When making your own dog food, quality ingredients and a balanced diet are essential. Brown rice, carrots and turkey, when fed in the correct ratio, are good ingredients to start with. However, as with any food, the real test will be up to your dog. If your dog doesn’t like it, it will not matter how nutritious is. Creating a homemade diet is a balance of nutritious ingredients that your dog will eat and enjoy while providing the nutrition he needs.
The most important ingredient in your dog’s diet is protein. Proteins are made of amino acids. Dogs require 10 amino acids from their diet and protein, such as turkey, is the main source. When choosing turkey, look for high-quality cuts or ground turkey. In addition to turkey, other quality proteins include beef, chicken, lamb and fish in moderation. When creating your dog’s diet, veterinarian David McCluggage recommends that at least 25 percent of your dog’s meal come from protein. In addition to meats, low-fat cheeses, yogurts and cottage cheese also provide protein options.
Grains and carbohydrates make up the rest of his meal and provide added calories and nutrients. Not all dogs are able to tolerate wheat-based grains. Because of this, brown or white rice are often the preferred grains used in a balanced diet. Rice is a high-fiber food and, when added to meals, often helps dogs with upset stomach and diarrhea. Carrots provide a valuable source of B vitamins and beta-carotene. Serve them cooked with meals or raw for a crunchy snack. In addition to carrots, other healthy vegetables good for dogs include sweet potatoes, green beans, squash, broccoli, cauliflower and peas.
Designed for a 20-pound dog, this sample meal includes turkey, brown rice and carrots. The amount is for a full day, but divide it into two or three meals. Cook ¼ to 1/3 pound of lean ground or boneless, skinless turkey. Cut into small pieces. Mix with 1 to 2 cups of cooked brown rice and ½ to 1 cup cooked carrots.
Before starting a homemade diet, talk with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist regarding your dog’s health and nutritional needs. They will help you develop a balanced diet for his needs and may suggest additional supplements. Together with your veterinarian, monitor your dog’s weight on a regular basis and adjust the amount you are feeding based on weight gain or loss. While turkey, brown rice and carrots create a well-balanced option, if you find your dog doesn’t like the food, you might need to substitute a protein here or a vegetable there. Finding the right balance and the right meals will be trial and error at first, but you will quickly learn what he does and doesn’t like.
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