Top Homemade Dog Diets: Which One Is Best?

 According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, homemade meals for dogs can be beneficial for canines with allergies or other certain health issues, but very few homemade recipes are nutritionally complete. The best homemade diet for dogs is one that is vet-approved or provided by a board-approved member of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. 

If you’re a dog owner, you know that your pet’s health is of utmost importance. One of the most significant factors affecting your dog’s health is its diet. While there are many commercial dog foods available, some owners prefer to make their dog’s meals at home. Homemade dog food allows you to control the ingredients and ensure that your dog is getting the best possible nutrition.

However, with so many different homemade dog food recipes available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best for your dog’s needs. Factors such as age, breed, and activity level should all be taken into account when deciding on a homemade diet for your dog. This article will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about the best homemade diet for your pet.

Why Consider a Homemade Diet?

If you’re considering switching your dog to a homemade diet, there are several reasons why it might be a good idea. Here are a few:

Health Benefits of Homemade Diets

One of the main reasons people switch to homemade diets for their dogs is the potential health benefits. Homemade diets can be tailored to your dog’s specific needs and health conditions, which can lead to improved overall health and well-being. Additionally, whole food-based diets can be better for your dog’s long-term health than highly processed commercial diets.

Cost Comparison with Commercial Diets

Another reason to consider a homemade diet for your dog is the cost. While it may seem like homemade diets would be more expensive than commercial diets, this isn’t always the case. Depending on the ingredients you choose and where you purchase them, homemade diets can be cost-competitive with commercial diets. Additionally, homemade diets can save you money on veterinary bills in the long run if your dog experiences health benefits.

What Should a Homemade Dog Diet Include?

Balancing Nutrients

To ensure your homemade dog food is nutritionally complete, it should include a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. According to the AKC, “a mix of these nutrients provides energy for your dog’s body to metabolize and grow.”

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Protein Sources

Protein is essential for your dog’s muscle development and maintenance. Good sources of protein include chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, and eggs. When selecting protein sources, it’s important to choose lean cuts of meat and avoid processed meats.

Carbohydrate Sources

Carbohydrates provide energy and fiber for your dog’s digestive system. Good sources of carbohydrates include brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and whole-grain pasta. Vegetables such as carrots, peas, and green beans are also good sources of carbohydrates.

Fat Sources

Fat is an important source of energy and helps your dog absorb essential vitamins. Good sources of fat include fish oil, flaxseed oil, and chicken or beef fat. It’s important to avoid sources of unhealthy fats, such as fried foods and high-fat meats.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential for your dog’s overall health and well-being. Good sources of vitamins include fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, spinach, and pumpkin. Minerals can be found in sources such as bone meal, eggshells, and kelp. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to ensure your homemade dog food is nutritionally complete.

How to Make a Homemade Dog Diet

Consulting with a Veterinarian

Before making any changes to your dog’s diet, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. They can help you determine the appropriate portion sizes and ensure that the diet meets your dog’s nutritional needs.

Choosing Ingredients

Choosing the right ingredients is crucial when making a homemade dog diet. You want to ensure that the diet is balanced and includes all the necessary nutrients. Some good choices include lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as vegetables like sweet potatoes, green beans, and carrots.

Preparing the Food

When preparing the food, it is important to cook all ingredients thoroughly to avoid any harmful bacteria. You can mix the ingredients in a food processor to ensure that they are well-blended. Once the food is cooked, let it cool down before serving it to your dog.

Storing and Serving the Food

Homemade dog food should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it fresh. You can portion out the food into individual servings and freeze them for later use. When serving the food, make sure to follow the portion sizes recommended by your veterinarian. Overall, making a homemade dog diet can be a great way to ensure that your dog is getting the nutrients they need. Just make sure to consult with a veterinarian and choose the right ingredients to ensure that the diet is balanced and healthy for your pet.

Tips for Switching to a Homemade Diet

Switching your dog to a homemade diet can be a great choice for their health and well-being, but it’s important to do it right. Here are some tips to make the transition as smooth and safe as possible:

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Gradual Transition

Switching your dog’s diet abruptly can cause digestive upset, so it’s important to make the transition gradually. Start by replacing a small portion of their current food with homemade food, and gradually increase the amount over a week or two. This allows your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new diet.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Health

As you transition your dog to a homemade diet, it’s important to monitor their health closely. Look for signs of digestive upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, and adjust the diet as needed. You should also keep an eye on their weight, as homemade diets can be higher in calories than commercial diets.

Adjusting the Diet as Needed

Every dog is different, so it’s important to adjust the homemade diet as needed to meet your dog’s specific nutritional needs. Work with your vet or a canine nutritionist to ensure that the diet is balanced and complete, and make adjustments as needed based on your dog’s health and activity level.

Conclusion

By now, you have learned that homemade dog food can be a healthy and nutritious option for your pet. However, it’s important to remember that not all homemade diets are created equal. To ensure that your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to create a balanced diet plan.

