Balanced Homemade Dog Food

This is a balanced dog food recipe that my veterinarian recommended to me a few years ago. I want my dogs to live long & healthy lives, so I make their food myself! I like knowing exactly what is in their food. It can get pricey, but hospital bills are even pricier. Healthy food = good health!

This recipe is completely balanced and my dogs LOVE it. They have super shiny coats, healthy teeth, and good breath! 

You can make a large batch of this once or twice a month and keep it in the freezer until you need it. I make about 11 pounds of food and it will last almost a month for my two small adult dogs (about 10 lbs each). In addition to this food, we add a little kibble to their bowls. You don’t have to do this, but it was what our vet recommended for Remy & Leeloo.

Check with your veterinarian for how much food your dog needs per serving. My two dogs are about 10 lbs each.

This recipe has 40 calories per ounce. To see the original recipe posted on Youtube by Dr. Karen Becker and Rodney Habib, click here. This video can provide more information on the nutrients in this recipe.

Cooked or Raw?

I gently cook the food for my dogs, but this is still a great recipe if your dog is on a raw diet. 

If you choose to cook the food, do so without any oil on a nonstick pan on low heat. Be careful not to sear the meat- you want to gently cook it until it is just done. You can make patties, large chunks, or break it down into mince if you prefer.  


  • Very lean ground beef- I get all of my ingredients from Sprouts and I use 93% lean ground beef. This is the main source of protein and has to be lean since dogs have a high amino acid requirement.

  • Hempseed– excellent source of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. This balances the fats. I bought mine from Sprouts but it is also available an Amazon here. You can also use hempseed oil but be very careful with the heat if you are going to cook it. Hempseed oil becomes very unpleasant to dogs if exposed to high heat. 

  • Sardines – meets vitamin E & D requirements. You can also use cod liver oil.  Use canned sardines in water, not oil.

  • Ground ginger- packed with manganese, which supports connective tissue health. This benefits ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles.

  • Kelp powder-  packed with iodine and is AMAZING for teeth and coat health! You can purchase the one I use here. I highly recommend this stuff- my dogs have great hair & teeth, and they have super fresh breath!

  • Eggs & eggshells- eggs are a great source of folic acid and vitamin b12. The eggshells are totally edible and provide the calcium needed for adult dogs, but not puppies. 

  • Beef liver- provides copper, zinc, and iron. Sprouts sells them in frozen packages that are convenient to use- 4 individually wrapped 4 oz portions. 

  • Broccoli, red bell pepper, & spinach- veggies add antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, and fiber.

How to make it

(measurements and instructions provided in recipe card at the end of this post)

Begin by mixing together the ground beef, eggs, kelp, ground ginger, hempseed (or hempseed oil), sardines, and pumpkin puree. The pumpkin puree is not part of the original recipe, but I have added it to this by my vet’s recommendation. 

Save half of the eggshells and set them aside.

Drain the water from the sardines before you add them in. Try to break them up as much as you can before mixing so that it is evenly distributed throughout the recipe. When it is well combined, set it aside.

Next, add the veggies, eggshells, and beef liver to  a food processor and blend until everything is evenly chopped. You may need to do this in batches if your food processor is small.

Add the blended ingredients to the beef and mix until well combined.

Portion out the food according to your dog’s daily food intake requirements. Remember that the uncooked food will be ok in the freezer for weeks, but only for a few days in the fridge. Portion accordingly. I do not like to keep cooked dog food in the fridge for more than 4 days.  

The food is ready to serve raw, or you can gently cook it. Cook without any oil on a nonstick pan on low heat. Be careful not to sear the meat- you want to gently cook it until it is just done. You can make patties, large chunks, or break it down into mince if you prefer.  

Here is a recent picture of our pups! Remy (left) and Leeloo (right) are mother and daughter. We adopted them last year and we love them so much!

I fed this recipe to my previous dog Lucy, who passed away last year from kidney failure and extreme arthritis. She was very old when she passed, but I am not sure exactly how old. I miss her so much.

