While many pet owners would want to make their own dog food, veterinary nutritionists explain why doing so could really be harmful to their dogs. They give reasons as to why commercial dog foods are frequently the best option. But, in certain circumstances, homemade dog food could be the best option. We’ll accompany you through every nutritious and delicious detail.
The topic of canine nutrition might be hazy. Many of us who own pets are concerned about the dietary requirements of our furry friends. The vast majority of us, unfortunately, find it difficult enough to meet our own dietary needs as humans (be honest! ), never mind those of our pets. For this reason, the majority of veterinary nutritionists advise against using homemade dog food in favor of commercially produced food that has all the necessary nutrients. There are several options available nowadays, including freshly made, chilled dog diets that have been approved by veterinary nutritionists.
How can I make my own dog food?
It’s true that a lot of people worry about processed foods, whether they’re buying them for themselves or their families’ cats, dogs, or both. Ask your doctor which dog food brands maintain good nutrition while undergoing the least amount of processing first.
Consider feeding your dog a base of mixed kibble as mentioned above, then top it off with home-cooked vegetables, suggests Linda as a compromise alternative. If you cook and crush the carrots, peas, and green beans before giving them to your dog, as opposed to giving them raw or whole, your dog will be more likely to eat them. Dr. Delaney includes spinach on the list of foods that are good for dogs, along with a number of fruits like apples and blueberries.
The following are some examples of foods that are toxic to dogs and should never be used in homemade dog food (see your veterinarian for a complete list) :
- Anything from the family of orange and green squash.
- Raisins and Grapes.
Recipes for homemade dog food: Use Caution
Making homemade dog food can be enjoyable and fulfilling for pet owners, but Dr. Delaney issues the following warning: Even if pet owners have the best of intentions, if they look for advice from people other than veterinarians or board-certified veterinary nutritionists, they risk doing more harm than good to their dogs. This is due to the fact that homemade mixtures lack sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins for long-term feeding. However, preparing homemade recipes without consulting a vet can have long-term impacts on your dog’s health, including bone thinning, a loss of energy and metabolism, and even neurological effects.
Numerous dog food recipes may be found online, but Linda points out that they may not be well-balanced and may not come from canine nutritionists. In fact, according to Dr. Delaney, the majority of the 200 dog food recipes she examined from 34 different sources, including veterinary textbooks, pet care literature, and the internet was found to fall short of the required nutritional standards for dogs.
A dog food recipe found online was probably not created by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist because they view cookbooks and set recipes as static rather than customizable. Instead, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist creates customized recipes for individual pets, modifying the ingredients for weight, age, and other factors.
Dr. Delaney highly advises working with your veterinarian and a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to develop those recipes if you feel strongly about feeding your dog home-cooked meals over the long run. In actuality, Dr. Delaney started Balance IT and is also an entrepreneur. The website enables users to make homemade dog food recipes with balanced nutrition by selecting ingredients from a variety of food categories. Supplements are advised to fortify the recipes and maintain them balanced for the best canine nutrition, depending on the ingredients chosen. For pet parents who choose to make their own food, several other businesses also offer recipes along with canine vitamin and mineral supplements.
What about simply feeding your dog meat?
From wolves, dogs descended. Moreover, wolves in the wild consume meat. If you think that a dog’s primitive and nutritional demands are satisfied by meat, Dr. Delaney offers the following perspective: Wolves consume more than just meat when they eat it. Also, they consume blood, organs, and other byproducts of butchered meat such as bones and bone marrow that are not present in modern grocery store meat. Vitamins and iron from the liver and other organs, electrolytes from the blood, calcium, phosphorus, and extra macronutrients from the bones all make up the wolves’ whole-animal diet. Of course, the meat we buy at the grocery store today is very different! Muscle is essentially what we typically refer to as meat.
Dr. Delaney points out that while it can be a fantastic source of protein for both humans and dogs, it’s not a very good source of macro-minerals and vitamins, and it may include more fat than we know. To clear up any confusion, he does not recommend that dog owners feed their dogs meat that contains bones because the bones can lead to choking and other dangers.
