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Homemade Diets for Dogs and Cats

Holistic Animal Care

Stephanie A. Chalmers, DVM, DACVD, CVH

Homemade Diets for Cats & Dogs – PDF


A natural diet is one that is most suited to the unique physiology of any given species. In the case of dogs and cats, it is a diet consisting of raw meaty bones, raw organ meats, raw muscle meat and veggies. The following guidelines are approximate. I will tailor the recipe for your animal(s) and help you with the transition. It may also be necessary to do some in-clinic testing to identify food sensitivities or to determine whether special supplements are needed. Please ask about Nutrition Response Testing.

Raw Meaty BonesMeaty bones keep the teeth and gums healthy and provide a balanced supply of minerals. However, not all dogs can eat them: supervise them to see that they chew properly. Bones should be entirely consumed. Do not feed cooked or frozen bones (thaw first). Feed three to four bone meals a week (30% of the diet). Alternatively bones can be ground with the meat or you can use a calcium supplement (see back).

Dogs: use chicken necks, backs, and wings; turkey necks or wings; oxtails: lamb ribs

Cats: use chicken necks and wings; guinea hen wings.

* Remove skin and excess fat from all poultry or the fat will be unbalanced (too much omega-6). ** If you see undigested bone in the stool, add apple cider vinegar (1 tsp to 2 Tbs) or digestive enzymes.

Meat and Vegetable MixAn approximate ratio of ingredients in the recipe for healthy dogs is: 60% meat & bone, 15% organs & 25% vegetables (plus supplements). Cat diets should include 70% meat & bone, 20% organs & 10% veggies (plus supplements). The ratio of ingredients is not as critical as providing variety: please feed at least 2 different recipes (one poultry, one ruminant) during the week. Animals can balance things out over time. A sample feline recipe is: 4 cups (2 lbs) ground poultry + 1/2 cup veggies + 1 cup organ meats + supplements. Most people make up a large batch and divide it into small glass containers. Keep a 2-day supply in the fridge and freeze the rest. Thaw frozen food in the fridge. Do not feed cold food. Bring to room temperature by adding hot water or letting it sit for 15 minutes or by heating it in a toaster oven.

The Recipe

  1. Vegetables: Use 2 to 3 different organic vegetables in each batch and vary your selections often. Pulverize (w/ a food processor or juicer) the raw veggies: carrots, celery, green beans, peas, summer squash. Steam the leafy greens: asparagus, beet greens, bok choy, chard, collards, kale, broccoli. Use small amounts of cooked cauliflower, sweet potato or pumpkin. Avoid onion (toxic), nightshade veggies.
  2. Raw meat: Use a variety -turkey, chicken, duck, guinea hen, beef, lamb, venison, buffalo. Buy grass-fed meat and free-range poultry. Non-meat options for dogs: well-cooked lentils, raw milk, raw cheese
  3. Organ meats: heart, kidney, gizzards, organic liver (no more than 5% of the diet), green tripe. Order organic giblets from your butcher or from Oliver’s. Buy tripe from or
  4. Oils and Fats: Add marine fish oil, krill or sardine oil (••• tsp-1••• tbsp/day) to poultry & ruminant recipes. Add butter (••• tsp/day) to poultry recipes (cats). Add coconut oil (1 tsp per 10 lbs body weight) to poultry recipes (dogs). Add borage or walnut oil to beef diets (omega-6 fats).

Fish and Egg recipes

  1. Feed cooked fish & veggies once a week: wild salmon, tilapia, halibut, canned herring or canned sardines. See Dr. Becker’s book (see References) for the recipe or get one from us.
  2. Eggs: Feed an egg & sweet potato meal once a week. See Dr. Becker’s book or get the recipe from us.

Home Cooked Meals Use the ratios and the ingredients listed above but mix them together and make into a meatloaf. Cook until done. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Add the vitamin supplements to each meal. Warm the food before feeding and add water as needed to make it moist enough. 

Treats: Dogs can have ripe fruit (bananas, apples, pears, blueberries, cantaloupe) or Nu-Pet wafers. Buy clean dog chews from: Cats like cantaloupe, avocado, green peas, Halo Liv-a-Little treats.

Vitamin-Mineral SupplementsUse the following whole food supplements and rotate products every 6 months. The type and amount of supplement you feed depends on whether you are feeding bones. If you are feeding at least 3 bone meals per week, use a non-calcium supplement (Add Life, Herbal Multi, Green Alternative, Std. Process). Avoid synthetic or anti-oxidant supplements because they actually cause vitamin deficiency (see me for details).

  • Wysong’s Call of the Wild (enzymes, biotics, calcium, yeast) or Add Life (enzymes, biotics, no calcium). Follow directions on canister. Available at pet food stores and from Holistic Animal Care.
  • Animal Essentials’ Organic Green Alternative or Herbal Multi-Vitamin (no yeast) +/-Natural Calcium. Calcium dose= 1000mg/lb of food. Available at Holistic Animal Care or
  • Standard Process Canine or Feline Support +/-a calcium supplement. Available @ HAC.
  • Vita-Mineral Mix, by Halo: wheat bran, yeast, calcium lactate, lecithin, montmorillonite clay & whey. Follow directions on the canister. Available @ some health food stores and pet stores.
  • Kidney Diet (no psyllium) by Feline Instincts (no yeast) (Don’t use their recipe).

Other supplements: Std. Process ____________________ Cod liver oil (Vit A & D): 2 drops – 2 tsp/day

Taurine (for cats on cooked food): 100 mg/day Apple cider vinegar _________ Other ______________

Basic Feeding Schedule Dogs: Feed 2-4% of the ideal body weight per day. If you are feeding bones, feed them along with the meat & veggies OR you can alternate a bone meal with a meat & veggie meal. Feed a 10 lb. dog one chicken wing per day. A 50 lb. dog would be fed approximately 3 chicken neck & back combinations or 1 turkey neck.

Note: 2 cups is approximately 1 pound of food. Cats: Feed ••• to 1 cup a day depending on body size. Cats usually prefer to eat twice daily and they prefer a flat dish rather than a bowl. If you are feeding bones, offer them by themselves 3 to 4 times a week. One chicken neck or one wing constitutes one meal. The wing tips are sharp, so cut them off.

Transition to a Raw Diet If your animal has been eating commercial or cooked food, his/her body will need a chance to adjust to a raw diet. Introduce raw food gradually; it could take days or months, depending on the animal. Please do not feed raw food to immune compromised animals (cats with FeLV or FIV) or animals undergoing chemotherapy. What to expect: There may be cleansing of the intestines after a few days or weeks; you may notice bad breath, diarrhea (with or without mucous), lethargy or itch. These symptoms should be brief (1-3 days). Call me if the symptoms persist. Note that if your dog had a ravenous appetite while on commercial food, this often resolves on a raw diet. He/she may even want to fast 1 day a week. This is healthy. Also, stools will be firm and white after a raw bone meal. Please monitor body weight to see that your animal is getting enough food.

Sanitation: The use of inferior meat is the most common cause of food poisoning! Please use good quality meat only. Other precautions: a) soak meat in grapefruit seed extract (Nutri-biotic) according to directions; b) freeze meat for 72 hours (kills parasites). Also, thaw the meat in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage and keep it in the fridge for no more than 3 days. Finally, remember to wash the workspace & utensils with hot soapy water in order to prevent food poisoning in you.


  • Natural Remedies for Dogs & Cats, by CJ Puotinen.
  • Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, by Steve Brown. Order from
  • Dr. Becker’s Real Food for dogs & cats, by Taylor and Becker.
  • BARF diet website,

Revised: 11/9/11

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