When preparing homemade dog food, it’s crucial to use high-quality ingredients and avoid foods that can be harmful to dogs, such as chocolate, grapes, and onions. Additionally, you should include a variety of protein sources, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to create a balanced meal.

Remember that homemade dog food should not replace a commercial diet entirely. While homemade food can provide many benefits, it’s important to ensure that your dog is still getting all the necessary nutrients. Therefore, you should consider alternating between homemade meals and commercial diets to provide your dog with a well-rounded diet.

FAQ

Is a Homemade Diet Good For Dogs?

Homemade diets for dogs have their uses for some pets, like those suffering from allergies that are triggered by certain ingredients in store-bought dog foods. The most important thing to keep in mind is that store-bought dog food is nutritionally balanced, so if you’re going to feed homemade, you need to make sure you’re also getting your canine the nutrients they need in their meals.

It’s nice to know exactly what is going into our animal’s meals but always abide by a professional when making any health changes for a pet. A homemade diet can be good for dogs, but your homemade dog diet must be approved by a veterinarian, or better yet, a veterinary nutritionist. 

Is Homemade Dog Food Healthier Than Store-Bought? 

Not all store-bought dog foods are created equal! If you’re buying the cheapest dog food on the grocery store shelf without checking the ingredients, then you’re not feeding your dog the best food for them. On the other hand, dog food bought from a reputable retailer with high-quality ingredients will rival and usually surpass, a homemade dog diet with nutritional quality. 

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For dogs that are sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients, a homemade diet can be healthier, as long as it’s providing everything your dog needs in their meals. Every dog is different, but mostly, their nutritional needs are similar. 

What Nutrients Do Dogs Need In Homemade Dog Food?

According to WebMD’s pet section, for any pet food, be it store-bought or homemade, to be sufficient, it must meet the nutritional requirements of the American Association of Feed Control Officials.

Some of the most important building blocks of an excellent dog diet are:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
    • Sugars
    • Starches
    • Fiber
  • Fats
    • Linoleic acid
    • Omega-6
    • Omega-3
  • Vitamins and Minerals
    • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin K
    • B-complex vitamins
    • Calcium
    • Phosphorus
  • Water

This is not a full list of everything needed in a dog’s homemade diet! Always consult your veterinarian before beginning any new feeding regimen. 

What is the Healthiest Food to Feed Your Dog?

The healthiest food to feed your dog is the one that meets their specific nutritional needs and causes no allergic reactions.

Commercial dog food may seem bland, but it provides everything your dog is going to need in their diet, so if you want to make sure your dog isn’t missing out on any key nutrients, a mix of commercial dog food and homemade dog food may be the key!

What Can I Make My Dog Eat at Home? 

If you aren’t looking to completely supplement your dogs’ commercial food with homemade food, there are some things you can make your pup do to give them some variety!

A few yummy food additions for your dog are: 

  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Rice
  • Chicken
  • Salmon

Just make sure to skip any salt, pepper, or other seasonings when making food for your dog. 

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What Supplements Are Good For a Homemade Dog Diet?

If you’re feeding your dog a homemade diet, a daily multivitamin is going to be key. You can add in other supplements like calcium and Omega-3 once you’ve established what your dog’s diet is lacking. 

Never give your dog human supplements! It’s incredibly important to only use canine-approved supplements and vitamins. Human medication can be toxic to dogs. 

What Should I Avoid in Homemade Dog Food?

A surprising amount of human food is toxic to dogs, which is one reason it’s so important to consult a professional before starting a new diet.

According to the American Kennel Club, some of the most common toxic foods that are mistakenly given to dogs are:

  •  Chocolate
  •  Grapes
  •  Raisins
  •  Onions
  •  Garlic
  • Avocados

These are not the only toxic foods for dogs! Consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure about any ingredient in your dog’s homemade diet. 

Should All of My Dogs Meals Be Homemade?

You must carefully plan out a homemade diet for a dog and prepare it with all the appropriate nutrients. This can be a lot! If being painstakingly exact in preparing your dog’s food isn’t for you, consider using homemade food as a supplement to a commercial dog food diet.

This lets you get the best of both worlds! You can lovingly prepare a meal for your dog occasionally while resting assured that your pup is getting all the nutrition they need from their regular food. 

How Much Homemade Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog?

Your dogs’ age, weight, and nutritional needs will all play into the amount of homemade food you will feed them.

With commercial dog food, the serving size is printed on the back of the bag. With homemade food, you’ll need to consult your veterinarian to discover your dog’s caloric needs and adjust your meal accordingly. 

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Where Can I Find A Dog Nutritionist? 

The first place to check for a great dog nutritionist is with your veterinarian. They should have all the resources necessary to find you the best local canine nutrition specialist.

If your veterinarian is unsure, you can reference the American College of Veterinary Nutrition website. They have a comprehensive directory of certified nutritionists for canines across the country.