This easy dog-approved recipe is filled with healthy, whole food ingredients!
As dog moms and dads, we find ourselves with a lot of questions. Should I purchase my dog’s food or cook it myself? Should my dog eat dry or wet food? Like you, we consider our dog to be a member of the family and want only the best for her. I have struggled over the years to understand what the best options are and especially what exactly is healthy dog food. Of course, I want her to live a long life without having the problems that affect so many dogs. We think our homemade beef dog food recipe is the best choice for keeping our dog and yours happy and healthy for a lifetime.
Table of Contents
- Worth the Effort
- Want to Watch Instead of Read?
- Ingredients in Homemade Beef Dog Food Recipe
- How to Meal Prep Dog Food
- Dog Food Substitutes
- Freezing and Storage Instructions
- How to Prevent Dog Food Allergies
- Budget-Friendly Tips for this Homemade Beef Dog Food Recipe
- Dog Food Transition Guide
- Tips to Make the Best Beef and Turkey Dog Food
- Popular Homemade Dog Food Recipes
- Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years I have tested out thousands of recipes, including beef dog food recipes. My extensive research led to the creation of our dog food category. After all, dogs love healthy homemade recipes.
Hearing about dog food recalls can make us question things even more– especially when those recalls have already reached the bowls of numerous dogs. That alone gives consumers pause as to which dog foods to purchase. Perhaps this is one major reason why homemade dog food is the right decision! If you’re interested, this recipe is an all-time favorite!
Worth the Effort
People think cats are finicky, but dogs can be just as finicky. I’ve tried many foods over the years, including four different top-rated delivery services. My dog seemed to enjoy them for a few days but eventually would turn up her nose and walk away. The reason? (Or at least what I suspect?) I had previously made her home-cooked dog food that she gobbled up! So, I knew exactly what she wanted… more of mom’s homemade food!
We’re all busy! Who has time to cook dog food in addition to cooking people food, right? I run a business, make sure my family has good nutritious food to eat, work out, and the list goes on. So why shouldn’t I add one more thing to my long list of “to-do’s”? That’s exactly what I’ve done by making my dog’s food. What can I say? She’s worth it!
Want to Watch Instead of Read?
Making this healthy beef dog food is so easy! Watch the simple video above to see exactly what you need to do. It’s well worth the effort, and your pup will thank you for such a nutritious and delicious meal!
Ingredients in Homemade Beef Dog Food Recipe
We used whole foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals for a dog’s overall health. Feel free to switch out any ingredients with one of a similar nutritional profile. Since meat and poultry are void of fiber, we’ve added lots of fiber-rich ingredients.
- Ground beef – Ground beef contains high amounts of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and protein.
- Ground turkey – Turkey is naturally on the leaner side and is rich in iron, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins.
- Quinoa – We love this “pseudo-grain”. It’s a good source of protein, calcium, fiber, and magnesium.
- Spinach – Spinach is packed with vitamins and contains antioxidants, beta-carotene, iron, and calcium.
- Carrots – This vegetable is rich in vitamins that support eye health and dogs’ immunity.
- Apples – Oh yes, this fruit is filled with fiber and a wonderful source of vitamins A and C.
- Broccoli – This wonder food contains calcium, fiber, thiamin, phosphorous, riboflavin, etc…
- Cranberries – This berry helps to support a healthy immune system and may play a role in the prevention of UTIs.
- Ground flaxseed – We chose flaxseed because of its ability to help improve a dog’s skin, coat, and digestion.
- Ginger root (peeled) – We used ginger root in this dog food recipe due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Healthy Dog Food Recipes
- Grain-Free Dog Biscuits – Of course, no grains in this recipe.
- Slow Cooker Doggie Stew – Great for freezing and easy to meal prep.
- Healthy 4-Ingredient Dog Biscuits – Gluten-free oats can be used.
- Peanut Butter Dog Cookies – Just 4 simple ingredients. Read the comments to see what other pet parents think.
