Your vet will tell you that commercial dog food is nutritionally balanced. If you feed her store-bought food, you need never worry that your basset hound is getting enough potassium, for example. Others will say that the fewer preservatives a body takes in, dog or human, the better, and manufactured dog food is full of them.
I won’t argue either. What I know is that I would hate to have to eat dry food pellets or food shaped like a can all my life. So I cook for my dogs. Not always. They still get pellets and cans, but now and then I’ll throw some beans and vegetables (NO ONIONS!) in a crock pot, top that off with a cheap roast, cook it on low for 10 hours, mash it up while it’s still warm (if you try to mash it after refrigerating it, you’ll get a good workout), and there’s dog dinner for days.
The meat itself is a fair investment, but the rest can be inexpensive. Never got around to composting? Feel guilty no more. Do you have a squash or a sweet potato that's been around a mite too long? A couple of apples with brown spots? Core them and toss them in. Carrots and celery languishing in a crisper drawer? Cheap frozen vegetables in big bags work great, too. Add a couple of cups of whole grain rice or dried beans, and throw in your leftovers. (NO ONIONS!) If you’re buying the very cheapest canned food, a crock pot of dog food will cost about three times what you’re spending. If you’re buying premium dog food, you might even save money.
Homemade dog biscuits take more effort, but they’re cheaper than what you can buy. Save meat drippings and scraps to flavor them, and don’t waste any energy making cute shapes. Your dog doesn’t care.
There are some caveats, the biggest one is NO ONIONS! We have lots and lots of dog nutrition and food recipe books at the library. If you have an underused crock pot, haul it out of the cupboard and fire it up.