Update on this entry! Eight years ago I shared a turkey/rice/beef/sweet potato recipe, and while many people used it or variations and their dogs did superbly well, times change, we all keep learning and growing, so I am going at the bottom of this entry, to add an updated version. At the time I wrote this entry, I was working with a vet who felt turkey was always preferable to chicken; I have a world of respect for that vet but his preference has not turned out to be true in my clinical experience since then.Many clients also find it very difficult to get turkey year round – and as long as the dog does well on chicken, we can use it.  I also no longer use lentils in home made diets (or any legume) unless there is a clearcut reason to do so, such as some liver disease or severe atopy – in light of the current concerns with diets high in legumes and taurine-deficient cardiomyopathy(more to follow if this is new to you) The newer recipe has only 18.7% carb as opposed to the 34% of the 2011 version; no canned sardines, no rice and several other changes. Not that his new recipe is ideal for all 50 pound dogs; some may do better with less fat, or higher carb, or different fiber sources…and even if it were, other recipes/foods should be included in the diet. Variety won’t guarantee adequacy or balance, but there are many other good reasons to use a wide range of foods! So, scroll to the bottom and check out the changes..


2011 Version


This recipe provides 7815 calories, slightly above our 7700 goal but remember, this is a very flexible number!  percentage-wise it breaks down as  33.9 from protein, 32 from fat and 34.1 from carbohydrate. That translates as 644.3 grams from protein ( more than twice the RA)  263 from fat and 92 grams of fiber.My aim is as always, to obtain as much nutrient as possible from food, and minimize the essential supplements I have to add – and, to support  bodily systems- cardiovascular, liver, kidney, immune, digestive, nervous – by using moderate levels of nutrient and foods that  have been shown to help prevent cancer.

Remember, the numbers are only the starting point. They’re essential, but they are never the whole story.

Here’s Recipe One. 🙂

Please us a food scale to measure gram weights – much more precise than going by volume (cups). I include cups here to give you a starting reference of how much of each food you will be using.

One Week recipe for a Fifty Pound Dog

  1. )  10 cups (1400 grams) dark meat turkey, roasted, skin included, diced

2) 6 cans (504 grams) water packed sardines, drained and mashed

3)1 cup (145 grams) poached beef heart, diced

4) 2 0unces (56.7 grams) poached and diced beef liver

5) 5 cups(975 grams) very well cooked brown rice, measured warm (NOTE: please pre-rinse and soak the rice for about two hours with several changes of water. See entry  here:

6) 6 cups (1968 grams) cooked and mashed sweet potato (I recommend peeling first, cutting in smallish chunks and boiling just till done )

7) 1.5 cups( 286 grams) well cooked lentils (rinsed and cooked till very soft,  please don’t substitute canned)

8) 1 cup(97 grams) steamed and chopped broccoli florets

Combine all of the above – all are COOKED WEIGHTS – and mix thoroughly. you will have a big sticky  mixture, but you can and should add some warmed water to the food before offering it. Since this is a one week batch, you can go ahead and add the WEEKLY supplements to it before dividing and freezing. To balance this recipe, you MUST add the following:

1) 6.5 level teaspoons of NOW calcium carbonate – for a total of 7800 mgs

2) 8 of these at 150 mgcs each, for a total of 1200


3) 60 mgs zinc – in total for the week – I recommend this Picolinate from Thorne:


4) One capsule of this manganese bisglycinate, or any quality 15 mg product you prefer:


You will scoop, crush or empty the capsules into the big batch, and mix thoroughly.Since we have so much good, bioavailable nutrient from the food –  we don’t need a lot of supplement- you’ll notice just a little zinc and manganese, for example. A few others need to be added fresh daily, but with the addition of calcium, manganese, kelp and zinc, you are ready to divide the food into 7 portions of equal size, wrap them up and freeze. I know it’s hard to get away from plastic, but try to find alternatives: I wrap my food in  parchment and stuff it in large sized coffee cans. Just don’t overfill the cans or you will never get it out!

I generally freeze 5 days right away, and start defrosting as needed.

The last steps;divide the one-day portion up into 2-3 servings, and make sure it is gently warmed. Each day I will have you add:

  1. 200IU of natural vitamin E

2.  one level teaspoon of a good quality coconut oil such as Nutiva

3.   half a Bcomplex – that’s a standard B50 – not a time released or stress B, just a plain 50 like this one.


4. 500 mgs taurine – always a good idea!


That brings the Bvitamins well over the RA, but these are water soluble nutrients that offer tremendous health benefits at higher doses (more on that later) and we are nowhere near a SUL (safe upper limit) even if we gave a full one daily.

I recommend dividing the oil into two servings, using a half teaspoon morning and night.

If your dog has thyroid disease, substitute green beans for the broccoli.

Many people like to leave the greens out of the large batch and cook/add fresh daily. That’s fine, too.

There are a whole host of additional supplement that can be great for your dog’s health – probiotics, spirulina,  fish oils and many, many herbs – but I like to  wean the dog onto the diet first, watch for a few weeks and then consider what I think is most beneficial. I suggest using your own sense of your dog to decide whether he can go straight onto this diet or needs a moderate level of introduction, weaning off from whatever he’s eating now. Sometimes, there is a little soft stool for a day or two; that’s not an emergency, but it should not be liquid or lasting. Many people fear the lentils but I have almost never seen a reaction – once, a sensitive GSD had some gas, so we just removed them. If they make you uneasy, leave them out, feed one week without and then try adding them in. It’s only a cup a week and they are loaded with health benefits.
Final comments; I’ve started with a weeklong recipe because I’ve found that people with medium-to-larger dogs prefer it that way.  you can of course make the meals fresh every day – if I get requests for one-day versions, I can offer those too.
please get organic rice whenever you can, and rinse, rinse, rinse.


