Given the cost of dog food these days, some folks believe they can do a much better job preparing homemade food for their best friend rather than feeding the animal from a bag of dog food. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, but dog owners need to be careful that the ingredients they use to make the food are not in and of themselves toxic to the dog.
While dogs have no problem eating just about anything that’s put in front of them (except some human processed food which should make people worried about what’s in it), that doesn’t mean a dog is eating a nutritionally balanced diet. An imbalance will, in turn, create health problems over time, affecting everything from a dog’s coat and energy to causing more serious issues like organ failure.
4 Tips To Consider About Homemade Dog Food
Start with a Doctor’s Evaluation
The first place to really start is with a veterinarian. Each dog is somewhat different from generalizations and will change over time due to age and conditions. As a result, what might work for a puppy won’t do well for an elderly animal. A vet can easily identify what specific food and nutrition elements need to be boosted or cut back for a given animal after examination.
Fresh Foods Solve the Problem, Right?
Generally, fresh food tends to be easier to digest for both animals and humans than processed foods, hands down. But not every fresh food can be given to a dog. For example, a number of herbs and nuts are outright poisonous. Breads can expand in the throat and choke a dog. Meats heavy in fat can eventually give a dog pancreatitis. So an owner has to be very careful which fresh foods to include in a food mixture and which to avoid. That takes time, research and knowing what to avoid. So mixing something up in the kitchen on the fly is a bad idea.
Vitamins and Protein
Dogs need a lot of protein, minerals and vitamins in their diet. Deficiencies can be seen right away, especially in how dull or patchy their coats get. Skin problems can also appear from allergies too. Just giving a dog a general multi-vitamin can actually create more problems than it cures, even though balanced supplements for dogs are heavily marketed. It’s okay to give a dog the same food again and again as long as it contains all the necessary ingredients for the animal’s health. The animal isn’t going to write a food critic article after the fact.
Good Human Diet Equals Good Dog Diet, Right?
Wrong. Owners need to stop trying to apply what works for a human digestion to a dog. The best plan of action is to work with a veterinarian, understand the basic components of good nutrition for a dog, and then adjust for specific needs of a given dog based on the vet’s advice. Keep in mind this may change over time, so regular check-ups with a vet can provide info on needed adjustments.