogs prefer warmer meals. This is especially important during cold, winter months and for dogs prone to laryngitis (throat inflammation).

In the freezer, the Azestfor homemade meals can last up to a year. However, it is advisable to use them within a 3-month timeframe. To thaw the homemade meal, just put it in the regular refrigerator overnight, and the next day you will have a ready-to-use meal. Once again, based on the circumstances, heating it up in the microwave might be recommended.

Container type

There are three main container types that offer airtight sealing:

  • Vacuum sealing – suitable for long-term storage, as it requires special bags, a vacuum sealer, and extra spare time.
  • Plastic zip-seal bags – suitable for short-term storage. Compared to the single-serving containers, the zip-seal bags are more expensive and messier to use but take up less space in the refrigerator/freezer.

Single-serving containers – the most practical way of short-term storing homemade meals. The ideal single-serving container should have an airtight seal and be suitable for the freezer and microwave usage. Finally, if using these containers, you do not have to worry about measuring the meals – one container equals one meal.


Chapter 3: Our Favourite Homemade Dog Food Recipes - Vet Approved

Pack of dogs thinking about the ingredients in their homemade dog food recipes

Dog food recipes with chicken

Chicken meat is the brick and mortar of modern canine nutrition. Chicken is an excellent and affordable protein source as outlined in this study on the nutritional value of poultry meat in dogs diets. We recommend buying ground chicken to use for dog food it is high quality, human grade and low cost.

Homemade Dog Food with Chicken Rice and Carrots is Azestfor's most popular chicken dog food recipe. 

Dog food recipes with pumpkin

Pumpkin is healthy as it contains good amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. However, the greatest benefit of pumpkin stems from its high fiber content and ability to act as a natural prebiotic, as outlined in this study The Utilization of Prebiotics and Symbiotic in Dogs. 

Azestfor's Turkey, Pumpkin & Corn dog food recipe  is a delicious Thanksgiving Day themed dinner for your dog suitable to be served all year round. We would recommend running the cooked corn kernels through the food processor to aid in digestion.  

Dog food recipes with ground beef

Ground beef is a solid high-quality protein source, especially if sourced from grass-fed cattle. It contains fair amounts of vitamins (A, E, B3, B6, B12), minerals (iron, selenium, zinc), antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.
Beef has a much higher fat content than chicken or fish. So if your dog has high energy needs we recommend choosing beef as your protein source. The most popular beef homemade dog food recipe is Beef, Sweet Potatoes and Peas. If you use beef as the protein source add sunflower oil as a source of linoleic acid.

Dog food recipes with ground turkey

As a lean white meat, turkey is a high-quality and easily digestible protein source. Because of its digestibility, turkey is a frequent ingredient in bland diets for dogs with upset tummies. It is also suitable for dogs needing low-fat diets due to health issues like pancreatitis. Ground turkey is readily available at most supermarkets generally for lower cost than other protein options. Dog food recipe with turkey.

Dog food recipes with fish

Fish has a high protein profile, and one popular study on the effects of protein content and behavior showed that high-protein diets help treat behavioral problems in dogs. Fish is also a good source of essential fatty acids, and essential fatty acids are vital when treating joint issues as outlined in the scientific study "Effects of feeding a high Omega-3 Fatty Acids diet in dog's with naturally occurring Osteoarthritis". Fish diets also promote faster wound healing.

The most popular recipe on the Azestfor site is the Salmon Dog Food recipe

Dog food recipes with oatmeal

Oatmeal is a fantastic carbohydrate source for dogs. It is a good alternative for more conventional grains (like wheat), thus ideal for dogs with regular grains sensitivities. 

Oatmeal is particularly rich in B-complex vitamins and linoleic acid. Linoleic acid contains omega-6 fatty acids vital for healthy skin and shiny coat.

Homemade dog food recipe with oatmeal.

Dog food recipes with salmon

Besides being a great protein source, salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, thus decreasing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and promoting healthy skin and coat.

This simple salmon dog food recipe has just three ingredients and makes a nutritionally complete and balanced, grain free meal for your dog.

 

Dog food recipes with potatoes

Potatoes are beneficial for dogs as they serve as good carbohydrate sources and are rich in vitamins A, C, and B6 and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. 

It should be noted that potatoes (both regular and sweet) are not suitable for diabetic dogs because they trigger spikes in blood sugar levels.

Try the Azestfor Venison Potato and Kale dog food recipe for a satisfying grain free, low fat alternative to help your dog maintain a healthy weight, and have healthy skin and coat.


