Pet owners know that homemade dog food can be a great nutritional choice for their canines when done right. If done incorrectly, however, it can also be a devastating decision that costs your dog his health. Let’s talk about all the pros and cons of homemade dog food recipes.
Before we get into the pros and cons of the homemade dog food recipes and their accompanying diets, and discuss some of the myths and facts, let’s talk about what a homemade dog food diet actually is. If you’re looking for recipes, there’s plenty of them right here.
What is homemade dog food?
Homemade dog food is a term used for food that is cooked for dogs at home using the same ingredients that we use in our own diets (i.e. human foods).
Dogs that are fed a homemade dog food diet can avoid eating processed commercial dog food diets like dry kibble, dehydrated dog foods or canned wet dog food.
There are many reasons why pet parents choose to feed homemade dog food recipes:
- Fear of too frequent recalls on commercial pet foods
- Unique health needs of ailing dogs
- Dogs with allergies to numerous ingredients
- A desire for improved ingredient quality or better quality control
- Knowing exactly what goes into every single one of dog’s meals
With so much controversy surrounding the pet food industry, it’s no wonder that more and more pet owners are shying away from commercial dog food brands and switching to using homemade dog food recipes to feed their canines a healthy meal.
What homemade dog food diets exist?
There are three popular ways to go about feeding a pet homemade dog food diet. The most popular homemade diets for dogs are so-called “raw diets” where the focus is on providing unprocessed raw meats and, depending on the diet, fruits and veggies.
1. The BARF diet – based on “ancestral” diet and the idea that dogs are omnivores, it’s focused on unprocessed and “biologically appropriate” foods for dogs. Those include meat, bones, organs, fruits, vegetables and supplements.
2. The Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet – the PMR diet is animal-exclusive, and attempts to emulate what dogs would eat in the wild (what wolves eat) – whole prey. It includes meat, bones, organs, feathers, etc. There are no fruits or vegetables.
3. The DIY homemade dog food diet – a whatever works type of diet, where no specific rules apply other than whatever works for the dog and provides the nutrition needed without inclusion or exclusion of specific foods. Unlike the raw models, it can include both cooked and uncooked foods, and supplements.
DIY Homemade Dog Food Recipes
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Benefits of Homemade Dog Food Recipes
When nutritionally balanced and well-varied, homemade dog food recipes can be exceptionally beneficial for many reasons.
Health issues like kidney, liver and heart disease can all be managed through veterinary care and a properly selected homemade dog food diet. Homemade food has proposed benefits for puppies, adult dogs and seniors.
No matter what your pet’s overall health and wellness, homemade dog food will provide him with an enticing meal that will benefit his body. Feeding a homemade diet will benefit you, too! Some advantages of feeding homemade dog food include:
1. Regulation of Pet Food Quality
Pet food recalls are quite prevalent these days, which makes dog owners worry about the quality and safety of dog foods they feed their canines.
Making homemade dog food for your pet allows you to regulate what foods go into his diet, much more so than going with commercial dog food brands.
I am not only talking about meat versus byproduct, but also which cuts of meat, where that meat came from and the quality of the meat overall.
2. No Filler Ingredients in Homemade Foods
Commercial pet foods bulk up their products with cheap filler ingredients that lack nutritional value. This allows for the creation of large amounts of food for a reduced cost.
Ingredients that are not nutritionally valuable, however, tend to pass through your dog’s system and create more waste.
It is also worth noting that filler ingredients in dog foods are often allergy-causing ingredients. Homemade dog food recipes allow you to optimize the nutritional value of the food you’re feeding and eliminate unnecessary fillers and potential allergens.
3. Increased Variation of Diet
Feeding a commercial dog food diet often results in feeding the same variety of kibble for at least a month at a time (think one 30 lb bag of kibble). This lack of variation is boring for your dog, but it is also limiting in terms of nutritional value.
Homemade dog food recipes allow you to regularly vary the ingredients of your pup’s meals to offer a wider range of nutrients. Just like us, the more varied the nutrients your dog receives from their diet, the healthier they will be.
4. Homemade Dog Food Diet May Provide Better Nutrition
Despite ingredient labels offering up information, commercial dog foods are often quite cryptic in terms of specifics (for example, “meat byproduct”). This leaves you feeding your dog mysterious ingredients or in the very least, artificial ingredients.
Choosing to feed homemade dog food recipes allows you to incorporate more whole foods and healthy ingredients into Fido’s diet. Additionally, you can avoid feeding your dog questionable ingredients like by-products.
5. Homemade Dog Foods Are Fresh, Not Preserved
Where even the best quality commercial dog foods incorporate artificial preservatives and added salts to keep them fresh, homemade dog food does not.
These preservatives can exacerbate existing health conditions, like heart disease, as well as contribute to general poor health.
Just as it is better for humans to eat fewer preservatives and more fresh food, it is healthier for dogs as well.
6. No More Waste (or less of it)
Home cooking dog food allows you the opportunity to use dog-friendly leftovers from human meals. This means…