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More and more people are turning to homemade dog food for their dogs for various reasons, including food recalls and cooking for dogs is much healthier than buying canned meat. With a little bit of planning can work out cheaper. Both Missy and Roxy are fed home-cooked food.
When you cook meat for dogs, it is important to ensure that the food is fresh, good quality, and, therefore, healthy and nutritious to meet their dietary needs.
Variety is the spice of life when cooking for dogs
The great thing about home cooking for your dog is that it can provide much more of a healthy variety in taste and texture, which can often e hard to do with commercial foods.
On top of that, you can be confident that home-cooked foods contain no artificial colours, flavours or any other additives. It is also easy to make a nice variety of food for your dog by mixing and matching ingredients.
A dog’s diet should be roughly 40% protein, 50% vegetables, and 10% starch.
The following are good sources of protein. before cooking, make sure excess fat and skin are removed from all meet and that the meat is plain with no seasoning
- Shrimp (making sure that shell is removed and cooked).
- Fish – most fish is fine for dogs
Protein in moderations includes
Most dogs love vegetables, and root vegetables such as carrots can also make a good treat. the following vegetables can be given to your dog as part of a home-cooked diet
- Sweet Potato
- Spinach #
Why not read our article on dog-friendly vegetables
These foods are generally a bulker and should be avoided if possible (even in commercial food.
Pasta and Rice, Oatmeal and Quinoa along with Potatoes,
Apart from meat and vegetables, which are safe foods for dogs, you can also mix in Coconut milk, Coconut oil and coconut.
There are a lot of fruits you can feed in moderation, such as Bananas, apples, pineapple, strawberries and melons. However, remember that dried fruits and grapes are bad for your dogs.
Foods not to include in home-cooked meals
Hopefully, you are aware that foods such as chocolate, garlic, onions, avocadoes and dried fruit, e.g. sultanas, and raisins, are dangerous foods to your dog and should be avoided.
Other ingredients to avoid include Xylitol and artificial sweeteners.
Don’t forget the calcium! Ingredients such as cottage cheese or plain yoghurt are great paired with fruits that offer vitamins and antioxidants. You can offer this as a treat throughout the day or include it in their meal. Watch for signs such as vomiting or diarrhoea, as some pups are lactose intolerant. Ice cream should be avoided as it is high in fat.
Healthy Food Toppings
You may prefer to carry on feeding your dog with kibble. As long as it is a good quality kibble, this is fine. however, why not spice it up a little with some extra toppings such as
- Egg – You can break it over the top of the kibble, or if you prefer, cook
- A tin of fish such as Tuna or salmon
- A few steamed vegetables (or in the case of carrots etc., you can give them raw for an added crunch)
- A little bit of cottage cheese or yoghurt (you may want to try introducing dairy slowly)
- Some kale or spinach to help digest the kibble easier
Ready to switch to homemade dog food
It is important to remember that very few dogs can switch to a new diet just like that, so the change needs to be made slowly.
First day – Mix 20% of the new food with 80% of the old.
Second day– Mix 40% of the new food with 60% of the old.
Third day – Mix 50% of the new food with 50% of the old
Fourth day – Mix 60% of the fresh food with 40% of the old.
Final day – Feed 100% of the new food.
Fifth day – Mix 80% of the new food with 20% of the old.
When changing from commercial food to home-cooked food, you need to keep an eye out for any changes in your dogs’ health or behaviour, including things such as being sick, diarrhoea, or simply not wanting to eat the food.
If you notice any issues, then back off from the change in diet and try and work out what new food is upsetting your dog, such as dairy.
One Size Fits All?
Remember, when feeding home-cooked food, it is important to know what you’re feeding so that your dog does not become overweight. The easiest way to do this is to follow tried and tested homemade recipes that you can find online until you are confident about portion control.
When you first start cooking for dogs, you may want to get your dog weighed regularly to ensure they are not gaining or losing weight. Personally, also add some keepers mix from Dorwest as this helps to ensure they both get the right vitamins and minerals (just like a multivitamin and mineral supplement that we often take)
I would also suggest that if your dog is still a puppy, you carry on feeding it his regular commercial food designed for puppies.
If you have a dog with lots of allergies as I do, then making the change home-cooked notice the difference in the energy level, skin and coat.
On top of that, dogs will have their favourites.
Cooking for dogs is a fun activity that all the family can participate in. remember your dog will appreciate the homemade food as it will smell and taste much better than most commercial food as well as being healthier – did you know dogs that are fed homemade food can live up to almost three years longer