As a dog owner, one of the most integral ways that I care for my dog is how I choose to feed him. Below you’ll find a list of the 4 top reasons I chose to switch to a homemade dog food diet for my dog- and why you should too.
Dry kibble is intended to be fed as a dog’s sole source of nutrition. It’s hard to believe that such a diet can provide your dog with their full scope of nutritional wants and needs. A homemade dog food diet allows you to experiment with different kinds of food and find what’s healthiest and most appetizing for your dog. There are three models of homemade dog food.
The first is any kind of cooked food made from a variety of protein sources, fruits, and vegetables. The second two models, the BARF diet, which consists of feeding raw muscle meat, organs, bones, fruits and vegetables, and the PMR diet, which involves feeding whole, raw prey, are raw diets rapidly increasing in popularity. Even if you don’t completely switch over to homemade food, incorporating these models into your dog's diet is beneficial because it allows you to practice rotation feeding, the intentional variation of proteins and food forms in your dog’s diet. Rotation feeding has many benefits, including that it provides a more complete nutritional balance, increased excitement at meal times, and can even prevent allergies and intolerances in dogs.
Total Control and Freedom
A diet of dry kibble presents a range of problems that fresh, homemade food can solve. Kibble is prescribed in set amounts to be eaten daily, but these portions can be difficult to accurately measure out, and may seem like they leave your dog hungry in the end.
Cooking fresh food for your dog allows you flexibility in portioning for your dog's specific needs. In addition, food allergens are a major issue in commercial dry dog food. Serving homemade food to a sensitive dog allows you to practice an elimination diet, in which you systematically test sources of protein and other common allergens in your dog’s diet and observe the development of reactions, in order to identify and avoid exactly what your dog is allergic to. To perform an elimination diet with kibble, you must choose a very high quality hydrolyzed protein source, which ends up being very expensive. Using a home cooked diet is a much simpler and more variable option.
Even in situations where you’re not testing for allergies, the flexibility of homemade diets make them extremely cost effective if done right. Though less time consuming than cooking, the higher quality a dog kibble is, the more expensive it becomes.
Books such as The Healthy Hound Cookbook provide a multitude of recipes that you can choose from and customize with local and in season ingredients for ultimate cost effectiveness. In addition, consulting this graphic from a pet clinic in California can even help you understand what leftover human foods are safe to feed your dog, to further increase your savings.
A homemade food diet can be the key to tweaking your dog’s nutritional intake to perfectly suit his needs, and talking to your vet about how to take into account his weight, age, breed and activity level can help you understand what best to feed your dog.
When customizing your dog’s food, perusing graphic guides such as this one from the American College of Veterinary Nutrition can help you achieve complete certainty that you’re feeding your dog exactly what he needs, something you can’t achieve by buying dry kibble which is processed to meet the generalized needs of large dog populations. In addition, you skip sorting through misleading ingredient labels that often adorn bags of dry dog food and cloud your ability to judge what you’re really buying for your dog.
Did you enjoy this article? By taking into account the information presented here, you can ensure to nourish the healthiest and happiest life possible for your pet. Most importantly, whatever you choose to cook for your dog, cook it with love!