Is Homemade Dehydrated Dog Food as Effective as They Say?

Dry dog food is commonly used, despite the fact that canines need a lot of water to survive. The best dry dog food will contain the right proportion of ingredients for digestion and health.

The dog food brands that are most popular use preservatives and questionable ingredients. You can replace corn meals, GMOs and protein substitutes with the perfect balance of nutrients for any breed or age of dog, very inexpensively.

In fact, we’ll show you why it’s possible to save money with homemade dehydrated dog food. First, let’s talk about how to make it and what you need to get started.

A guide to healthy dog food

Healthy dog food is actually simple to prepare, and may save you money. Dehydrated dog food will include treats, like sweet potato, pumpkin and chicken jerky, as well as comprehensive meal plans.

Generally speaking, dog food should be composed of the following:

  • 50% veggies
  • 40% protein
  • 10% carbs
  • Calcium, fat and fatty acids

When you dehydrate food, its nutrients and flavors will concentrate, resulting in fewer calories. Using Kale, broccoli, spinach or green beans fresh from your garden will provide a whole food source of calcium.

Natural foods also contain more nutrients with fewer unhealthy by-products, generally speaking. This includes preservatives, because you can dry and store large amounts of dog food for months at a time, or longer. This is easy to achieve by dehydrating and sealing it to protect it from bacteria and oxidation.

How to make your own natural dog food

We’re going to share a recipe that you can use and adopt as needed. This works equally well as puppy food, considering that you can process the dehydrated result and mix it with warm water to reconstitute into wet puppy chow.

  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 ½ cups pumpkin or squash
  • 1 cup peas
  • 6 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Start by cooking the rice and setting it aside. Brown the ground turkey with hot olive oil in a large stock pot, then add in and cook the remaining ingredients, including the brown rice. Let it cool for about 30 minutes.

Place the mixed recipe into the trays of your dehydrator machine. Spread evenly, about ¼” thick, until you’ve filled all of your dehydrator trays, or you’ve run through the entire batch.

Set the temperature to 125 degrees F and desiccate until completely dry. This dog food will retain about 5% of its moisture, but you’ll know that it’s done when it’s dry to the touch. Let it cool for another 30 minutes.

It’s ideal to store this dehydrated dog food in vacuum-sealed bags. Zip-lock bags work just fine when kept in the refrigerator for at least 2 months, but won’t have as long of a shelf life. Use portions that will last you approximately 1 week, so that it stays fresh after you’ve opened the bag.

Good dog food isn’t so hard to find

You may notice that homemade dehydrated dog food will actually allow you to save money. It may seem like a complex procedure, but you can cook and dehydrate recipes like this all in one sitting. You can also increase the size of your batches to save time throughout the year.

Your dog may have special requirements. They may be lactose intolerant, or on a low-fat or low-sodium diet. Speak to your veterinarian about the ideal foods and nutrients for your pets.

large dehydrator, especially when it’s a quality model, will provide stability and strength for any family!


  1. This is really interesting and good information. My older dog had kidney issues, so I switched him off commercial dog kibble to Dr. Harvey’s dehydrated (which you top with fresh protein) and that cleared up his kidney problems in 6 months. I’ve been trying to find something that’s more affordable. How long will the dehydrated food last you think, if I dehydrate a food base without the meat? The same length of time? I just got a dehydrator, so will be trying this. Thanks!


    • Hi, Hana;

      The shelf life of dehydrated dog food depends on a few factors. Oxidation (exposure to oxygen) is a major contributor to spoilage, and if you’re using vacuum-sealed bags, the dog food could potentially last for years. Oxygen absorber packs can also increase this storage time, if you only have access to zip-lock bags, for example.

      In any case, it’s recommended to pack portions to last for up to a month. This way, you can continue to use the same bag without it going bad, while the remaining batches are fresh in their packaging.

      The storage time of homemade dog food will also depend on the amount of moisture, oil and fat content. Since you’re not using meat, you can safely reduce up to 95% of the moisture content to prevent bacteria growth, and expect much longer storage times. I would recommend using a small amount of warm water to reconstitute the dry food, and make it easier to digest.

      Liked by 1 person

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