Recipe for homemade dog food for Special Occasions
Despite that said, your dog won’t suffer from inadequacies from a single home-cooked dinner on her birthday, so feel free to make something extra. Doctor Delaney suggests :
- Purchase chicken breasts without skin.
- To make a broth with nutrients leached from the bones, boil it in a minimal amount of water.
- Slice the meat into bite-sized pieces after removing the bones.
- Use the broth to cook oatmeal, a frequently disregarded but healthy option for a special meal.
The safest choice, according to Dr. Delaney, is skinless chicken breast because some dogs are intolerable to the high-fat content sometimes found in beef. Dogs’ Gastrointestinal problems are typically brought on by fat, fiber, and changes in the moisture content of their food. Consider the following scenario as an example: When given a meal that is primarily made of stew, dogs who are used to eating dry food are likely to develop loose stools. This occurs as a result of their colon’s inability to adjust to the sudden change in moisture levels.
Homemade dog food for sick animals.
If your dog refuses to eat and is disinterested, this may be cause for concern. Initially, Linda advises you, to think about your dog’s routine and assess the responses to the following queries :
- He’s usually a chowhound, right?
- Or is he a little picky?
- Have you altered your diet? A problem with flavor and texture might exist.
According to Linda, if your dog skips one meal, it won’t be the end of the world because dogs can normally fast for that long without experiencing any negative effects. But, if your dog’s appetite doesn’t improve by the time of the subsequent meal, there might be a serious health issue. Calling a veterinarian should be your next move.
What vitamins and minerals do dogs require in their diets?
Protein and calories are the nutrients that pet parents should pay the greatest attention to, according to both Linda and Dr. Delaney. According to Linda, the majority of canine diets provide a lot of protein, but low-quality protein can be an issue in overly processed or poor-quality dog foods. Although we don’t always consider calories to be nutrients, the caloric density of dog foods is crucial when taking into account the crucial pup playtimes, yard romps walks, and the calories required to sustain your pup’s energy levels.
What dog food is therefore the best or most nourishing? The response to that query varies based on your dog’s health issues, including allergies. Of course, advice tailored to your dog can be obtained from your veterinarian and/or from a meeting with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. And before making any dietary modifications for their dog, pet owners should always speak with their veterinarian. Nonetheless, the two specialists we spoke with provided some general suggestions and advice.
First off, just as people shouldn’t eat the same thing every day, every day, there isn’t a particular food that is optimal for dogs. Simply recall one of your favorite foods from childhood: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Your mother was correct when she advised you shouldn’t eat one for every meal, every day—despite the fact that they are tasty and occasionally even healthy! You would quickly fall short on other vitamins and nutrients that aren’t present.
Linda adds that pet owners shouldn’t anticipate any one food to satisfy the dietary requirements of their beloved friends. She suggests substituting what many animal shelters and rescue organizations do instead: Choose a variety of premium, commercially available dry kibbles and combine them to make your dog’s very own blend for his dish. Alternate which brand or kind you buy, or alternate between a few high-quality foods. This program offers a number of advantages: The majority of top-notch, commercially made kibbles are secure, well-balanced, have a long shelf life, and are just straightforwardly simple for us to scoop and supply.
According to Dr. Delaney, consider it like this: Humans frequently consume enriched wheat, iodized salt, vitamin-enriched orange juice, and other foods. Yet although eating these foods can improve our nutrition, many of us still lack in one or more nutritional categories. You and I are unlikely to consistently have a balanced diet with the appropriate ratios of all the nutrients we require. But, it is the standard for every single meal for dogs (and cats) on premium, commercially prepared food having the precise proportions of their nutritional needs!
The abovementioned suggestion, to feed your dog a high-quality, commercially prepared dog food — or a blend as Linda offers — may give you the peace of mind you need to hear as a pet parent.
Also Read: Grooming Secrets For Long-Haired Cats