Homemade Dog Food is a great way to spoil your dog and feel good about doing it. Made in your Instant Pot, it is a quick, cheap, and easy way to give your dog a nutritious meal that they will think is a treat.
If you are anything like we are, spoiling your dog is a natural part of everyday life. Our border collie, Melly, is 11 years young and is full of energy and love. She is treated like a queen, and although she will eat almost anything, her nutrition is important to me.
I made Melly a batch of homemade food for the first time about a year ago and have been making it for her ever since. It is cheap, easy, and she loves it. I love knowing everything going into it so I know she isn't eating mystery meat. Our vet compliments her constantly for her weight, teeth, and energy level - she's 11ish but acts like she's still a puppy.
This recipe is for making homemade dog food with an Instant Pot - if you are looking for my stovetop directions, click here.
• ground meat - I alternate between ground beef, ground chicken (choose organic for ground chicken), ground turkey, or even fish if we have some that is fresh and recently caught.
• cooked rice (or uncooked oats)
• frozen or fresh vegetables that are chopped into bite-size pieces
• chicken or beef bone broth or stock
• coconut oil
👩🍳 How to Make It
First, set your Instant Pot to "Saute" and cook your ground meat. (Pictures 1 - 3) Pour off any fat and once cooled, discard it.
Next, add your bone broth and coconut oil. Stir to combine and let the coconut oil melt. (Picture 6)
Then, add a bag or two (I aim for 20-24 ounces) of frozen vegetables. If using a 12-ounce bag, use two. If using a 16-ounce bag, use one and a half. Mix well. (Picture 7)
If using oats instead of rice, add them now.
Finally, put your lid on and close the vent. Set your Instant Pot to "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" mode at high pressure for 7 minutes. (Picture 8)
Allow the pressure to release naturally, which should take about 5 minutes, and open your Instant Pot. (Picture 9) Let your dog food cool before serving or storing. You can divide the food into portions depending on your needs - I usually split it in half and freeze one batch. I use a measuring cup when I serve the food, so I don't take the time to split it into individual portions.
🥕 What Kinds of Vegetables Can You Use?
I like the mixed vegetable mix from either Walmart or Aldi that is peas or green beans, carrots, and corn. (Do not use anything with onions!) The last mix I bought had lima beans as well. You can also use a bag of just carrots mixed with a bag of cut green beans. (You know your dog - feed them what they like!)
🍓 Can You Add Fruit?
Absolutely! Fruit has a lot of nutrients that are great for dogs. Just don't go overboard with it. We often use what is in season or what we have in the freezer. We like to use some kind of berries - strawberries or blueberries are best. Do NOT use grapes as they are very bad for dogs. You can add fruit before or after cooking, just beware that if you cook with blueberries, your dog food will turn purple 😉
🌾 What Grains Can You Use?
The easiest grains to use are oats and leftover rice. (If your dog has an allergy to grains, you can substitute diced sweet potatoes.)
🥚 What Else Can You Add to Homemade Dog Food?
We like to add little bits of leftovers from all kinds of things: cooked duck, roast beef, pot roast, grilled chicken.. even pork. We also sometimes add eggs, beef broth, duck broth, or sometimes even some wild game!
We supplement her homemade food with raw shank bones (frozen with marrow still in them) and raw pig's feet. She loves to gobble them up, even though they are totally gross.
🥣 Serving Size
The most important thing is to be sure and discuss serving sizes and ingredients with your vet before switching your dog to a new diet.
Here's our personal experience - I give Melly 1 heaping cup of the food two times a day (with a small scoop of homemade yogurt on top) and she weighs somewhere between 40 and 45 pounds. She absolutely loves it!
If she has had an extremely active day, running around like the border collie she is and chasing squirrels up trees or patrolling the fence, I will give her a little extra at dinner. Our vet likes that we rotate different meats, veggies, and fruits - it gives her a variety of nutrients like a dog would find in the wild.
• Make sure that you don't abruptly change your dog's food - mix with their regular food or kibble for a few days until they are used to the new food. Your dog's belly will thank you. And again, remember to always discuss with your vet before feeding your pet something new.
• Top your dog food with a scoop of homemade or plain greek yogurt.
• Rotate different meats, fruits, and vegetables to make sure your dog gets different and nutrients. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you might be best sticking to one combination that you know works 🙂
🍽 Serving Suggestions/Uses
I serve Melly's food both hot and cold - she's not picky. I often top it with 1/4 cup of plain yogurt (with no sweeteners added) when serving. Yogurt is not necessary but provides probiotics and helps with healthy digestion. I like to make plain Greek yogurt in my Instant Pot as well.
How to Make Easy Homemade Dog Food - Instant Pot
- 2 - 3 lbs ground beef or: ground chicken, turkey, or fresh fish - shredded chicken breasts work well too.
- 24 ounce frozen vegetables peas, green beans, carrot, and corn
- 1 cup frozen fruit I like to use blueberries and strawberries. (Optional)
- 1 - 2 cups leftover cooked rice or oats
- 2 cups bone broth
- 2 - 3 tbsp coconut oil refined or unrefined - whatever you have
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt optional for serving
- Cook 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of your choice of ground meat in your Instant Pot on the saute setting or in a frying pan on the stove.
- Drain off the cooking grease and return the meat to your Instant Pot.
- First, add your leftover rice. If using oats, skip this step.
- Next, add bone broth and coconut oil and be sure to scrape the little bits off the bottom of the pan - this is your way of "deglazing" the Instant Pot.
- Now, add oats, frozen vegetables, and fruit if adding. Mix well to combine everything.
- Put the lid back on your Instant Pot and set it to "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode. Cook for 7 minutes on High Pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally and open only when the pin drops. Stir everything up.
- Let the mixture cool and divide into two portions - one for the next few days and one to freeze. (You can also portion the food into single servings if you feel so motivated.)
- This recipe is really flexible. You can alternate between using ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken. You can also use shredded chicken breast or fresh fish as well. The only thing I would not recommend is canned (tinned) fish, as it can be very fatty and too much fat can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
- You know what your dog likes and their allergies - if they can't eat carrots - use a different kind of vegetable. If they can't eat grains, add diced potatoes or sweet potatoes!
- I switch between oats and rice and vary the vegetables and fruits based on what we have and what is in season. Melly is a former street dog and will eat almost anything, especially if you cook it all together, so we like to mix in all kinds of "dog-friendly" goodies.
- If you have an 8 or 10 quart Instant Pot, you can double the recipe to make more at once and freeze some of the food for later.
- Let your dog food cool before serving or storing. You can divide the food into portions depending on your needs - I usually split it in half and freeze one batch. It will be good for about 6 months and while still safe to eat, the quality will begin to decrease after that.
- I use a measuring cup when I serve the food, so I don't take the time to split it into individual portions - you can do this if you would like!
- Store cooked dog food in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you don't think you will get through it all in a week, freeze some of it.