5 Reasons to Make Your Own Dog Food
If you love to cook and have been toying with the idea of simply prepping a little extra to cover off the canine-kiddo, you may want to do a little more research before you opt to go the home-cooked route. While commercial pet food brands are required to meet or exceed prescribed nutrients, your trial-and-error approach may have serious consequences for your pet – particularly if he’s a growing pup / kitten.
Look for recipes developed by a pet nutritionist (versus internet options) and remember that one-size-fits-all doesn’t always work with dogs. In fact, you may want to consider supplementing his home-cooked meal with a top-grade kibble to be sure he gets the nourishment he needs. At a minimum, his food should include a quality protein (meat, fish, dairy or eggs), carbs (from grains of starchy veg), as well as a good fat (either through the protein or from an oil additive). And don’t forget the essential fatty oils that come from salmon, egg yolks and some seeds as well as that all-important calcium – which can be gained from certain seeds, dairy, or even ground eggshells.
But assuming you’ve done your research into what nutrients are critical to your pet’s health based on his age, breed, weight, and activity level, there can be a number of reasons for opting to take a more hands-on approach to his dietary needs.
- Superior quality ingredients. You’ll be using quality, whole, ingredients including brown rice, lean meats, and vegetables that have not been processed or overly refined in a production plant. This means your dog will benefit from the full nutritional value of each ingredient.
- Cleaner, fresher foods. Because you won’t be adding preservatives, dyes, or flavonoids to your pet food, you’re less likely to run into the allergic reactions that can occur with many dogs when artificial ingredients have been cooked into his food.
- Tackling health concerns. Biting paws, dry skin, butt-scooting, loose bowels. All can be a signal that something in your pet’s food is triggering an allergic reaction. By prepping his meals, you can start with the basics, then gradually add in new ingredients to identify the offending item.
- Custom flavors. You can easily adapt your dishes to meet your pet’s preferred palate. Does he enjoy carrots in his food, or is he more into blueberries? Have you found he prefers ground turkey to ground chicken? Gently experiment until you find the mix that works for him.
- Variety. Line up a range of vet-approved recipes that will fit your pet’s nutritional needs, then cook them up, freeze them, and offer him a different menu option every day of the week. Note, dogs can be sensitive to major swings in their diet so work from a standard base and add or subtract a few ingredients to keep it interesting.
Tip: Do your research and understand which human foods are an absolute no-no for dogs. These include any derivative of onion or garlic, grapes, chives, some nuts, raisins, to name a few. Remember, you’re cooking for your dog, not your family. So, keep it simple, healthy, and nutritionally balanced and portion appropriate.
More by Mary Simpson