You want to feed your dog the best diet possible. Maybe you think giving him homemade food, consisting of healthy, fresh ingredients, is the way to go. It could be, as long as you make sure that your homemade diet is nutritionally complete for your best friend. Ask your own vet for recommendations, as she knows any health issues facing your dog.
Commercial dog foods contain the proper balance of nutrients for your pet. That balance is something you must employ when making your own meals for Fido. According to WebMD.com, homemade dog foods must contain a protein and carbohydrate source, the correct amount of vitamins and minerals, along with a small amount of fat. Once you find the right recipe, keep making and feeding it to your dog, rather than constantly switching ingredients. Good protein sources include chicken, turkey, lamb or hamburger, along with boned fish. You can also use eggs and low-fat cottage cheese as a protein sources. Sources of carbohydrates include rice, potatoes and pasta. You can offer your dog cooked green beans, peas and carrots.
Read the ingredients list on a commercial dog food can or package. It likely contains all kinds of vitamin and mineral supplements. Webvet recommends purchasing supplements containing micronutrients "essential for maintaining pet health and almost certainly missing from your ingredient list." Dr. Michael Fox suggests kelp or spirulina added to your dog's food a few times a week.
Foods to Avoid
Although a raw meat diet is popular in some quarters, as that's what the domestic dog's wild canine ancestors ate, most veterinarians don't endorse it. That's because raw meat can contain bacteria that's destroyed when cooking, including salmonella and E. coli. Other foods to avoid include onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts, all of which can be toxic to canines. Chocolate is also a no-no, in case you're tempted to give your dog dessert after his home-cooked meal.
The California-based Founders Veterinary Clinic offers a sample recipe for feeding a 20-pound canine. It consists of 1/4 pound of skinless chicken; 1 cup cooked brown rice; 1/2 to 1 pound of peas and carrots; 1/4 teaspoon of potassium chloride, used as a salt substitute; 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil; 250 milligrams of calcium citrate and a daily multiple vitamin supplement. For a 10-pound dog, cut the ingredients in half, while doubling them for a 40-pound animal.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.