- Pets and Animals
Homemade Pet Food: Natural Holistic Nutrition for Dogs
Treat your Best Friend to Homemade Dog Food
It seems the old adage is true, we are what we eat. In the case of our pets, they are what we feed them. With increasing concerns over the safety of commercially manufactured pet foods, owners have taken it upon themselves to learn more about the benefits of switching to homemade dog food. You don't need to spend a lot of time or money making your pet's food and the benefits could be well worth it. So treat your dog to a more holistic approach to eating with natural homemade pet foods.
What's Really in Commercial Pet Food?
To better understand what we pour into our pet's dishes, it's important to look at the ingredient label. Many popular brands, and their generic alternatives, contain either meat by-products or meat and bone meal; terms that seem to have settled nicely into our collective conscience. What exactly are meat by-products? Defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), meat by-products are non-meat portions of slaughtered animals, including lungs, bone, brain, intestines, blood, kidneys and stomachs, which are not fit for human consumption. Meat by-products, and the other substandard ingredients and fillers found in pet foods, are less nutritious and could be a contributing factor to the increased risk of cancer and other life threatening diseases. Surprisingly, the AAFCO neglects to mention that current guidelines legally allow for the use of diseased, dead, denatured and dying livestock, road kill and even euthanized pets.
While this information should be sufficient enough to thoroughly gross you out, it's important to remember that knowledge is power. Armed with this disturbing information, pet owners are capable of making changes to better the lives of their companions.
What's in Your Dog's Dish?
What Pet Food Do You Purchase Most for Your Dog?
Think About It!
Are you giving your pets the very best nutrition?
Benefits of Homemade Dog Food
Natural Ingredients for Optimal Health
A healthy, balanced pet requires a healthy, balanced diet, free of by-products, fillers, additives and preservatives. One simple and cost effective way to achieve balanced nutrition for your faithful friends is to make your own homemade pet food. While there are few studies to back up the benefits of feeding your pet a diet based on whole foods, animal lovers and practitioners of this method are usually quick to tell you about how much it has improved the health of their animals. Most dogs that eat meals made from fresh meats, vegetables and fruits experience fewer conditions, like gum disease, digestive problems and even cancer. Additionally, the consumption of high quality proteins and nutrient-rich vegetables help to improve muscle condition and vision, make your dog's coat shiny and can cure common ailments like ear infections, dry skin and allergies.
Getting Started: How to Prepare Homemade Dog Food
Making your own pet food can seem to be a time consuming task at first, but with careful planning it isn’t as daunting as it may seem. By setting aside one afternoon for preparation, you should be able to compile enough food to sustain your pets throughout the week. Take care to watch for sales at the grocery store and stock up on ingredients when the prices are low, although preparing your dog’s meals is typically less costly. If you happen to have a vegetable garden, you can use scraps and leftovers to create healthy dishes for your dog.
Maintaining a proper balance of nutrients is important when creating meals for your pets. There is a slew of conflicting information on the internet, from raw diets to specific ingredients and certain percentages of protein. As a general rule of thumb, combine at least 30% high quality protein, 30% vegetables and 10% whole grains for dogs. Homemade dog food recipes are available online or can be found by browsing through pet food cookbooks.
Check Out These Great Homemade Dog Food Books!
Finding the right recipes for your pet can be a daunting task. To find the most accurate and nutritional recipes, it is recommended that you check out these popular dog food cookbooks.
A Basic Pet Food Recipe - Something Simple to Get you Started!
Here is a great recipe that I created to get you started on your homemade pet food adventure. It is particularly easy and useful because you can add almost any vegetables you have on hand. Remember, to seek the guidance of your veterinarian before feeding your pet new foods. The recipe also works well for cats, but consider adding more eggs for valuable and nutritious taurine to aid in healthy vision. Additionally, some cats and small dogs may require that meals be ground in a blender or food mill to make chewing easier.
Basic Weekly Dog Food (Bulk Recipe)
4 lbs. ground turkey or lean chicken (organic or antibiotic-free preferred)
5 large eggs, beaten (brown, vegetarian and antibiotic-free preferred)
5 cups cooked brown rice
5 whole carrots, thin sliced and steamed or boiled
4 cups green beans, cleaned and steamed or boiled
Various vegetables that are approved for canines
In a large pot, crumble ground meat and cook thoroughly. Add beaten eggs and stir continually over medium heat until scrambled and cooked. Remove pot from heat and add cooked rice and cooked vegetables. Allow mixture to cool before portioning into tightly sealed containers. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.
For added vitamins and minerals, consider adding a few drops of an organic or holistic liquid supplement. If your pet's coat is looking dull and or they are suffering from dry skin, a teaspoon of olive oil (per feeding) should bring back the shine and relieve bothersome itching.