Although home cooking for your pup sounds like an intuitive and heartwarming way to serve up optimal health through fresh whole ingredients, there are many things you need to know about homemade food for dogs.
For starters, home cooking for dogs isn’t simple or easy—in fact, it’s incredibly complex.
Dogs require complete and balanced nutrition at every meal, including 42 essential nutrients in carefully calculated amounts. These strict standards are set by regulatory pet food agencies and determined by researchers, veterinarians, and veterinary nutritionists.
While your dog may appreciate the taste of home-cooked food, unbalanced nutrients, incorrect ingredients, and improper ratios can negatively affect their long-term health. Worse still, such changes are subtle—some nutritional deficiencies may take three to four weeks to appear, while others may not be apparent for years.
Home cooking has recently grown in popularity as devoted dog owners recognize the link between nutrition and their pup’s health and longevity and seek more control over what goes into their dogs’ bowls. But, feeding your dog a homemade diet is more than simply sharing a portion of your plate—it involves sourcing, preparing, and serving your dog homemade meals in lieu of commercially manufactured dog food.
Home-cooked diets are typically made in the dog owner’s kitchen using familiar human food ingredients such as meat, vegetables, whole grains, and ideally, nutritional supplements. Well-designed home-cooked meals can be customized to support a dog’s health needs, dietary restrictions, or individual preferences.
According to a dog food recipe analysis by the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, 190 out of 200 homemade dog food recipes found online, in pet care books, and veterinary textbooks lacked at least one essential nutrient, and 170 recipes had multiple deficiencies. The most common nutritional gaps included:
Long-term feeding of an imbalanced diet can have disastrous health consequences, especially for puppies and pregnant or lactating dogs who have highly specific nutritional needs to support growth and development.
To achieve complete and balanced nutrition at each meal, homemade dog food must include concentrated supplements. This ensures an accurate and precise nutrient profile for consistent and reliable nutrition. However, because your dog’s needs will vary by the ingredients in their recipe, how those foods are prepared (e.g., steamed, baked, boiled), and any existing health conditions, these supplements and their quantity should be determined by a veterinarian or board-certified veterinary nutritionist.
Most veterinarians do not recommend home cooking for dogs. Despite a dog parent’s best intentions, there is simply too much room for error. Even with a nutritionist-designed recipe, a slight alteration in how the food is prepared or an ingredient substitution can significantly affect the food’s nutritional profile.
If you and your veterinarian agree that homemade dog food is best for your pup, work with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. These experts will use your dog’s health, age, and lifestyle to formulate a customized, balanced, and complete recipe that you can follow at home.
Your dog’s food should be safe for consumption and handling. Unfortunately, this is a potentially concerning area for homemade dog food because of the significant variability in recipe design, ingredient quality, and food preparation.
Potential safety concerns include:
Home cooking for your dog requires more than a trip to the grocery store. Sadly, many well-intentioned dog owners who attempt home cooking on their own make serious mistakes that put their dog’s health at risk. These errors include:
Ollie fresh food recipes deliver the wholesome experience of home cooking with the peace of mind and confidence of an expert-led nutritional team. From recipe concept and design to ingredient sourcing, preparation, packaging, and delivery, Ollie provides a hassle-free way to nourish your pup with fresh, healthy, familiar, high-quality nutrition.
Ollie fresh recipes provide home-cooked benefits with the confidence and convenience of veterinary nutritionist formulated recipes, an unfailing commitment to quality, and ongoing and knowledgeable support.
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15 August 2023
5 MINS READ
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