By all means use low sodium sardines if you have any worries about the content, but it really is within safe limits for a healthy dog, and there’s a lot of potassium here from the sweet potato to balance it.

If your dog has been on kibble he will *probably* drink less.


And here now, is a 2019 updated version – using more organs, lower total carb, and no lentils.

To make the recipe(in about the same calorie range, which is to say around the middle),  Here is what you would do.

Note that all quantities are for cooked weight unless otherwise specified.
Combine the following:

1)         984 grams peeled, boiled and mashed sweet potato

2)         1960 grams skinless roasted dark meat chicken, diced

3)     150 grams simmered chicken livers

4)     672 grams well cooked buckwheat groats

5)   10 whole large eggs, cooked to her preference (soft or medium boiled for most dogs)

6)     170 grams boiled, peeled and diced beets

7)     160 grams beef kidney,  diced

8) 2 ounces poached beef live

9) 255 grams lean (5% fat) ground beef

10) 8 fluid ounces wholefat (4%) plain yogurt

To the batch here, you would need to add(in the absence of bone, which wasn’t factored in to the totals):

  • Calcium – 8 ¼     calcium carbonate (NOW)
  • Zinc – about 50 mgs
  • Magnesium –  200 mgs of  any good quality magnesium – citrate or glycinate

Next, you simply divide the batch with supplements mixed in, into 7 portions of equal weight. Each  portion represents one day of food for your moderately active, adult 50 pound dog. You should freeze 5 of them right away and then defrost as needed. You can use some warm water to smooth consistency, and make food more palatable, but don’t over heat or boil.

The following supplements should be added to her food directly, every day:

  • Fish oil, 1 tsp daily: http://www.iherb.com/Nordic-Naturals-Omega-3-Pet-For-Dogs-16-fl-oz-473-ml/39639?at=0
  • Vitamin D, between 800 and 1000 IU per week
  • about 10 -12 mgs manganese
  • Daily –  1/2 of one 500 mgs taurineI would like to see some other veggies added, in rotation – cooked or well pulped, and “the rainbow” – maybe think about red cabbage, blueberries, purple carrots, a cruciferous like broccoli (cooked) and some leafy greens like kale. Small amounts through the week, and either a smidgeon of tomato paste or a little rosehip powder (my preference) for lycopene and Vitamin C (Roses are anti inflammatory, tomato the opposite, but the small amount we add isn’t likely to be an issue, unless the dog is super sensitive). I like to leave this part open, so my client can use what is A) seasonally available B) works well for her dog digestively and C) her dog actually likes! This recipe also needs some iodine, but we will talk more about that in a separate post, as it’s not a straightforward addition.

    Two more things; one, the beets, buckwheat and sweet potato make this a fairly high oxalate recipe, although perfectly fine for a non-stone former, it’s not for a dog who has stones or is a strong candidate to develop them. And lastly – how you want to feed these foods is really up to you. My dogs (and most of my clients’ dogs) love foods mixed up, warmed slightly in winter and cooler in summer – but I often leave eggs and yogurt out of the main batch, and give them as snacks or treats, fill a Kong with yogurt or use it with some blueberries, herbs and greens, to freeze for summer treating. It’s most convenient to blend the main ingredients, freeze and reheat, and it isn’t going to damage your nutrient content  significantly, although a good idea to make sure any juices are not lost when you thaw the food, and don’t reheat it vigorously.

    I could have used different foods, of course, come up with similar nutrient levels, or needed different supplements – when you learn how to use the NRC guidelines to formulate balanced recipes, you can stick to the ideal macronutrient levels, meet the RA for the micros, and use a wide variety of foods. This recipe is just one idea! And reflects more of what I am doing these days. I hope you found the comparison interesting!


1. Chicken, Broiler or Fryer, Dark Meat, no skin, roasted
14.0 of: 1 cup, chopped or diced (1960.0g)

2. Buckwheat groats, cooked, fat not added in cooking
4.0 of: 1 cup, cooked (672.0g)

3. Vege, Sweet Potato, boiled w/o skin, no salt
3.0 of: 1 cup, mashed (984.0g)

4. Beef Liver, braised
2.0 of: ounces

5. Egg, whole, boiled
10.0 of: 1 large (500.0g)

6. Chicken Liver, simmered
150.0 of: grams

7. Kidney, cooked – beef
60.0 of: grams

8. Vege, Beets, boiled, drained
2.0 of: .5 cup slices (170.0g)

9. Oil, Fish, Salmon
7.0 of: 1 tsp (31.5g)

10. Yogurt, plain, whole milk
1.5 of: 1 cup (8 fl oz) (367.5g)

11. Beef, ground, 95% lean meat / 5% fat, crumbles, cooked, pan-browned
9.0 of: ounces


Calories: 7683
Protein: 794.7 g
Carbohydrate: 351.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 46.1 g

Total Fat: 327.7 g
Saturated Fat: 97.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 114.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 71.1 g
Cholesterol: 5855 mg
Trans Fatty Acids: .744 g

Calcium: 1383 mg


Distribution of calories:
Protein: 42.2 %
Fat: 39.1 %
Carbohydrate: 18.7 %