A healthy and nutritious diet isn’t just important for you and the other human members of your family. Your fur babies need proper nutrition, too. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know what’s in your dog’s food, even after reading the ingredients list. Sometimes reading the ingredients only complicates the issue further, especially if it’s full of words you can’t pronounce. This fact may have led you to consider making homemade food for your dog. If so, you’ll need to learn about pet nutrition, food preparation, and storage. It’s not quite as simple as looking online for easy homemade dog food recipes.
Spoil Your Pet with Healthy, Homemade Dog Treat Recipes
Your canine companion is your friend and partner, they deserve the best. Storebought treats are very convenient but you don’t know what went into making them and sometimes you want something extra special. Homemade grain free dog treats are easy to make and you know exactly what went into the recipe.
Benefits of Grain-Free Treats at Home
A dog’s natural diet in the wild predominately consists of protein. Modern dog kibble contains wheat and other grains that many dogs cannot handle. They have itchy, irritated skin and allergies that flare up based on this diet. Grain-free dog food, both store-bought and homemade, can improve these common problems.
Get creative in the kitchen by making your furry pal some homemade dog treats. They will be thrilled with the extra food and attention! Pet parents can also feel great knowing they are giving their dog healthy ingredients without grain or anything artificial. Healthy food leads to healthy dogs with longer lives.
How to Make Homemade Dog Treats
Homemade dog treats recipes are easy to find online. The recipes often consist of pantry items most people keep on hand like peanut butter, bananas, sweet potatoes, coconut oil, canned pumpkin, and black beans. Simply select the recipe that appeals to you, and your dog, then mixes the ingredients, shape the treat, and bake. It couldn’t be easier. There are also non-bake treats that can be frozen for a refreshing snack on a hot day. One of these simple freeze and go recipes simply consists of peanut butter and coconut oil.
Nutritional Requirements: What Percentage of Carbohydrates and Protein Does a Dog Need
Some dogs, like those with diabetes, have special nutritional needs that you’ll need to take into account when planning meals. Most dogs, however, require a diet that consists of 50 percent vegetables, 40 percent protein (from meat or dairy products) and 10 percent carbohydrates (from grains and beans). They also need to get a bit of calcium, which typically comes from crushed eggshells or a dietary supplement. A few fatty acids, too, are necessary and found in egg yolks as well as oatmeal and vegetable oils.
Vet Approval and Supervision for Dog’s Diet
Before changing your dog’s diet, get approval from your vet. She can make sure the new diet plan addresses any special needs and check the homemade dog recipes you find for safety and nutritional value. Your vet may even have some recipes to give you. After your vet approves your new doggie diet plan, stay in touch with her. Stop at the office for weigh-ins every two weeks to make sure your pet isn’t gaining or losing weight. If your dog’s health changes in a bad way, your vet can catch any problems early and help you make corrections to the diet.
Feeding Amount: How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?
Your vet will help you determine not only what to feed your furry friend but how much to give him. The best homemade food for dogs typically contains fewer calories than store-bought alternatives, but you can still give your dog too much of a good thing. Even low-calorie meals must have limits or your dog will gain weight. Of course, you don’t want to underfeed your dog either. Consider buying a food scale. Scales measure food much more accurately than measuring cups, especially when weighing foods of varying densities.
Proper Ingredients for Your Dog’s Meals
When grocery shopping, select the proper ingredients for your dog’s meals. You don’t want to go broke feeding your dog, and there is certainly nothing wrong with making cheap homemade dog food. Cheap, however, is not a synonym for poor quality. Pick fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid those that are past their peak. Your meat selections, too, must be fresh and high in quality. Old and rotting food will make your dog sick just as it would you. Inexpensive ingredients help keep costs down but poor quality ones lead to expensive vet bills.
Proper Preparation for Homemade Dog Recipes
Just as important as selecting quality foods is following the homemade dog recipes exactly. When cooking for yourself, you may sometimes alter recipes, tweaking them here and there to better suit your personal taste or to substitute an ingredient you ran out of. While this is fine for you, it’s not okay for your dog.
Your dog’s diet is more restricted than yours, and some of the common foods and spices in your pantry could make him sick or even prove fatal. When making food for your dog, it’s vital that you use well-developed veterinary-approved recipes and follow them to the letter.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
When becoming your dog’s personal chef, it’s of vital importance that you understand what to feed him and what not to. Most people know that dogs should never eat chocolate, but there are several other items your dog should never have. These include the following:-
- Corn on the cob
- Fat trimmings
- Garlic and onions
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Yeast or raw bread dough
Avoid raw foods, as well. Some dog owners theorize that since wild dogs have no one to cook for them and eat all of their food raw, it logically follows that domesticated dogs should also thrive on raw foods. This has led to a popular diet with the unappetizing name of BARF, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Although the word “appropriate” appears in the name of the diet, most vets and the American Veterinary Medical Association agree that it’s not. The bacteria and pathogens in uncooked foods could make your dog quite ill. As such, appropriately cooked foods make the best homemade food for dogs.
Food Storage: Keeping Your Dog Food Fresh
One way to obtain safe but cheap homemade dog food is to buy the ingredients you need in bulk and make the food in large batches. This approach saves time as well as money. When storing homemade dog food, use containers or bags that hold three to five days’ worth of food at a time. Measure out the meals when placing them in the storage containers so you’ll know you have the right amount. Once filled, place the containers in the freezer. Thaw the containers as needed and keep the food refrigerated after thawing.
Making your own homemade dog food recipes gives you complete control over your dog’s diet and nutrition. It’s important to check with your vet, though, since your dog’s age and health conditions can both affect his diet. So long as you and your vet work together, however, you can rest assured knowing your dog is getting a healthy diet and your dog can enjoy a bit more variety in his meals.