Homemade Dog Kibble
By Henrietta Morrison
This great kibble recipe is from the new cookbook, Dinner for Dogs by Henrietta Morrison. She is the founder of Lily’s Kitchen, a popular pet food company in the UK. She believes in proper food for dogs, and Lily, her Border Terrier, is her chief taster. See an interview with Henrietta as well.
This is a great dish as all of the ingredients, except the turkey, are cooked in one pot. You could, of course, just serve this as a stew, but I love the idea of being able to make your own kibble. It takes about an hour, but it’s very easy and also very empowering to make a food that has always been a bit of an industry secret.
Turkey is great as it’s very low in fat and very digestible, which makes it useful for dogs who are allergic to the usual protein sourceslamb, beef and chicken. Turkey is also handy as it’s readily available ground.
This is also a good hypoallergenic recipe that is free of wheat. You'll notice I haven’t included peas, which always seem to be part of a dog’s menu these days. Peas can be hard to digest for some dogs and therefore can make them gassy.
1 cup and 1 tablespoon (200 g) brown rice
1⁄2 cup (100 g) lentils 5 cups
(1-1⁄4 liters) water
3 medium carrots (200 g), peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato (200 g), scrubbed and chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped, or 1⁄2 cup (100 g) unsweetened applesauce
3⁄4 cup (100 g) steel-cut oats
1-1⁄4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
(500 g) ground turkey, about 18 ounces
1⁄4 cup (50 ml) olive, sunflower or canola oil, plus additional oil for greasing
Put the rice and lentils into a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
Once the rice and lentils are cooked, add the chopped carrots, sweet potato and apple to the saucepan. Stir in the oats and chopped herbs and gently simmer for 20 minutes more. Add an extra cup of water if the mixture is too dry. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a separate frying pan. You will need to keep stirring it while it is cooking to prevent it from sticking to the pan as it is very low in fat. It will take about 10 minutes to cook through.
Put half the cooked vegetable and grain mixture into a food processor with half the cooked turkey, add half the oil and pulse until the mixture resembles a thick purée.
Grease 2 cookie sheets and spread the mixture onto one of the sheets so that it is about 1⁄4 inch (5 mm) thick. The mixture will spread slightly so leave a bit of room for this. It is important that the mixture is not too thick because it will prohibit the kibble from cooking through.
Repeat as above using the second cookie sheet and the remaining ingredients.
Place both cookie sheets into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Turn the kibble over so that it dries through, and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. You should have what looks like two very large cookies. Make sure the kibble is completely cooked through, as any moist bits will get moldy after a couple of days. If it is not fully dried out, leave it in the oven for 20 minutes more.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F/160°C.
Remove the “kibble cookies” from the oven, cool slightly and cut them into small pieces. Place the pieces back onto the cookie sheets and bake for an additional hour, or until the kibble is completely dried (but not burnt).
Remove the kibble from the oven and let cool completely. It should resemble pieces of broken pita bread. It will keep in the fridge for 10 days.
Per 4 ounces (100 g)
With all the pet food recalls over the past few years many people have thought about making their dog’s food. What’s daunting about this is finding the right foods to put together for a nutritious, delicious meal. If you plan to make the dog’s dry food, there are two things to consider: Does the dog eat only dry food or is the dry food a supplement to wet food. If it’s a supplement to wet food, the content requirements are not as restrictive as those for the dog who eats only dry food.
The basic recipe for both is the same: flour, fat, egg, dry milk. The flour can range from all-purpose flour to potato flour to whole wheat flour or rye flour. There are all kinds of flour. Fats can come from animal fat, if you want to add meat or canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, corn oil. Like flour there are all kinds of oil. Whole eggs are best, rather than just egg whites. And, yes, dry milk, that yucky stuff that makes blue milk.
6 cups of any combination of flours
1 cup of powdered milk
3-4 eggs, depending on size
1/3 cup oil
2-1⁄2 cups liquid (milk, water, broth)
Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients. The dough should be thick and moist (not too wet) like bread dough. Add water or flour (or some other additive), if necessary to get the consistency.
Spread the dough on a cookie sheet about a 1⁄2inch thick. You can perforate the dough in the shape you want now or just break the cooked kibble into pieces after it’s cooled. You can cook it slowly at 200 degrees for about an hour, or at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let it cool and harden.
