Cheap and Healthy Homemade Dog Food: Turkish Yal

Kodiak being cute

In the spirit of simplicity and Minimalism, I’m adding this cheap and healthy homemade dog food recipe to my list of ways to lower the expense of owning dogs. I have two large guardian dogs; Sarge my German Rottweiler, and Kodiak my Pyrenean Mountain Dog and just like many dog owners I used to be filled with questions like Are radishes safe for dogs to eat? And what is the best food for their immune system?

So believe me, I know how expensive it can get feeding big dogs! Thankfully, I found a Turkish dog food recipe that cut the amount of money I spend on dog food by close to 75%. That means that I used to spend roughly $150 – $200 a month on dog food, and now I spend closer to $50, quite literally. 

This homemade dog food is not only extremely inexpensive, it’s healthy!

When I first read the ingredients, I thought there’s no way that’s good for my dogs –  I’m very particular with what I feed them. But there’s one very important thing to realize:

The shepherds feed their dogs Yal as the primary food source, but they supplement it with milk and some form of meat at least once a week.

My pups playing:

My recommendation is to supplement your dogs with raw meat at least once a week. I’ve heard of people mixing in beans as the primary protein source, and while commercial dog foods do the same thing (the primary protein source in most commercial dog food is from vegetables), I don’t think beans give them enough of the proper kind of protein.

Who knows, maybe an entirely vegetarian diet is great for dogs – I’ve actually read many articles that show this is possible – but I still prefer supplementing my dog’s diet with some good old fashioned meat, and the reason is this: Dogs are essentially domesticated wolves. Although most people think that wolves are carnivorous, this is actually only true taxonomically (they belong to the order of Carnivora). Their diet includes a wide range of omnivorous foods such as roots, berries, and other fruits.  

But the primary source of a wolf’s food is game meat.

So when I make this cheap and healthy dog food, I always remember to give my pups their fair share of doggie essentials; meat.

The Ingredients

Keep in mind that these ingredients are very rough estimates, after the first two or three times you get a good feel for how much of each item to add – I don’t measure anything at this point because I’m used to knowing how much of each ingredient I need for the right consistency.

  • 5 cups of Wheat Bran
  • 5 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 2 to 3 “glugs” of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Salt
Kodiak being cute - He loves my homemade dog food the most.

Kodiak being cute – this guy loves my homemade dog food the most.Sometimes too much… We call him Kodie-snacks because he’s a fat kid at heart.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Fill your pot with water to a little bit over 3/4 full.
  2. Stir in Flour and Wheat Bran until it smooths.
  3. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Stir in the other ingredients.

The consistency should be oatmeal-like, although the Turkish version is more watery.

And that’s it! It takes about 15-20 minutes, probably only 5-10 minutes of actual work putting it together.

But before you go out and try it, please read these last few tips – they’re very important:

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Do: Make sure your dogs have consistent access to bones they can chew on whenever they need to. Because Yal has nothing hard in it, it’s very unhealthy for your dog’s teeth if they don’t have a bone to gnaw.
  • Do: Consider adding eggs – I almost always add a few eggs to supplement their chow beyond the weekly meat source.
  • Do: Add veggies if you want – I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt, and many dog experts advise it.
  • Do: Throw in your food leftovers instead of throwing them out – your dogs will love them, and it saves money over the long run. Just make sure you don’t give them unhealthy human foods like chocolate, tomatoes (supposedly), or raw potatoes (just a few examples). 
  • Do: Consult your veterinarian about the diet for your own peace of mind and additional information.
  • Don’t: Feed them the food right away – it will be scalding hot, and if your dogs aren’t cautious, they can get burned.
  • Don’t: Forget the bones and supplemental meat! Once a week for the meat – daily bones (get the solid pork bones from the store, they can last for years)
  • Don’t: Get too creative with flour substitute: Your dogs do need a good amount of grains and wheat, so stick with the wheat bran and wheat flour – oats are a good substitute for the wheat bran too.

Pretty simple, and very affordable – and my dogs love it. I’m sure yours will too!


UPDATE: Here’s the video how-to, with the final product shown at the end:



  1. Sam Hill April 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Good post! Enjoyed the video too.


    • Josh April 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Oh my gosh I’m glad you reminded me – I need to add the video to this post! Thanks Sam! (:


  2. thesofasurfa July 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Even though I don’t have a dog (I do want one someday when I am relatively stable) I have been thinking a lot about the commercial dog food available and wondering if it is actually any good for dogs. If the human food sold in supermarkets is anything to go by I would imagine that it really isn’t. I haven’t looked into it in detail though, what do you think? Love your Pyrenean 🙂


    • Josh July 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Thanks, he’s a good one for sure (:

      Dogs are extremely adaptable – maybe not as versatile as we are, but still, it’s surprising what they can eat and be happy. My dad’s friend had a Border Collie that lived to be 20 (I think the average is 12ish?). People would always ask him what he fed his dog because he lived so long. They were shocked when he told them he only fed his dog white rice and nothing else.

      Now I wouldn’t personally recommend that, but it’s probably better than most commercial dog food, which is primarily corn, soy, and animal byproduct. McDonald’s food would be slightly worse.

      Again, they’ll eat it and will probably be happy (and even healthy with good exercise) with it – and I don’t look down on anyone who gives their dogs commercial food. But homemade food is nice because you know exactly what they’re getting.



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