4 Reasons to Make Your Own Dog Food (Now!)

Like most people, you have probably thought about making food for your dog or, at least, are familiar with the idea that doing so can be healthier for your dog and not as difficult as many think. Well, we’re here to tell you why there’s no better time than now to take that first step. As with most life-changing actions, the hard part is the initial leap. the prize? The life you change may be the life of your beloved dog!

1. Maybe you have time.

Preparing fresh food, whether for you, your family, or your dog, takes time. We understand how busy people’s lives can be, so it makes sense that an easy assumption would be to buy bags or cans of commercially made dog food. But if you’re one of the many people whose schedules have been flipped — if not undone entirely — by the pandemic, you may now find yourself with more free time to tackle ambitious culinary projects like baking bread, brewing pickles, or, yes, home-cooking doggie meals. In addition, you are likely to stay close to home, allowing you to facilitate your dog’s entry into a new eating regimen and to monitor their output (poop), this critical measure of digestive health.

2. Tools that make cooking a breeze.

A variety of readily available kitchen utensils (see our full list) and supplies make preparing dog meals easier. With the home cooking revolution, there are more tech-based appliances and affordable chef tools available now than ever before. Electric pressure cookers, video equipment, food processors and digital scales have joined this ancient standby, the crock pot, in many kitchens. All these tools make the task of preparing food easier, more accurate and more efficient.

3. It can save you money.

If you feed your dog Costco dog food, it can be hard to beat what you spend on dog food. But if you’ve stuck with premium kibble or one of the newer solutions for fresh home made meals, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to cut back on your dog’s food bill. And if you like to hunt down bargains at the grocery store and/or have a vegetable garden, you’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save.

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4. It is better for your dog’s health and wellness.

Is fresh, homemade food better for dogs? Well, it’s no secret that most processed pet foods suffer from a variety of quality issues. No matter how much a company promotes its product, factors inherent in manufacturing commercial dog food affect its quality.

The shelf life is large. Would you be comfortable feeding your loved ones of packaged foods with a shelf life of up to 18 months? Can you imagine how your health would be if you only ate food from a bag or a can? Maybe not very good. It’s the same for your dog. Fresh and lightly cooked is better than processed.

Another problem with commercial pet food is the way it is made. In order to mass-produce it and meet federal safety requirements, ingredients are cooked at very high temperatures to kill bacteria and pathogens. But since this process neutralizes the natural benefits of the ingredients, including vitamins and minerals that benefit your dog, manufacturers have to add supplements to make up for what’s been lost. And we haven’t even touched on questionable ingredients, shady sources, and profit-driven drivers (pentobarbital, anyone?). Homemade balanced dog food can be much better for your dog.

Great Benefits of Fresh Homemade Dog Food

• It is more palatable. Even those hard eaters will appreciate your efforts.

• You have control over what goes into each meal. You can include high-quality ingredients (especially protein) as well as a variety of dog-safe fruits and vegetables.

• No stabilizers are needed, so your dog will not consume artificial preservatives.

Breaking down barriers to cooking dogs at home

For years, veterinarians and dog food manufacturers have certainly warned us about the dangers of homemade meals. Here are three of those warnings, and the reasons we don’t need to let them stop us from doing better by our dogs.

• Home cooked meals are nutritionally unbalanced and complete. We are told that homemade meals cannot provide our dogs with everything they need for good health and expose them to a host of potential nutritional deficiencies. While it is true that dogs require a certain balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, a proper assessment of your dog’s health and specific nutritional requirements will give you the information you need. Work with a qualified veterinarian or animal nutritionist to calculate the essential supplement needed or take advantage of the expertise that can be accessed online. Fortunately, several integrated supplement solutions are now available, including Balance It®, Chef’s Canine Complete, and, in Europe, Trovet Balance.

• It takes a lot of time to prepare their food. While there are many recipes for meals, you can achieve cost and time savings by cooking your dog’s food in large quantities. A large group can provide your dog with meals for a week or two, or even a month if you have a small dog. No matter the size of your dog, you can save time and money by cooking in batches and freezing what can’t be eaten in three or four days.

• Changing a dog’s diet is dangerous. Veterinarians have long warned against changing a dog’s diet, but this idea is developing. Most dogs can tolerate some variety, or at least subtle differences. Introducing home-cooked ingredients into your dog’s diet such as toppings, a small secondary meal, or a mix of fresh food and food, gives you a way to ease into a home-cooked regimen. To keep your dog at his best weight, adjust amounts according to the calories in the supplement. Use our quick dog feeding calculators to find out how many calories your dog needs.

Is fresh homemade dog food worth it? Cooking our dogs meals is one of the most meaningful actions we can take to benefit their health and well-being. In addition, it is very satisfying. Unlike members of the human family, our dogs never complain that their food isn’t picture-perfect or that it’s overcooked or too tender. Instead, they appreciate the ultra-fresh ingredients and the care and love put into every bite!

For more in-depth information on home cooking for your dog and some well-balanced recipes, check out our articles on the topic.

This is a good place to start: Homemade vegetable chicken dog food recipe

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