The biggest danger of making homemade meals is nutrient deficiency.

While many commercial canine edible products already have added nutritional elements, dealing with dog supplements for homemade dog food is actually a little tricky.

If you follow my articles, you know that I share homemade dog food recipes every week.

After publishing them, I'm often flooded with emails from pet owners asking me which dog supplements should be added to the recipe for a well-balanced meal.

Dog Supplements

This is a fundamental question. But unfortunately, there is no simple answer. 

…supplements intended for companion animals do not fall under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994…

According to a study by Dr. Carrie J. Finno, dog supplements unfortunately undergo less regulatory attention.

This is why essential supplements in a homemade dog food recipe will highly depend on your Fido's health needs and the recipe itself.

Some homemade recipes can provide most of the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs through its ingredients, but that's very rare.

So, I decided to share this guide on dog supplements for homemade dog food to shed some light on this important aspect.

In the video above and the article below, I'll explain which supplements should be added to homemade dog food recipes.

Plus, when and how these dog supplements may change over time and the best resources to use.

Popular Dog Supplements

There are now plenty of dog owners that give their dogs dietary supplements.

Dogs are now benefiting from it to counter different illnesses or even aging.

However, always keep in mind that it would be best to consult with your vet first to make sure that a proper assessment is given.

So as promised, here are popular dog supplements and what they're used for:

Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics are dog supplements that are known for the following benefits:

  • Help fight infections
  • Stronger immune system
  • Help aid digestive problems

What's more, probiotics also make vitamins and nutrients that can help the dog's microbiome or gut bacteria.

When there's a change in their microbiome, there can be health issues like diarrhea, allergies, obesity, and cramping.

And as the journal from the National Library of Medicine states:

“Since probiotics are capable of altering the microbiota and immune responses in the gut, they seem to be promising future tools for IBD risk reduction and nutritional therapy.”

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract in dogs.

Clinical signs of IBD include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

And according to Cornell University, your dogs need 1-10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) a day.

This dosage helps your dog balance its gut environment and prevents tummy-related problems.

Fish Oil

Secondly, another popular dog supplement is fish oil, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids and EPA/DHA.

Fish Oil for dogs can be bought in liquid or capsule form.

Generally, it's easier to handle the liquid form than the capsule because some dogs don't really like taking tablets.

So, if your dogs have fish oil in their diet, they'll enjoy the following benefits:


Antioxidants are dog supplements that help protect against cellular damage.

It also helps neutralize the effects of chronic inflammation.

However, if your dog lacks antioxidants, this can lead to a number of health problems, such as:

  • Skin allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Eye problems
  • Arthritic joints
  • Respiratory diseases


One of the most popular over-the-counter arthritis medicines is glucosamine.

As dogs age, they are more prone to suffer from arthritis.

And adding glucosamine to your dog's food helps relieve pain caused by hip dysplasia.

It also helps with the treatment of spinal disc injury.

Glucosamine supplements can boost the repair of damaged cartilage, too.

Using Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food

Essential Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food

Why You Need Supplements for Homemade Dog Food

Even the best dog food recipes recommended by veterinarians and canine nutritionists (such as those in our free eBook) may not always supply enough vitamins and minerals a dog needs.

Every homemade dog food recipe will vary and provide different vitamins and minerals, depending on the ingredients used.

Supplements for homemade dog food depend on 2 factors:

(1) nutrients missing from the recipe's ingredients

(2) your dog's current health and individual needs

In a 2013 study from the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, 200 homemade dog food recipes were evaluated.

The recipes came from 34 different sources, including pet care books, websites, and even veterinary textbooks.

Researchers evaluated the ingredients used in these recipes and the instructions for preparing the food.

They found that only 9 of the recipes provided the essential nutrients in adequate concentrations to meet the minimum standards set for adult dogs' Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

And of those 9 recipes that met AAFCO minimum standards, only 5 recipes provided the essential nutrients in adequate concentrations set for adult dogs by the National Research Council.

This means that:

Only 2.5% of the recipes out of 200 evaluated provided adequate nutrients for adult dogs, according to the AAFCO and the NRC.

Adding Dog Supplements to Homemade Dog Food Is Tricky

Adding Dog Supplements to Homemade Dog Food Is Tricky

Generally, it doesn't matter where you get your dog food recipes.

Whether you pick something from our list of best recipes or recommended by your veterinarian, they may not be 100% nutritionally balanced.

Most of them will have a good balance of calories and macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) but not vitamins/minerals.

And to reach that optimal number for your pup, you will need to add dog food supplements.

This means you need to familiarize yourself beforehand with your dog's nutritional requirements and how much homemade food to feed your pet.