Now, this isn't going to taste very good, which is why you may want to add goodies to the recipe after the basic ingredients are mixed. You can add cooked and pureed meat, vegetables (green beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots) and/or fruit (apples, pumpkin), even peanut butter or shredded cheese, whatever your dog likes. The main focus, however, is to keep the dough thick and moist so it smoothes easily in the pan.
You can even add herbs and spices, such as salt, turmeric or parsley, or other additives, such as brewer’s yeast, rice, corn or bone meal, bran and oats. Anything your dog likes and can have is on the menu.
You should never feed your dog the following foods:
- Garlic (occasionally in minuscule amounts because they do like it)
- Artificial sweeteners or fats
If your dog eats only kibble, then it’s not quite as easy as kibble that’s a supplement to wet food. Since this food is his only food, it must meet all his nutritional requirements for protein/amino acids, complex carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Protein should account for from 16 to18 percent of the diet (meat and/or dairy); complex carbohydrates (vegetables) should comprise about 45 percent, fats about 12 percent. If you think the dog isn't getting enough minerals and vitamins, you can supplement the dog’s food with AKC RenewTrients Dog Multi-Vitamin, available at www.dogsupplies.com.
So, take for a complete meal,
Ingredients - Basic recipe
1 can plain pumpkin (not pie filling)
3.5-4 cups meat, cooked and pureed (You can drain it if you want or use it in your fat count)
4-5 cups vegetable/fruit, cooked, drained and pureed
Add flour if the mixture is too soupy or tacky; add water or more oil if the mixture is too dry. You can increase the oil to 1.5 cups and still be OK with the fat content, depending on whether you’re using the meat’s fat.
Use your knowledge of your dog and your creative cooking juices to find the recipe that works for you and your dog. When you've found it, stick to it because dogs like and need routine. .
1lb Ground Beef (Chicken, Turkey, etc)
2 Cups Brown Rice (you can use other grains such as Barley or Oats too)
5 Cups of Water (I used 2 cups Beef Broth 3 Cups of water, but just because I had it on hand)
1 Package Frozen Veggies (Fresh would be better!)
Brown the meat, then add the veggies to the pot. Since dogs don’t chew their food up like we would it’s good to break up the veggies into smaller portions. Not because they could choke, but to get the more of the nutrients. Can use a food processor to simplify it.
Add the rice and water to the post. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
When the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked it’s done! Let it cool a bit then I separate into 9 (generous) 1 cup servings. Form each serving into a ball shape and place them on a cookie sheet with wax paper. Place in the freezer so they stay in ball form, then into a ziploc bag. Thaw our meals and serve!
Cooking for your dog is not only healthy and affordable but rewarding too. From stews, stir-fries and other one-pot delectables recipes abound that make it easybut have you ever thought about making your own kibble? We were happy to find a great kibble recipe from Wendy Nan Rees’s cookbook, The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats. Try it outit’s delicious and nutritious!
This is my basic kibble recipe. I keep 8 cups in a sealed container in the refrigerator and freeze the rest in vacuum-sealed food storage bags. The kibble will keep in an airtight container for two weeks in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer.
4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups rye flour
2 cups nonfat milk powder
2 teaspoons bone meal
1 cup plain wheat germ
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 2-1⁄2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup safflower, olive or corn oil
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups water
4 cups cooked ground beef, pork, lamb, duck, chicken or turkey
2 cups cooked and puréed sweet potatoes
1 1⁄2 cups chopped dried apples
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray two large cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, milk powder, bone meal, wheat germ, parsley and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and blend them with the oil. Add the Worcestershire sauce.
4. Add the water to the flour mixture and mix well.
5. Fold in the egg mixture and combine it all evenly.
6. Add the meat, sweet potatoes, dried apples and spinach and press them into the dough.
7. Spread the dough on cookie sheets (18" x 13" work best), making it very flat and thin. Use a knife to cut it into small squares.
8. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the kibble is golden brown and not doughy when you break a piece open. During the baking process, take a wood spoon or spatula and move the kibble around on the cookie sheet so it bakes evenly. Then turn off your oven, keeping the door closed, and let it dry out in the off oven for at least 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
9. When you remove the kibble from the oven, it will still be slightly warm and moist. Let it sit on cooling racks for another hour or two until it is completely dry and cool.
