How to Make Homemade Dog Food – Ultimate Guide
Although every pet owner will be familiar with pre-packaged dog food, mass produced dog food hasn’t been around for as long as you might have thought. While the first dog biscuits appeared in the 1860s, large scale production of pet food didn’t really take off until after the Second World War, when improvements in preservatives and in transportation networks made the manufacturing and distribution of dog food viable.
Prior to the advent of canned dog food and kibble, people did feed their pets themselves and, today, many pet owners are reverting to that, partly because it guarantees that you know exactly what you are feeding your pet.
Making your own dog food, though, is not as simple as you might think, and you can’t simply feed your pet a portion of whatever you are eating. If you would like to try making your own dog food, here are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, and some helpful tips on making your own homemade dog food
The advantages of making your own dog food
One of the biggest advantages of making your own dog food for your pet is that you know exactly what the ingredients are, which can be particularly useful if your pet has allergies. It also means that you can decide on the quality of the food that you feed your pet with.
Dog food that you make yourself is also likely to be a lot more nutritious than store bought pet food, so you will probably find that your dog will be healthier, have cleaner teeth, a shinier coat, and your dog’s breath probably won’t smell so bad.
If you buy the ingredients in bulk and make up batches of homemade dog food and freeze it, it won’t cost any more than commercial dog food and, in many cases, it may even be a cheaper way to feed your dog.
Disadvantages of making your own dog food
The biggest disadvantage of making homemade dog food is probably the amount of time that it takes. You will have to shop for the ingredients, prepare the food, and store it. If you are going to make your own dog food, it’s a god idea to aside some time once a week to do it and then you can make up a batch of food that will last you for a whole week.
In terms of cost, that’s really up to you. If you buy cheap cuts of meat in bulk and then freeze it, it won’t cost you too much, but if you buy the best cuts of organic meat on a daily basis, then it would cost you a lot more than commercial dog food would.
Making dog food is not all that complicated, but you do need to make sure that your pet is getting a balanced diet. Commercial dog food often has vitamins and minerals added to it, and many people who make their own dog food do the same. Just like a human, the best way to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrition it needs is to give it a varied diet.
Types of food to use in homemade dog food
If you are interested in making your dog food, the best thing to do would be to buy a dog food recipe book. There are plenty to choose from on Amazon. There are lots of different recipes for dog food that you can choose and there is a wide range of ingredients that you could use.
As a general guide, meat or fish should make up approximately 50 – 60% of a dog’ diet, vegetables, including grains and starchy vegetables, 25%, dairy products around 10-15%, and fruits can be used, but only in small amounts.
One of the nutrients that are often missing from home cooked dog food is calcium, because people don’t cook bones with their home-cooked dog food. Dogs need approximately 800 to 1000 mg of calcium per pound of food they eat, so you may need to use a calcium supplement when you are making your own dog food.
You can use any kind of meat in dog food that your dog likes, including beef, lamb, pork chicken, rabbit, and so on. You can also use organ meats, such a liver and kidneys, but not exclusively. The best place to buy meat for your dog food is often a local butcher, but you will find a good selection of cheap cuts of meat in your local supermarket or local store. Most recipes for dog food are very much like cooking a stew for people.
Vegetables should make up about 25% of a dog’s diet and a good mixture of different vegetables will help ensure that your dog gets all the nutrients it needs. You can use grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, couscous and barley, so long as it has been cooked well. You should also make sure that the vegetables are well-cooked so that your dog will be able to get all the nutrients from them. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and squash can be used. But again, they need to be well-cooked or steamed and puréed to ensure that your dog will able to digest them properly.
You can also feed your dog fruits, but not too much, because it will upset your dog’s stomach and it could make your dog put on weight. Most fruits are fine for dogs to eat, apart from grapes and raisins, which are poisonous to dogs.
How to start making homemade dog food
As we mentioned before, the best way to start cooking homemade dog food is to buy a dog food recipe book, and then you will know that the nutritional balance of the recipes will have already been worked out for you. The best dog food recipe books are the ones that have been written by animal nutritionists.
When you are preparing food for your dog from a dog food recipe book, stick to the instructions. The recipes will have been designed to give your dog a balanced meal, so experimenting on your dog with your own recipes is not such a good idea. Remember, too, that dogs don’t need their food seasoned, so don’t add spices and herbs, just because you like the flavour of them.
If you follow the recipes and you don’t make any ingredient substitutions, you won’t be at risk of feeding your dog something that might be poisonous to a dog, such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts or avocados.
Making homemade dog food is not difficult to do and it does mean that you do know exactly what it is that your dog is eating. Many dog owners report that their dogs are a lot healthier when they eat home cooked dog food and it is possible to make your own dog food cheaply. The only real drawback to making homemade dog food is that it will take a more effort than opening a packet of commercial pet food would.