Nutritious And Delicious Homemade Pet Food Recipes
What better way to pam-purr your four-legged friend than with a nutritious and delicious home-cooked meal? With many UK supermarkets warning of a national pet food shortage due to a rise in the number of doggies and moggies purchased over lockdown, there’s never been a more fitting time to don your best chef toque and apron and get creative in the kitchen.
If you’re stuck on where to start or simply need some guidance on how to make your very own wholesome pouches, OnBuy is here to lend a helping paw - think of us as your gourmet gastronomic fairy godmother! We’d love to enlighten you on some of the healthiest recipes out there, offering handy tips, tricks and suggestions along the way. After all, who doesn’t want to leave those tails enthusiastically wagging with delight?!
We all know that the way to an animal’s heart is through their stomach, and there’s no better diet than healthy, homemade feasts. Whether you’re a new pet parent or an expert in all things domestic, we’ve separated the wheat from the chaff to give you the absolute cream of collations in one easy-to-follow article. Read on to discover your new foodie favourites!
Sourcing all the essential equipment
Cooking at home offers what shop-bought food cannot, and that’s an assortment of flavours, textures and seasonings. More importantly, it contributes to a healthy digestion, thicker coat, and increased vitamins and nutrients, which help to promote stronger immune systems in the long run. Best of all, you may not even have to prepare all of your pet’s meals at once: adding some commercial kibble to a whole egg, can of cooked salmon, or portion of mixed raw vegetables can be a natural and enticing snack (without the nasties or preservatives commonly found in pouches). Feel free to chop and change the recipes below to suit your hungry companion and maintain their wellbeing.
To begin your culinary journey, it’s crucial to first source all the necessary equipment. Here at OnBuy, we stock a wide variety of essential tools and utensils that’ll help you save a heap of hassle and money when making those all-important meals. From rice cookers to mashers, splatter screens to saucepans, there really is no end to the accessories and appliances available from our online shelves. Looking to cut your pet food preparation time in half? Invest in these functional fittings!
If sieves and spatulas aren’t your bag, why not buy some premium cat and dog food bowls to upgrade their dining experience in a paw-sitively pleasing style? Yes, forget Michelin-starred restaurants, you can create your own beautiful banquet from the comfort of your kitchen.
Of course, before getting your culinary creativity underway, it’s always best to check that the ingredients you’re using are safe for your beloved pets to eat. Some foods that are perfectly fine for human consumption are actually toxic to our companions, so thorough research is essential to ensure you’re serving up a safe and scrumptious meal. And, just like us, each pet is likely to have slightly different dietary requirements. From allergies and intolerances to variations in nutritional needs, what one pet can happily eat may be entirely different to that of another. To keep your precious pet in tip-top shape, always consult your vet before going down the home-cooked route.
The ultimate doggy delicacy
Let’s start with homemade dog food. Just like humans, pups need all the same essential food groups that keep us feeling healthy, nurtured, and thoroughly well looked-after. As omnivores, dogs need a balanced diet made up of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid any cuts of meat that are too fatty, rich, or covered in seasoning, and opt for high-quality, lean protein sources instead. Pair your protein with a moderate helping of grains, such as rice, wheat, barley, or oats, as a healthy source of carbs. To keep your home-cooked delicacies rich in vitamins and minerals, choose a variety of green veg, including broccoli, kale, spinach, and green beans, which are packed with fibre and calcium. Dog supplements and vitamins are another great way to boost the nutritional content of your culinary creations, but you should always consult your vet before adding these to your dog’s diet.
When it comes to canine comforts, always be sure to avoid: alcohol, almonds, avocadoes, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, garlic, grapes, onions, raisins, and mushrooms, alongside any artificial sweeteners.
We like to call the following recipe ‘Darn Delicious’ because, put simply, it jolly well is! Wholesome, wonderfully easy to make, and suitably inexpensive, it’s also the perfect meal to prepare in large batches, freezing as single servings to be thawed throughout the week.
To make this set of soulful suppers, you will need:
- 192g brown rice
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 1 courgette
- 64g canned or frozen peas
- 350g chopped baby spinach
- 1.5kg ground turkey
First, heat around 400ml of water in a large saucepan and cook the rice according to package instructions. Set this aside to cool, to prevent your pup from burning its mouth as they tuck in. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large stockpot over a medium setting. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned (which should take around 3-5 minutes), making sure to crumble the meat into smaller bite-size pieces as it fries. Stir in the spinach, carrots, courgette, peas, and rice, until the spinach has wilted completely and the mixture has warmed through. Allow this to cool for a couple of hours, and then divide into individual containers to be enjoyed across the days to come.
A meal fit for a king (or kitten!)
Did you know that kittens are prone to most of the diseases and conditions that affect their human parents? This means that, just like us, the contents of their diet can play a huge part in the prevention of poorer health. Cheaper store-bought cat food, although convenient, is notorious for being packed with low-quality ingredients, chemical preservatives, and unnecessary fillers. So, while it may keep their hunger happy for a time, it may not necessarily have a positive impact on their health.
