Many people find that when they feed their dog food they have prepared at home, that they improve in many ways. Pets may have sensitivities to their commercial food which makes them itch or have gas or diarrhea. Studies have found that in some cases its not the ingredients in the food that their pet is sensitive to, but is actually the processing of the ingredients that changes their molecular structure rendering them allergenic or otherwise sensitive to the pet.
When the diet is changed to fresh wholesome food their dietary sensitivities disappear and they have a healthy stool and itch a lot less, if at all. There are other pets who don’t respond as well to diet change. For pets with specific allergies to specific antigens, sometimes a home prepared meal is the only way to find a food that doesn’t have all the things they are allergic to on the ingredients listed on the bag.
Home made diets aren’t less work than feeding commercial kibble and canned foods, but the health benefits to the pet are huge enough for it to be worthwhile to many people. My family has been preparing food for our dogs and cats for 20 years, and you can tell from their youthfulness and shiny hair coats that they eat fresh. We also add a number of supplements to improve their healthiness. Supplements such as fish oil, probiotics and antioxidants help to reduce tissue damage from free radical oxygen species, and improve digestive function, too.
Home made diets aren’t for everyone. These diets take work and time and an attention to details so as to be able to make the diet balanced and complete, as well as tasty and nutritious. Home made diets aren’t less expensive than fresh food. The better quality food ingredients will be more expensive than what is used for kibble or canned foods.
Should you feed a raw diet or a cooked one? Proponents of raw feeding feel that the food enzymes present in raw food help with the digestive process. Cooking destroys food enzymes and removes the benefit from feeding raw food because the heat denatures the food enzymes, rendering them inactive. But, cooked food, generally is more absorbable than raw food.
Some pets don’t do well on raw food, so for them I recommend cooking the food before eating it. Other pets have improved miraculously on raw diets. Its your choice what you feed your pet, so choose carefully!!!
Recipes for home prepared meals are not that difficult to make, as long as you can stay consistent with what you are doing each and every day. Its not just a casual, throwing a bunch of different ingredients together and then serving them to your pet. To put together a complete and balanced diet that is adapted to your pet you need to figure in the ideal weight of your pet, any dietary sensitivities that it may have so you can avoid those foods completely, its activity level, its medical condition, which speaks to how much it needs in terms of protein and daily calories, and its own individual tastes as regards your selection of ingredients.
Supplements need to be added to the meal to balance its calcium levels and to add healthy beneficial probiotic bacteria, high doses of fish oil fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fiber in the form of flax seed meal, multivitamin-multiminerals and antioxidants and other supplements for other reasons. Maybe add some medical mushrooms in if your worried about your pet developing cancer, or if it has an infection that won’t go away.
I’ve used a simplified technique to establish a recipe, using percentages of each macronutrient, and then a dosage approach to the other supplements. What this means is that based on the pet, I might feed 50% of its meal from meat, and 25% of each meal from carbohydrates, and 25% of its meal from vegetables. If I know how many calories my patient needs for daily energy needs, I can then figure out how much of each food material I need to give my pet.
Its best if you consult with a veterinarian about this who is knowledgeable about home diet preparation. Some vets are against it, especially if it involves raw meat. There are a few veterinarians who give consultations over the phone to help you develop a home diet for your pet. I’ve listed those vets below in case you need one. Also there is a website where you can put in information about your pet, and the website will figure out a recipe for you and suggest vitamin and mineral supplements to balance the diet.
Remember, a well-made home-prepared meal is a wonderful thing to behold, but a poorly designed unbalanced home prepared meal is a health hazard!
Veterinarians who will consult with you regarding a home prepared diet:
- Susan Wynn Holistic veterinary nutritionist www.susanwynn.org
- Rebecca Remillard Board certified nutritionist https://www.petdiets.com/
- Ohio State University http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/nutrition-support-service/home-made-diets
- Tufts University http://vet.tufts.edu/nutrition/about-clinical-nutrition-service/
- UC Davis http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ucvmc_sd/nutrition/
- Computerized recipe formulation for pet owners: www.Balanceit.com