Sam’s Healthwise Raw Food Cakes

Sam's Healthwise Raw Food Cakes
Our dog, Sam, died when he was a little over 20 years old. He was a large breed – a flatcoated retriever. It surprised everybody, ourselves included, that Sam lived to such a ripe old age — and he enjoyed an active happy life almost right up to the end. We feel it was at least partly because he ate such a healthy homemade raw food diet.

I developed his diet based on asking questions of my sister, Dr. Moira Drosdovech, a holistic veterinarian in Kelowna, BC … plus my own research into the diet of species like dogs (wolves, fox) and observing what Sam seemed to crave and loved to eat. It worked out for us and we are feeding this same diet to our new companion, Charlie, who came to us as a 10 year old senior. Charlie is also a flatcoat (we think he is also part afghan hound.) He is very active and seems to be thriving on the raw food diet. I’ll keep you posted!

Scroll down for the recipe.

The veggie-fruit-nuts portion of a raw dog food diet.

Sam’s Healthwise Raw Food Cakes

Makes approximately 26 cups*


  • 2 cups rice (brown or white)
  • 4 cups unsalted, no-onion chicken broth
  • 2 large yams, steamed or baked (I use the microwave to make it quickly)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (in season)
  • 1 large bunch parsley
  • 8 large carrots
  • 1/4 head cabbage (optional — warning: ground up cabbage has a strong smell!)
  • 1 broccoli head
  • 6 celery stalks
  • 1 large zucchini and/or yellow summer squash (in season)
  • 4 large apples (more is good)
  • 1 # cranberries (in season, sometimes more)
  • 1 # blueberries (in season. These turn food gray. If it bothers you, skip blueberries)
  • Other fruit: peaches, pears, plums are all okay for dogs and nutritious.
  • 1# green beans (sometimes more.)
  • 1# snap peas, or whatever peas in the pod you have around
  • 12 eggshells or more (baked to dry, grind in small “coffee grinder”)**
  • 9 eggs, poached lightly then cooled
  • 1 c. peanut butter (more or less — I use this as a binder & for protein)
  • 2/3 cup nutritional yeast (lots of vitamins) or 1/3 cup dog multiple vitamin powder
  • 1 cup flax meal (if you just have the seed, finely grind it in food processor)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or raw almonds (finelyd processor)
  • 2 cups rolled oats, optional (1/2 ground in food processor, 1/2 whole)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rosehips, dried and ground in coffee grinder ***


  1. Cook rice in broth til done (the way you usually cook rice — I use a rice cooker) Then, let cool
  2. Puree the yams in food processor, skin and all.
  3. Finely chop or grind the fruits and vegetables in a food processor (the finer the more digestible.) I do one thing at a time in my Cuisinart and save time by NOT washing it out between ingredients. It doesn’t matter anyway since all of the ingredients get mixed together.
  4. Put all of the ingredients into a very large bowl (I use a huge bread bowl my brother gave me over 20 years ago) Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. (I use my hands to mix it — there is aLOT here.)
  5. Mix with your hands or a spoon til all the ingredients have been incorporated into a squishy, moist glop.
  6. Put waxed paper or parchment paper on 2 large cookie sheets. Scoop out measured amounts**** of the mixture in “balls” or “cakes” and place on waxed paper. –close together. Freeze until hard. Put the cakes in airtight freezer baggies and thaw as needed. *****

seeds and nuts for raw dog food steamed yams

Where do you get your calcium?

We save our eggshells and bake them a little to make them brittle. Then I grind them in a small processor or my coffee grinder til they are powdery.


Hens eat the scraps from making Charlie's food and lay eggs which I cook to put into Charlie's food

Hens eat the scraps from making Charlie’s food and lay eggs. I cook the eggs, to put into Charlie’s food. I use the shells so Charlie gets calcium.


* This recipe makes approximately 26 (1-cup) balls of raw food.  You will end up with more or less depending on the size of your fruits and veggies like apples and cabbage.

** We save the shells from organic eggs for our dog. Bake them for a few minutes to make them brittle. Then grind in a clean coffee grinder or mini-food-processor until finely powdered. These provide a natural source of calcium for your pet. You can use calcium citrate instead, but I prefer using the eggshells.

*** I sometimes substitute a powdered, fortified Vitamin C product called “Emergen-C” for the rosehips.  Emergen-C also contains many other vital nutrients such as folic acid, B Vitamins, Potassium, etc. If I add the Emergenc-C I make sure to use enough to provide at least 6000mg of C to the above amount of food.

***  The size of the “cakes” will depend on the size and appetite of your dog. Sam weighed 70 pounds and ate two (1-cup) cakes plus meat per day even at age 19, when he started to slow down.  Charlie, who weighs about 58 to 60 pounds, eats 2 large cakes and more raw meat than we gave Sam, each day. For a medium to large dog, the amount of raw food from this recipe lasts about two weeks.

