Home cooked meals for dogs are growing in popularity as more pet owners across the globe realize the value of quality nutrition. Most people have the notion that feeding a dog is a complex thing to do let alone making a home cooked meal. Well, it’s no more complicated than making your own food, and there are numerous benefits and reasons to embrace the idea.
1. Balanced and Healthy Diet
The growing number of dogs with food allergies and other health conditions are just some of the reasons to explore a home-cooked diet for your dog. Yes, processed foods are convenient and provide a balanced diet, but fresh foods are healthier for your dog. Most people will agree that once you take on a pet, you have a responsibility to give it as healthy and as happy a life as you can.
What you eat will certainly affect your health and the same applies to your dog. A home cooked meal for your pet is the most reliable way to ensure your pet is getting a healthy and balanced diet. You also get to select the ingredients in your dog’s food, especially if you want to use or avoid certain ingredients or if your furry companion has allergies.
Research has established that commercial pet food, especially dry foods lack sufficient moisture to promote healthy, optimally functioning kidneys. This puts extra strain on the kidneys, which makes your dog more susceptible to kidney disease. In the case of pets already suffering from kidney disease, commercial pet diets only worsen the symptoms. By searching credible sources, you can get several homemade dog food recipes for kidney health.
2. A Species-appropriate Diet
Cooking your dog’s meals ensures the food is suitable for its particular species. Commercial pet food is often based on the bare minimum of what a dog needs to survive, not considering the wide variation in dogs. It all comes down to the individual dog. Different breeds will have varying diet needs dependent on factors such as size, origin and activity levels, just to mention a few. Note that pre-made diets are meant for mass production and don’t always meet those needs. You prepare a home cooked meal for your dog with good intentions and a deeper understanding of its individual needs.
There is the inherent risk or fear that home cooked dog food may not meet the nutritional needs of your dog, but there are plenty of valuable resources on how to balance the meals. However, feeding your dog the same commercially prepared foods every day is more of a gamble. There are many gray areas when it comes to commercial pet food. Part of making a balanced diet involves feeding a variety of foods, recipes and meals.
4. You Can Have Meals Together
Cooking your pet’s meals doesn’t have to mean double work each day. It’s easy to cook a single meal that is nutritious and healthy for both humans and pets. Being more involved in the process of preparing meals that you and your dog eat is enjoyable, and it feels good. After all, eating is a social event. When you’re seated at the dinner table, and your dog is also having his/her meal, there’s a connection. There’s also the inexplicable great feeling that comes from making your dog a nice meal.
5. Start At Your Own Pace
You don’t have to suddenly switch to an exclusively home cooked diet all at once. Start by preparing a meal occasionally as an alternative to the dog’s diet. Adding a healthy ingredient such as canned salmon is a good way to start the process. Nonetheless, always remember to consult with your vet before changing your pet’s diet. Introduce new foods slowly as your dog may not tolerate all foods. When in doubt, a vet experienced in dog nutrition will be a valuable resource. There are plenty of recipes and ideas online but only take homemade food recipes from qualified sources.
6. Save Time and Effort
Dog food has evolved from scraps on the table to commercial kibble to feeding organic food. But the latter doesn’t quite fit everyone’s budget. Organic food is great, and grass fed meat is even better, but most premium dog food is not even certified organic. Considering the price tags on premium dog food, it’s much cheaper to buy the organic ingredients and make the dog food yourself. Even if you can only afford non-organic ingredients, making your own food can still be better and cheaper if you plan well. Consider buying ingredients in bulk, preparing food in larger batches so you can store smaller portions in the freezer for later consumption. It will cost you less while being more nutritious.
7. Quality Assurance
Even though commercial pet food may have all the nutritional requirements of your dog, there are a few things you need to bear in mind. Ask yourself how long the food has been sitting on the shelf before you bought it. Ponder about the ingredients on the label, some of which can be quite vague. Think about where the ingredients came from and who formulated them. Before you even consider the relaxed regulations for commercial pet food manufacturers, it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room. A significant portion of what you’re spending on dog food is probably going to shipping expenses, packaging, wages and profit margins.
Considering the quality of products made for human consumption, it’s wise to be equally cautious with commercially produced pet food. When cooking meals for your dog, you can ensure the quality of ingredients and level of hygiene with which your pet’s food is handled.
The Bottom Line
The perceptions and culture on pet feeding are undergoing a revolution. Dogs are increasingly welcome in many restaurants around the world. Some chefs even have special menus, and teaching classes for home made dog food.
Once you get your head around making your dog’s food, it’s really not as complicated or daunting as it sounds. There are plenty of pet owners who home-cook their dogs’ meals, and it goes without saying that the dogs are energetic, happy and healthy. Sometimes it may require more time and money, but it’s a commitment worth the effort.
June is the founder of TobysBone, where she shares her passion for writing and love for dogs. She wants to help you deal with your dog’s behavior issues, grooming and health needs, and proper training. Through her blog, you can find informative and reliable posts, tips and tricks, and a lot of interesting reads that will help you maintain a close bond with your furry companion.