Start With A Good Recipe
Many dog food recipes fall short in certain nutrients, especially iron, copper, calcium, and zinc. Even some recipes created by veterinarians don’t measure up. The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine tested 200 recipes, many written by vets. The researchers found most of the recipes were short on some essential nutrients.
The best way to make sure a recipe has what it takes is to choose one created by an expert with training in dog nutrition, says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD. That might be a certified pet nutritionist or a PhD-trained animal nutritionist with experience making pet food. Your vet should be able to point you in the right direction.
Your pet needs protein , fat and carbohydrates . They also need calcium , and essential fatty acids .
And if that’s not enough to consider, if your dog has a health problem, they may need a special diet. You may need a pet nutrition expert to create custom recipes.
How Much Calcium Do Dogs And Puppies Need
If you want to get calcium right, you also need to get phosphorus right. Both minerals are tightly regulated in the body by the parathyroid hormone and vitamin D. Calcium needs to first be combined with phosphorus before its stored in bones so just as too little calcium can cause skeletal issues in dogs, so can too little phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus combine to give bones their structure and strength.
If theres too much phosphorus in the diet, calcium will be pulled from the bones to balance out the blood levels of phosphorus. So too much phosphorus in the diet will also weaken bones and cause calcium deposits in soft tissue. So when youre adding calcium to homemade diets, you have to pay attention to both calcium and phosphorus. Here are three things you need to consider:
AAFCO Calcium Requirements
AAFCO has set minimum and maximum requirements for the amount of both calcium and phosphorus in dog foods. We can also use AAFCO requirements to make sure our homemade diets have the right balance of calcium and phosphorus. Because puppies need larger amounts of calcium, there are different requirements for dogs and puppies:
AAFCO/NRC Calcium and Phosphorus For Growth & Reproduction
Many Owners Feed Their Dogs A Home
If asked the most common mistake people make when feeding their dogs a homemade diet, Id have to say that its not adding calcium. This error is not only common, its also dangerous, especially for puppies, but for adult dogs as well when too little calcium is given long term. Giving an inappropriate amount of calcium can cause orthopedic problems in growing puppies, especially large-breed puppies during the first six months when they are growing the fastest. But giving too little calcium can lead to bone disease and more in adult dogs, too.
Its not surprising to me that many people do not realize the importance of adding calcium when feeding a homemade diet. Most of the homemade diet recipes Ive seen online make no mention of added calcium. I reviewed more than 30 books on homemade diets for WDJ some years ago.1 Of the 24 books I reviewed that were not exclusively about feeding a raw diet that includes bones, only 10 included adequate calcium guidelines!
Don’t Miss: Iams Grain Free Dog Food Review
Cooked Vs Raw Diets For Puppies
There’s no doubt that home-cooked diets for puppies can be healthy when done correctly, but what about raw food? There is much controversy over raw food for dogs. The AVMA and other agencies warn of the risks of dangerous pathogens in raw pet food. Some other experts see the potential benefits of raw food for healthy adult dogs. However, puppies are a different story. Raw food may contain dangerous pathogens that can lead to illness in people and some dogs. Like children, young animals may not have the immune systems to fight off pathogens found in raw food.
If you feel you can safely handle raw food and you are willing to assume the risks, talk to your veterinarian about transitioning to raw food when your puppy gets older. In the beginning, you might choose to offer a combination of cooked and raw foods to see how it works out.
Raw diets should never be fed to dogs coming into contact with immunocompromised humans. In addition, raw diets are not recommended for dogs with immune system issues.
An Alternative To Home Cooking
Cooking for your pet is a process thats demanding on your time, labor, space, and finances, says Dr. Larsen.
Home cooking is not for everyone, though, and it doesnt have to be. Another option to provide your dog with whole ingredients is to get carefully prepared ready-made meals.
There are commercial foods that can be purchased that contain whole ingredients that are pre-cooked. Which is very close to cooking, notes Dr. Bartges.
So, while you might think that cooking for your dog is better for their health, it can be just as beneficial to purchase pre-prepared food thats made with the same principles in mind. Whichever method you choose, just to make sure you are always catering to your dogs individual health and nutrition needs.
Don’t Miss: Caesars Dog Food Recall 2021
A Meal For You And Your Dog
Love cooking for your dog but never have the time? Rocky Kanaka from The CWs SAVE our SHELTER, Dog’s Day Out and founder of The Dog Bakery, has a solution. This easy to make salmon meal for yourself can also be made for your dog.
This recipe is designed for those who want to eat healthy and want their dogs to eat healthy as well but are always on the go. This is also one of the most eco friendly recipes we have seen. Instead of tossing things we would usually not eat such as broccoli stems, the recipe uses these as a key part to the dogs delicious meal.