Homemade cat food, on the other hand, is far easier to monitor and control. You’ll see a tremendous difference in your companion’s coat and skin with this homemade alternative, due to its incredibly high moisture content (almost 70% more than that of dried kibble, in fact), which helps keep your feline hydrated, healthy, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
We’ve chosen this charming cat casserole as the meal moggy dreams are made of! Read on to give your feline friend a reason to smile this dinnertime.
To prepare this spread, you’ll need:
- 1 whole chicken (preferably free range)
- 128g brown rice
- 6 celery stalks
- 8 carrots (scrubbed but not peeled)
- 2 butternut squashes
- 2 courgettes
- 1 small broccoli crown
- Handful of green beans
Be sure to wash the chicken (to cleanse it of any nasties), then cover with boiling water in a large stewing pot. Cut all the vegetables with a sharp knife, adding them to the saucepan as you go. Next, pour in the rice and cook all the ingredients together (until the meat almost falls off the bone and the vegetables are tender). Once heated through, take time to completely debone the chicken. This is extremely important, as cooked bones can splinter and cause serious intestinal damage if swallowed or digested. Pour the casserole into a blender and blitz until the mixture is course (or about bite-sized). At this point, you may wish to package the food into meal-sized plastic bags, which can then be frozen and thawed when needed.
Moving on from homemade dog and cat food recipes, let’s now delve into the world of treats, and explore how they can be used to encourage good behaviour. With canines especially, these tasty morsels are a great way to lure and train, promoting obedience, compliance, and many other necessary skills. Rewarding your pet with these little luxuries can not only foster love and bonding between both parties involved, it can also be used to reinforce well-mannered conduct too – bonus!
The scrummy recipe below is intended to pamper every polite pooch, so reach for those oven gloves and start baking - you’re sure to set tails wagging!
For these delightful doggy delicacies, you’ll need:
- 115g canned pumpkin
- 215g natural peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol)
- 2 eggs
- 200g whole wheat flour
- 130g oats
First, preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Meanwhile, beat the pumpkin, 115g of peanut butter, and the eggs together in an electric mixer until fully combined. Gradually add in the whole wheat flour and oats, and continue to blend together.
Next, transfer the thick dough to a well-floured countertop and dust with extra flour. Gently knead until it forms a cohesive ball, and then use a rolling pin to flatten the mixture until it’s approximately 6mm thick. Employ one of our canine cookie cutters to fashion the dough into your desired shape, then transfer them to the baking sheet and cook for 20-24 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before serving or frosting (should you desire).
To make this special decoration, simply warm the remaining 100g of peanut butter for 15 seconds in a microwave, add a couple of teaspoons of flour, and stir well (loosen with extra water if needed). While the icing is still warm, spread it over the cooled cookies.
When the warmer months roll around, it might be worth thinking about super seasonal snacks, and how they can help to cool your pet down. Just as we may enjoy a refreshing tipple in the sun, so too do our furry friends appreciate a thirst-quenching burst of flavour on a summer’s afternoon.
With thousands of combinations on offer, these customisable treats couldn’t be easier to make. All you need is a blender, some silicone moulds, and a freezer… it’s really that simple! Maybe even try a paw-print or bone-shaped mould for an extra shot of cuteness.
For yummy frozen pup-sicles, like banana-berry frosties and peanut butter chillies, simply fill your moulds or ice-cube trays with a mixture of all their favourite fresh ingredients, and cool overnight for delicious, lickable treats. For felines, sprinkle some catnip over the top as an extra special luxury. Think of it as tabby hundreds and thousands!
Tempting treats for your tweeters
If you’re stuck for an afternoon activity that’ll truly bring the family together, why not create your own homemade bird food? In addition to doggies and moggies, our outdoor companions are also worthy of some tender loving care, and what better way to treat them than with some enticing suet cakes and fat balls?
To start, carefully make a small hole in the bottom of your yogurt pot. Thread the string through this opening and tie a knot on the inside (leave enough external string so that you can tie the pot to a tree or bird table). Next, allow the lard to warm to room temperature, being careful not to melt it. Cut this up into small pieces and transfer to a mixing bowl, where you should then add all the other ingredients and combine well (with fingertips). Add the seeds, raisin and cheese gradually, squidging it until the fat is held together.
Finally, fill the pots with the cake mixture and place them in the fridge to set for an hour or so. Hang outside in a quiet, visible area and watch the wild visitors flock to your garden. You may even spot a woodpecker!
Homemade is healthier!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our delicious (and nutritious!) recipe ideas, and it’s inspired you to give home-cooked pet produce a try. With some of these tasty tips and tricks up your sleeve, even the fussiest of felines and pickiest of pups are sure to enjoy every moreish mouthful!
For even more inspiration, why not invest in one of our convenient cookbooks? Packed with a plethora of quick, easy, and totally tasty treats for your favourite four-legged friend, these paw-fect page turners are a must-have for all pet owners looking to get creative in the kitchen. From cookies, to cat food, to natural vegan alternatives, there really is something for every pet and preference.
Remember to always keep any dietary restrictions and requirements in mind when cooking your gourmet creations. Switching to homemade meals is likely to positively affect your pets in the long-run, but be sure to double-check any major nutritional changes with your vet first.
The information in this blog is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.