If you are a dog lover, you are probably already aware of the debate that surrounds this major question: what should you feed your dog? Dog owners are usually torn between two opposites; their pet is either used to commercial prepackaged food, or has always been fed home cooked dog food.
Whether you just adopted your first pup or are a seasoned dog owner, it is plausible that you are wondering whether or not to venture into home cooked dog food. It is a question all dog owners have contemplated at one point or another, and we are here to answer it in detail!
What is home cooked dog food?
Let us first look at what the term entails, before you can decide if it is feasible for you. Commercial dog diets are specially formulated according to a dog’s nutritional needs; commercial dog food brands invest a lot in their research and development, and usually have a team of qualified dog nutritionists and veterinarians to advise them on the food formulation.
Home cooked dog food on the other hand, is “fresher”. Unlike commercial dog foods, their shelf life is much shorter, and usually made with fresh ingredients bought from the supermarket. I cannot stress enough the importance of researching your dog’s nutritional needs before diving into home cooked food.
It can be tempting to feed our dogs the same way we feed ourselves; they are our babies after all! But we have to remember that they are biologically different, and this means they have different nutritional needs from us. We have seen pawrents feed (horror of horrors) more rice and vegetables than meat, almost like cai bng (otherwise known as mixed vegetable rice)!
Unlike us, dogs are obligate carnivores; they lack the flat molar teeth omnivores humans have, and are biologically equipped to digest meats better than vegetation. Studies show that dogs need more protein and fats in their diet than carbohydrates; their age, activity level, and food allergies should also be taken into account when designing the right home cooked diet for them. Ideally, we should always consult a veterinarian or certified dog nutritionist, in order to ensure our dogs get the necessary nutrients in sufficient amounts.
While food preferences will differ from dog to dog, it is unheard of for a dog to refuse meat. Some may prefer raw meat, while others prefer them cooked (ideally steamed). The meat itself can range from rabbit to pork and from lamb to salmon; you just need to go through a trial and error process and find out your pup’s favourites.
Non-meat ingredients that can be included in home cooked dog food include eggs, yogurt, fruits and vegetables. Needless to say, these are natural sources of vitamins and minerals, and can help strengthen your dog’s body and provide optimal health.
Why make home cooked food for dogs?
Home cooked dog food is becoming increasingly popular as more pawrents are concerned about what really goes into their dog’s food. The cost, inconvenience, and time required of preparing a meal from scratch is not daunting for some. If done correctly, the benefits of a home cooked dog food definitely outweighs commercial dog food. Here are a few reasons why:
You know exactly what your dog is eating
Despite the presence of pet food regulatory agencies, there are still shocking cases every now and then where hundreds of dogs fall ill due to poisoning. Some of these cases are even fatal, and usually result in lawsuits against the dog food brand. Although these scandals do not occur often, it is enough to keep us on our toes, and be more aware and careful of what we feed our dogs.
Home cooked food can lead to better overall health
Naturally, when a dog gets all the essential nutrients needed from a nutritionally balanced and complete diet, it leads to a general improvement in health. Even better if you can include fresh ingredients! Signs of good health in a dog include a full and shiny coat, minimal shedding, consistent and firm stool, and increased energy. It can also contribute to a longer life span!
Home cooked dog food generates less waste
This is a surprising find pawrents stumble upon when they switch to home cooked food for dogs. But there’s a perfectly good explanation for it; if your dog’s current brand of commercial food is full of fillers like corn and white rice, they are only momentarily filling up your dog’s stomach while barely providing any nutrients. Since there is barely any absorption occurring, these fillers come out of the body quickly in form of excrement. With the correct home cooked diet, however, most of the food’s nutrients will be absorbed by the body, thus minimizing waste material.
You can customize your dog’s food
Thanks to the Internet and the easy access to information that it provides, more and more pawrents are becoming aware of what their dog needs. Home cooked food for dogs can be easily customized for specific allergies to certain kinds of meat or vegetables, which is especially helpful for dogs with multiple food allergies.
You cook for yourself frequently
If you cook for yourself, or are have someone preparing home cooked meals for you everyday (lucky you!), then chances are you can use the same primary ingredients that you are using for your own dinner, and create perfect little meals for your dog!
It’s one of the many ways to show you love your dog!
Once you opt for home cooked dog food, there is no looking back! As a pawrent, you will find that there is a special joy in preparing meals for your beloved furkid. Be warned though, there’s no going back once you spoil them.
Are there any problems with home cooked dog food?
As much as we might support home cooking for your dog, it is essential to impart caution. If you do not have the time to prepare adequate meals for your dog or if you are not yet fully acquainted with the nutritional needs of your pet, it might not be a very good idea. Why? It is often seen that pets suffer from deteriorating health and increasing diseases and allergies due to poor homemade diets.
Remember that the reason you are opting for home cooked dog food is to provide a balanced, healthy diet, and if you are not acquainted with that, the process may backfire and you may instead do damage to your pet’s health.
If you are worried that you’re unable to get the formulation right, or lack the time to prepare home cooked food for your dog, you can consider dehydrated dog foods such as Addiction, Grandma Lucy’s and The Honest Kitchen. Containing dried meats, fruits and veggies, all you need to do is add some water, wait for a few minutes, and serve!
For those of you who prefer a raw diet alternative to home cooked dog food, read our article about raw dog food diets HERE at Kohepets.
Remember, while home cooked food for dogs is tempting given its health benefits, remember to only venture into it if you are ready for it; if not, you might be better off investing in high quality commercial food!