With the recent rash of dog food recalls, many pet owners are starting to make their dog's food. For the home cook, it's important to maintain the proper balance of protein, fat and nutrients. While this can be an expensive endeavor, it doesn't have to be. Follow these tips for affordable homemade dog food ideas.
Start with the protein component of your dog's food. Unless your dog has specific dietary restrictions, nearly any kind of meat will serve as the base for your homemade food. To maintain affordability, choose meat that's on sale. Good, inexpensive options include ground meats like chuck or turkey. Skip fatty meat, especially if your dog has a weight problem. Prepare the meat in the same manner that you would for human consumption.
Adding fruit to your homemade dog food is an easy, affordable way to increase the nutritional value. Good choices include cantaloupe, apples, pears and mixed berries like strawberries and blueberries. Incorporate fewer fruits than vegetables because most fruit contains more sugar than you want your dog to have at each meal. To make this an even more affordable addition to your homemade dog food, purchase frozen fruit to use instead of fresh.
Load up your homemade dog food with inexpensive veggies. The general rule, with a few notable exceptions, is that if a veggie is good for you, it's good for your dog, too. Fresh or frozen make great options. To aid in digestion, it helps to steam or lightly saute vegetables like broccoli and carrots. Toss in greens like spinach or kale. Add green beans or celery to round out the veggie content.
What to Avoid
For the most part, it's safe to feed your dog a range of meat, fruit and vegetables. However, there are some foods that your dog should never eat. Skip onions, chives, grapes and raisins. Avoid milk, chocolate and macadamia nuts. There is some debate about the safety of avocados and garlic; to play it safe, avoid them in your homemade food. You can eliminate these dangerous foods and still achieve a nutritionally balanced, affordable homemade food for your dog.