Dogs are just another family member, sometimes becoming more important than our family members, who play with us, sleep with us, and eat with us.
We want to feed our dogs as healthy and nutritious food as we do at our dinner table, and what’s better than giving them homemade food?
Homemade food is very economical when compared to commercial dog food, as you have to buy different food products to provide them with the ample amount of proteins and vitamins required.
In homemade food, you can add supplements and different types of Vitamins and proteins at an affordable price without having the need to buy different items.
Now, the important part is what to cook for dogs. Every dog is different and has different food requirements.
In this article, you will find all details about what to cook for dogs, tips and tricks for creating a balanced diet, ingredients to avoid in homemade dog food, and benefits of homemade dog food.
Table of Content
Benefits of Homemade Dog Food
In these changing times, providing our dogs with homemade food becomes increasingly important as commercial food is getting costlier and does not provide all the basic nutrients in a single package.
Let us learn the benefits of homemade dog food.
1. It is Affordable
As mentioned before, homemade food is much cheaper and more affordable than commercial dog food packages. If you buy commercial dog food, you will have to buy supplements to provide all the necessary nutrients.
That, too, doesnt ensure that it will provide all the particular nutrients your dog needs, whereas if you make homemade food, it will be economical, and you can ensure it provides all the required vitamins and proteins your dog needs.
2. Prevents Obesity
Homemade food prevents obesity in dogs, which is one of the root causes of many health problems in dogs.
Obesity is becoming a trend in the United States, and commercial food packages provide dogs with improper proteins and fats, as every dog has different food requirements.
You can control what goes into your dog’s food bowl and help them remain healthy and fit.
3. Variety of Food
Homemade food has the biggest advantage. It provides liberty of choice which readymade packaged food does not. You can manually decide on a recipe with different ingredients.
It will also make your dog’s eating time much more interesting, as while making homemade food, you can cook what they like more and evade things or ingredients that your dog does not like making eating time very interesting.
4. Prevents Allergies and other Health Issues
Homemade food helps prevent allergies and other health issues that can be initiated if an unknown substance is consumed unintentionally, as many ingredients are present and hard to trace before eating.
As a pet owner, you know what food or ingredients causes allergies to your dogs; or if your dog’s teeth are damaged or having trouble, you can make soft and easy-to-chew foods to help their condition.
Basic Nutritional Needs of Dogs
Every dog has different nutritional needs, and it varies if there are any health issues, such as allergies, internal diseases, or skin infections.
Below is a compilation of 20 nutrients vital in a dog’s upkeep.
25 Nutrients Dogs must have in their Diet
|Protein||Essential amino acid helps in muscle growth, healthy skin and hair, and tissue repair||Meat, fish, organ meats, greek yogurt, and eggs|
|Carbohydrate||They provide adequate energy and help support digestive functions and overall health||Grains, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, bread, milk, corn|
|Fat||They help in maintaining their coat, providing insulation from extreme temperatures and energy storage||Meat, organ meats, bone, fish oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower, corn, canola oil|
|Fiber||Helps in bowel regularity, supports digestion helping to firm-formed stools||Carrots, bananas, apples, grains, vegetables,|
|Vitamin A||Necessary bone growth, vision, immune function, and reproduction||Liver, milk, cheese, egg yolks, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, mangoes|
|Vitamin D||Helps in retaining and regulating calcium in the body.||Liver, canned fish, egg yolks, beef, salmon, yogurt|
|B Vitamins||Essential in metabolism, red blood cells coat skin health||Liver, fish, eggs, chicken, leafy greens, bananas, beef, pork|
|Vitamin E||It helps in keeping a healthy heart and defends against oxidative damage||Eggs, fish, spinach, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, tomatoes, kiwi|
|Vitamin K||Necessary for a variety of bodily functions, including vision, immune function, and bone health||Leafy greens, liver, meat, egg yolks|
|Calcium||Helps in building block bones||Egg shells, salmon, spinach, sesame|
|Magnesium||Required for proper muscle function and healthy bones||Brown rice, organ meats, spinach, bone meal|
|Potassium||Helps the heart beat in rhythm and other nerves control||Sweet potato, salmon, bananas, spinach|
|Iron||transport oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells||Beef liver, raw egg york, canned sardines|
|Zinc||Supports immune function, thyroid function, and fighting infections||Beef, duck, chicken, salmon, spinach, broccoli|
|Copper||Helps with skin and hair pigmentation, absorbs iron||Beef liver, crabs, barley|
|Manganese||Produces energy and increases metabolism||Grains, fruits, vegetables|
|Selenium||Supports thyroid metabolism, synthesis of DNA, and reproduction||Fish, meat, and dairy products|
|Iodine||Increases thyroid hormone production and improves metabolism||Kelp Seaweed, Oysters, Eggs, beef liver|
|Taurine||Supports eye and heart health||Red meat, poultry, and organ meats|
|L-carnitine||Supports the metabolism||Red meat and fish, poultry|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||Support immune function and skin and coat health and can reduce inflammation||Fish and fish oils|
|Omega-6 fatty acids||Support immune function and skin and coat health and can reduce inflammation||Sunflower oil, safflower oil|
|Glucosamine||Supports joint health and can reduce joint pain and stiffness||Beef trachea, mussels, chicken feet, bone broth, meaty bones, and cartilage|
|Chondroitin||Supports joint health and can reduce joint pain and stiffness||Fish, chicken feet, pig trachea|
Ingredients to Include in Homemade Dog Food
An ideal homemade food will include various ingredients but will vary according to your dog’s needs and preferences.