This recipe also has a bonus tip on what to do with that salmon skin that is usually thrown in the trash. I get asked a lot if salmon skin is okay for dogs. While it is not safe if consumed raw, due to unwanted parasites, cooking in the oven for 20 minutes to make a crunchy, healthy, limited ingredient, organic, high omega dog snack that may help with heart health and give them a great skin and coat is a big win! says Rocky.
And there is more, when you cook for your dog you are more conscious of what you put in your body. For all of those reasons and more we give this recipe four paws up!
Healthy meals are important for you and your dog but the best thing about this recipe from Rocky Kanaka is it allows you to take time out of your day to spend time with your family two and four legged! Read on to find out how to do it or watch Rocky has he demonstrates!
This Is A Balanced Dog Food Recipe That My Veterinarian Showed Me On Youtube A Few Years Ago I Want My Dogs To Live A Long & Healthy Life So I Make Their Food Myself I Like Knowing Exactly What Is In Their Food It Can Get Pricey But Hospital Bills Are Even Pricier Healthy Food = Good Health
This recipe is completely balanced and my dogs LOVE it. They have super shiny coats, healthy teeth, and good breath!
You can make a large batch of this once or twice a month and keep it in the freezer until you need it. For my two small dogs, I make about 10 pounds of food and it will last about 3 weeks. But one of them is a puppy, so she gets an extra meal. For two small adult dogs , this would probably last a whole month.
Check with your veterinarian for how much food your dog needs per serving. My adult dog is 7 lbs and requires 2/3 cup of food per day, while my puppy requires 1 whole cup plus calcium supplements.
This recipe has 40 calories per ounce. To see the original recipe posted on Youtube by Rodney Habib, click here. This video can provide more information on the nutrients in this recipe.
Also Check: How To Soften Dog Food For Puppies
How To Find The Perfect Vet
Its very important to understand: 1. How to balance the meals so that your dog is getting its essential diet components, and 2. What dogs should and should not eat.
If youre considering switching your dog to a homemade diet, the best thing that you can do is consult a canine nutritionist or a holistic veterinarian with training in canine nutrition. They will guide you in creating recipes that will offer your dog a 100% nutritionally balanced diet.
Dont forget that your dogs nutritional needs are constantly changing. These needs are based on many factors, including age, weight, activity level, and health condition. As these variables change, your dogs diet will need to change too.
For trusted information, reach out to a vet nutritionist from this list of board-certified vet nutritionists from ACVN. Look for veterinarians specialized in Small/Companion Animal Nutrition.
A vet-nutritionist or holistic vet with expertise in canine nutrition can guide you when creating balanced recipes for your pup
Other Sources Of Protein
Dogs can eat boneless frozen marine fish. You cannot feed raw fish caught in the river to animals it may contain parasites that are dangerous to them. Fermented milk products are another source of protein for dogs.
The body of not all animals normally reacts to fatty foods, so it is recommended to give cottage cheese with a fat content of up to 5-9%, kefir no more than 3.5%, all this with a shelf life of no more than one week. Sugary yoghurts with various fillings should not be given to dogs they contain enough sugar and preservatives, which can cause digestive problems.
With caution, you should give the animal fermented baked milk the product can cause fermentation.
When feeding a dog with natural products, you must not mix meat and lactic acid foods in one meal. Meat with vegetables is allowed to be given in one feeding, and lactic acid products in another.
You can add raw eggs to dairy products 2-3 times a week, not more often otherwise there is a danger of allergies or even poisoning the dog should only consume them boiled.
Also Check: Does Iams Have Grain
How To Prepare Homemade Puppy Food
In general, puppies need about twice as many calories per day than their adult counterparts. According to the Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Cats and Dogs of the National Academy of Science, a 10-pound puppy that is expected to weigh 33 pounds at adulthood needs to eat about 990 calories per day. In addition, puppies need more protein, fat, vitamins and minerals than adult dogs.
A homemade puppy diet should contain the proper balance of:
- Protein, such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef
- Carbohydrates, like rice, pasta, potatoes
- Vegetables, such as peas, green beans, carrots
- Fat, often in the form of vegetable oil
- Vitamin/mineral supplements
Once you have chosen a recipe, it’s time to prepare it for your dog. Many owners who feed home-prepared diets set up a regular schedule, setting aside time weekly or monthly to prepare and portion the diet. The food can be prepared in bulk and portioned into containers . You can keep meals frozen for several months or refrigerated for about 5 days. When the supply of pre-prepared meals runs low, it’s time to make a new batch. If you like to feed a variety of foods, you can make multiple batches and color code by ingredients, rotating out the different meals.
Remember to increase portions appropriately as your puppy grows. It’s best to weigh your puppy every week or two to make sure you are feeding the proper amount of calories
The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong
Senior Natural Dog Diet Homemade
A natural diet is considered more pleasant for a dog due to its diversity, but it is worthwhile to approach it responsibly.
You will have to balance it yourself so that your dog can get all the vitamins and minerals it needs. In addition, proper natural feeding will cost much more than ready-made dog food.
