It’s always a clever idea to have a backup in cases of emergency, such as zombie apocalypses, pandemic shut-downs, stock outages, or low funds, and that’s the case when it comes to pet food. If you were unable to buy appropriate food for your beloved four-legged friends, what would you do?
Don’t worry, pet parents, I’ve got all the answers you need right here. Let’s get right to it.
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- The Fundamentals of Homemade Dog Food
- Foods to Avoid in Homemade Dog Food
- All You Need to Know About Homemade Dog Food
- Vegetarian Homemade Dog Food
The Fundamentals of Homemade Dog Food
So, there are some especially important things you should know before you embark on a homemade dog food diet with your pet.
Primarily (and most obviously), homemade dog food will take much longer to prepare, cook, and serve than wet or dry commercially sold food. It’ll also cost more, require tools (such as measuring cups), and involve quite a lot of math. You’ll also need to keep a diary, of sorts, to monitor and compare your pet’s weight, bowel habits, overall behavior and demeanor, and side effects.
If that isn’t enough, you’ll need to switch your pet’s diet slowly, gradually, and over months. Yes, I said months. Research shows that you should add a small bit of the ‘new’ food in with the ‘old’ food every week, slowly adding more new and less old as the weeks progress.
As a general rule, this is the ratio you will need to feed your dog:
- 5.5% fat (such as vegetable oil);
- 50% carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, etc.);
- 10+% protein (turkey, chicken, herring, etc.);
- 2.5 to 4.5% fiber (carrots, peas, green beans, etc.);
- Supplements: as advised by a vet.
You will likely need some sort of supplemental product, such as additional minerals and vitamins. You may also need to add calcium citrate. Do not change your dog’s diet or add supplements without first consulting with your vet. Having too much of a vitamin or mineral is sometimes much worse than having a deficiency. Excessive amounts of vitamin A, for example, can cause peeling skin, tiredness, an upset stomach, and grumpy (sometimes aggressive) behavior.
According to the Wiley Online Library research, only 13% of dogs on a homemade diet had a balanced, healthy, and appropriately nutritious diet, which just goes to show how difficult it is to get it right.
Foods to Avoid in Homemade Dog Food
A wide range of human foods are toxic for dogs, so it’s important to check every single ingredient before you feed it to your pet. You should never allow your dog to consume the following:
- Caffeine): tea, coffee, soda;
- Chocolate and cocoa powder;
- Xylitol is found in gum, some peanut butter, and candy;
- Cheese, milk, cream, and other dairy products;
- Bacon, ham, and other pork products;
- Macadamia nuts, pistachios, and almonds;
- Nutmeg and cinnamon;
- Raw potatoes;
- Bones from chicken, turkey, etc.;
- Fatty meats;
- Chicken or turkey skin;
- Corn on the cob;
- Uncooked bread dough;
- Out-of-date food;
- Spicy foods or spices;
- Seeds or pits of fruit — apples, cherries, plums, apricots, etc.
All You Need to Know About Homemade Dog Food
If your pet is sick, your vet might advise a homemade food diet to get things back under control. Plain foods are best for issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation, such as plain, cooked meat, white rice, bone broth, oatmeal or porridge, boiled fish, scrambled eggs, cooked and soft sweet potatoes, and more.
The specific diet your pet will need will very much depend on the condition or sickness they have. As always, consult with your vet before making unprompted big changes to your pet’s diet, including when they are sick.
Vegetarian Homemade Dog Food
Dogs are primarily carnivores, although domestication has made them more omnivorous than they were before. Because of this, though, dogs do not always cope well with a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Your pets can’t always get the same nutrients from vegetarian food as they can from meat, so you might end up with a vitamin- or mineral-deficient dog. For some deficiencies, treatment can involve longer-term medication use, and if the deficiencies go undiagnosed and treated for a long period of time, permanent damage can occur.
Vegan and vegetarian dog food diets are specialized and require a lot of planning to ensure that your pet gets everything they need from ingredients other than meat.
What’s the best way to cook vegetables for dogs?
Steaming is the best way to cook vegetables to keep nutrition levels high, but you could also roast, boil, or even microwave them. Never season the boiling water with salt, and don’t add sauces or toppings if cooking in other ways. Always check if your vegetables are safe before cooking them and feeding them to your dog.
What are the best human foods to fatten up a dog?
If your dog needs a little fattening up, your vet will point you in the right direction of which human foods you can serve up. As a general starting point, chicken, pumpkin (plain), tuna (canned), eggs (boiled), sweet potatoes, lean beef, and turkey are dog-safe and provide calories alongside nutrition.
Opting to make your pet homemade dog food is a big step, and it’s wise to check whether or not you’re actually committed to the cause before you waste time, energy, and money making and serving up something that ends up harming your dog or displeasing their tastebuds. It’s not a short-term commitment; it’s a long-term life change that you can’t just switch back to without warning when you get bored.
If you’re not sure whether or not this is the right path for you, have a chat with one of Petcube’s friendly and licensed vets. They’re available around the clock and waiting to solve your problem. You’ll even get 27% off just for reading this blog post. Use this link to take advantage of the offer.
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