When it comes to our pet dogs, it’s safe to say that we only want the best for them. This, of course, includes what we feed them.
If you’re looking to flex your culinary skills and upgrade your pup’s diet to include homemade food beyond just kibble and the canned stuff, here are some things to take note of before you switch your dog to a home-cooked diet.
1. Always check if certain ingredients are safe for dogs
We all know certain foods like chocolate are dangerous for dogs, but there are a whole list of ingredients that shouldn’t make their way into a dog’s food bowl. For example, onions and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage, while certain nuts can cause vomiting and even pancreatitis in your pet.
Before trying out any new recipes, be sure to do a quick check (Google is your best friend here) on whether or not dogs can actually eat the raw ingredients in the recipe.
2. Make sure your recipes are properly balanced
Now despite naysayers proclaiming that commercial dog food is ‘processed’, they do go through tests and checks to ensure that they’re fairly balanced in terms of the nutrients they provide your dog.
If you’re going to be taking your dog’s diet into your own hands, then the onus is on you to make sure your pet gets all the macro-nutrients it needs with nutritionally complete meals. Cooking for dogs goes beyond just boiling some leftover chicken and mixing it up with rice. You’ll need to ensure that your dog gets enough protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and fat to keep him healthy in the long run.
3. Consult a vet or nutritionist first
Just like how different people have different dietary requirements, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to prepping meals for dogs too.
Make sure you check in with your dog’s regular vet or a nutritionist beforehand so that he or she can make appropriate dietary recommendations based on your dog’s health background and help you plan a menu with vet approved recipes.
4. Supplement your meals with vitamins and supplements
While home cooking is a great way to ensure that your dog gets fresh and wholesome meals, that might not be enough to make sure he or she is as healthy as can be.
Depending on your dog’s health background, it might also be worth considering supplementing its home-cooked diet with certain vitamins and supplements, particularly if they have an aversion to certain foods that are a key source for a particular vitamin.
5. Vary your recipes
Nobody likes eating the same thing every single day, even if dogs are typically more tolerant when it comes to lack of variety. With a plethora of resources on the internet, there’s no shortage of interesting recipes you can try preparing for your fur pal. After all, this is a culinary experience that should be fun for you too!
This will also help train your pup to be less of a fussy eater. An additional tip if he or she isn’t eating is to try mixing in a bit of his usual kibble or canned food into the recipe. As the days go by, reduce the amount of kibble or canned food you’re using until you can omit it completely.