How to Make Low-Cost Dog Food at Home

Your dog can eat many of the foods you do, but skip processed meats.
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Dogs, like people, thrive when fed a diet full of macro- and micronutrients. Ultra-premium dog foods that are lower in carbohydrates and made with high-quality meat without by-products and chemical preservatives are convenient, but can put a significant dent in the budget. Show your best friend you care by making homemade dog food from fresh ingredients, and save some cash in the process.

Step 1

Choose a protein source. Use raw or plain cooked meats recommends Dr. Martin Goldstein, a holistic veterinarian who practices at Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in New York. Mix in some organ meats as these tend to be less expensive than premium cuts. Try mixing the meat with less-expensive cooked lentils to expand your meal and still provide bulk and protein.

Step 2

Add fresh cooked vegetables, such as potatoes, pumpkin and carrots. Boil these vegetables with the meat and beans to create a stew-like mixture. Drain before serving if you used fatty meat.

Step 3

Include small amounts of leftover cooked grains, such as brown rice. Keep the bulk of your pets food protein and vegetables.

Step 4

Add a pet-specific vitamin/mineral mix and omega-3 essential fatty acids from salmon oil, says Dr. Goldstein. Check with your vet for the most economical versions of these supplements.


  • Certain foods, including grapes, chocolate, garlic and onions, are toxic to dogs. Obtain a full list of foods toxic to your pet before making homemade pet food so you don’t inadvertently add them to the mix. You may save money by using inexpensive meats such as hot dogs or cheap lunch meat, but these foods are full of chemical preservatives and sodium that could be harmful to your pet. Skip adding any food considered “junk” by humans.

  • Some dogs, especially older dogs or ones with health conditions, may need specific ratios of nutrients. Check with your veterinarian if you are considering a homemade option to ensure you feed your pet what he needs.


  • Base serving sizes on your dog's weight and activity level. Check with your veterinarian to determine how much homemade dog food your pet should have daily -- just like humans, you pal can become hefty from eating too much.

Items You Will Need

  • Fresh meat
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Cooked lentils
  • Pet specific supplements