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Health & Nutrition

11 Benefits of Homemade Dog Food for Your Best Friend

March 18, 2024 - 8 minute read by The Team at Dr. Harvey's


Everyone loves a good meal, and dogs are no different. Have you noticed that your best friend isn’t as excited about their usual meals? Maybe it’s time to consider upgrading your pup’s menu.

At Dr. Harvey’s, we’re here to help! This guide outlines the benefits of homemade dog food and what it takes to make it healthy for your best friend.

11 Benefits of Homemade Dog Food

There are many benefits of homemade dog food that can help your dog live a healthier life while enjoying mealtime a little more.

1. Better Tasting to Dogs

Let’s be honest—homemade meals taste better to dogs than conventional dog foods. Filler ingredients in store-bought food dull the taste, so the difference is clear compared to homemade, whole-food meals. The individual ingredients maintain their flavors because they haven’t been baked, preserved, or crushed to the point of losing taste.

2. No More Fillers

Fillers are a common ingredient in pre-made dog food, making them less expensive to manufacture. They tend to include grains, corn, or other starches, which are just empty carbohydrates that serve no nutritional purpose.

3. Can Improve Allergies

Food allergies can result from eating preservatives, fillers, and certain protein sources. Feeding your dog a homemade diet can improve the chances of minimizing symptoms.

Since you can pick and choose what’s in your dog’s meal, avoiding fillers, preservatives, and certain proteins becomes easier. You can also include sources of omega-3s, which are known to improve symptoms. Omega-3s can help dogs with environmental allergies by reducing inflammation even when exposed to allergens.

4. Assists with Digestion

Homemade meals can help your dog’s digestion, particularly when the meals include digestive-friendly ingredients like fruits and veggies full of fiber.

Whole foods contain fiber and nutrients that can assist with the digestion process and cause your dog to spend less energy breaking down meals, which means more time to have fun.

5. Great for Picky Eaters

Picky eaters are the bane of every pet parent. As mentioned, homemade meals taste better since the flavors aren’t altered through various processing methods. You can choose meals that suit your pup's tastes, further defeating picky habits.

6. Can Save You Money

Although cheaper pre-made food can save you money in the short term, one benefit of homemade dog food is that it can reduce costs in the long run. Two words: medical care. When your dog eats better, they feel better. The result? Fewer medical appointments and expensive care.

Plus, when you time things right, you can stock up on whole food ingredients when they’re on sale or available with a coupon, further lowering the cost of a homemade diet.

A person cutting vegetables

7. Complete Control over Diet

We don’t have control over many things in life, but with a homemade diet, you can maintain complete control over what your dog eats.

You can control:

What types of protein and veggies are in your dog’s meals Proportions The quality of the ingredients (though we’re assuming you want the best for your best friend)

8. Better Weight Control

If your dog struggles with weight, a homemade meal may help. Homemade dog food allows you to give smaller portions if your dog is overweight while ensuring they feel fed. If your pup is underweight, you can feed them a larger portion to help with weight gain.

9. Maintains Overall Health Easier

Offering nutritionally balanced meals full of whole foods will maintain your dog’s overall health. Focusing on specific vitamins and minerals can encourage your dog’s systems to work at their best—especially the immune system.

10. Better Poops

It may seem like nothing involving poop is a benefit, but your dog having better bowel movements is a significant benefit of homemade dog food. Regular poops that don’t require a lot of straining to pass are a sign of a healthy dog. When a dog has diarrhea for an extended period or continuously strains, these issues indicate a problem.

11. Better Coat Quality

Who doesn’t love running their hands through a dog’s soft, fluffy coat? Whole foods can help prevent skin problems that affect a dog’s coat, like itching, scabs, and dander. When you solve these problems, your dog’s coat will improve, so incorporating ingredients with specific nutrients, like omega-3s, can help.

What to Consider Before Switching to Homemade Dog Food

A dog eating a plate of food

Here are a few things you must consider before making your dog homemade meals.

Homemade Meals Must Be Balanced

Nutritionally balanced meals are essential for maintaining your dog’s health. What nutrients do dogs need in homemade dog food? Some of the most critical include vitamins, minerals, hydration, fat, and protein, which must be properly balanced for your pup’s needs.

It Takes Time

Making homemade meals is time-consuming, so fitting this process into your busy schedule may be challenging. However, if you’re committed to providing healthier food, consider making meals for your dog at the same time you make your own meals.

Another option is purchasing a specially formulated food that incorporates whole foods but doesn’t require as much prep work.

You’ll Need to Change Their Diet Slowly

When you change your dog’s diet, it’s important to do so slowly. If you quickly go from one type of food to another, your dog may experience digestive issues, potentially causing discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The best way to change your dog’s diet is by mixing the old and new food together. The basic idea is:

  • Day one: 75% old food, 25% new food
  • Day two: 50% old food, 50% new food
  • Day three: 25% old food, 75% new food
  • Day four: 100% new food

Of course, each dog is different—you may need to extend the process of blending the old and new food for a pup who takes longer to adjust.

Be Aware of Bad Recipes

When looking for recipes, you may come across thousands of options. The number of choices looks encouraging, but the problem is that many of these sources aren’t from people who understand a dog’s nutritional needs.

Stick to trusted sources like Dr. Harvey’s. Here are a few of our recipes to get you started:

You Need to Follow Recipes Exactly

When you make your meal, you may eyeball measurements or add additional ingredients not in the recipe, but you can’t do this for your dog’s food. Recipes for dog meals are precise to ensure a nutritional balance. Deterring from the recipe puts your dog’s health at risk.

You’ll Need Supplements

No matter how nutritionally balanced your meal is, supplements are still essential to provide nutritional benefits. Adding high-quality supplements keeps your best friend happy and healthy.

Homemade Dog Food Is Easier to Prepare than You Think

A person preparing food in a kitchen

Giving your best friend healthy, tasty, and nutritionally balanced meals is much easier than you think. All it takes is patience, time, and practice.

However, we understand that some people have little time to spare, so we created pre-made homemade meals with quality ingredients. Instead of preservatives, we dehydrate or freeze-dry ingredients to ensure a longer shelf life for busy dog parents.

Whip up a delicious meal for your pup by adding a protein source and hot water. It can’t get much easier than that, right? Check out our selection of healthy dog food today!

Fellow pet parents agree: Dr. Harvey’s food products are convenient and healthy for dogs. Visit our blog for more pet wellness advice.