Cooking Our Way To A Healthier Dog Diet
Ever since I started raising my own dogs, Id always wanted to make their food at home but thought it would be too expensive or too time consuming, or that they wouldnt get the nutrition they needed.
During the month of Bugs doggy depression, I vowed to make her precious life as comfortable as possible.
Both of my pugs had a range of health issues growing up, which I unfortunately found out were common for the breed.
My older one had persistent hot spots and itchiness that no commercial dog food could cure .
Bug was overweight for a while when she was younger, even though she ate the recommended amount of food for her target weight. Eventually, I settled on Wellness kibbles and they did well with that brand.
But, I wanted to explore other options. I wanted to give them real food fresh, nutritious ingredients that I recognized and could even eat myself.
Ive mentioned in my post on homemade whole grain chicken feed that the entire household all share the same whole grains and seeds that we buy in bulk, as well as the bounty that comes from our edible garden.
Everything our animals eat, we can eat.
When it comes to homemade feed for our laying hens, we stick to a tried-and-true formula that works for every layer: 16 to 17 percent protein , vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from a wide variety of grains and seeds, and free range of a pasture for weeds, greens, and insects.
Dogs, on the other hand, arent bred for a standard function the way chickens are.
Make Sure The Diets Working
After your dogs been dining on your kitchen creations for 2 to 3 weeks, take them to the vet to make sure they are not gaining or losing too much weight. If their weight is changing, check it again in a couple of weeks.
Take your pooch for a checkup twice a year. The vet can look at their skin, coat, body condition, and any type of problems that might be happening as the result of the diet, Larsen says.
What Human Food Are Safe For Puppies
Human foods that are safe for your fur baby include:
Carrots âChewing them helps remove plaque on their teeth. Also, carrots are a good source of Vitamin A vital for the dog’s skin, coat, and immune system.
Apples â Provides Vitamin A and C. Good source of fiber, which regulates your dog’s digestion.
Eating rotten apples can lead to alcohol poisoning fordogs!
White Rice â Cooked and plain white rice is a good option for a dog’s upset stomach. Also, it is easy to digest and binds stool.
Diabetic dogs should eat white rice in small portions because it increases sugar levels!
Dairy Products â Milk, cheese, and plain yogurt safe for dogs to have in small amounts.
Too much dairy can cause digestive problems because dogs have low lactase levels.
Peanut Butter â Unsalted peanut butter with sugar added is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Contains Vitamins E and B, niacin, healthful fats, and protein.
Plain Popcorn â Contains magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are essential for your dog’s health.
Blueberries â Rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Bananas â Full of magnesium. Due to its high sugar content, dogs should intake bananas in moderation.
Cucumbers â Low-calorie snack and is suitable for dogs that are overweight. Also contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin K.
Green Beans â Plain green beans are suitable for dogs. Good source of protein and contains calcium, iron, and Vitamin K.
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Chicken And Spinach Puppy Food
Looking for a healthy and scrumptious meal for your dog? This chicken and spinach recipe will surely work like a charm. The stated ingredients can make 60 servings for a small dog.
- 1 ½ cups dried brown rice
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 4-5 cups fresh spinach
- 1 extra-large yam
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
NOTE: Please consult your vet before changing your dogs current diet.
Thanks to Pink Pistachio for this recipe.
Making Your Own Dog Food
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Of course, there was lots of advice about feeding dogs long before there was commercial dog food. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of it was similar to what we know about feeding dogs today. For example, some owners were advised to give their dogs liver and heart from deer, along with milk, cheese, and bread . Beloved pets usually ate better than yard dogs.
Today we have come full circle and many owners like the idea of making their dogs meals instead of feeding them a commercial diet. There are a number of benefits of making your dogs food.
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Homemade Puppy Food Ingredients
Choosing the right ingredients for your homemade puppy food recipes is hugely important and fairly easy to do.
As you need to buy natural, human-grade ingredients you can simply add little Rascal’s shopping list to your own and knock them both out at once.
Ingredients to buy for your homemade puppy food include:
Optional ingredients to add to this list include:
Because heating and cooking ingredients kills off most of the vitamins and minerals in them you’ll need to add dietary supplements to make sure your puppy’s meals contain the full range nutrients he needs.