It is SO important to me to make sure I am feeding my dogs the best food possible. I want them to live long, healthy lives. Your dog will love this recipe, and they will be in excellent health 🙂 

Balanced Dog Food Recipe

This is a veterinarian approved recipe by Rodney Habib on YouTube
5 from 7 votes


  • 7 lbs lean ground beef 90% +
  • 3/4 cup hempseeds or 1/3 cup hempseed oil
  • 16 oz canned sardines in water or 4 tsp cod liver oil
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp kelp powder
  • 8 eggs pasture raised
  • 4 egg shells
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree (1 can, unsweetened)
  • 8 oz beef liver
  • 8 oz broccoli
  • 8 oz spinach
  • 8 oz red bell pepper


  • Begin by mixing together the ground beef, eggs, kelp powder, ground ginger, hempseed, (or hempseed oil), and sardines. Drain the water from the sardines before you add them in.
    Save half of the eggshells and set them aside.
  • Try to break up the sardines as much as you can before mixing so that it is evenly distributed throughout the recipe. When it is well combined, set it aside.
  • Next, process the veggies, eggshells, and beef liver. You may need to do this separately if your food processor can't find everything. I process everything separately, except for the bell pepper and eggshells- I process those together.
  • Add the blended ingredients to the beef and mix until well combined.
  • Portion out the food according to your dog's daily food intake requirements. The dog food will be good in the freezer for weeks, but only for a few days in the fridge. Portion accordingly. I do not like to keep cooked dog food in the fridge for more than 4 days.
  • The food is ready to serve raw, or you can gently cook it. Cook without any oil on a nonstick pan on low heat. Be careful not to sear the meat- you want to gently cook it until it is just done.
    *Note- If using hempseed oil, cooking the food on high heat for a long period of time will make the hempseed oil taste really bad to the dogs, so be really careful about "gently" cooking it!
    Let it cool completely before storing in the fridge, for up to 4 days.


This will make 11-12 lbs of food, which lasts my two dogs almost a month. My dogs are about 10 lbs each. Per my vet's recommendation, I also add a little bit of kibble at feeding time. Please talk to your vet or pet nutritionist about the correct portions for your dog. 

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Jen

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! It’s my go to! Thank you for sharing this 😍
    I do have a few questions. I’ve tried it with Beef and Turkey, but was wondering how it would balance out with chicken or bison? Or even Venison and Rabbit? Or even Lamb?
    Some of these proteins are a little bit higher protein to fat, which I try to stay between 93% – 97%.
    Can I also incorporate the fats/veggie into an already ground raw frozen dog food, like Prey Model Raw, which already has the organ, bone, protein ratio to make it more like a barf recipe you have shared?

  2. Gwenavere

    Does anyone here have any insight on whether I could feed this recipe to my cats?
    Quality pet food has gotten so expensive, especially for my older cat who is allergic to fish and it is VERY difficult finding a cat food without a fish ingredient.
    I would like to make one food for both my dog and my cats, and supplement each with the appropriate dry kibble for their individual nutritional needs.

  3. Jennifer

    Hello! Thanks for this recipe! What’s the longest this batch can stay in the freezer before it goes bad? Could it be kept for up to maybe 3 months frozen? Thanks!

    1. stellanspice

      3 months is probably the maximum amount of time I would keep it in the freezer, personally. Technically I think it would be fine even longer, but quality will start to degrade. I’m most concerned about the diminishing nutritional value over that time.

  4. KAT

    5 stars
    I started making this when my 9 year old, 21lb dog got very sick with IMHA and vestibular dog disease. She’s always been a very picky eater and mealtime has been a smorgasbord of what can I give her to eat. No more, she eats this up 2x a day. I put the pumpkin on the side and add a tiny bit of oatmeal as she got so sick and lost so much weight. After about 3 months of steriods and feeding her this food, she’s back to our Lucy. While I’m not qualified to say, I feel this food has been a huge reason as to why she’s been able to get better ❤️‍🩹. I love this recipe. Thank you 🙏

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Kat, thank you so much for leaving a comment. This nearly brought tears to my eyes, I am so happy to heard that your Lucy is doing better!

  5. Lauren

    Is there a rough estimate of how much one batch of this costs? Thank you!!

    1. stellanspice

      As of May 2023, it costs about $80 to make this amount.

  6. Kelli

    This is too much protein, dogs are omnivores who coevolved besides and now have very similar digestive genes to humans.

