Buying processed and packaged dog food for our furry companions has become very common. It makes feeding your pet convenient. Plus, everyone does it so it can’t be bad right? Well, the truth about packaged dog food is that it isn’t as wholesome as we’d like to believe. Dogs have very similar dietary needs when compared to humans. And just like any human nutritionist would encourage you to eat homemade food, many canine experts will tell you that switching to homemade dog food is a superb idea.
If we go back a few hundred years, we can see that dogs used to eat pretty much the same kind of food that we did. Dog owners would share their scraps or make entire meals for their dogs to have. Just like us humans, dogs need balanced and diverse diets. Diets that satiate their nutritional needs and their taste buds. Knowing how to make homemade food for your dog is something that more dog owners should get into. This gives you greater control over your dog’s nutritional intake, and it also keeps your dog much happier.
You may think that making dog food could be tough, but the truth is that it’s painfully easy. It is also more economical in the long run. You can find tons of dog food recipes on the internet. Today, we’re going to be focusing on all the nutritional information that you need to have on hand before you begin making food for your dog. But before we get into this, let’s quickly go through a few benefits of homemade dog food.
The Benefits of Homemade Dog Food
The first and most important benefit is that this gives you greater control over your dog’s diet. This means that you don’t have to worry about poor quality ingredients. You don’t have to worry about filler ingredients that stuff your dog’s stomach without any benefits. Neither do you have to worry about your dog not eating its food. Homemade dog food can appeal to even the pickiest eaters. This is because you can provide them with food that appeals to their taste.
Making your dog’s food by yourself also puts you in control of quality assurance. You know exactly what is going into your pooch’s plate. This lets you cater to allergic reactions and health conditions better as well. You also don’t have to sweat about preservatives, artificial flavors, and any other nonsense that comes with preserved food.
Homemade dog food is also economical in the long run. Preparing food from scratch will help you save money without having to compromise on nutritional value. Also, your dog will be less likely to run into health problems since there will be a lesser chance of them suffering from a nutritional deficiency. This means that you’ll have to deal with lesser trips to the vet and won’t have to worry about providing your pup with medical care.
Proper nutrition is why most people switch to homemade dog food in the first place. They become tired of finding expensive processed foods that offer marginal benefits. For a homemade meal to have a positive nutritional impact, you need to figure out your dog’s nutritional requirements. Once you identify their nutritional requirements, you can begin preparing meal plans based on this information.
Every dog has its own nutritional requirements. There are some factors that have roles to play in determining what and how much of it their bodies need. These factors include:
- 1Your dog’s level of activity
- 2Their size and weight
- 3Their age
- 4Any health conditions or sensitivities that they may have
You must keep in mind that while dogs have similar dietary needs as humans, their digestive system is far more fragile. This means that you need to be careful about what you feed them. Certain food items are off-limits for dogs in general, while some are prohibited due to their health.
To figure out your dog’s nutritional needs, you should enlist the help of a vet. Vets can provide you with expert advice and can even help you devise meal plans for your pet. You’d be surprised by how helpful vets can be when it comes to switching over to homemade food. If you want to be careful about what you feed your dog, then you can consider getting a DNA test kit. These test kits are easy to use and provide you with superb information about your dog’s health and nutritional needs. We’ve talked about DNA Test Kits quite extensively here.
We can break down the basic nutritional requirements of an average dog in the following manner:
The amount of all these nutrients will vary based on every dog’s specific traits.
Developing a Meal Plan
Once you know everything about your dog’s nutritional requirements, you can start working on a meal plan for them. A meal plan doesn’t start by looking for recipes and trying them out. First, you need to ensure that your meal plan provides your dog with a balanced and diversified eating experience.
A balanced diet is all about making sure that it provides your dog with the appropriate amount of every nutrient. This doesn’t mean that you need to brew a concoction that fulfills your dog’s nutritional requirements in one sitting. A meal plan like that will cost you a lot and will probably end up giving your dog more nourishment than it needs. As long as your meal plan can fulfill your dog’s nutritional requirements in a week or two, your meal plan will be balanced.
Similarly, a diversified meal plan tries to spread out a variety of relevant ingredients over a timespan. This ensures that your dog’s meals never become boring and it also minimizes the chances of any deficiencies from occurring. Let’s take a look at a list of ingredients that you should include in your meal plan.
Protein Rich Ingredients
Protein should make around 40% of a dog’s meal plan. Dogs need plenty of protein to remain healthy and active. A mixture of fish, poultry, and red meats should be spread across the meal plan. These are all superb sources of protein and can be fed to your dog raw or cooked.
Along with protein, meats such as fish include beneficial fatty acids and vitamins such as vitamin-D. Meat can also be a source of fat. You can serve meat that has chunks of fat on it or cook it up in oil.
A great way to include meat into your dog’s diet without making your meal plan too expensive is to use organ meats. Chicken hearts, beef liver, and other edible organs are rich in protein and a variety of other nutrients. They don’t cost a lot either, so you can add a bit of them in every meal. Eggs are another source of protein for your dog. Keep in mind that egg yolks are rich in cholesterol which can make daily egg consumption fattening for your dog.
Fiber And Carbs
Canine nutrition asks for around 50% of vegetables because they’re a great source of fiber and a variety of other nutrients. Fiber helps support the digestive system; it greatly reduces the chances of your dog having gastronomic problems. You can add leafy greens to pretty much every meal that your dog has. You can serve them raw, cooked, or even puree them and mix them into your dog’s food if it doesn’t eat its vegetables eagerly. Vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower should never be given in raw form as they can interfere with your dog’s thyroid functioning.
Starchy vegetables can be a great source of carbohydrates that keep your dog energetic. Vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potato, and green beans are recommended for dogs that are very active and have trouble keeping their weight.
For calcium, milk and dairy and raw meaty bones are your best bet. Goat’s or cow’s milk is something that any dog will eagerly lap up. You can also try giving your dog cheese or yogurt (after consulting your vet). Dogs love raw meaty bones, and they’re great for them. Bony parts of a chicken such as its neck can be fed to a dog to provide them with protein and calcium.
Similarly, you can offer your dog red meat bones with a bit of meat attached to them. Raw meaty bones can keep your dog fed and entertained at the same time. They’re also great for promoting your dog’s dental health. Just make sure never to give your dog cooked bones. Bones should always be served in raw form. Cooked bones can shatter and produce sharp debris that can harm your dog.
Using fruits and nuts can add a dash of flavor to your dog’s meal plan. It can also provide your dog with various vitamins, fatty acids, and other useful nutrients. Certain fruits such as apples shouldn’t be fed to a dog. You should also stay away from raisins as both of these can induce kidney failure in canines.
If you make sure to include a bit of everything in your dog’s meal plan, then you can feel confident that your dog is in great shape. With a bit of guidance from a professional and a few experimental dog food recipe, you can stop depending on processed dog food in no time.
You can take a look at our list of recipes here.