Homemade dog food – to do it or not to do it, that is the question

by in Food
Homemade dog food

Whether you are just preparing for owning a dog, or you have been a dog owner for a while, certainly you have asked yourself at some point if you should prepare your dog food made in home or buy dog food from the local pet store. 

Some puppy parents go for store-bought dog food because they don’t have enough time to prepare homemade food. On the other hand, some dog owners decide to prepare the food for their pooch themselves because sometimes it can be more cost-effective or because some dog food companies don’t provide the necessary nutrition. 

Nevertheless, whether you choose to cook your own dog food or not, there are certain benefits of homemade dog food, and there are some reasons why it may not be the most suitable choice. If we spiked your curiosity, continue reading to find out more.

Homemade dog food – reasons to DO IT

If cooking is your specialty and you enjoy spending some extra time in the kitchen for your furry friend, then there are a few benefits that you and your pup can get from homemade dog food.

Meet your dog’s nutrition needs

Cooking your dog’s food can be beneficial in terms of providing your pup with all nutrients it needs for a healthy and happy life.  Different dog breeds have different dietary requirements. Your pup’s nutritional needs will depend on its age as well. Knowing what your doggie’s nutritional requirements are, can help you prepare a custom nutrition plan. In addition, consult with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist for canines to ensure you are preparing meals that are balanced and meet your pup’s needs.  

Dog food from pet stores is not tailored for individual dogs, as your dog’s nutritional requirements may differ from those of another dog that is of the same breed and age.  

Allergies and special dietary restrictions 

In relation to the previous topic, if your pooch is allergic to specific ingredients, has some other dietary restrictions due to a sensitive stomach, or something else, it may be a better option to cook the food yourself. 

Many dog food brands have allergens even if they are not listed on their ingredients list. Sometimes there may be some cross-contamination in the factory where it is produced, and this can create a serious health issue for your doggie.

Avoid any unnecessary vet visits, and cook healthy balanced meals for your furry ball of love. If you aren’t certain about which ingredients are a healthy substitution, consult with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist.   

You know the list of ingredients

Over the years, many dog food brands have recalled their products due to suspicious ingredients in the food. Consequently, many pet owners decide to cook for their pups precisely because they know exactly what they are giving their dogs. There is no need to guess what meat by-products are. You can pick and choose exactly what type and part of the meat you give your pooch.

Not only will you feed your furry friend with whole foods, but also you will decide how much of what goes inside the meal, making it healthy and nutritious.

Fillers? What is that? 

Many dog food brands use artificial food fillers to make to packaging look bigger and to give the impression of a big quantity but low-cost food. This type of food is full of allergens, and the fillers have no nutritional value for your doggie.  

Furthermore, making your own dog food and treats will give your pup more nutritionally rich food and decreased the risk of allergies. 

What’s on the menu tonight?

When we feed our dogs commercial store-bought food, every day, for at least a month, they eat the same thing. Changing from one food brand to another takes some time, and it should be done gradually. Otherwise, your dog may refuse to eat.

Cooking for your doggie will introduce variety in its nutrition. If we look from our point of view, when we eat a bigger variety of food, we consume many different nutrients, and we have fewer health issues. The same goes for your pooch. The more variety of nutritious food you make for the little ball of fur, the healthier it will be. 

Fresh from the oven

No matter what brand of dog food you buy, even the best and most expensive ones use preservatives. That is the only way they can keep it “fresh” and make it last for a long time. These preservatives contain a lot of salt and other ingredients that can cause heart problems and other health issues in your dog. 

On the other hand, homemade dog food is always fresh, and even if it is served the next day, it is free from any preservatives.

It is recommended for humans to eat mostly fresh and non-processed food for optimal health. Why wouldn’t you do the same for your ball of love?

How about saving some money?

Homemade dog food can be less expensive than store-bought food. This is especially the case if your pup has some dietary restrictions and requires some special food and ingredients. These types of dog foods can be extremely expensive.

Moreover, properly preparing and cooking your dog’s food has many health benefits, so that means fewer vet visits throughout the year. 

However, if your dog needs some special cuts of meat, then making your own dog food might be more costly. Plan in advance and find equally nutritious alternatives that cost less.

Personalized nutrition plan

As a dog ages, its nutritional needs will change. It may develop certain health issues as well. This means you will need to change the type of dog food as your dog’s needs change. But, changing the food may be stressful for the doggie because they can get used to one favorite type of food. 

Homemade dog food can be adjusted a little to suit your pup’s current nutritional needs. Ensure that you consult with your vet before you make the changes to the meal plan.

Furthermore, some canines may be picky when it comes to food, so when you prepare it you can make sure that your doggie will enjoy it.

Less “waste”

Do you remember the food fillers we mentioned in one of the previous sections? Those can contribute to more “waste” coming out of your pup’s rear end. Cooking food for your pooch will definitely decrease the “waste”, which means less clean up for you.

Homemade dog food –reasons to NOT DO IT

To everything we do, there is a good side and a not-so-good side.  Although it may sound like a great idea to start with homemade dog food, there are some other things you may want to consider before starting. 

Time for research and cooking

Preparing homemade dog food is not as simple as it may look. You can’t serve your pup whatever you are eating. 

Ensuring your pooch receives all the proper food and nutrients will require some time investment on your part. You will need to do research, and consult with a veterinarian or nutrition specialist for canines. In the beginning, it may be better to start with meal plans prepared by a specialist. 

Poor nutrition balance

As previously mentioned, it is very important to provide the necessary nutrients and have properly balanced meals for a healthy and happy dog. When cooking and preparing your own dog food and treats, you run the risk of poor nutrition balance.  That is why it is extremely important to do thorough research on how many calories and what macronutrient ratio is needed for your dog specifically. 

Moreover, it may be worth investing in someone who is experienced and can prepare a well-balanced meal plan for your doggie’s breed and age, especially if your pooch has some health issues and dietary restrictions. You will avoid feeding your dog too many or too few calories and prevent any nutrition deficiency. 

Not all human food is dog food

If you have been a dog owner for a while, you are probably aware that certain foods like chocolate, raisins, onion, avocado, macadamia nuts, and others, are not safe for doggies. However, these are not the only foods that can cause health issues for your pup.

 So, before you start cooking, make a list of unsafe foods for your pup to avoid any unnecessary complications. 

It may be pricy

In the benefits section, we said that homemade dog food can be more expensive, especially if you are getting some special meat cuts for your ball of love. However, you could avoid this by buying in bulk, freezing extra food, preparing your dog’s food based on some of the ingredients from your dinner, and find equally nutritious but less expensive alternatives. 

Shorter life span

Store-bought dog food has a longer life span because it has additives and preservatives that help with the freshness and prolonged date of expiry. But, when it comes to homemade dog food, it can get spoiled in a day. During hot summer days avoid living the dog food for too long, because it will go bad and if your dog eats, it may start vomiting.  Freeze extra food and try to cook according to the written recipes to prevent any food waste. 

Whatever your choice is…

Whether you decide to stick to store-bought food or try homemade dog food, your pooch needs balanced nutrition for a happy and healthy life. So, making certain that it receives the nutrients it needs is your priority regardless of the type of food. Supplements are exactly that, they supplement the food, not replace it. They will not make up for poor nutrition. 

And always remember, your healthy dinner ideas, may not be healthy for your furry ball of love.

Homemade dog food