Feeding your dog a homemade diet is not as simple as offering him leftovers from your dinner or a piece of meat in his dish. To meet his nutritional needs, your dog needs a balanced blend of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat. You want to balance a lean meat with a complex carb -- such as rice -- and other nutrients.
Meat provides your dog with protein for building muscles as well as necessary vitamins and nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. Lean meats are best for your dog; consider turkey, chicken, fish or pork. Lean cuts of beef or lowfat ground beef are suitable. Meat or protein should make up 30 percent to 40 percent of your dog's diet.
Rice helps your dog feel full and satisfied after eating and provides carbohydrates his body needs to produce energy. Unlike simple carbohydrates, the complex carbohydrates in rice break down slowly so the body can use it over time instead of a sudden rise and fall. You can feed either brown or white rice, although brown is also a good source of fiber. Rice has vitamins K, E and B. Your dog's diet should consist of about 20 percent to 30 percent cooked rice or other complex carbohydrates.
After a meat and a complex carbohydrate, the remaining percentage of the dog diet should be non-starch vegetables such as carrots, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans or cauliflower. These vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, carotenoids and flavenoids, all of which are vital to your dog's health. For the purpose of determining the amount of vegetables to include, use uncooked weight.
Dogs who have just had surgery or are recovering from gastrointestinal illness, such as parvovirus, need a special bland diet. Follow your veterinarian's advice for feeding in these situations. A bland diet generally eliminates the vegetables and consists of 50 percent boiled lean meat and 50 percent rice. Feed your dog small amounts several times a day and gradually transition him back to his regular diet once your veterinarian allows him to eat regular food.
Some health conditions require a special diet. For example, if your dog has kidney problems he may need a low-protein diet. If you are feeding rice, meat and vegetables, this will require an adjustment in the ratio of rice to meat. You should work closely with your veterinarian or an animal nutritionist to formulate a diet that meets your dog's special health needs.
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