Chapter 4: Dog Food Recipes Based on Size

Large Great dane dog is looking at a small dachshund dog food recipe tips based on size of dog

Dog Feeding for Small Dogs

When preparing homemade meals, the goal is to make them healthy, complete, and balanced. For that purpose, each of our Azestfor recipes lists the quantity of vitamin-mineral mix that needs to be added. In general, you should enrich each cup of a homemade meal with 1 ¼ teaspoon of the mixture.

Tiny dog breeds weighing less or around 5 pounds (Chihuahua, Papillon, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Russian Toy Terrier) need roughly 2/3 cup of homemade meals a day. In terms of vitamin-mineral mix, tiny dog breeds will need one not-too-full teaspoon of the supplement.

Small dog breeds weighing around 10 pounds (Maltese Poodle, Norfolk Terrier, Italian Greyhound, American Eskimo Dog, Affenpinscher) need roughly one cup of homemade meal per day. In terms of vitamin-mineral mix, tiny dog breeds will need one not-too-full and a quarter teaspoon of the supplement.

While medium and large-sized dogs manifest non-selective eating behaviors, small and toy dog breeds are more likely to be fussy eaters. Small and toy dogs show neophilia – increased interest in new food.

Small and toy dogs also benefit from finely chopped meals – these are easier to eat and easier to digest. Alternatively, you can put the meal in the food processor.

 

Dog Size (lbs) Breed Example Homemade Daily Meal Size (cup) Supplement 1 1/4 tsp per cup (teaspoon)

5 lbs

Chihuahua, Papillon, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Russian Toy Terrier

2/3

1

10 lbs

Maltese Poodle, Norfolk Terrier, Italian Grey Hound

1

1 1/4

Dog Feeding for Large Dogs

Large breed dogs are more prone to skeletal issues – bone deformities and joint problems. To avoid these issues, large dogs need to maintain a healthy and lean body weight. Do not feed young large breed dogs for maximal growth as rapid growth leads to abnormal skeleton development. Slower growth reduces the incidence of abnormalities and does not affect a dogs ability to eventually attain its normal adult size.

Dog Feeding for Older Dogs

Senior dogs require special attention and care in every aspect, especially nutrition they require more protein as they age. Once upon a time, we believed that senior dog food should contain less protein than adult dog food. This belief was based on the current knowledge that older dogs have slower metabolic rates, decreased ability to digest proteins, and excess protein in the food can harm the kidneys.

Today, it is proven studies suggest that some senior dogs need at least 50% more protein to maintain a normal muscle mass, and at least 25% of their calories should come from a protein source. All in all, now we know that senior dogs need more protein.

But why is that? Well, even well-exercised and conditioned senior dogs lose their muscle mass as they age. The loss of muscle mass is, in fact, a loss of protein reserve. Losing too much protein will compromise the immune system, energy metabolism, and tissue repair processes. Compromising these processes will negatively impact the already declining well-being of senior dogs.

Another factor that contributes to muscle mass loss is the senior dogs’ decreased appetite. This decrease is likely caused by difficulties in chewing and swallowing food and the not-so-sharp smell and taste senses. Considering that an old dog will probably eat less than its portion size, the food it consumes must be high-quality and protein-rich.

It should be noted that adjusted protein rates are not the only nutritional adjustment senior dogs need. Based on overall health and specific health issues, older dogs benefit from:

  •         Increased fiber intake – especially if prone to constipation
  •         Increased water intake – if urinary incontinent, experiencing kidney problems, or taking heart medications that increase the urination frequency
  •         Decreased phosphorus levels – if suffering from kidney issues  
  •       Joint supplements – almost all dogs experience some degree of arthritis and arthritis-related pain
  •         Increased fatty acids (particularly DHA) – if suffering from cognitive dysfunction
  •         Low-fat foods – if suffering from chronic pancreatitis.  

 


Chapter 5: Diets and Dog Health Problem

Diets and health problems group of dogs

Disclaimer: We are not intending to diagnose or treat your dog and recommend that you always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s menu.

Dog Food Recipes for Skin Allergies

Gluten and grains are the first things that come to mind when discussing allergies. However, in dogs, the most common culprit is meat, particularly chicken and beef.

Finding the proper diet starts by determining the primary allergen. This usually entails so-called elimination diets or “trial and error” diets.

Please download Azestfor's free report on how to conduct an elimination diet for your dog.

