4 All-Natural Pet food recipes you can make at home

Kitten and dog lounging together

When you grocery shop for your family, you probably do your best to avoid foods with tons of preservatives, hard-to-pronounce ingredients, and other unhealthy stuff. You know that homemade is always better, so you most likely skip prepared foods when possible and opt to craft meals from scratch in your own kitchen. But do you do the same when it comes to your furry friends? With Earth Day on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what you’re feeding to Mother Nature’s animals (at least, the ones that live in your home), and how the production of store-bought pet foods might impact the environment. So instead of buying pet food or treats, try making one of these simple DIY dog and cat food recipes the next time you run out of kibble:

  1. Homemade dog food — beef stew [Life at Cloverhill]. Deciding to start crafting your own pet food doesn’t magically free up time or money, so keep it simple (and cheap) with recipes like this doggy-friendly beef stew. It contains a mere four ingredients: ground beef (or chicken or turkey), a large potato or sweet potato, a medium carrot, and half a cup of frozen peas. Don’t feel like you have to go the filet mignon route for this recipe, either; anything you would eat is good enough for your dog, even if that’s not top-tier ground beef. Saute the meat, dice and add the potato and carrots, then dump enough water on top so that everything can simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the frozen peas and your stew is ready to eat or freeze.
  2. Chicken jerky for dogs [Money Crashers]. Maybe you’re just looking to make a quick snack for your pooch. In that case, try this surprisingly simple chicken jerky recipe. It has even fewer ingredients than the stew: just chicken. Start by warming up your oven and slicing extra fat from the chicken breasts, then slice the meat as thin as possible (you’re aiming for ⅛-inch-thick strips). Bake the thin strips for two hours, making sure that it has a tough jerky consistency before you remove it from the oven, then let it cool and stow in an airtight container. Keep the jerky refrigerated, and it’ll last for up to two weeks.
  3. Bow Wow Brunch [The Bark]. If you already know that your dog likes dairy, then this is the perfect morning mash-up for him. It contains a mix of cooked oatmeal and plain yogurt, cottage cheese and safflower oil, a mashed banana and mango, and a cored and chopped apple or pear. If it sounds a little bit like your own overnight oats, then you and your pooch are both doing something right in the morning. No need to cook this smorgasbord (except for the oatmeal); just combine and refrigerate.
  4. Salmon cat treats [The Cookie Rookie]. If you have a feline at home, she deserves a home-baked treat just as much as a canine. Start small and simple with this three-ingredient salmon cat treat recipe. All you need are 10 ounces of undrained canned salmon, a beaten egg, and two cups of whole-wheat flour to create the dough. Roll it out and slice it up however you like (you can even use cookie cutters if you’re feeling extra creative), then bake for 20 minutes until the treats are golden brown.