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Pet chef: homemade dog food

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Thinking about switching your pooch over to a healthy homemade dog food diet? Well here’s what you need to know about the best homemade dog food, and how to make it yourself.

By Ashley Murphy

Best homemade dog food

A homemade dog food diet needs to be complete and balanced. A complete diet includes all the major food group. A well-balanced diet includes the right food groups in the right proportions. So a complete and balanced homemade diet consists of:

40% Protein

10% Carbohydrates

50% Vegetables

Healthy Fats

Calcium

Fatty acids

But don't worry about balancing out every single meal. The aim is to create an overall balance. For example, a high protein breakfast can be followed by a dinner high in carbs, veg, and healthy fats. You can do this on a daily or weekly basis. Whatever you prefer is fine. A complete and well-balanced diet is all about long-term consistency.

How to make homemade dog food

So we know that a dog needs protein, carbs, healthy fats, nutrients, and essential fatty acids. Sounds simple enough, but what food should you actually be feeding them?

The first thing your dog needs is meat. In fact, meat should account for around 40% of their diet. Unless your dog is extremely active, opt for leaner meats like chicken, venison, and game. Meat is full of protein, iron, and B vitamins - vital stuff for your dog's short and long-term health. Alternative protein sources include eggs and fish. Canned fish like tuna, mackerel, and pink salmon are good choices. They’re full of protein and vitamins.

This might take a bit of getting used to, but feeding your dog raw liver and offal is a really good way of making sure they get the right nutrition. Don't worry though, you won't have to do this every day! A few portions each week is enough to keep them on track.

Now its time to make sure they get enough healthy fats. The right kinds of fat help the body to absorb nutrients from other foods. They also maintain healthy brain function, as well as reducing inflammation throughout the body. Cream cheese, eggs, and flaxseed are excellent sources of healthy fat.

Fruit and vegetable are full of good carbs, antioxidants, and a whole host of vitamins. These support the immune system, aid digestion, and improve overall health and well-being. “Good” doggy fruit and vegetables include:

  • Carrots
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon (Seedless)
  • Strawberries
  • Fruit and vegetable to avoid include:
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants
  • Onions, garlic, and chives
  • Avocado
  • Persimmons, peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomato plants

Benefits of homemade dog food

With the right ingredients, a homemade dog food diet can be very beneficial for your dog. With the wrong ingredients, it'll be a complete waste of time and a detriment to your dog's health. Switching to homemade diet is about controlling what food goes into your dog; there's no point cheating or doing it half-heartedly. It does require some time, effort, and commitment, but the long-term benefits are numerous. Your dog is likely to be much healthier and so less prone to serious health issues. Such things are extremely distressing for you and your dog. They can also be very expensive to treat.

Many owners buy and cook in bulk. This saves time and money. For example, a big batch of doggy stew made from 500g of mincemeat can feed a dog for a few days, or even up to a week depending on size and breed. Just make sure you've got plenty of space in the freezer!

Homemade puppy food

If you're lucky enough to have a litter of puppies at home, you can certainly raise them on a homemade dog food diet. The right balance of foods is important for any doggy diet, but it's super important for a group of growing puppies. So do plenty of research and speak to a vet for more advice.

Are there some foods that my dog should never eat?

Definitely! Some foods are toxic for dogs. At the very least, your dog will feel very unwell. Some foods can even be fatal. Foods to avoid at all costs include:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough

Summary

Remember, a well-balanced homemade dog food diet isn't about the right foods; it's about the right foods in the right proportions. Feed them too much protein, and they probably won't be getting enough carbs or fats. If they're munching on too many vegetables, they might be missing out on essential vitamins and nutrients like iron and calcium. It really is all about the balance. So find some good recipes, buy and cook in bulk, and then fill the freezer with some well balanced and comforting homemade doggy dinners.