The term “healthy homemade dog food” can be defined as a heterogeneous set of nutritional methods.
Homemade dog food goes from the exclusive feeding of table scraps to finely processed portions of food to satisfy the pet’s nutritional needs.
The most common homemade dog food is the one cooked with a mix of meat, rice and carrots, enriched with some oil, egg yolk and sometimes with a specific supplement of vitamins and minerals.
Some ingredients can be replaced naturally with others that have equal nutritional value. However, it is important to be aware of which dog food is allowed and the ones you must avoid. You also must be careful with the portions that must be properly administered to prevent any mistakes.
Kibbles or Homemade Dog Food
Dogs are not machines; they are actually something more complex and close to perfection. They are capable of adapting their metabolism to the food they consume, within reasonable limits of course.
In other words, the perfect nutrient portion for each pet is not that important, as the homemade and manufactured food supporters want us to believe.
There are many people that prefer a homemade dog diet, because nutritional information on the kibble packages is difficult to read.
There is a general fear about manufactured products; many people think this kind of food could have harmful substances for the dog, such as additives (dye, flavorings), low quality raw material or some substances with fraudulent purposes.
Therefore, some dog owners try to avoid feeding their pets exclusively with “artificial” products because they lack authentic, natural or “biologic” nutrients.
We must not forget that this general fear is because these products could have some animal residues and cereals not suitable for human consumption (bowels, bones, cartilage, stale fats, products contaminated with mycotoxins, etc.). These dangerous products are recycled and used in the production of pet’s food.
Industrial dog food raises concerns for average consumers, even the ones that use these products because of time, convenience and cost-effectiveness reasons.
Homemade Dog Food: Wet or Dry?
Dogs prefer wet rather than dry food, one hot portion over a cold one and a plate with fat against one nutritionally poor.
Before we go deeper into what we should put on our dog’s plate, it is important to remember that when we administer the food, we must follow the transition rule.
Homemade Dog Food: Transition
We must avoid any abrupt changes that may cause GI problems; we have to replace the food gradually, adding the new food to the old one little by little, this process can last a week.
We know that human beings love to have variety in their diet, but this does not apply for dogs, especially for their digestive system. Therefore, when we continuously change the dog’s diet, without making the correct transition, we put our dog’s health at risk, which may lead to digestive imbalances.
Dogs do not have many taste buds, but their sense of smell is extremely evolved. For this reason; the smell of the food plays an important role in our pet’s diet. We must clarify that the puppies which are weaned and then fed with homemade dog food, will present difficulties to accept manufactured food as an adult.
Homemade Dog Food: Recommended and Forbidden Food
A homemade dog diet consists of different combinations, such as meat + carbohydrate + vegetables, in addition to complementary products like vegetable oils, vitamin supplements, bone flour, dietary yeast, etc.
It could be more difficult to prepare a meal with meat (veal, turkey or chicken) rice or pasta, vegetables (carrots and boiled zucchini), but this would be much appreciated by dogs in comparison to any manufactured type of food.
The dog is an omnivorous animal but has a predilection for meat, which must be administered more or less equally to the carbohydrate (rice or pasta) portions. We must also consider the lipid content (fatty meats must be administered in minor doses)
Raw pork meat must be avoided, it could cause pseudorabies, a fatal encephalitis disease caused by a virus (human beings are immune to this virus).
Cured meat must be fed in moderated portions, as they contain a high concentration of sodium and highly dangerous preservatives, like nitrite and nitrate.
Fish is an important source of animal proteins, containing essential omega-3 fatty acid; EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are very deficient in vegetable oils. You can serve boiled fish without the bones, which are dangerous for your dog; you can complement the meal with fish flour.
Milk, Cereals, Fat and Eggs
An adult dog cannot digest milk properly. For this reason we do not advise to give large amounts of milk to your dog, as this could cause diarrhea.
Dogs can also have difficulties digesting starch and carbohydrates, so we recommend being careful when feeding them pasta and overcooked rice. On the other hand, they can tolerate fat perfectly, which is the primal source of their energy, especially if your dog is sedentary.
You should avoid giving them food that it’s too cold or too hot, because these differences in temperatures can cause vitamin deficiencies. Also it is not advised feeding them liver in large quantities or very often.
Raw egg white and yolk are very nutritious for your dog, because it is rich in fat and vitamins, but it must be avidin-free.
It is of common knowledge that dogs should not eat chicken and rabbit bones, you should also avoid giving them pork chops; this is due to their small size and poor consistency, they could break into sharp and cutting pieces, causing asphyxia, bowel obstruction or even damage your pet’s gastrointestinal tracts.
Dogs have an imperative need to chew, usually the food the owner provides does not satisfy that need; so every once in a while you can give your pet a safe bone so they can have a little fun chewing it.
Desserts and Chocolate
Among the forbidden foods for dogs we can find sweets, chocolates, cured cheese or cured meat; you can only give your dog a very small amount after a meal (keep in mind that 0.45 lb of dark chocolate could kill a 27 lb dog). We should avoid these types of food in senior and overweight dogs.
Table scraps should only represent a quarter or a third of the total of your pet’s diet; the rest of the food we mention in this article should be avoided all together.
Don’t Spoil your Dog
It is important for pet owners to prevent overfeeding, and don’t let their pets beg for extra food; dogs tend to develop sophisticated persuasion techniques that are hard to avoid.
Overfeeding can increase the risk of obesity and other related diseases.
Don’t Feed Your Dog Grapes and Raisins
Feeding grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Vomiting episodes and signs of hyperactivity are the first symptoms of intoxication; then the dog gets lethargic and depressed. The best thing you can do is to keep grapes and raisins in top shelves far from your pet’s reach.
Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
You should not give your dog beer, liquor or wine. This is because alcohol, as in humans, can be damaging for the liver and the brain. If ingested by dogs, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system disease, coordination problems, coma and even death.
Remember that your dog is smaller than you, and so, the effects of alcohol are significantly severe in them.
Don’t Feed your Dog Garlic and Onions
Your dog’s diet must be garlic and onion free; this is because in small doses they can cause negative health issues and abnormal breakdown of red blood cells. Therefore, this can provoke hemolytic anemia, which can be deadly for your pet.
The first signs of intoxication can emerge on the first or fourth day after ingesting onions. The main medical symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and dark color urine. We must point out that onion can appear in some artificial flavoring powders, and therefore should not be included in your dog’s meals.
Homemade Dog Food: Say Yes to Vegetables
Your dog’s diet must have the proper amount of vegetables, they are not only delicious, but also it is necessary to ingest vitamins and minerals that improve intestinal activities.
For a good digestion, vegetables need to be properly cooked, however when boiled they lose a great amount of vitamins. Therefore you can use this water, for instance after boiling carrots, in your dog’s food.
If your pet tends to leave leftovers of rice and vegetables in its plate, you will need to find a way to add some minerals and vitamins to its diet.
If you want to make homemade kibbles, you must always consult your vet, especially if your dog has any health issues. Your veterinarian will advise you with the best ingredients that adjust to your best friend’s diet.
Homemade Dog Food: Recipes
If you have the time and a knack for cooking; you can cook your own kibbles. There are different recipes to cook homemade kibbles, with fresh ingredients.
The correct proportions can vary according to your dog’s nutritional needs, increasing or decreasing the amounts of proteins. Always consult your veterinarian to know the correct percentages.
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