Homemade Dog Food – Beef Stew

Due to my peanut/nut allergy, I didn’t eat much processed food growing up. That taste for real food has grown into a love of creating healthy, wholesome meals for Garrett and I. A few months ago we started thinking about how we were so conscious of what we ate, but we never really thought about what our dog, Whiskey, was eating.
Since I adopted Whiskey in 2009, I’ve always bought him top-of-the-line gluten-free dry dog food, as recommended by the rescue he was from. After doing a little bit of research, I was surprised to read about how even some of the most reputable, expensive brands are still putting not-so-great ingredients into their food.

Since then, I’ve been making him homemade dog food for about 50% of his meals. It’s hard to beat the convenience of dry food when we’re on the road or visiting family and friends. I also think that there are some benefits to eating dry food for the health of his teeth and digestive tract.

Even if we can’t do it all the time, I feel better knowing that we’re giving him healthy whole foods as an alternative for some of his meals. He gets ridiculously excited as soon as he sees his stew being set down. How could you not want to cook for someone who appreciates it, right?

As with any diet changes, please consult your veterinarian before switching your dog’s food. Whiskey is only 11 lbs, so he doesn’t eat very much food, making this cost effective for us, but it may not be for everyone.

If I can buy the meat on sale, a batch will cost about $3 and lasts for 5-6 days. We feed him at breakfast and dinner, but usually leave him half a scoop of dry food in his bowl while we’re at work for a “snack”. He’ll usually graze on that between meals. We always leave him plenty of fresh water too!

I like to change up his stew all the time, depending on what fresh meat and produce we get, but here is a rough guide of what ratios I put into it. You can easily double/triple this for a larger batch.

4.6 from 7 reviews
Homemade Dog Food - Beef Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 lb ground beef, chicken or turkey
  • 1 large potato or sweet potato, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • water
  1. Saute the meat in a large pot until no longer pink. Don't drain the fat because that's good fat for your pooch! If you chose a leaner meat like chicken or turkey, add in couple of tablespoons of coconut oil for some fats.
  2. Add in the potatoes and carrots.
  3. Pour in just enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.
  4. Stir in the frozen peas. I also add a little bit of sea salt into it for some flavour.
  5. Allow to cool before serving. Refridgerate or freeze extra portions.

Saute the meat in a large pot until no longer pink. Don’t drain the fat because that’s good fat for your pooch! If I chose a leaner meat like chicken or turkey, I usually add in couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to give him some fats.


Add in the potatoes and carrots.


Pour in just enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.

Stir in the frozen peas. I also add a little bit of sea salt into it for some flavour.


Whiskey just knows when I’m cooking up a batch of stew for him. As soon as I start making it, he’s sitting by the stove, licking his lips. I had just got in from the gym and he could hardly wait for his dinner.

If I make a smaller batch, I just keep it in the pot in the fridge and serve it up to him each meal. When I see large value packs of ground meat on sale, I’ll go ahead and make a mega batch. It takes just as much time as a smaller one, but gives us weeks worth of food for him.

I package them up in plastic bags in with two portions – breakfast and dinner. After I serve him his dinner portion, I’ll pull a new package out of the freezer and it will thaw in the fridge overnight for the next day’s breakfast. Sometimes I will zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up, but I find that he likes it just as much cold.


I package up the smaller plastic bags into an extra large freezer bag. This saves space in the freezer and makes them easier to find. When I’m really on top of my game, I like to have more than one flavour frozen, to give him some variety.

As great as I think homemade dog food is for Whiskey, I do worry about it being nutritionally balanced. Commercial dog foods, especially the high end ones we were feeding him, contain many nutrients and vitamins to improve your dog’s health. To compensate for that, we’ve started giving Whiskey BioVites Dog Vitamins. I just sprinkle it into his bowl of stew in the morning, and it combines with the liquid to make a nice little gravy for him.

Whiskey is our best buddy and I want to do everything that we can to give him a long, healthy life. Making your dog homemade food may not be for everyone, but it’s been working for us. It’s easy enough to make it up on a Sunday afternoon while I’m making our dinner, and it gives me peace of mind knowing I’m giving him the best wholesome foods that I can.

And on a final note, I have a funny little story for you:

On nights when I know I’ll be working late or going straight to my part-time job, I tend to leave Garrett dinner already made in the fridge. One evening, I got called into my part-time job last minute and didn’t have anything prepared, so I told him just to scrounge around for something in the fridge or cupboards. When I got home, I asked him what he had managed to come up with and he sheepishly admitted that he’d eaten the dog food stew. I guess he took one look at it and thought, “with a little bit of seasoning, this could be quite good”. I nearly died laughing. He was right, there was nothing wrong with eating the stew (it’s just meat and vegetables), but there was just something about him eating the dog’s dinner that cracked me up. (For the record, I’ve yet to try it myself).

