Homemade Hamburger Recipe for Dogs

This homemade dog food recipe is relatively easy to prepare. It can also be adjusted to give dogs a varied and balanced diet.

Cooking meals for a dog does take some planning and research, but it can be extremely rewarding. Dog owners can rest easy, knowing exactly what ingredients are in their dog’s food, while dogs can enjoy a different meal every day.

Maestro’s Power Burgers is a relatively easy dish to prepare. This homemade dog food recipe can also be adjusted to give dogs a varied and balanced diet.

Ingredients for Maestro’s Power Burgers

The following ingredients form the foundation of this tasty homemade dog food recipe. This can easily be customized to suit a dog’s tastes and to provide balance through variety:

  • 2 cups of ground meat (e.g., veal, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, organ meat)
  • 1 cup of grains (e.g. white rice, brown rice, barley)
  • 1 cup of vegetables – fresh or frozen (e.g., carrots, peas, lima beans, corn, sweet potato, potato, small tomato)
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. of basil
  • ¼ tsp. of rosemary
  • ¼ tsp. of parsley
  • 5 shakes of black pepper
  • up to 1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)

These ingredients can be doubled to make a larger batch. For more information on the types of foods that can be included in a home-prepared diet for dogs, read Dr. Ihor Basko’s Pet Nutrition: Guidelines for Feeding Your Pets.

Portion Control for Maestro’s Power Burgers

Prior to making Maestro’s Power Burgers, one should calculate portion sizes. Raw4Dogs has an online calculator. The site also makes adjustments for if the dog is overweight, underweight or if it is a puppy.

The calculator bases the meal portion size on feeding a dog 2 meals a day. If one is feeding a dog 3 meals a day, take the daily total and divide by three.

Preparing and Cooking Maestro’s Power Burgers

  1. Cook the grains.
  2. Lightly oil a cookie sheet, baking dish or muffin tins.
  3. Chop or puree the vegetables.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked grains, vegetables, egg, vegetable oil and herbs.
  5. Add the ground meat to the bowl. Mix together all ingredients.
  6. Using a measuring cup, scoop out the equivalent to one meal and place on the baking sheet (or in a muffin tin).
  7. Repeat Step #7 until the baking sheet is full.
  8. If the hamburgers are a little too high, squish them down a bit with a spatula.
  9. Lightly cook the burgers by either broiling or searing them until the outside of the burgers are brown.
  10. Let cool before serving.
  11. Feed the dog one serving, based on the portion size calculation made in the previous section. Some dogs may prefer to have their burgers broken into smaller bite-sized chunks.
  12. Extra portions can be frozen and reheated one serving at a time. Microwave a serving for 45 seconds to 1 minute to defrost and warm up the burger.

To ensure that a dog is getting the requisite ratio of food sources, various "sides" can be added, so long as the portion sizes are observed. Fresh fruit, vegetables and cheese are some examples of side dishes. Some dogs may require lactose-free cheese.

As cooked food is depleted of enzymes dogs need to digest properly, owners can give digestive enzymes for dogs. They can also give dog supplements, such as Brewer’s Yeast and calcium supplements, to avoid holes in their dog's diet. However, lightly cooking the burgers by broiling or searing does preserve most nutrients, according to vet Dr. Per Schonbeck in his Pet-Nutrition-Advice article, “How Is Your Dog Food Damaged By Its Processing".

What Dog Owners Should Know Before Cooking Meals for Their Dogs

No single homemade dog food recipe will meet all of a dog’s nutritional requirements. In "Introduction to Homemade Diets for Dogs" in Whole Dog Journal (April 2007), Mary Straus advises dog owners to strive for nutritional balance over time. The type of meat (and the cut), grains and vegetables should be varied to make certain that their dog's nutritional needs are met.

Owners who plan to switch to a home-prepared diet for their dogs should consult with a veterinarian to determine the dog’s nutritional requirements. They can also ask the veterinarian to adjust a couple of recipes to get the right balance when making homemade dog food.

Related Reading:

Benefits of a Homemade Pet Diet

Dr. Good Pet: ingredients and dog food recipes

Homemade Pet Food Done Right

What You Should Know Before You Cook for Your Dog

Originally published July 19, 2010 on Suite101.com. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca & Maestro.