Feeding your dog a homemade diet: What you need to know

Posted by MyDogDoc on

Dogs are important members of our families, and you may be keen to hand select and cook your dog’s meals like you do for the rest of your family. Unfortunately cooking for your pooch is not necessarily as easy as you might think, here’s what you need to know.

  • Studies have shown that the majority of recipes obtained from books or the internet are lacking in one or more nutrients.

  • It can be quite some time before you see the ill effects of a lack of these nutrients in adult dogs.

  • If you do decide to make your dog home cooked meals it is important to have a dedicated veterinary nutritionist formulate their meal plan with the right mix of ingredients and supplements.

  • Home cooked meals are not advisable for growing puppies or pregnant or nursing dogs.

What’s the problem with homemade dog food?

A homemade diet is nearly impossible to get complete and balanced without the help of a veterinary trained nutritionist. Unbalanced diets can lead to life threatening nutritional deficiencies or excesses of certain nutrients. You may not realise there is a problem straight away as your dog may not show signs of these imbalances for some time.

Preparing your dog’s food at home can be expensive and time consuming. Dog food usually needs to be cooked differently to human food with everything boiled and unseasoned. Your veterinary nutritionist will advise specific mineral and vitamin supplements to add to the home cooked diet. It is important to strictly follow the recipe and not deviate!

Puppies, pregnant and lactating mothers should not be fed a home cooked diet as it is so hard to meet their nutritional requirements. Even small errors in nutrient proportions can cause serious and lifelong consequences.

It can also be very difficult to meet the nutritional needs of dogs who are overweight while restricting their calories. For dogs needing to lose some extra pounds a prescription veterinary weight loss diet, which has been formulated to be low calorie and nutrient dense, is usually a better option. Prescription weight loss diets are designed to keep your dog’s appetite satisfied on fewer calories.

Is it ever OK to home prepare my dog’s food?

There are a few times when a home prepared diet might be the best option. These include pets that have complicated health conditions or diseases that need to be managed by nutrition in different ways. We would always recommend you discuss it with your vet first, and they can refer you on to a veterinary nutritionist if necessary.

An occasional homemade meal can be enjoyed by your pup, so long as it does not interrupt the overall balance. We know, they love their Christmas Dinner! But please, do be careful to avoid foods which are toxic to your dog, such as: Onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, chocolate, avocados, certain nuts and xylitol-sweetened foods.

We love talking about food here at MyDogDoc! Got a question? Why not book a consult?!

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