Dog Supplements

Based on that, you can add supplements.

However, choosing multivitamin supplements for dogs can be tricky.

For example:

Let's say that you are feeding a recipe that already meets your dog's needs for calcium.

If you give a dog a multivitamin supplement that contains extra calcium, it could suffer from calcium toxicity or hypercalcemia over time.

Conversely, a homemade dog food recipe that's not 100% nutritionally balanced and lacks supplements can make your dog nutritionally deficient.

I'm trying to get across the point that there's no answer to a question such as:

“What dog supplements for homemade dog food do I need to add?

There are too many variables, and you will have to figure them out based on your individual situation.

How to choose the best Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food

(1) Know your dog's individual nutritional needs, which include calories, macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). It's best to ask a vet or canine nutritionist to assess your pet and help you to figure these numbers out. Write them down and keep them close.

Salmon Oil for Dogs

(2) Choose a list of homemade dog food recipes that already come as close to meeting your pet's nutritional needs as possible (ideally, show it to your vet).

(3) Calculate which nutrients are missing completely from those recipes or where their RDA levels do not reach the necessary concentration for what your dog needs.

(4) Based on those numbers, buy all the necessary dog supplements and add them to the recipe to make up for the missing micronutrients while being careful not to add too much.

This may seem daunting.

And it does require some extra work initially.

But once you've gone through the initial stages, you won't have to do this again (unless your dog's health condition changes).

As long as you're aware of all those numbers, there are plenty of common vitamins for dogs and probiotic supplements that you can choose from.

Dog Supplements I Commonly Use in My Homemade Dog Food Recipes
Dog supplements that I commonly use in my recipes.

Before Using Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food

The safest way to do this properly is to speak with a canine nutritionist or veterinarian who is well-versed in canine nutrition (not all vets are).

Talk to them about your dog's current nutritional requirements, what dog supplements for homemade dog food you can use, and their dosage.

Nature Vet Dog Supplement

In the above photo, you can see which dog food supplements I commonly use in my own homemade dog food recipes. You're likely to use many of those as well. Here are some common dog supplement recommendations to add to your homemade dog food recipes:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamins A & E
  • Protein supplements
  • Multivitamin supplements
  • Hip and joint supplements
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids (fish oil)

And some good brands of dog supplements you can buy and use in homemade recipes include:

  1. Salmon Oil for Dogs and Cats
  2. NaturVet All-in-One Dog Supplement
  3. Zesty Paws Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs
  4. Grizzly All-Natural Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon Oil Dog Food Supplement

Things to Avoid in Making Homemade Dog Food

Creating a well-balanced diet using homemade dog foods is a bit tricky.

There are still a lot of things to consider when making them.

And in making a homemade dog food diet, you'd have to be consistent and careful.

We all want what's best for our pup, so here's a quick list of things you have to avoid in making homemade dog food:

  1. Overfeeding
  2. Inconsistent Recipe
  3.  Unhealthy Ingredients
  4.  Using untrusted brands

Cons of Homemade Dog Food

Preparing food for a dog is a much harder process than preparing your own.

You'd have to consider the proper nutrients that your pup needs to be healthy.

That's because some nutrients can be missed in making these types of foods.

Plus, making homemade dog foods can be costly, too.

Don't Forget to Make Adjustments When Needed

Even after you've figured out the exact numbers and your recipes are now 100% well-balanced, sometimes you may need to make small adjustments.

Many variables affect the nutrients your dog's body needs to get from a meal each day.

And what you add to your homemade dog foods most commonly depends on a lot of factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Breed
  • Weight
  • Activity level
  • Environment
  • Medical history
  • Current health condition

For example, if your dog has just been diagnosed with some ailment, you will have to adjust your pet's meals and the dog food supplements you're using.

Additionally, along with the ingredients used in recipes, the preparation and storage of those homemade dog food meals will also affect the nutrients included in the recipe.

For example, heating and freezing certain homemade dog foods may destroy some nutrients.

By doing some research and a little math, you'll figure out all the dog supplements for homemade dog food that will be required.

Even if you have the time to do all of this research on your own, I highly recommend consulting a canine nutritionist about your pet's homemade diet.

It's the only way to be completely sure that your dog is getting the nutrition that he needs, and you can cover yourself in just a single consultation.

Dog Supplements

Common Questions About Supplements for Homemade Dog Food

Want quick answers to your questions about supplements for homemade dog food?

We’ve carefully gathered the most common questions and answers to give you the most important information about doggie supplements. 

What Supplements Are Needed for Homemade Dog Food?

The supplements you need will depend on the ingredients you include in your homemade dog food. Most, for example, will need calcium supplements.