    Your recipe is not founded in science or medical nutrition. This is not a good diet for a dog.

    1. stellanspice

      It’s actually not my recipe. As stated above, this is a Dr. Karen Becker & Rodney Habib recipe, which was also recommended by my vet. I think I will trust the experts, thank you.

      1. Chris James

        This looks like a good recipe for a dog.

        As for the person saying this is too much protein, you cannot give a dog too much protein. That is ridiculous. The only reason we don’t feed dogs 100% protein is becasue of the cost. Oatmeal and vegetables and grains are not for the dogs’ health — that is a myth. That stuff is only for filler becasue it fills them up and it’s cheaper. a 100% meat diet is ideal but cost prohibitive.

    2. Cat

      I’ve been an RVT for 20+ years and was looking for some ideas for a good homemade diet for our dog, just to supplement with quality ingredients I can control. I will be doing 50/50 RX diet and homemade for now- thank you for posting this recipe! I’m a big fan of the increased protein, I have done much research on commercial diets, and although rx is my preference, all the grains, corn, etc is not ok with me!

  7. Alena J.

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I fell in love with the YouTube video you had linked for my two giant dogs because the only kibble we actually trusted enough for them to eat just skyrocketed in price and we were already spending extra to get multivitamins and probiotics into their diets. We knew there had to be another, healthier way. Amazingly, your recipe lasts my boys exactly one week, and we portion it out by their daily servings (calculated by our vet – one dog is 70 pounds, the other is 85, so they are slightly different portions), sealing it into mason jars. They LOVE it! We also end up with about 1/4 pound of the meat mixture leftover, so we make our own freezer treats for them, adding a 1/2 cup of plain rolled oats cooked in homemade beef bone broth and a mashed sweet potato to the mix. We then put the mixture into two silicone ice cube trays. No more commercial kibble and biscuits for us! And all this fresh food is working out to save us about $30/week. Best of all, our 4 year old daughter loves to help us make it, and we are proud to teach her how easy it is to feed our furry family homemade healthy meals ?

  8. Bethany

    Hi, do you think I could use other lean meats for this, like turkey? I try to rotate proteins but I’ve been using a meal completer which is costing me so much money.. been looking for some good DIY recipes that are truly balanced.

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Bethany, yes I have used ground turkey for this! Usually when I make it with turkey, I just add a bit more beef liver to make up for the iron. Hope this helps!

  9. Bebsy

    Is baking it at 325 (low heat) an option as well?

    1. stellanspice

      I’ve never tried this but I do not see why it wouldn’t work 🙂

      1. Kathryn

        My understanding is that cats are carnivorous and this recipie is for omnivores, not carnivores. Your cat would do better on a diet that is all meat.

    2. Jennifer

      Hi there. So I saw your comment, and I thought I’d respond. I do believe you can do a low bake method for this. Just put it on a sheet try and keep and eye on not over cooking it. But yes! If it’s easier for you to bake it, I think it’s fine. I’m not a pet nutritionist, but I am a chef. So I have food knowledge. I think it’s a great idea actually. Less mess. I think I might try it also!

  10. Bella

    How much should I feed a 70 pound dog?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Bella, I think it would be better to ask your vet about this. I am not a pet nutritionist and I am just following the directions from my veterinarian. You can find more information about he macros/nutritional values of this recipe on Rodney Habib’s Youtube video that I linked in this blog post. Hope this helps!


    We are looking at getting a puppy between 6-10 months old. Can we start them on this recipe as a puppy?

    1. stellanspice

      You can but I would definitely supplement it with some puppy kibble since they have very different dietary needs. I am currently feeding my 7 lb, 5 month old 1/4 cup of this food plus 1/4 cup of puppy kibble 2 times a day. This was what my vet recommended. Hope that helps!

  12. W.F.

    Around how much does this recipe cost? Thanks

    1. stellanspice

      Thats difficult to say since we all have different sized dogs with different dietary needs, but for my two small dogs (about 7 lbs each) I spend roughly $70 every 3-4 weeks on their food. Hope that helps!

