Dogs were carnivorous animals prior to their domestication. After they earned the companionship of human beings, they adapted to an omnivorous diet for over 2000 years. From having just the table scraps from their master’s kitchen, dogs are now being served tailor-made foods intended for their consumption. Today, dog foods can either be homemade or procured commercially. Commercially available dog foods gained popularity as they saved time, were pretty easy to serve, were available in delightful flavors, and were tailored to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. However, they are prone to dog food recalls. This is the reason why most people want to opt for homemade dog food. Before understanding how to prepare homemade dog food, we must know about food recall. Here is what it is:
What Are Dog Food Recalls?
A dog food recall is when a commercially prepared dog food is removed from the market, citing the toxicity of its ingredients, contamination, or other safety reasons. A food brand often conducts these recalls on itself upon request to the FDA or FDA order under statutory authority.
Benefits Of A Homemade Dog Food
In order to circumvent food recalls, pet parents took the role of preparing their dog food at home for their dogs. Although they are a little more expensive than kibbles, they are more cost-effective than commercial dog foods. They are pretty fresh, and natural and ensure the autonomy of pet parents over the ingredients since some dogs are allergic to some ingredients. Finally, homemade dog foods contain no fillers or added preservatives. Homemade dog foods can be the best choice for some older dogs that may need soft pieces as they can’t chew owing to the loss of teeth. You can also keep an eye on their daily calorie needs.
Disadvantages Of A Homemade Dog Food
The nutritional requirement of each dog depends on his age, size, health, and breed. Hence, homemade dog food can only partially satisfy his requirements once a certified veterinary nutritionist formulates it. Preparing dog food regularly at home is time-consuming. Further, homemade dog foods may not nutritionally benefit dogs below a year of age or pregnant or lactating dogs, as they require significant amounts of calcium and phosphorus to prevent any future bone abnormalities. However, if you still wish to transition your pet to a homemade diet, here is what you can do.
Steps To Transition To A Homemade Diet For Your Dog
Step 1: Understand the basics of a balanced diet
Like humans, even dogs have a specific calorie requirement to meet their nutritional needs. Dogs can become malnourished if their food doesn’t contain essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water. Hence, it is necessary to plan their meal inclusive of the above-mentioned ingredients.
- Proteins: Your dog food must provide proteins containing ten amino acids that your canine’s body cannot provide. This way, you can help them manufacture glucose, which transforms into energy. Here are some of the ingredients rich in protein:
- Fishes include whitefish, herring, walleye, flounder, and arctic char.
- Fats: Fats are essential to support the function and structure of cells, maintain healthy skin and coat and improve the food’s palatability. Here are a few ways you can include healthy fat into your pet’s diet:
- Plant-based oils such as corn, soybean, canola, and flaxseed oil
- Fish oil
- Vegetable oil
- Carbohydrates: Your dog’s diet must contain carbohydrates that contribute part of your dog’s energy. Some sources you can include are:
- Fiber: Fiber is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of your pet’s gastrointestinal tract and prevent obesity. Here are some of the foods you can include to incorporate fiber in your canine’s diet:
- Dark leafy greens
- Brown rice
- Vitamins are essential to include in your dog’s diet for your canine’s growth and maintenance. Apparently, including the correct quantity of vitamins is vital to prevent deficiency. On the other hand, you must not incorporate these in significant amounts to avoid various health issues. Some of the essential sources of vitamins include:
|B||Liver, green vegetables, whole grains|
|C||Fruits, vegetables and organ meat|
|D||Liver, fish, beef|
|E||Leafy green vegetables, liver, bran, plant oils|
|K||Fish, leafy green vegetables, fish|
|Choline||Liver, fish, meats, egg yolks|
- Minerals: Your dogs require minerals for bone development, nerves, and the functioning of muscles, balancing fluids in the cells, functioning of the thyroid, skin and coat maintenance, and red blood cell production. Here are some essential minerals for dogs:
|Calcium||Tofu, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower||For strong teeth and bones|
|Phosphorus||Meat and eggs||For strong teeth and bones|
|Magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride||Fruits, vegetables, whole grains||Nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, and cell signaling.|
|Sulfur||Meat, fish, molasses||For healthy skin, coat, and nails.|
|Iron||Red meats, poultry||Supporting red blood cells and the immune system|
|Iodine||Dairy, kelp, seafood||Supports a healthy thyroid|
|Zinc||Eggs, lamb, liver, brewer’s yeast||For the immune system, healthy skin, and coat.|
|Selenium||Meat, vegetables, seafood, brown rice||Boost the immune system.|
|Copper||Whole grains, seeds, seafood||For healthy bone growth.|
- Water: Water is another vital inclusion to your dog’s diet. They aid in:
- Transportation of vital nutrients into and out of body cells,
- It enhances digestion and promotes the absorption of nutrients.
- Regulates body temperature
- Lubricates joints
- Improves cognitive function
- It cushions the brain and spinal cord.
Step 2: Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist
Gaining an insight into the ingredients that make up a balanced diet for your canine is essential to discuss it with your veterinarian. This way, you can consult your vet and clear your doubts that may arise. Further, these experts help you design a plan that will take your dog’s age, size, and health history into account. Further, this will also help you buy the necessary ingredients.
Step 3: Making the transition
Once you discuss this with your veterinarian, you can gradually transition your pet from a homemade or commercial diet. If you decide to switch, your transition must be gradual so as not to disturb your pet’s digestive function. Hence, start with a small quantity of your new food and increase it consistently for over five to seven days. This way, your dog will adjust to changes in diet.
Step 4: Consistent follow up
Once you establish an appropriate diet for your dog, it is vital to maintain consistency in feeding. You must also follow the exact recipe with the quantities measured appropriately. This way, you can avoid feeding a nutritionally imbalanced diet and help your dog remain healthy. Further, you must monitor your dog for any changes. For this purpose, it is good to maintain a record of your canine’s weight and body condition for some time. Always look for any sign of illness, unintended weight loss, or gain. This will help you figure out the ingredient that does not go well with your dog.
How To Prepare Homemade Food For Dogs
Here are some steps to help you prepare a homemade recipe for your dog.
- While preparing dog food, it is vital to portion the food. Hence, it would be best if you got ready with all the essentials like:
- A food scale,
- Food processor,
- Pots and pans, and
- Get some containers or bags for portioning the food.
- Ensure to get all the ingredients necessary for your preparation. Always check the labels while buying the ingredients. Refraining from buying canned, seasoned, or heavily processed ingredients is good.
- Set up a dog-friendly kitchen avoiding foods that are harmful to your pet.
- Use a food scale to measure the appropriate quantities before cooking.
- Cook the recipe according to the directions and blend supplements to make it appear as one. This way, you can avoid the chances of your pet picking out specific ingredients from the diet.
- Once you cook, refrigerate the food in appropriate containers. Frozen food must be consumed within two months. Also, they stay fresh for about three to four days. Alternatively, you can prepare food in bulk and refrigerate it for future use. This way, you must ensure to feed food stored for at most six months.
If you are looking out to make the first food from your kitchen for your pet, look no further than here for the best homemade dog food.
Summing up, understanding the basics of a balanced diet for a dog is an essential step in making dog food. Further, you must also ensure to consult a veterinarian to know if your recipes will nutritionally benefit your canine. Finally, diligently following your vet-approved diet with appropriate ingredients and measures is always a good idea.