Making food for your dog at home that matches the nutritional needs recommended by your vet is possible, but it takes planning and regular communication. Your dog’s nutritional needs are different from yours and you need to make sure you are feeding him the right foods and supplements if needed. With some time and education, it is possible to provide a balanced diet from your kitchen.
Begin by talking with your veterinarian about your dog’s dietary needs. Let him know that you would like to feed your dog natural and homemade meals. If your dog has any medical conditions, he can address these and help create a diet with them in mind. For example, if your dog has digestive issues, a low residue diet may be required. Go over your dog’s nutritional needs with the vet. Find out what percentage of the diet should be protein, fat, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
Together with your vet or a dog nutritionist, plan out a daily diet and menu. Your vet will be able to tell you if the foods you plan to make will meet your dog’s nutritional needs or if vitamin supplements are required.
Learn what foods are not safe for dogs. For example, raisins, grapes, chocolate, garlic, onions and even salt can be toxic to your dog. Adding one of these ingredients may come naturally to you when cooking but their addition to your dog’s food could cause health problems.
Thoroughly cook all meats to their recommended temperatures. Raw or under-cooked meats increase the risks of salmonella and E. coli.
Monitor your dog’s weight on a regular basis. This is especially true when you first begin a homemade diet. Your vet will want to make sure that your dog is getting enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.
- Like you, you may find that your dog has different tastes. Feed him a variety of different proteins and fruits and vegetables to find what he likes and does not like. While some dogs may love sweet potatoes, your dog may hate them and prefer green beans. Keep track of the likes and dislikes as you begin and you quickly will compose a list of ingredients that work.
- For proteins, look for quality meats and cuts and don’t forget things like eggs and cottage cheese. Try different cooking methods such as grilling, baking and even boiling in meat broth for added flavor.
- A slow cooker is a great way to make complete meals. The rice, vegetables and meat can go in at once and all cook together. This combines the flavors and, for a dog that turns his nose up at plain rice, this rice may have him asking for more because it cooks in the juices of the meat.
- Do not change to a homemade diet without first consulting a veterinarian or dog nutritionist. For the health of your dog, you need to ensure that his nutritional needs are taken care of.
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