Homemade dog food recipes have seen a large boost in their popularity in the wake of the great pet food recall of 2007. Home-cooked food allows a greater degree of flexibility in managing the needs of your dogs. Making your own dog food at home allows you to custom tailor your dog's nutrition to suit his or her body's needs. When done with the assistance of certified animal nutritionists or your trusted veterinarian, homemade dog food is one of the best ways of keeping your pets healthy and strong. Here are some tips on making homemade dog food recipes.
What NOT to Feed Your Dog
Some human foods may seem like treats to us but when fed to dogs, these may actually be toxic, poisonous and in some severe cases, even fatal. Foods like chocolate and coffee contain caffeine which contains theophylline. This causes diarrhea, vomiting and in severe cases permanent heart and nerve damage. Foods like onion and garlic may bring life and flavor to our sauces, dips and stir-fry but when fed to dogs, these can damage their red blood cells and could cause anemia. Bones, especially for puppies, are often chewed into fragments which when swallowed could get lodged in their intestines causing blockage, laceration and bleeding.
Know Your Dog's Needs
When choosing the right recipe, start with your dog's needs. Dogs need a healthy balance of protein and carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients for their diets, just like their human parents. The exact ratio of these will depend on your dog's age, breed and health conditions. If your dog has known joint and tendon issues, feeding your dog a high protein diet will aggravate his or her condition. Here, consultation with professionals is a must.
When preparing your own dog food, the following are excellent sources of proteins - foods like chicken, beef, lamb and venison. Organ meats, such as hearts and livers, fish and fish oil, in the right amounts, can do wonders for your dog's coat and fur. On the other hand, excellent sources of carbohydrates include long-grained white and brown rice, white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Good sources of vitamins and minerals include pureed vegetables similar to those found in baby foods. Other nutrients that dogs need are calcium for healthy bones especially for aging pets and iodine for better eyesight and for healthier pregnancies. Good sources of these are your everyday table salt and egg shells.
Preparation is Key
Preparation is the key to the best homemade dog food recipes. Remember that the point of homemade dog food is for better nutrition, not contamination. Wash your hands before and after working. Always use dedicated utensils and keep your work area clean. When thawing frozen meats, always thaw inside the fridge and do not freeze the leftovers.
It is also a good idea to bear in mind that in making dog food at home to consider your dog's metabolic functions. Frying meats may do more harm than good. Boiling or broiling meats is a better option. When adding vegetables to your dog's diet, remember that they cannot digest as well as humans do. Boiling and pureeing vegetables is a good place to start.
The best homemade dog food recipes are those that best address your pets' dietary needs and conditions depending on health, age and breed. Perhaps over and above many other things, this is the beauty of homemade dog food recipes. With proper consultation from animal health professionals, making your own dog food at home allows you to give what your dogs' needs, when they need it and how they need it.