If dog owners knew the truth about most commercial food products, more would consider making homemade dog food. Most often, an individual thinks the process of making dog food means spending more money and time but in truth this could be a more cost efficient solution that takes less time than anticipated, not to mention the incredible benefits.
Being fed the right diet promotes health, makes coats shinier, brightens eyes, and in some cases, improves behavior. Because there is a difference in texture and flavor of commercial versus homemade food, several variations of homemade food may need to be tried before finding “the one” accepted.
Before going over information specific to homemade dog food, we felt it important to provide some of the primary reasons commercial food is bad. Keep in mind that over the past several years, the amount of information that has leaked about risks of commercial dog food caused major changes.
For instance, some companies have revamped existing formulas and even more companies have been established that offer a healthy alternative. While these are certainly positive changes, homemade dog food is still the best solution.
Risks of Commercial Dog Food Products
Most commercial dog food products are made from byproducts, but also contain preservatives and even cancer causing flavorings. When looking at labels, it would quickly become evident that the bulk of ingredients are nothing more than fillers opposed to fortifying foods to enhance a dog’s life.
Interestingly, people would expect poor ingredients to come from certain brands such as Ol’ Roy and Alpo but most are shocked to find top brands to include Pedigree, Purina One, Kibbles n’ Bits, and even Science Diet are horrible choices.
Five Reasons for Making Homemade Dog Food
- Promotes a healthier and longer life
- Reduces attacks by ticks, flies, and other pests
- Reduces and even prevents skin disorders
- Enhances energy levels
- Promotes healthy weight
One of the most important things to remember when making homemade dog food is to make the transition from a commercial product to the homemade recipe slowly. For this, homemade food should be added to existing food a little at a time until the dog is finally on the healthy diet.
Making an immediate change would likely cause digestive problems, leading to upset stomach and chronic diarrhea. Then as mentioned, a slow transition would also help the dog accept the new texture and flavor but also help the owner identify if the recipe is one the pet even likes.
Tips for Making Homemade Dog Food
Unlike cooking for humans, there are some restrictions for making dog food. The following are some tips that would make any recipe more successful.
- While virtually any type of meat could be used, ground turkey is an excellent ingredient, one that most dogs love but as a bonus, turkey is lower in fat than chicken and beef so it helps control weight.
- Salt and spices should not be used for flavoring. In fact, these ingredients could cause an upset tummy but also lead to excessive thirst. To a dog, flavoring comes from the actual ingredients opposed to seasoning. Therefore, the best way to get full flavor would be to cook the meat of choice slowly but also to use some of the fat and juices. Another option would be to skip the oil and juices produced during cooking and add low sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable broth.
- Vegetables are essential to all homemade dog food recipes but choices should be made wisely. For this, raw vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, and small amounts of cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus would be ideal. Vegetables should always be fully cooked, which could be accomplished by adding them to the meat at the beginning of the cooking process. Other ingredients that dogs love and shown healthy and safe include pasta, flax seeds, brown rice, oats, and eggs.
- Just as certain foods should be included when making homemade dog food, other foods should be avoided. The list below represents the most dangerous that should never to be given to a dog, even in a small amount.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Garlic (in any form)
- Onion (in any form)
- Yeast Dough
- Mustard Seeds