 

Dog Food Recipes for Itchy Skin

Commercially available dog foods use meat and grain proteins. The most common meat proteins are poultry, beef, fish, pork, and eggs, while the most frequently used grain protein sources are corn, rice, soybean, and wheat.

Based on reports, dogs are often allergic to chicken, beef, lamb, egg, dairy, soy, wheat, and rice.

Switching to any of the Azestfor Homemade Dog Food Recipes often is enough to cure dry itchy skin - as some dogs itchy skin issues are a reaction to the filler ingredients, and chemical additives found in processed dog foods.

Dog Food Recipes for Sensitive Stomach

Dogs with GI issues need bland diets until their tummies settle. Bland diets can be boring and not particularly palatable. However, their goal is not to satisfy the dog’s palate but to provide vital nutrients while allowing the GI system to rest and heal.

Bland diets are not a cure – they only support the GI until addressing the underlying issue that triggered the problem.

Homemade Chicken & Rice Dog Food is a commonly prescribed remedy for dogs who have an upset tummy. 
White rice is easier to digest than brown rice - and make sure the rice is thoroughly cooked to help the dogs digestive system be able to break down the starches.

Dog Food Recipes for Diabetic Dogs

The general rule of thumb is that dogs with diabetes need high-fiber and low-fat diets. Fiber plays a vital role in slowing down the glucose release from the food into the bloodstream and keeping the dog well-satiated. The low-fat factor is essential in terms of maintaining a healthy body weight.

Another important factor is consistency – diabetic dogs need the same foods, treats, and insulin shots every day at the same time.

Dog Food Recipes for Weight Gain

In general, dogs that need to gain weight benefit from:

  • High-calorie foods (high-protein & high-fat)
  • Free feeding regimen
  • Dietary supplements
  • Stress-free environment. 

Fats are an underrated ingredient group. Fat enhances the food’s palatability and despite popular misbelief, in healthy dogs high-fat diets are not associated with adverse health effects. 

High-fat diets can also improve the dog’s already remarkable sense of smell. This may have a positive impact on appetite.

 

Dog Food Recipes for Overweight Dogs

According to a study, genetic factors and illness account for only 3% of the obese dog population. The remaining 97% are obese because of poor diet choices and lack of physical activity.

Additionally, weight loss in obese dogs is supported by high-protein and high-fiber diets. High Protein and high fiber improves weight loss in obese dogs.

While commercial dog foods come in a variety of protein content, they often lack the necessary fiber.

Weight loss dog food recipe.

Dog Food Recipes for Health Disease

A study showed that eating leafy greens and yellow-orange vegetables three times per week reduces the risk of urinary bladder carcinomas. According to another study, antioxidant-rich diets (fresh and colorful food ingredients) can improve brain function in old and cognitively impaired dogs. These are just examples – the point is that a proper diet can be the difference between health and sickness in dogs.

Dog Food Recipes for Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is also known as renal disease. Your vet will need to conduct blood chemistry tests and urinalysis to evaluate infection and active inflammation. Egg protein diets are ideal for dietary management of chronic renal disease in dogs.


Chapter 6: Different Type of Dog Food and How to Pick The Right One

graphic image of dog with different diets in bowls

Different Type of Dog Food and How to Pick The Right One

Kibble (supermarket brands) – readily available, convenient, easy to use, long shelf life and low price, but generally low quality (low protein content and many cheap fillers)

Kibble (premium brands) – an upgraded version of the supermarket kibble, higher quality, and higher price

Specialty diets – prescribed by vets and formulated to target specific needs and issues, usually come with hefty price tags

Wet foods – highly palatable and moisture-rich but usually loaded with additives

Commercially prepared frozen homemade dog foods – more convenient than regular homemade foods but less control over ingredients quality. Potential risk of pathogens developing if shipping conditions are not perfect. i.e. food spoiling during transit.

Homemade dog foods by owner – ideal choice in terms of both ingredients quality and individually tailored nutritional needs


Chapter 7: Dog Food Recipes for Special Diet

Dog Food Recipes for Special Diet

Modern domestic dogs are more adapted to digesting starch-rich diets than their carnivorous wolf ancestors. Today we know the domestication process triggered a genetic mutation that increased the starch utilization ability.

It is inconclusive that grain free diets contribute to DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in dogs that are not genetically predisposed to this heart disease.

Azestfor updated the homemade dog food vitamin formulation to include Taurine this ingredient addition proactively helps maintain heart health.