**** You will have to determine how much to feed your pets and what else to feed with this raw food meal. We give Charlie 12 ounces or more of raw meat with each meal — usually raw ground turkey, chicken, bison or rabbit. We have also fed him raw llama meat and venison.  He gets bison or beef heart a few times a week, as well as raw turkey or chicken necks to chew on in the morning. A squirt of salmon oil on his food makes it yummy, and keeps him healthy. You might also want to add a spoonful of  yogurt to your dog’s meals, to maintain a healthy digestive tract.  When Sam was over 14 or so, he got an extra multiple canine vitamin and 250 mg glucosamine each day.

Sam at about the age of 18


© Copyright 2006 by Maureen Shaughnessy. Please please please, ask my permission (email) to use this recipe in any way beyond your own personal use. My email:  Thanks! 



  1. Gina Spadafori · Reply

    Thank you for sharing this again!

  2. Maureen · Reply

    You’re welcome, Gina. I’ve been meaning to revisit Sam’s dog food recipe for over a year, and just this summer got around to taking new photos while I made a batch. Charlie loves it. I would be glad if you wanted to share this link on your blog. Take care.

  3. Colleen · Reply

    Thanks for helping me with the first batch! Gus is very happy to eat all of his food every night! I will be making another batch in the next few weeks.

    • Maureen

      It was fun to do our dogs’ food together, Colleen in your lovely kitchen. I’m glad Gus likes it. I think this batch was particularly good — Charlie is gobbling it down too. Tell Mike, on second thought — I think he should try to dog food. It’s good to know what we are feeding our companions, right? And I want to hear his reaction to it. heh

  4. Brittany · Reply

    I’ve been researching raw diet recipes for my pooch and I keep coming back to yours. I’d love to give it a try, but can’t decide what to sub for the rice (I keep reading that dogs don’t need grains?)? Any input or ideas? Thanks in advance!

    • Maureen

      Hi Brittany, I hope you do try the recipe I developed for our dogs. Dogs don’t actually need grains, but a little grain doesn’t hurt unless your dog is allergic to a particular grain. There are “grain free” dog kibbles available, and I think that’s largely a reaction to the fact that so many cheap dog foods bulk up the food with lots of grains, including corn and wheat (GMO). I use a little cooked brown rice or sometimes raw rolled oats (both organic) just to give some different texture to Charlie’s food. You don’t need to include the grain at all. If you decide to leave out the grain, the veggies and fruits won’t form “balls” but that’s perfectly fine. You can freeze the chopped “salad” in a large rectangular baking pan and partway through the freezing process, use a knife to score it so that when it’s frozen all the way you can break the square chunks apart and freeze them in portions. Does that make sense?
      Sometimes we just whip up two or three days worth of veggies, fruits (and the supplements like egg shells, nutritional yeast, etc) and keep it in the fridge in a glass container, taking out only what Charlie eats at meals. The chopped veggies/fruits will keep for three days. After that it gets a little oogie.
      I am very interested in how the dog food works out for you if you decide to make it. Will you come back and comment here later? Or email me: Good luck, Brittany!

  5. Colleen · Reply

    I have to say we were skeptical about this food at first. Didn’t think it would be worth our time or energy to make it again and again but we’ve just made our 5th batch of this food! Our dog Gus who is an 11 or 12 year old Australian Shepard cross really loves it! The first day or two he wasn’t sure of it but once he realized this was the only food he’d get he ate it all. Gus was always a strange eater. We fed him dry food and he wouldn’t eat in front of us. He would take one kibble at a time out of the bowl and take a few steps away from the bowl then eat the kibble. He devours the raw food at each feeding! We mix it with either ground turkey, beef and sometimes white fish. Occasionally i throw in an extra egg.
    Since feeding Gus this food his coat is much shinier and he has a noticeable increase in energy. Thanks Maureen for sharing this with us!

  6. jr · Reply

    Bless the aging dogs heart….your Sam was a handsome boy!

    • Maureen

      He really was handsome and sweet too. I still miss Sam, but Charlie keeps us good company now. Charlie’s getting up there in age too. Thanks for your comment, jr.

  7. Christine · Reply

    Hi just came across this raw food recipe! I have a question on how much meat you feed your pup and at the same time as the raw or do you separate that part? We have a newfoundland that has been on a raw food plan but has recently not been interested and let’s it go bad in his dish he is losing weight. We have a vet taking a look at him tomorrow but I think this might get him interested again. Thanks in advance

  8. Chantal Handley · Reply

    This is wonderful! I’m about to begin a new journey with a new puppy next week so I can start off this time on the right foot!! I lost my Maxie 3 years ago at the age of 17 so I have to learn it all over again! Thank you! 🙂

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