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  1. says

    Too funny. I think it is good to sometimes feed them “people” food. That way their digestive system doesn’t go into shock when give the extra table scraps. My parents have neighbors who have raised Golden Retrievers and swear by feeding them chicken, bones and all!!! They have the most beautiful coats. Our Kylee ( our Cairn) loves carrots and cheese!

    • Bob says

      We have been cooking for our dogs for many years. We had Newfoundland way back when that would break out in what the vet called hots spots. The vet said he needed to have a cortisone shot every month for one hundred bucks a go. I found out the stuff could destroy the dogs liver and kidneys so we decide to try changing his diet. My wife made him up some dog food much the same recipe as you and his coat began to shine again, no hot spots, more energy and much more alert so that was the last of the dry dog food stuff.
      When I was a kid we never fed the dogs dog food. For that matter there was no dry dog food just cans of dog food. My mother always just had an extra helping for the dog.
      If I find a meat item for about $5.00/kg or less I buy a bunch for the dog. If I can get turkey at a good price I will buy it, we will have a meal of it and the rest gets made into dog food. Every once in awhile I get some beef, calf, or pork liver and add it into the regular mix of red meat or chicken. Fresh garlic is a good thing as well. Olive oil, bacon fat or as you use coconut oil is good additives. I would suggest a pink mineral salt instead of sea salt though. I read an article about some girls that sailed from England to the Falklands and tested the sea water for contaminates all the way there. They found microscopic bits plastic in every sample. They concluded the entire ocean system has minuscule bits of plastic floating about in it so when the salt water is evaporated away to leave the salt we eat it still carries some plastic.
      Pink mineral salt I get from the dollar store and some super markets comes from the ground, no plastic.

      • Norma Knight says

        What vitamins do you give your dog Whiskey? My dog, Sachi, is allergic to just about everything, inside and out. The only 2 meats that he can have is turkey or beef. I have looked at dozens of recipes and they all have eggs in them. He can not have eggs. I was also wondering if I could add a beef gravy to this beef stew. When I was feeding him the regular canned dog food I always bought the ones with gravy and he absolutely loved them. I tried a crock pot recipe with turkey and he would not even go near it. I even tried feeding it to him by hand. Did not work. I am going to try this tonight and hope it works. Thank you for this recipe.

  2. says

    Commercial dog food contains a host of ingredients which could cause allergies in dogs. Your dog may be allergic to more than one. Each pet is an individual, so you may have to try more than one hypoallergenic healthy food before you find the right one for your dog.American dog food

  3. says

    Great post! Bringing home a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or an adult, is like bringing home a new baby – you need to be prepared, and you need supplies. So, I was looking for articles on buying pet supplies and then I came across yours inspiring read. Thanks!

  4. says

    Great recipe! I love feeding my pup ‘human food’ – especially vegetables. Adding variety is never a bad thing :)
    So funny about your husband eating the stew! The order day I whipped up a batch of homemade dog biscuits, and my boyfriend kept sneaking them to eat himself :) Apparently they’re just like savoury crackers.

    • says

      That’s too funny! A friend of mine was telling me a similar story the other day. She made homemade dog biscuits and they were sitting out on the counter still warm and her niece ate them. She said they were just like plain cookies. My friend tried them and she had to agree that they we’re too bad, haha

  5. Erin Guarino says

    I make all of my dog Brady’s food… stew and kibble! He absolutely loves it!! The kibble is great for those rushed days but I mainly use it to put in his ‘treat’ toys… I make the stew in the crockpot – One batch lasts 5 days as he eats 5 cups of stew a day. I give him calcium tablets to supplement his diet. The recipes I found are on bark.com

    • Sandra says


      I have heard that when making doggie stew or food, there can be a shortage of phosphorous in it. I think boiling bones from the meat shop would take care of this. But actually I have a question?
      I’m going to make my Bullmastiff a home made stew as he has to be on a low protein food and he doesn’t care for them. Also since he’s been on low protein food, he’s become very fat. He does like veggies, especially if they’ve been simmering in a juice. He can’t have more than 17% protein so I was hoping for veggie suggestions as this will make up most of the stew. He’s over 200lbs. so I’ll be using a huge pot! Just any veggies anyone can think of (I know he can’t have some things)
      Apparently commercial dog food that’s high in protein does more harm than good according to the two vets we’ve taken him too.
      Thanks for you recipe… it actually is making me hungry!!!

  6. says

    I’m going to try this recipe. When they had the big pet food recall scare a number of years back, I made our dogs’ food for a couple of months while I researched best dry foods. I would use brown rice (the kind that takes forever to cook) with whole meats and veggies. My dog still gets excited if I make rice or cook beef or chicken. I also will cook an egg in a little coconut oil and feed to her for a treat sometimes.

