In the age of nationwide health initiatives, and startling numbers of obese adults, children, and pets, it’s not a bad idea to start making your own homemade dog food to keep your pooch healthy and happy! Don’t worry – it’s quite easy, and doesn’t take long at all!There are a number of benefits to controlling exactly what your dog eats.
- No Preservatives – since it is homemade, you do not have to worry about your pet consuming preservatives!
- All-Natural or Organic – this one is up to you entirely. If you want to splurge for the high-end stuff, at least you’ll know what is going into your dog’s body.
- More Affordable – Preparing your own dog food is much healthier and cheaper than the commercial alternatives.
Your first step is to decide what combination of items you want to mix for your dog. Common recipes include a combination of the following: ground turkey, ground beef, carrots, rice, brown rice, brewer’s yeast, bison, venison, fish, rabbit, chicken, broccoli, celery. For the most part, your dog’s diet should be at least 1/3 protein from meat.Here is a simple recipe. Feel free to adjust the ingredients based on your dog’s preferences!
- Sauté half a pound of ground meat with minimal added seasonings. Onions and garlic can be toxic and should be avoided.
- Cook the vegetables – carrots, celery, broccoli – just enough to soften them. (Microwave, sauté, steam, however.)
- Puree the vegetables in a food processor or blender.
- Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.
You can portion out the dog food, and freeze some of it to make it last longer. If you don’t have the chance to sauté something delicious, you can always offer them a slab of fresh, raw meat as a meal.For those of you that are still unsure about homemade dog food, consider the BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods, and the trend is gaining steam among purists and pet lovers. Since a dog is an omnivore, the diet suggests that both animal and plant raw food items should be the only items to make up your dog’s diet. The idea is that your dog should only eat what it biologically evolved to eat, so only raw food found in the wild. (This is similar to the PALEO diet for humans.)If you want to stick with the BARF diet, here are alternative homemade dog food options:Bones! Dogs love bones, and real ones with flavor are the best. Not only does it help increase their metabolism and burn off a little steam, chewing on bones keeps their teeth sharp and healthy.Innards! The muscle tissue, fat, organ meat and other innards are perfectly acceptable and delicious for dogs to consume. Many true BARF believers claim that these items are even essential to a healthy doggy’s diet. You can often get the fresh leftovers from butcher shops.Raw! You guessed it; BARF believes that fresh, raw meat is one of the best options for a dog’s diet. Raw vegetables are also great, but make sure you feed them vegetables they would have access to in the wild – such as broccoli and carrots.Warnings:
- You should always ask your vet before switching to homemade dog food.
- Be aware of the foods commonly toxic to dogs (chocolate, raisins, onions, grapes, pits, various leaves and stems).
- Try not to introduce anything exotic into the dog food. Dogs can have allergies, even with certain types of meat, just like humans, so be careful with any odd additions to your recipe.
- There is a lot of controversy around whether or not dogs should eat grains. Many sources cite that it leads to long-term and sometimes fatal health issues. If you must use grains – rice, oats, etc. – in your dog’s diet, use them very sparingly.
While you’re at it – make sure you pay attention to your pet’s preferences, reactions, and stool for the first week or so. Having an indoor dog potty can help you monitor your dog’s diet. This way you will know if the new food is causing any abnormalities. Many people like to mix commercial dog food with their new homemade recipes as a way to slowly and safely change their dog’s diet. Happy cooking!
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