You may have to take into account their breed, age, size, and activity level and then decide on what ingredients are required to fulfill their nutrient needs.
Your dog’s food ingredients will also depend on any health condition or allergies they may have. You would not want your dog to consume anything, which can be risky.
The basic ingredient which a dog needs are
- Protein: It is commonly animal meat; some dogs may like ground beef, and some may like chicken it’s on their preference, seafood, dairy, or egg.
- Fat: Dogs can get fat from organ meats, bone, fish oil, and flaxseed oil.
Other ingredients necessary in homemade food include carbohydrates, calcium, and essential fatty acids.
Ingredients to Avoid in Homemade Dog Food
There are some ingredients you should avoid giving your dog, as they can not be harmful to us, but they can even be poisonous to dogs.
Here are some of the ingredients you should avoid while making homemade food.
- Mushrooms, Macadamia nuts.
- Raw potatoes, Avocado
- Tomatoes, Xylitol, Chocolate
- Onions, Onion powder, Garlic
- Garlic powder, Chives,
- Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas,
- Peaches, Plums, Rhubarb
What to Cook for Dogs- Tips for Preparing Homemade Dog Food
Sometimes it is not easy to make homemade foods for dogs, as a lot of things goes into consideration.
Below are some tips and tricks for preparing homemade food easily without much hassle, which will help keep dogs healthy and fit.
1. Start with a Good and Easy Recipe
Try and start off with a recipe that is easier to make and contains all the essential nutrients necessary for your dog’s health.
Many a time, people choose a fancy recipe for their dog, which is not only hectic to make but falls short of many important nutrients that your dog requires.
You can create a recipe from an expert or a canine nutritionist to know what and how much proteins, vitamins, etc., your dog needs and make your food accordingly.
2. Do Not Experiment with the Recipe
In the kitchen, we are all tempted to try and experiment with foods and cooking. Yeah, do not experiment with dog food.
Keep it simple and sober, following the recipe. Even the slightest deviation from the dedicated recipe will change the nutrient profile or malfunction its effects.
If you do not have specific ingredients, do not experiment with something similar, as it will hamper the taste and unbalance the entire recipe.
3. Measure Ingredients Right
It is very important to measure ingredients precisely while making homemade food for dogs. Raw ingredients like meat need to be accurately measured and cooked to maintain the nutrient balance of a diet.
A food scale helps in measuring ingredients precisely when compared to cups.
4. Wash and Clean Before Cooking
Always wash and boil meat and other liable ingredients to prevent disease and infection. Cook vegetables and grains, making them softer and easier to chew and digest.
Avoid food ingredients that are toxic to dogs. List of ingredients to avoid while making homemade food is given above.
5. Ensure the Diet is Benefiting
After all the hard work, if the diet does not work, it’s of no use. Ensure the diet is benefiting the dog and is making them healthy.
It will take around two weeks to show results, count accordingly and get a veterinarian check-up to see if they are losing or gaining too much weight.
If their weight changes, seek an expert’s advice and guidance. An ideal diet helps in maintaining overall health and appearance.
If they are displaying any irregularity or discomfort, visit a veterinarian, as their skin, coat, weight, body, and appearance are all connected to their diet.
Yes, it is cheaper in the long run. If you make homemade dog food in bulk and store it in an airtight container, it would also be cost-effective and under your control.
There are some ingredients you should avoid giving your dog, including chocolate, raisins, avocados, and Macadamia nuts.
Yes, freezer bags or containers are good enough to store dog food.
Our dogs are just another family member, and giving them healthy and nutritious food is very easy. Homemade dog food not only keeps them healthy but is also economical.
This article taught you about the benefits of homemade dog food, their nutritional needs, and if you are going with homemade dog food, what ingredients you should use, and what should be avoided.
Upon reading this article, you’ll get to know tricks and tips for making a balanced healthy homemade diet for your canine partner. Happy Petting 🙂
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.