Homemade dog food is growing in popularity for multiple reasons. Among them is the fact that commercial dog food is high in gluten, which can lead to unwanted weight gain. Another reason is that some dogs have allergies; others experience digestive problems when they eat commercial dog foods. A meal of ground hamburger and refried beans is a gluten-free, homemade alternative. Get your vet's approval before you make changes to your dog's diet.
A natural diet would consist of about 56 protein protein, 25 percent to 30 percent fat and about 14 percent carbohydrates. Commercial dog foods tend to be higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein than a dog would eat in the wild, which is why some owners incorporate more meat into their dogs' diet. Lean ground hamburger meat is a good choice -- it's healthy and easy to prepare. A lot of dog owners believe in feeding meat to their dogs raw, because this is how they eat their meat in the wild, but it's a practice that's heavily debated. But there's no disputing that dogs can eat cooked meat.
Beans are high in protein and fiber but low in fat and carbohydrates -- they're a filling food for dogs who need to lose weight or avoid gaining. They go well with ground hamburger meat and they help hold the meat together. While you might worry that feeding beans to a dog will increase his flatulence, the vets at Burke Veterinary Clinic say this is not a common occurrence and that flatulence is more likely simply from switching brands of dog foods than from eating beans. Whether raw beans are bad for dog is a matter of debate; refried beans have been cooked, so the question is moot.
To prepare your dog a homemade meal, spread ground hamburger meat onto a pan and cook in the oven until it is brown. Once the meat is fully cooked, add refried beans and any other dog-approved natural ingredients, such as chopped carrots or green beans. You can add more flavoring to this meal by incorporating ingredients like stewed tomatoes and fat free chicken broth. Avoid onions, however, as these are toxic to your dog.
Determine a healthy portion size so you do not end up overfeeding. Portion size will vary depending on your dog's breed, activity level and age, so talk to your vet to get the best recommendation. Once you know the correct serving size, you can prepare large batches of ground hamburger and refried beans, then put portions in individual baggies to save for later. Be sure to refrigerate these meals to keep them from spoiling.
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