How to Meal Prep Dog Food
Just as you prepare your own meals ahead of time to stay healthy, you can prepare your pet’s meals too! The steps are similar to what you’d do for yourself! Here’s a breakdown:
- Create a shopping list and purchase ingredients along with regular grocery shopping.
- Cook the meat in a large pot or dutch oven. Allow it to cool while preparing other ingredients.
- Cook a whole grain (optional ingredient depending on your dog).
- Steam vegetables if preferred.
- Crop vegetables and fruits.
- Combine all ingredients with the meat while it’s still hot.
- Once cooled, add individual servings to freezer-safe containers (BPA-free recommended).
- Freeze it for up to one month. Allow the food to thaw in the fridge for a day before serving. If your dog prefers warm food, heat it slightly to take the chill out.
The dog food recipe shared below can also be used as a topper. If you decide to serve your dog this recipe (or any of our other recipes), be sure to follow the transition guide or the one recommended by your vet.
Dog Food Substitutes
For variety, below is a short list of ingredients that can be substituted with vegetables in this beef and turkey dog food recipe. Dogs typically like veggies that can easily be disguised as they prefer the taste of meat. Remember hiding vegetables in your kids’ food?
You will notice most ingredients indicate whether or not to cook, shred, or grind. I haven’t been able to find ground sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Coffee grinders are inexpensive and work perfectly for grinding flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.
As we know, a lot of dogs gulp their food rather than chew each bite. Therefore, it is recommended that ingredients are cut into bite-size pieces, according to your dog’s size. Below is a list of healthy dog food ingredients that can be substituted for those in this recipe.
- Green Beans: steam, lightly cook, or make Doggie Green Bean Crunchies
- Pumpkin: pre-cooked (canned pumpkin is great)
- Sweet Potato: shred or precook until soft enough to dice
- Beets: shred or precook and dice
- Kale: chopped
- Squash (yellow or zucchini): peeled and shredded
- Blueberries: fresh or frozen with no added sugar
- Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds: ground
- Brown rice: cook according to package (can be substituted for quinoa)
- Millet: cook this ancient grain according to the package
Freezing and Storage Instructions
This recipe makes a lot of food. You will want to freeze the majority of the food.
- Figure out how much your dog will eat per meal.
- Add a meal-size portion to individual storage containers or freezer-safe bags. Be sure the food has had time to cool down. Usually, one hour of cooling at room temperature is enough. Never leave the food out overnight or for more than 2 hours.
- Place the containers or freezer bags in the freezer.
- Take daily meals from the freezer and store them in the refrigerator for 24 hours before consuming them.
- If you prefer to heat your dog’s food, place it on a microwave-safe plate and heat it just until lukewarm, never hot! You can also heat on the stovetop. Please don’t heat in plastic.
How to Prevent Dog Food Allergies
Dog food allergies are an issue for many dogs. If your dog has a negative reaction to any of the ingredients in this recipe, simply switch out the ingredient with another one. Beef is an example of an ingredient some dogs have issues with. Just like us humans, certain foods can trigger skin rashes in dogs. For example, turkey can be used instead of beef. It’s really up to you since you know your dog best.
We never, under any circumstances, use added sugar of any kind, preservatives, coloring, etc… I’ve discovered that even dog treats can be made without sweeteners, including honey, molasses, or maple syrup and dogs still love them.
I highly recommend reading the labels of any commercial dog treats or food before purchasing. It’s common to see added sugar of some kind, preservatives, caramel coloring, etc., in dog food and treats. In this homemade beef and turkey dog food recipe, you will only find healthy dog food ingredients.
Whole foods are the ingredients we choose to use in our dog food recipes. Just like us humans, dogs deserve the best.