The correct senior dog food homemade is a diet that does not need additional processing, which consists of meat and offal, medium-fat fermented milk products, vegetables and some unsweetened fruits. You can also add cereal bran to the main homemade senior healthy food.
Read Also: Dog Food For Pomeranians
What To Watch For When Feeding Homemade Dog Food
It’s important to monitor your dog closely when changing to homemade dog food. Stay in contact with your veterinarian regarding any changes you notice, whether good or bad. For best results, keep a record of your dog’s weight and body condition over time. Weigh your dog at least once per week and contact your vet if you notice unintended weight loss or gain. Watch for vomiting or diarrhea that may occur if your dog is sensitive to one or more ingredients. Note and report these or any other signs of illness to your veterinarian.
Proper Nutrition For Dogs
Like humans, dogs have nutritional needs that must be met in order for them to thrive. Dogs’ nutritional needs differ from our own, so you can’t exactly start sharing your own dinner with your dog. Feeding an incomplete or imbalanced diet can lead to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies in dogs.
Dogs need enough calories to meet their energy requirements. A dog’s daily caloric need depends on the dog’s life stage and activity level. Your veterinarian can help you determine how many calories your dog needs each day.
A homemade dog diet should contain an appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. Vitamins and minerals must be added to the food to ensure it is complete and balanced.
- At least 10% protein, such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef
- Up to 50% carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, and potatoes
- About 2.5-4.5% fiber, which can come from vegetables like peas, green beans, and carrots
- At least 5.5% fat, usually in the form of vegetable oil
- Vitamin and mineral supplements
If you are ready to get started cooking for your dog, the first step is to talk to your veterinarian. Your vet may have recipes for you to try. Or you may need a referral to a veterinary nutritionist or a vet that focuses on canine nutrition.
Also Check: Iams Aurora Ne
Ingredients Needed For This Homemade Dog Food Recipe:
This DIY dog food made at home is filled with rich protein, vegetables, and healthy grains. Heres what youll need:
- Coconut oil provides a variety of health benefits for dogs, such as improving the skin and coat, increasing energy, aiding digestion, and reducing allergic reactions, just to name a few. And just like us, your dog needs healthy fats in their diet.
- Ground turkey will add necessary protein to your dogs diet, as well as important vitamins and minerals.
- Veggies this homemade dog food recipe uses a mix of zucchini, spinach and carrots. All are safe for dogs and will provide your baby with a variety of nutrients.
- Turmeric a dog-safe seasoning that also provides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Egg for extra protein and nutrients.
- Rice a complex carb that provides energy and aids in gastrointestinal function.
Can Balance It Canine Be Heated
Or if you prefer, you can use Balance IT Canine Plus which can be heated one time and only one time to a food safe temperature of 165 degrees F or 74 degrees C. If you are batch cooking then you can add the Canine Plus after cooking the batch and it is no longer hot, but prior to refrigerating or freezing.
Recommended Reading: Good Food For Pomeranians
How Much Is Too Much Of A Good Thing
The single biggest issue with all of these guidelines for pet food is that the label of complete and balanced leads to a false sense of security for dog owners.
Remember, balance is for survival, NOT optimal health.
In this investigatory article by the Truth About Pet Food, the public records for laboratory testing of 27 brands of commercial dog food showed some shocking increases in certain pet food ingredients like fat, sodium, iron, and manganese. Some of these nutrients showed increases of over 2,000%!
The problem is this
AAFCO, FEDIAF, and NRC establish minimum nutrient requirements for dogs, but no maximums. Here are the definitions used by the NRC:
- Minimal Requirement: the minimal concentration or amount of bioavailable nutrient that will support a defined physiological state.
- Recommended Allowance:The concentration or amount of a nutrient in a diet formulated to support a given physiological state based on Minimal Requirement and, where applicable, includes a bioavailability factor.
- Adequate Intake:amount required by the animal of a nutrient that is presumed to sustain a given life stage when no Minimal Requirement has been demonstrated.
Because very few nutrients have stated maximums, pet food manufacturers are at liberty to formulate their products as they wish.
As long as the minimum requirements are met, that product can receive the AAFCO stamp of approval.
In other words, with very few maximum allowable amounts listed, there are no limits.
Pet With Medical Conditions
Balance IT® offers two alternatives for sick dogs and cats. Both need a prescription from your veterinarian in order to access a recipe.
First, there are pre-determined recipes for pets with common illnesses. These include: Arthritis, Liver Disease, Diabetes, IBD, Heart Disease, Allergies, Urinary Crystals and Stones and more.
This is how I found the recipe that helped calm down Codys IBD. Your vet can also request that you work directly with a nutritionist. That way the veterinarian can get a complete history of your dogs medical condition and develop a custom recipe.
Balance IT has been my go too source for a long time. I hope you find it helpful too.
Read Also: Who Makes Zignature Dog Food