Why should you prepare homemade food?
There has been a noticeable trend of growing discontentment among pet owners with pre-packaged, factory made dried food. The reasons are as varied as the owners themselves – Some have disavowed allegiance to the idea of big corporations, some are bit by the health food craze and yet others just have pets that pull nasty stink faces when served yet another portion of the same staid offering that’s been their dinner for miserable years. And then there are numerous cases documented on the internet about conditions ranging from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis all the way to certain types of early stage cancers that responded very favourably to a switch to homemade diets of certain specifications. Whatever your reason might be, look no further than our dish up (do excuse the pun) on the big DO’s and DONT’s of homemade dog food and some cool ideas.
First some basics!
To begin with, let’s look at the basic guidelines for providing a wholesome diet to your furred friend. Your dog basically needs protein, carbohydrates and fats as it’s macronutrients and needs small but vital amounts of zinc, iron, copper and calcium. It is when it comes to these micronutrients that most dog food recipes lag behind, much to the alarm of dog lovers planetwide. The problem is ubiquitous as even some supposedly “expert crafted” recipes often don’t provide these trace elements in the right proportions (Some neglect a couple of these altogether). I know what you’re thinking: “Enough with the science talk. What do I do to make sure my dog gets all this stuff without burning a hole through my pocket?” Well, the answer depends a whole lot on the amount of time and effort you are willing to put in.
How to save money
The most important thing to bear in mind when seeking to balance the right nutrition with budgetary constraints is that your dog doesn’t understand pretensions or airs. For instance, you could work a deal with your neighbourhood butchery or meat house to sell you meatscraps by the sackful. Lesser cuts and bony bits are dime a dozen, so to speak. Likewise, restaurants have tonnes of leftovers everyday, which if creatively used, forn be the bulk of delicious mixes that have your dog going full-pavlov. The opportunities are endless but the takeaway here is that with a little bit of lateral thinking, monetary constraints can effortlessly be overhauled.
What ingredients should I use?
Meat forms the basis of your dog’s nutrition. Chicken Breasts, legs or ground beef are what most pet nutritionists swear by. However, offal can be a great option too. For the uninitiated, “offal” refers to those cuts of meat that are traditionally cast away and not sold for human consumption. These include the visceral organs among other unsavoury bits. While they may not make the best bolognese, these meat parts are rife with nutrients like iron (especially liver and kidney) and will get your dog running to his food bowl every day of the week. The next part is vegetables. It is always better to source them fresh, as this is where they have maximal vitamin content, but frozen veggies will do the trick too. And finally, you need a source of carbs, which can be brown rice, oatmeal or potatoes. The recommended method is to add all these ingredients to a large dutch oven and boil it till it’s all cooked, at which point it needs to be promptly packed and tucked away into the freezer to maximise its life. Additionally, your dog needs daily servings of dairy (for Calcium), which are best given in the form of a post-walk bowl of milk. Fish or other seafood is also recommended about 2-3 times a week to maintain adequate zinc levels. Needless to say, dogs don’t require conditioning of any sort. Salt, spices, condiments and butter are a strict no no.
Among other things that are to be strictly kept away from your doggie preparations are Chocolate, onions, raisins, avocados, grapes, nuts , coffee and raw yeast dough. These things must never make their way in any form or shape into your dog’s meals and must be kept away from them at all times.
Furthermore, it is definitely advisable to consult your veterinarian regarding any drastic changes in your dog’s diet that you’re planning.