This is probably the trickiest part of the whole homemade puppy food creation process because the majority of canine nutritionists, researchers and veterinarians aren’t in agreement over what constitutes the ideal balance.
Luckily, you don’t have to stress over making every single meal perfectly balanced because the best way to make sure that your little Rascal gets everything he needs from his home made diet is to create a variety of different meal plans/recipes and rotate them.
Doing this means your puppy gets a wide variety of ingredients over a period of a few days, creating a natural nutritional balance over time.
We all know this works because it’s how we eat ourselves! I know that no individual meal I eat contains ALL the nutrients or ingredients that I need to stay healthy.
However, over a period of a week or so I’m confident that I eat enough variety to give my body everything it needs.
Homemade Food For A 1
One meal of raw mincemeat and one meal of yogurt will go well with a 1-month old puppy.
Mincemeat is the easiest for a puppy to eat as he will use the sucking motion to eat it. If he can’t manage to eat a yogurt, add some mince to keep it in shape for him to suck.
As an alternative, if you have a meat grinder at home, you can ground the whole raw chicken. In that way, calcium will come out from the bones, and you will not need yogurt anymore.
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How Much Homemade Puppy Food To Feed Your Puppy
When feeding homemade puppy food, you might start to question the amount per cup you need to serve your puppy pal.
The easiest way to determine is by using a measuring cup.
The general recommendation for the serving size is 1/2 to 3/4 cup of food per 25 pounds of body weight.
The serving size might not be that much, but the excellent, well-balanced homemade dog food is more nutrient-dense than the commercial ones.
As your puppy grows, increase the portions appropriately. It’s best to have your puppy get weighed at least once or twice a week to make sure you are feeding your puppy correctly.
Do Dogs Live Longer On Homemade Food
Is it true that dogs who eat the appropriate diet live longer? Canines health and wellness improve when fed with homemade dog food without artificial additions, preservatives, or chemicals.
It also helps people live longer lives by reducing obesity and the prevalence of illnesses .
According to a Purdue University study, replacing just 25% of your dogs food with actual food, such as high-quality freeze-dried kibble or leafy greens, can reduce cancer risk by up to 90%.
According to a study published in Belgium titled Relation Between the Domestic Dogs: Well-Being and Life Expectancy, A Statistical Essay, dogs fed a high-quality, homemade diet lived 32 months longer.
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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.
Are Dog Food Subscriptions Worth It
Yesif you have the budget and storage space available. Dog food subscriptions can make life for both you and your dog easier in a number of ways. Theyre definitely more convenient for one thing, youll never run out of dog food so you dont have to frantically run to the store on a random day. Its one less thing pet parents have to think about picking up at the store, says Dr. Countner. Meals are customized to your dogs specific nutritional needs, keeping their health in mind. You get peace of mind with fresh high-quality ingredients vetted by veterinarians and nutritionists as well as plenty of variety to choose from.
That said, again, you have to take your budget and storage space into account. Dog food subscriptions are expensive and often demand extra room in your freezer or refrigerator, as most meals need to be kept frozen. In the end, this really depends on the dogs needs as well as the humans, says Dr. Streeter. If you are looking for a convenient way to obtain your dog food, a subscription provides that convenience.
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Beef And Liver Homemade Dog Food
- ¼ Tsp. turmeric
This is one of the healthy homemade dog food recipes that takes a little work to prepare, but it will pay off when you see Fido enjoying it. First, boil the chicken in a large soup pot until cooked through. Set the liquid aside and let the chicken cool slightly. Remove chicken meat from the skin and bones. Shred the chicken meat, throw out the skin and bones.
Combine all ingredients together in the soup pot including leftover chicken stock and stir. Cook on low until everything has cooked through. Cool before serving.
How Important Is Exercise
Walking your puppy regularly for bathroom breaks, exercise and play is crucial. And consistency is key! So, make sure to stay consistent with a schedule, especially when housetraining. There are plenty of apps to track and monitor exercise to make it part of your daily routine.
Pay attention to your dogs energy level. If you have an especially young pup, they may not have enough muscle to sustain long periods of exercise. So, if they start to overheat and get tired, give them some water and a rest. On the opposite end, if your puppy has lots of energy, it could mean they could use a little more outside/play time!