    I do think it is healthier to limit the commercial foods and this has inspired me to start cooking more for her again. Doing a big batch ahead is a great idea.

  7. Rose says

    My Jozie just turn 1 she doesn’t care much for store bought food. We do feed her Table scraps here and there. reading this I can’t wait til morning . I’m going to start making her food. I have alot of venison in the freezer, I think that will make for a good stew with carrots and brown rice some peas .Thank you for the tips. :)

  8. KATIE says

    thank you for posting this! if my dog 20lbs how much should I feed a day? hes allergic to green peas so we would need to take those out.

  9. GLADYS says

    I don’t know how much to feed my Yorkie at a time. I’ve always left dry food out and she eats when she is hungry—I buy special dry food so she gets only the good stuff. When we lived in Okinawa, many years ago, my chichacha got pregnant and I made her food. I used chicken, chicken livers, and rice. But it was so long ago I can’t remember how much I fed her.

    Now I want to start making homemade feedings so would be nice to know about how much to feed. I’m afraid she would eat all I put out. My son and his girlfriend scold me all the time for feeding her from my plate. But as I told them (over and over again—they think they know it all), when I was growing up our dogs fed scraps from the table.

  10. Tess Vowels says

    Please help!! This stew looks wonderful & my dogs… and cats will love it!! I am just curious as to how much to feed at a time!! One dog is 14 yrs old, wolf-blue heeler, missing many teeth, and is 65+ lbs… he’s been on a grain-free diet, but I want him to have better!! The other pup is 14 lbs & 11 yrs old, chihuahua terrier mix… her teeth aren’t real good either… I also have 3 cats 14 yrs, 11 yrs & 3-1/2 yrs… I can probably figure out, just wondering what guidelines you may know.

    Thanks, in advance
    ~ Tess

  11. Satie Mahadeo says

    So true 😊… I have been making food for four for the past seven months…One of them is allergic to commercial food..High end brand….No corn….after about six years…They are eating brown rice with Vegas…Always two Vegas….For more flavor…Adding some olive and a shake of thyme…Feed twice a day….It works great even …. a greater savings…I was looking for more of a change in recipe. I found your stew…It’s seems lot easier…And a good change from rice..Today is food cooking day…I will use chicken instead or a pot with liver too…Would lover beef but too expensive for their budget.. I would love any different recipe your have so I can change it up a bit….🐕 Their food does look great…Has no salt…And cook the same way I cook for myself…Thank you.

  12. Declan says

    I’ve got some ground venison in my freezer. About 6lbs to be honest. I was wondering if I could use the venison in place of the beef?

  13. says

    Thanks a lot for your informative post… Feeding homemade dog food is the best way to keep our little friend healthy and happy. But sometimes we do’t get enough time to make healthy food for our dog. Sometime people don’t know the proper recipes and they could not dare to make any food. I think your post will help those people and me as well. Please visit my site as well if you are looking for the best dry dog food reviews.

  14. Jan Patterson says

    Hi, I’m so glad people are so interested in feeding their dogs such a healthy diet. HOWEVER, with ALL due respect, I have Always heard/read/talked to vets who say to Never give dogs POTATOES. The potato is in the “nightshade” family & can be toxic to dogs. It may not affect them immediately, & you may get lucky & it not kill them , but it Can make them very sick. PLEASE be careful. The other thing I saw was that someone commented they were told to feed their pets chicken- BONES & all. You Can feed chicken With bones ONLY if the chicken is RAW. When cooked, the bones can splinter in there throat and all through their digestive tract, with potentially DEADLY results of perforation throughout their system. I cannot stress enough how DANGEROUS this can be. PLEASE DON’T FEED COOKED CHICKEN (or pork), WITH BONES, to you animals. (A friend lost their beloved pet by doing this = Heartbreaking). I don’t mean to be the “pet food Nazi”, but It’s just That important. You can call a vet’s office before you decide to make changes in your pets diet & ask them re: what you want to do & ask if it’s safe. They are usually more than happy to tell you what’s best/worst. BTW, while they can’t eat white potatoes, sweet potatoes are good treats for them or in their food. We dehydrate sweet potatoes, cut like french fries till they’re “chewy”. The dogs LOVE them & it’s good for their teeth. (We also cook them in their food,too) RAWHIDE Anything is another HUGE “NO-NO”. They can “swell” when saturated with saliva and cause an obstruction in their system. Rawhide=BAD! Sorry for all the gloom and doom, but we love our dogs, too, & want Yours to be healthy for a LONG time! Thanx for listening.


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