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How to Make Easy Homemade Dog Food in an Instant Pot

by Kari
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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.

A black and white dog getting belly scratches on the floor.

I made her 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.

How Do You Make Homemade Dog Food?

To make homemade dog food, I use my Instant Pot but you can use any pressure cooker, slow cooker, or even a pot on the stove! (I am going to post a more detailed recipe for the stovetop soon!)

What Kind of Meat is Used in Homemade Dog Food?

Choose a ground meat – I alternate between ground beef, ground chicken (choose organic for ground chicken), ground turkey, or even fish if we have some that we have recently caught. (Try not to use canned/tinned fish – if you do have to mix any in, make sure it is not canned in oil and go easy on fish like salmon, as too much fatty fish can cause pancreatitis.)

First, cook your meat and drain off any fat. If you are using your Instant Pot, cook the meat on saute and then pour off any fat and discard it. (If using any other type of pot, cook and drain your meat and return to either a large dutch oven or stockpot or add to your slow cooker or pressure cooker.)

Ground beef and rice cooking in an Instant Pot to make homemade dog food.

Add your drained meat back in your Instant Pot (or other pot) and put the Instant Pot in saute mode. Dump in your leftover rice and 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. Continue stirring so nothing burns to the bottom of the pot.

What Kind of Frozen Vegetables are Good for Homemade Dog Food?

I like the mixed vegetable mix from either Walmart or Aldi that is 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 just cut green beans. (You know your dog – feed them what they like!)

A bag of frozen mixed vegetables for making dog food.

Can You Add Fruit to Homemade Dog Food?

Absolutely! Fruit has a lot of nutrients that are great for dogs. Just don’t go overboard with the sugar. We use what is in season or what we have frozen or on sale. We usually use some kind of berries – strawberries or blueberries are best. Do NOT use grapes as they are very bad for dogs. Mix everything well.

What Grains Can You Add to Homemade Dog Food?

You can add oats, leftover rice, or raw rice. (See note for adding uncooked rice.)

*If you don’t have leftover rice, add a cup of brown or white rice with the recommended cooking liquid for the rice you use. Usually 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water. But check your instructions! Rice will cook quickly in an Instant Pot. (On the stove, it will take longer to cook and will require more babysitting – if making on the stove, I would use oats.)

An instant pot filled with carrots, rice, ground beef, and green beans for making homemade dog food.

Next, add 1 – 2 cups of bone broth and 2 – 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Melly likes the unrefined coconut oil that tastes super coconutty.

An instant pot filled with bone broth, carrots, rice, ground beef, and green beans for making homemade dog food.
I should really replace this picture as it is kind of confusing – this batch I added some eggs and leftover roast chunks 😉

How Long Do You Cook Homemade Dog Food For?

This will depend on your cooking method. If using your Instant Pot, turn off saute and put the lid on. Press the button for either “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” (which one you choose depends on the model of Instant Pot that you have.) Make sure it is set to high pressure and cook for 5 minutes if using already cooked rice or oats, cook for 12 minutes if the rice is raw.

An Instant Pot with 5 minutes on the screen cooking homemade dog food.

Let the pressure release naturally (it should take around 5 minutes.) Open the pot (once the pin has dropped) and let the food cool. Divide it into portions –  I usually split it in half and freeze one batch. I use a measuring cup when I serve it, so I don’t do individual portions. (Feel free to split into single servings if you want to – I don’t like to do extra work 😉 )

Bowls of ground beef, vegetables, and rice with a "Beware of Dog Kisses" sign on a gray wood background.

What is the Serving Size for Homemade Dog Food?

The most important thing, be sure to discuss serving sizes and ingredients with your vet before switching to a new diet.

Here’s our personal experience – I give Melly 1 heaping cup of the food two times a day and she weighs somewhere between 40 and 45 pounds. She loves it! If she has 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 and veggies – 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 some kibble for a few days until they are used to the new food. Your dog’s belly with thank you. And again, remember to discuss with your vet before feeding your pet something new.

Homemade dog food - bowls of ground beef, vegetables, and rice with a "Beware of Dog Kisses" sign on a gray wood background.

How Do You Serve Homemade Dog Food?

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.

Bowls of ground beef, vegetables, and rice with a "Beware of Dog Kisses" sign on a gray wood background.

How to Make Easy Homemade Dog Food – Instant Pot

Homemade Dog Food is a great way to spoil your dog and feel good about doing it. Using an instant pot, it is a quick, cheap, and easy way to give your dog a nutritious meal that they will think is a treat.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dinner
Cuisine: Pet Food
Keyword: dogfood, dogs, instantpot, petfood
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 days feeding 1 cup 2x a day
Calories: 487kcal
Cost: $10

Equipment

  • An Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, or Large Pot
  • A spoon for mixing

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1 – 2 cups cooked rice or oats 1 cup uncooked rice is fine as well (brown or white) but add 2 extra cups of water
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • 2 – 3 tbsp coconut oil refined or unrefined – whatever you have

Topping

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt for each serving

Instructions

  • 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 cooking pot.
  • Add rice or oats, frozen vegetables, fruit, bone broth, and coconut oil. Mix well to combine everything.

For Instant Pot Cooking

  • Put the lid back on your Instant Pot and set it to "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode. Cook for 5 minutes on High Pressure if using oats and or leftover cooked rice. Cook for 12 minutes on High Pressure if you are using uncooked rice.
  • Let the pressure release naturally and open 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.

For Stovetop Cooking

  • Cook your ground meat in a large pot and drain off the fat.
  • Add your frozen fruits/vegetables, broth, and coconut oil.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil, then add your rice or oats. Simmer it on low heat for 12 – 15 minutes, adding a few extra minutes if using uncooked rice.
  • Stirring occasionally, make sure that your rice or oats cook fully and don't stick to the bottom of your pot.
  • 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.

Notes

This recipe is really flexible. You can use ground beef, turkey, fresh fish, or chicken. You can use shredded chicken breast as well. The only thing I would not recommend is canned fish, as it can be very fatty and can lead to pancreatitis.
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 mutt and will eat almost anything, especially if you cook it all together, so we give her all kinds of fun veggies!

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 479mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1862IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

What Else Can You Add to Homemade Dog Food?

We also like to add leftovers from cooked duck, roast beef, pot roast, grilled chicken and mix a little in. We also sometimes add eggs, beef broth, duck broth, or sometimes even wild game!

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9 comments

Kim July 26, 2019 - 10:33 pm

5 stars
My dog thanks you for this tecipe, lol!!

Reply
Kari July 27, 2019 - 11:46 am

I hope your dog loves it!

Reply
Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef July 26, 2019 - 3:57 am

Eating healthy is not just for us bipeds!

Reply
Kari July 27, 2019 - 11:46 am

Gotta take care of our 4-legged kids too! 🙂

Reply
Angela July 24, 2019 - 11:02 pm

This for sure looks puppy approved

Reply
Kari July 27, 2019 - 11:47 am

Melly LOVES it. She cleans the bowl so well after she’s done that she sometimes sends the bowl flying across the room!?

Reply
Morgan July 24, 2019 - 10:03 pm

I would have never guessed making homemade dog food would be this easy! I love the idea of knowing exactly what your pup is eating!

Reply
Colleen | Bakes & Blunders July 24, 2019 - 6:58 pm

Sending this to my mom! She loves making homemade treats for her pup, so I’m sure she’d love this.

Reply
Erika July 24, 2019 - 5:49 pm

Aww, what a great post. I’m sure my pup would love this.

Reply

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