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When Should My Puppies Receive Vaccinations
Puppies are protected against many canine diseases before and shortly after birth by passive antibody transfer from their mother. Some antibodies cross the placenta and enter the puppies’ circulation. However, the majority of antibodies are provided in the mother’s first milk known as colostrum. These maternal antibodies protect the puppies against the diseases to which the mother is immune during the first few weeks of life. This explains why it is often recommended to booster the mother’s vaccinations within a few months prior to breeding.
Although very protective, maternal antibodies last for only a few weeks after this time, the puppy becomes susceptible to disease. The vaccination program should be started at about six to eight weeks of age. This is the age when many maternal antibodies are beginning to die and the puppy becomes susceptible to infectious disease. Puppies should be vaccinated against canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza virus, and rabies. Other vaccines are also available for certain situations, and will be discussed at the time of the first visit for vaccinations.
Maternal antibodies are passed in the mother’s milk only during the first one to three days after delivery. If, for any reason, the puppies do not nurse during this important period of time, their vaccinations should begin earlier than six weeks of age, depending on likely disease exposure. A veterinarian can make specific recommendations for each particular situation.
What Are The Signs That The Puppies Are Not Doing Well And What Do I Do
Puppies should eat or sleep 90% of the time during the first two weeks of life.
“If they are crying during or after eating, they are usually becoming ill, are not receiving adequate milk, or the mother’s milk has become infected .”
If they are crying during or after eating, they are usually becoming ill, are not receiving adequate milk, or the mother’s milk has become infected . A newborn puppy is very susceptible to infections and can die within a few hours of becoming ill. If excessive crying occurs, the mother and entire litter should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Puppies should gain 5-10% of their body weight daily. When the mother’s milk supply is inadequate to support this, supplemental feeding one to six times per day is recommended and should be performed routinely on any litter with greater than five puppies. There are several excellent commercial milk replacers available. They require no preparation other than warming. These milk replacers should be warmed to 95°to 100° before feeding. Its temperature can easily be tested on your forearm: it should be about the same temperature as your skin.
Any milk replacer that is used should contain optimal levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA , a nutrient that is important for the development of the puppies’ brains and eyes. Goat milk is not recommended as it is far too low in protein and fat. Supplemental feeding may be continued until the puppies are old enough to eat puppy food on their own.
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Is Homemade Dog Food Good For Dogs
While I am not a vet, and I certainly cant speak for all animals I can tell you that switching to homemade dog food made a world of difference for Rascal. We had a very unique case with him and his food allergies, but we have also seen other positive changes.
Homemade dog food can help prevent ailments such as:
Upset or frequently sensitive stomach
An easy homemade dog food recipe can be the answer to any existing nutritional gaps like low levels of the essential amino acids that come from home cooked proteins or too-small portions of calcium, potassium and magnesium found in mineral-rich, dark leafy vegetables.
On traditional dog food, Rascal was lethargic, he shed in abundance and his appetite was mediocre. Since the dog food switch, he has been energetic, focused and calmer. On a traditional diet we were vacuuming at least once a day but now 1-2 a week. We no longer have to coax Rascal into mealtime and have finally developed a great eating schedule.
Importance Of Knowing The Exact Serving Size
Knowing the exact serving size to feed your puppy can help prevent overfeeding.
Overfeeding can lead to obesity and are linked to various health complications: joint problems, diabetes, heart conditions, and respiratory issues.
Excessive feeding can also lead to vitamin toxicity. Some of the most common vitamin toxicity are:
- Vitamin Aâ causes bone spurs, lethargy, constipation, stiffness, and limping.
- Vitamin D â vomiting in blood, seizures, muscle tremors, and abdominal pain.
Also, if you’re not feeding your dog enough nutrients, they can be at risk of nutrient deficiency and lead to malnourishment.
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Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes
To jump to a recipe youre interested in, click on the link below. We also have some yummy organic dog treat recipes and treats made with Thanksgiving leftovers. You may wish to have a collection of pet food recipes on-hand at all times, making a cookbook an excellent choice. Dinner PAWsible is one of our favorites.
Note: The recipes below do not include serving size because portion sizes will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and the health of your dog. A recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.