Hello, I’m Joe, the author. Thank you for stopping in. I’ve often thought about making homemade meals for my dog as well. It seemed like it would be the best thing for them. There are pros and cons, or rather, pros and precautions when making homemade meals for your best friend. I am going to go through some of these and also give you some alternatives to making it yourself. Let’s get right to it, shall we.
Are homemade meals better for them?
According to Dr. Jennifer Larson, DVM and Dr. Joe Bartges, DVM, both certified veterinary nutritionists from the College of Veterinary Nutrition, state that there is no real scientific proof that homemade meals are better for them than commercial foods. Both will state, however, that whole ingredient-based diets are healthier for your dogs in the long run, provided the meals are prepared properly and with the right proportions of all the minerals, vitamins and nutrients your dog needs. If you feel the need to, you can add very healthy Omega 3, 6 and 9 supplements to their food as well.
Precautions for homemade meals
Ok so first, if you’re planning on switching to totally homemade meals, don’t do it all at once. You want to do it gradually over a period of at least two to three weeks by slowly introducing the new meal and decreasing the regular kibble. You also want to make sure you buy quality ingredients, the same as you would for yourself. Yes, these are all for the most part, the same as you would eat. They could include, but limited to eggs, baby carrots, green beans, kidney beans, ground turkey, chicken or beef broth, pork, chicken hearts and gizzards, chicken livers and oatmeal (flavored or unflavored). Now, depending on where you shop, this nice stew kind of mixture for a dinner or breakfast costs between $10-15 and will make enough for about a week to a week and a half. When you buy the canned vegetables, kidney beans and green beans, make sure to buy either no salt added or low sodium. Also, check the sugar content, this be as low as possible. When you buy the meats, make sure to buy quality meats, like Tyson for the chicken as they have no probiotics added. When you put eggs into the recipe, it is okay to add the eggs shells as well. I know you may have other thoughts on that, but the shells, as long as they are crumbled, they are fine. Although, I would recommend them more for a larger dog than a smaller one. Now, if you want to add a little extra protein, you can use nuts such as peanuts or even cashews, but only a small palm full in the entire meal. Never use macadamia nuts though, they are bad for dogs. For a little added flavor, maybe try adding a couple small chunks of coconut, just the meat of the coconut, not the outer shell.
A few good points to homemade meals
Dogs are basically omnivores, but with carnivorous characteristics especially when domesticated. Beef, chicken and fish are great sources of protein for them. If you’re using beef, make sure it is trimmed to just a little bit of fat. You can buy beef tips or cubes like you would use in your own stew. Chicken, you want to make sure it is boneless and skinless without seasonings. As for fish, salmon is and excellent choice. Perhaps a little more expensive, but isn’t your best friend worth it? Tuna fish is another good example for protein. You can use fresh caught or even canned. If you use canned, however, make sure it is drained and packed in water, not oil, and too much at one time. Shrimp is another good one to use. Make sure it is fully cooked and without the tail, head and shell. Peel them first. Just as you would serve for shrimp cocktail for a get together, but without the tail and don’t add the cocktail sauce, they don’t need that! Vegetables, as I previously mentioned, are very good for them too. You can buy fresh, canned or frozen. If you use canned, make sure you drained out about 90% of the liquid before adding it to your one pot meal for them. There is too much sodium and preservatives in that liquid that they definitely don’t need.
Alternatives to making it yourself
As I mentioned earlier, there are alternatives to making Fido’s meals yourself. One of which is FreshPet which I know can be found in a refrigerated case in many Walmart stores in the pet’s department. These products, made for both dogs and cats, are produced from only the best meats, vegetables and fruits. The meats are of high quality beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish etc. with no preservatives or any artificial flavorings added. The vegetables are all garden grown and the fruits contain the antioxidants needed for your dog. Another good choice is The Farmer’s Dog which is kitchen prepared and delivered to your house in a timely manner. I’m sure your dog would love either of these choices should you not have the time to prepare his meals on your own.
I hope I have helped you with some better choices for your furry children. I’m sure they love you for it, whether you make it yourself or use the alternatives I have provided for you. We all want the best for our dogs.