Homemade Low-Cost Dog Food Recipe

Being a pet owner on a budget is hard.

Trust me, I get it.

Our family has four human members, 3 canine members and 7 feline members.

I pinch every penny to keep us on budget, and using this low-cost dog food recipe is just one of the ways that I save money.

We all want to provide the best quality food for our dogs, but the better the food, the more expensive it is.

Most pet parents understand that high quality commercial dog food can cost more than $5 per serving.

Did you know you can make high quality homemade dog food for less than $3 per serving?

That's a HUGE cost saving!

When it comes to reducing the cost of homemade dog food, it's all about the ingredients.

Some tips to follow when looking to cut your homemade dog food costs include:

  • buy ingredients in bulk when possible
  • try to use ingredients that you already have on hand
  • buy ingredients that are in season
  • use leftover ingredients before they go bad

This low-cost dog food recipe won't be nutritionally balanced for every dog.

It's best to ask your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist for their approval before switching your dog to any homemade diet.

They will evaluate your dog along with this recipe and help you make substitutions or additions to ensure it's nutritionally balanced for your pet.

Homemade Low-Cost Dog Food Recipe

low cost dog food recipeYou can stick closely to the recipe that I'm sharing below or you can substitute other dog-friendly veggies instead.

Just be sure that the ingredients you're adding are safe and healthy for your pet.


Homemade Low-Cost Dog Food Recipe

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The ingredients in this recipe are affordable in my region. We grow a lot of our vegetables, and my husband is an avid hunter so we have plenty of game meat in the freezer most of the time.

If venison is too expensive in your region, you could substitute ground beef, chicken or turkey instead. You could also substitute other fruits and vegetables that are in season or locally grown in your area. This will help to keep this low-cost dog food recipe as cheap as possible.

  • Author: Samantha Randall
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Cooked Food
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dog Food


  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground venison
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots (chopped)
  • 1 zucchini (chopped)
  • ½ cup celery (chopped)


Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packaging. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and cook the venison thoroughly.

I add the vegetables raw, but if you have a picky eater you can cook the veggies any way you'd like. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large pan/bowl and mix completely.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 170
  • Sugar: .6 g
  • Sodium: 14 mg
  • Fat: 2.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 20.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Serving Size Recommendation: You can serve this food to your dog as soon as it has cooled.

I recommend feeding about 1/2 cup of food for every 20-25 pounds of body weight.

This recommendation is for 2 servings per day.

So, a 25-pound dog would eat about 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup in the evening.

This is just a guideline.

Some dogs, like working dogs and very active breeds, will need more calories than this.

Lazier pets and senior dogs may not need as many.

It's best to consult your veterinarian about the appropriate serving size for you dog.

They will also help you evaluate the meal to make sure it will meet your pet's unique nutritional needs.

If necessary, they will assist you in choosing the best supplements and/or multivitamins to add.

How to store: You can store the leftover low-cost homemade dog food in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze them, and they’ll keep for up to 3 months.

Keep in mind that this recipe includes no preservatives, so that it won't last nearly as long as commercial dog food.

For More Information

We publish many homemade dog food and treats recipes every month. For more recipes, pet food cooking tips and advice, see our “Recipes” section.

If you're new to home cooked dog food subject, I recommend you read more about “How Much To Feed” to understand serving sizes, “What Supplements To Use” to create well-balanced meals, and “How To Store” for tips on simple and easy homemade dog food storing in a fridge or a freezer.

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.