Making Fido's meals from scratch means you have absolute control over what he eats, giving him the right balance of nutrients without preservatives. It's a labor of love to cook for your pooch, but planning ahead and freezing individual portions can keep you out of the kitchen and ready to throw that ball a few more times.
When making homemade food for your dog, remember he's an omnivore. Dogs have high protein requirements, but their bodies need more than that to survive. A pinch of cooked pasta or rice helps give him the energy he needs, and a smattering of veggies gives him vital nutrients. It might take some trial and error to find the foods he likes best, but make sure to give him more than meat.
Finding the right balance of nutrients is key to a homemade doggie diet. Talk to your vet to make sure you're including the right amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates. According to the National Research Council, an adult dog weighing 33 pounds needs 25 grams of protein per day. This protein can come from meat, eggs or a small amount of cheese. An active adult dog weighing 50 pounds needs 1,353 calories per day, some of which need to come from carbs to keep his energy level up and his blood sugar stable.
Vegetables are important in your dog's diet because they contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12. These keep your pup's system functioning properly. Without the right nutrients, your dog can have weight issues, develop skin ailments and have problems with organs such as his liver. Share your diet plan with your vet and ask for input on how to best give Fido the right vitamins and minerals. Your vet might recommend a supplement to keep the diet on track.
When cooking for your furry friend, there are a few foods you might enjoy that can wreak havoc on his little body. Never give him onions, garlic or chocolate, as these can be toxic to dogs. Stay away from avocado, raisins, grapes and anything with caffeine. Also, keep his salt intake to a minimum -- it can lead to sodium ion poisoning if he ingests too much. Make sure his meat and eggs are cooked. You don't have to cook all his vegetables, but he might enjoy the texture better that way.
- John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images