Budget-Friendly Tips for this Homemade Beef Dog Food Recipe
Food is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. If you prefer to use fewer ingredients in this homemade beef dog food recipe, we’ve come up with some tips to save money. Use the same instructions in this recipe but lessen the ingredients. Choose one from each of the 5 below:
- Meat or Poultry (ground beef, turkey, or chicken)
- Whole Grain ( quinoa, millet, or brown rice)
- Vegetables (spinach, kale, carrots, or zucchini)
- Fruit or berries (apple, blueberry)
- Ground flax or chia
Dog Food Transition Guide
Anytime you switch dog food types or brands, you will need to do so gradually. Transitioning slowly is the best way to avoid gastrointestinal issues. Note that this is a general guideline. Be sure to check with your veterinarian about what is right for your pup!
- 1-5 replace 25% of your dog’s regular food with a new recipe.
- 6-10 replace 50% of your dog’s regular food with a new recipe.
- 11-15 replace 75% of your dog’s regular food with a new recipe.
- 16 your dog is now ready for the new food full-time.
Tips to Make the Best Beef and Turkey Dog Food
Tip 1: I like to cook grains and veggies the day before and store them in the refrigerator. Saves time!
Tip 2: Ready to make the recipe? Be sure to gather all ingredients and cooking tools first.
Tip 3: Use fresh greens since they easily wilt when mixed in with the hot, cooked meat.
Tip 4: Keep surrounding food in the freezer safe! Be sure to cool down the meat mixture before freezing.
Tip 5: Dogs love this recipe by itself or as a topper over their dry food.
Tip 6: This recipe can be cut in half if preferred.
Popular Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Want to prepare more homemade meals for your dog? Below are more recipes to try out! These are some of our top performers!
- Turkey and Veggie Dog Food Recipe
- Healthy Homemade Dog Food | Turkey Loaf Recipe (a popular choice)
- Make Ahead Doggie Stew
- Superfood Doggie Fresh Breath Treats
- Doggie Breath Mints Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze the dog food?
Yes. You can find a section in this post about how to freeze the recipe.
How much should I feed my dog?
Dogs come in all sizes, just like humans. Feed your dog based on age, weight, and size. For this recipe, we used a one-cup serving size to calculate nutritional values.
What if my dog is allergic to one of the ingredients in this recipe?
Simply eliminate that particular ingredient and substitute it with one from the list of optional ingredients.
What if my veterinarian says my dog should only eat dry food?
That’s a decision you will have to make. We do recommend checking with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
My dog is grain free. What should I do?
Quinoa was used in this recipe and is actually a pseudo-grain. Check out the ingredient’s list above for more information.
Message from Gale
Our dog Maggie has eaten homemade dog food for the last few years. I decided to make the switch because of her allergies. She is 7 years old and in great health, that’s according to her most recent veterinarian visit. I will continue to reevaluate her diet based on her age and health. Everyone must make their own decision about what food is best for their dog. For me, the choice is clear, it’s homemade dog food.
Please let us know if you make any of the dog food recipes on our site. We would love to know what you and your dog think. Stay in touch!
Best to you, Gale ❤
NOTE: Check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet. Also, please be aware of any allergies your pet may have to specific ingredients and avoid ingredients that have caused reactions in your pets in the past. If you are unsure about a specific ingredient found in one of our recipes, introduce the food to your pets in small amounts first. Refer to the transition guide above.
Homemade Beef Dog Food Recipe
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups baby spinach chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and shredded
- 2 apples peeled, cored, and stem removed. Cut into small bite size pieces.
- 1 cup chopped broccoli florets raw or lightly steamed
- 1 cup cranberries cooked until soft
- 1/4 cup
ground flax mealoptional ground chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger root
- 1 cup water
- Cook beef and turkey in a large pot just until the pink is cooked out. If there's a lot of fat, drain some off before adding the other ingredients.
- Add all ingredients to the cooked meat while still hot. Stir thoroughly to combine. Cover and allow to set until cooled enough to place in containers and freeze, 1-2 hours recommended.
- Place appropriate serving portions into freezer safe containers. Freeze for up to one month. Allow to thaw in the fridge for one day before serving.
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