Variations: Pther ingredients to add for flavor and nutrients: alfalfa leaf, barley, basil leaf, beets, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, flaxseed meal, green beans, kamut, nutritional yeast flakes, peas, potatoes, rolled oats, rosemary leaf and zucchini.
Yield: about 7 cups
1-1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1⁄2 cups brown rice, cooked
1-1⁄2 cups rolled oats
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1⁄2 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon bone meal
1 cup chicken or beef broth
2 eggs, beaten
5 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups chicken, lamb, beef or other meat, cooked and finely diced
1-1⁄2 cups cooked peas, carrots, broccoli or other vegetables cooked and finely diced
Mix together the whole wheat flour, brown rice, rolled oats, nonfat dry milk, wheat germ and bone meal in a bowl. Mix well. Add in the broth, eggs and canola oil and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the meat and vegetables. Blend together the contents of both bowls and mix together well.
The consistency should be similar to that of cookie dough. If the dough is too stiff, add a little water. If the dough looks like it has too much moisture, add a little flour.
Spread the dough to 1⁄4 inch thick onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 175 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should be a light brown color and have the texture of a cookie.
Remove from the oven and cool for about five minutes. Break the cooked dough into bite sized pieces.
Return the cookie sheets to the oven and heat at 100 degrees for about five minutes, to remove excess moisture. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
After removing from the oven, break into smaller pieces, if desired.
Cool to room temperature.
Store dog kibble in containers or zip lock bags in the refrigerator or freezer.
This recipe for homemade dog food makes about seven cups of homemade dog kibble. When serving, fresh vegetables, meat and canine vitamin supplements may be added.
Basic Kibble Mixture:
2 cups of Rye Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup rolled oats (NOT instant)
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups of dry milk powder (or non-fat milk powder)
2 teaspoons of bone meal powder (from health food store not garden stores)
1 Tsp salt
3 cups of water
1/3 cup olive or canola oil Up to 4 cups of cooked ground meat in this case, turkey
3 cups of mixed vegetables in this case two cups of fresh blueberries, one cup of mashed sweet potato
I go to the bulk food store for a lot of my ingredients. If you don’t have time or live near one, you can use whole wheat flour rather than the rye flour. If you don’t have the oats replace with another cup of brown rice or vice versa. Dry milk powder and bone meal powder can be skipped if your dog gets alternate sources of calcium. These subs will still make a decent kibble.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a frying pan, cook up two packages of ground turkey (appx 2 lbs). This will give you about four cups of cooked meat.
Microwave sweet potato for 12 minutes. Nice and mushy to work with. A decent sized one gives you about a cup of mashed.
Mix together the dry ingredients. A couple of cups of rye flour, and a couple of whole wheat. Then, Add a cup of cooked brown rice, and a cup of rolled oats. Do NOT use the instant oats, they've got additives we don’t want here. I like toasted dark. Two cups of dry milk powder use non-fat if you want to reduce the fat content here. Add 2 teaspoons of bone meal powder or another supplement so that we can make sure our dogs get their require calcium intake. Lastly, finish it off with a teaspoon of salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the oil.
Pour the three cups of water into the dry mixture, and mix.
Add the eggs and oil.
Mix thoroughly. If it’s too dry, add a little water, but you do want a thick paste here. Add blueberries and sweet potato.
Strain turkey meat. Some people puree their meat, but personally I don’t see a big difference in the end result and it’s a messy proposition.
Stir altogether again.
This is enough for three or four baking pans depending on how thin you spread the batter. You may want to freeze half and cook the other half, or cook and then freeze (easier in my opinion).
Line the baking sheets with parchment paper (trust me).
With a spatula, spread a very thin layer of the mixture on to the pan. No more than a quarter inch thick, the thinner the layer, the crunchier the kibble can get.
We want this to dry out, that’s why we cook it at a lower temperature.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour until it’s golden brown. If you leave it in the closed oven for additional hours, it dries out more for a crunchier result!!
I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist. This recipe is not meant to replace a proper and balanced diet for your dog. You should to speak to your own vet before trying new recipes or feeding any home cooked foods to your dog..