Make homemade dog food
Your dog belongs to your family, and you may be ready to do almost anything for him. This could include preparing your meals from scratch. If yes, get the apron out – but get ready to teach you some new tricks. There are things you need to know to keep your pet healthy and strong.
Making dog food that meets the nutritional needs of Fido is not as easy as you might think, says animal nutrition consultant Cailin Heinze, VMD. “It can be done, it just requires a lot of dedication, a lot of work, and for some pets and some ingredients, it’s quite expensive,” says Heinze.
1. Start with a good recipe
Many dog food recipes contain few nutrients, especially iron, copper, calcium and zinc. Even some veterinary recipes do not match. The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, tested 200 recipes, many of which were written by veterinarians. The researchers found that most recipes contained some essential nutrients.
The best way to make sure a recipe is right for you is to choose a recipe created by an expert with experience in dog food, says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD. This could be a certified animal nutrition consultant or a PhD animal nutrition consultant with experience in the production of animal feed. Your veterinarian should be able to point you in the right direction.
Your pet needs protein (animal meat, seafood, dairy or eggs), fat (from meat or oil) and carbohydrates (grains or vegetables). It also needs calcium (from dairy products or ingredients like eggshells) and essential fatty acids (from certain vegetable oils, egg yolks, oatmeal and other foods).
And if that’s not enough to take into account if your dog has a health problem, he may need to follow a special diet. You may need an animal nutrition expert to create custom recipes.
2. Prepare the recipe correctly
Would you like to experiment in the kitchen? Save it for yourself. It’s best not to improvise when cooking for your puppy.
- Follow the recipe. A change can have unintended consequences. For example, cooking chicken with or without skin and bones changes the nutritional profile of the recipe, says Larsen. You can also add or subtract calories without this being meaningful.
- Do not exchange ingredients. Some ingredients seem similar but do not provide the same nutrition. For example, maize, rapeseed and walnut oil provide certain essential fatty acids that do not contain olive oil and coconut oil. By bartering, “you can easily upset your diet,” says Larsen.
- Buy a food scale. They are much more accurate than measuring cups, especially for measuring meat.
Cook all animal products to kill bacteria that could make your puppy sick. Cook grains, beans and starchy vegetables to aid digestion.
Never add food that is toxic to dogs. These include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, avocados and macadamia nuts.
If you want to confuse things, do so with the treats that feed you. Offer dog-free fresh fruits and vegetables as delicacies.
3. Add the correct additions
Even the best recipes often do not provide enough specific nutrients such as calcium. Your puppy needs supplements if you feed it from scratch. Which depend on what nutrients are missing in his meals. A good recipe should contain special supplement instructions. If you are not sure, contact a nutritionist.
4. Make sure the diet works
After your dog has eaten your kitchen creations for 2 to 3 weeks, go to the vet to make sure it does not increase or decrease too much. If his weight changes, check it again in a few weeks.
Be examined twice a year by your puppy. The veterinarian can look at his skin, coat, body condition, and “any issues that may arise from the diet,” says Larsen.