  13. Jass

    Most recipes I see call for carbs. I see this one doesn’t have things added like rice, pasta, or any form of carbs. Is this ok?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Jass, I am not a dog nutritionist so I don’t really know the answer to this question. My own research shows that carbs are not a dietary requirement for dogs. I give my dogs this recipe because my vet recommended it. Hope that helps.

  14. Christina

    5 stars
    Is it equivalent exchange for hemp seed oil and hemp seeds?

    1. stellanspice

      No, they are not equal. The recipe says 8 tsp oil or 12 tbsp seeds

  15. Mimi

    My dog’s name is Stella so I had to checkout your recipe when I saw the domain! So far my favorite combination of ingredients. My dog is older, and I was wondering if steaming the veggies for a little could make them easier to chew for her? Or will processing them be enough? Thanks again for sharing this!

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Mimi, thanks for your comment! I think if you break down the vegetables enough in the food processor, it should be fine for your dog to chew through. If you notice it’s still too difficult for her to chew, then yes I would recommend steaming them first 🙂

  16. Raquel

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My dog started not eating his food for days because he lost interest even though they are very good brands for your dog. I gave it to him for the first time yesterday and I’m not kidding, he looked at me all night long, wagging his tail, smiling and showing appreciation. It was great to see he enjoyed eating again. Thank you so much

    1. stellanspice

      Oh my gosh Raquel that makes me so happy! I started using this recipe for my previous dog because of the same thing. She lost interest in her normal food so I started making my own, and she loved it so much. I’m glad your pup is eating again! Thank you so much for your comment <3

  17. Michelle

    5 stars
    I started using this recipe when my 1 year old female dog started having aversions to her regular food. I use it to supplement her dry food and needless to say, she and her big sister love it! I have done it with both lean chicken breasts and ground beef. I do cook it gently before serving. I do make it in big batches and freeze in about a 1 week portion so it stays fresh. I am so thankful that I found this recipe!! They have always had beautiful coats and teeth but I do see it is even softer and shinier. Their “potty time” has shown improvement as well. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    1. Soup

      Hello! I just found this recipe while looking for alternative foods for my mix breed. I’m excited to look at some of your other recipes too! I thought I should ask how much you thought I should feed him before I got started. He is 75 lb and not very active and we feed him twice a day, your opinion would be very helpful ^^

  18. Anonymous

    Could it be cooked before freezing it?

    1. stellanspice

      Yes you can cook it before freezing, but it is really important to properly cool the food before freezing it. Don’t put hot food in the freezer and don’t let it stay in the danger zone for longer than 2 hours. It helps to let it cool on the counter in a wide shallow bowl (cools faster) for about 30 minutes, then you can freeze it 🙂

  19. Mary Bauman

    I have 4 small dogs. Biggest is 15. Amd smallest is 7.
    How much would you feed of this per day

    1. stellanspice

      I feed my 7 lb dog 2/3 cup per day (1/3 cup twice a day). I would recommend 1 whole cup per day for your biggest dog. You can always check with your vet as well if you are unsure about these amounts 🙂

    2. Rose Cochrane

      5 stars
      Excellent recipe. I have 2 chihuahuas and they just love this recipe. They have more energy (they were turning into couch potatoes) and overall better health, coat, teeth and bowel movements. I’m not a fan of any bagged dogfood after seeing how it’s made and so much filler. I’d rather pay more for more nutrient rich food that is better for them and I know what’s in it. I will never feed powdered dog food with spray on flavor ever again. Thanks for the post and the easy step by step tuitorial !!!

  20. J

    You mention twice that it should only be gently cooked and not seared. Would you mind elaborating on why the dog meat shouldn’t be seared?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi J! Thank you for your question. My vet told me it was important not to cook the food too aggressively (like searing/browning) because too much heat will diminish the nutritional value of the vegetables. Gently cooking it at a low to medium heat is best for making sure the pups get all the essential vitamins and minerals that the vegetables provide. Hope that helps 🙂

  21. Anonymous

    Do you have a calculation of macronutrients and calories per Kg?

    1. stellanspice

      This recipe contains 40 calories per ounce. I am not sure about the exact details for macronutrients, but you can get a better description of it on the original YouTube video that I linked in the beginning of this post 🙂

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Hi, I'm Stella!

I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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