But you can get around this by adding crushed eggshells. 

Should I Add Vitamins to Homemade Dog Food?

Don’t ever add human vitamins to your homemade dog food. You can, however, add dog supplements for homemade dog food.

Grizzly All-Natural Oil Dog Food Supplement

The key is that they should be made for dogs, as they have unique nutrition requirements compared to humans. 

What Are the Best Ingredients for Homemade Dog Food?

As pet parents, the best ingredients for homemade dog food will include high-quality protein sources, healthy carbs like vegetables or grains, fat, calcium, and essential fatty acids. 

Do Vets Recommend Homemade Dog Food?

Some vets may recommend homemade dog food, but it depends on your ability to deliver the nutrients your dog needs.

You have to be very careful to ensure your dog gets a balanced diet if you give him homemade dog food. That is why supplements and regular vet checkups are so important. 

Is Making Homemade Dog Food Cheaper?

It can be cheaper to make your dog homemade dog food, but that is not always the case. Because you want to focus on high-quality ingredients, it can be more expensive per serving than you realize.

However, making the food at home gives you the flexibility to buy ingredients on sale and get creative to reduce the cost. 

What Minerals Does Your Dog Need in His Diet?

There are plenty of minerals that your dog needs to attain his diet.

These minerals are divided into two groups — macrominerals and microminerals.

Macrominerals require large quantities as micro minerals require minimal quantities.

Furthermore, here are some of the minerals needed for your dog's diet:

Zesty Paws Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs

  • Sulfur
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Copper
  • Fluorine
  • Selenium
  • Chromium

Are Dog Supplements Essential for Homemade Food?

Dog supplements are placed due to the missing vitamins and minerals present in the homemade food.

Senior dogs can benefit a lot from these supplements because of their other health-related issues.

However, you can't use multivitamins to cover nutritional gaps in your dog's homemade food.

You need to carefully choose the supplement to ensure that it covers the specific gaps in your dog’s diet.

This involves analyzing your recipes for nutrients.

Can Dogs Eat Rice Every Day?

We all know that dogs don't have the same digestive system as we do.

That's why we should be extra careful in picking what to feed our pups.

“So can I feed my dogs rice every day?”

The quick answer is yes!

However, you should always be careful about how much rice you are putting in each day.

Dogs generally can have about 10% of their calorie intake a day.

Adding more can add unwanted weight to your dogs or even digestive problems.

And if you're planning a rice diet for your dogs, keep in mind that you should always buy high-quality rice.

Note: Always make sure to wash the rice to get rid of chemical residues.

Also, there is a difference in feeding white rice versus brown rice to your dogs.

You're in good hands whether you pick white or brown, but brown has more nutritional value.

That's because brown rice contains insoluble fiber and natural bran oil that can the prevent effects of Alzheimer's.

What's more, brown rice can also prevent cell damage.

Homemade Dog Food The Complete Guide

Alternatives for Dog Food

There comes a time when you can run out of dog food.

Luckily, there are homemade foods that are healthy alternatives for this.

But not all of the food that we're eating is appropriate for our pups.

We should still always be careful with allergies and other health conditions.

So, I'm sharing with you some examples of healthy homemade alternatives for dog foods:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Salmon
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Pumpkin
  5. Peanut Butter
  6. Cooked Chicken
  7. Canned Vegetables
  8. Cooked Boneless Fish
  9. Boneless Cooked Meat
  10. Mild Cheese (Beware for Lactose Intolerant Dogs)

Human Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog

Planning your dog's homemade diet is not as easy as it looks.

And unfortunately, some human foods can be very harmful to dogs.

The reason?

Dogs don't have the same metabolism as humans.

Not only is it unhealthy for them, but in severe cases, can lead to death.

That said, take note of the following human foods to avoid feeding your pup:

  • Milk
  • Garlic
  • Yeast
  • Xylitol
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee/Tea

Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food: Before You Go…

Quality commercial dog foods already have the nutrients needed for our pups.

However, if you're planning to switch to homemade foods, there are still plenty of things to consider.

Dog supplements, for one, help fight nutrient deficiency.

But the essential supplements needed for your dog can only be determined by vets and canine nutritionists.

Remember: Dogs have different kinds of needs.

It is important to consult with professionals to make sure that you can give the proper dog supplements.

Preparing essential supplements for homemade dog foods can be a bit difficult.

A big factor to consider is the ingredients.

And especially since your dog's digestive system is different from us humans, some ingredients can only lead to serious problems.

Lastly, with proper guidance in making homemade dog foods and the right dog supplements, we can ensure that our dogs can maintain a healthy life.


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Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food Meals You Need

Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.