How to Make Your Own Dog Food
Looking for a way to give your dog some healthier options than many commercial pet foods? Why not try a homemade diet?
While most owners still feed their dachshunds and Great Danes commercial pet food, many dog owners are turning to homemade meals, especially after recent contamination scares. Some believe it’s a fresher alternative, while others are healthy eaters themselves and feel they should feed their pet something healthy, too.
No matter where you pull recipes from, you must make sure you’re making food that will provide a complete and balanced diet. Instead of thinking that your dog needs to have a specific kind of vegetable or fruit in their diet, for example, consider a whole and rounded meal. The biggest challenge to doing this is combining protein and carbohydrates in a variety of ways, along with vitamins and minerals, plus some fat that animals require.
Lamb and rice, beef and potatoes, and chicken with pasta are just a few ideas for how to give your dog an affordable source of energy (carbs) in addition to essential amino acids and fatty acids. Add some vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, celery, spinach, pears and apples for good measure.
Avoid the following foods at all costs: onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, chocolate and macadamia nuts, as they are all poisonous for dogs. Never, ever feed a dog raw meat, as it exposes them to the risks of E. coli and salmonella poisoning.
Once you land on a few recipes you think are suitable for your dog’s dietary needs, talk to your veterinarian and find out if they’re right. They will also know your dog’s medical history, which can impact what you can feed them. For instance, puppies to adult dogs will need tweaks to their diet, as will aging dogs that may suffer from poor joint health. If you find recipes online, make sure they come from sites that are operated by certified veterinary nutritionists. Additionally, diets should be evaluated at least twice a year.
Nutritional deficiencies, especially calcium, can lead to all sorts of health problems., including bone growth and nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, which can cause soft bones and fractures. Therefore, it’s very important to add supplements to a homemade diet, including vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc.
A word to the spendthrift: on top of finding the right mix of ingredients and supplements, it’s time-consuming to make homemade dog food as opposed to buying it from the store and may cost more, depending on the size of your dog. If you have more than one dog, the cost for homemade food for both of them will go up more.
You may find yourself tweaking the recipe to cut costs, but that can lead to malnourishment. Instead of redoing the recipe, focus on variety. This can help stave off allergies, as well as give your canine something different to look forward to at dinnertime. If you own large breed dogs, store food in the refrigerator, as it will be eaten within a few days. Those who own small breed dog can get away with making a big batch of food and freezing it for later.
Overall, the time commitment and extra cost required to make your own dog food may not be right for everyone, but the rewards can be beneficial as an owner to feed your pet something you know you made for them. Of course, if you feel making your own dog food is too much work, there are still plenty of nutritionally balanced, healthful and even organic options for your dog. Check out some of the best dog food brands available.
Try the Wagger