With pet food recalls becoming more common, you might be tempted to prepare food for your dog in your own kitchen. However, without knowing what your dog's nutritional requirements are, you likely will do more harm than good. Before you attempt to make food regularly for your dog, speak with a qualified veterinarian to ensure that you craft a balanced, nutritionally complete diet.
A healthy diet for your dog must contain the proper balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. The Merck Veterinary Manual states that dogs require roughly two grams of quality protein per kilogram of body weight per day, varying amounts of linoleic fatty acids, adequate non-fibrous carbohydrates, and adequate amounts of vitamins A, D and E. Veterinary scientists at Virginia Tech recommend strongly consulting a veterinary nutritionist to find the right balance for your dog. .
Meats are essential to canine health, but some types of meat can be harmful to dogs. Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni and sausage, contain dangerous fats and nitrites, which have been known to aggravate health problems, such as pancreatitis in dogs. Raw meat and eggs are potential sources of parasites and bacteria, and should be handled with care. Liver also contains potentially harmful bacteria and may cause vitamin A toxicity in dogs.
Dogs love dairy products, such as milk and cheese, but dogs do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose in dairy products. Feeding dogs dairy can lead to stomach problems, such as bloating and gas, which in dogs actually can become life threatening. Cheese also tends to be high in salt, which also can lead to stomach ailments in dogs.
Dog owners love to give their pets treats, but many human snacks can disrupt a dog's balanced diet and cause severe health problems. Coffee, tea and chocolate contain caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, three ingredients that can damage the heart and nervous systems in dogs. Also, onions, garlic, raisins, grapes and even baby food can be toxic to dogs. Onion powder in particular can interfere with your dog's ability to absorb nutrients.
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