The benefits of homemade dog food

Whether your dog is a fussy eater or not, making homemade dog food for him is one of the healthiest things that you can do. Of course, it is easier to make dog food for your dog if he isn’t a fussy eater. Otherwise, you will probably have to go through a trial and error period where you prepare batches and batches of homemade dog food until you find a recipe that he will actually eat.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can’t prepare a nutritious meal for your dog either. After all, with the exception of a few types of meat that really don’t wind up in dog food much anymore, dog food makers actually use the same type of foods that we do. If you don’t believe it, read the label on a can of dog food.

Why would anyone want to go through the extra work to prepare food for his or her dog at home rather than purchasing it in the supermarket or at the pet store? For one thing, you get to control what goes into your dog’s food and therefore, you can pay special attention to his nutritional needs.

Secondly, it may actually be cheaper to prepare homemade dog food rather than purchasing it in a can at the store. Even if you buy it in bulk or on sale, canned dog food can be costly, especially if your dog is a finicky eater and prefers the better and more expensive brands.

Thirdly, your dog might just like the taste of it better than the canned variety. Some canned varieties have added fillers, artificial flavorings, or animal by products. The taste may not be as natural or as flavorful as the kind that you will be making.

Fourth, the time that you take to prepare it can be additional bonding time for the two of you. One of you can work in the kitchen preparing the food, while the other is watching the one that’s working. Your dog will probably be doing more than watching though, because he’ll probably be drooling as well, as the aroma of the food begins to waft over to his nostrils to kick start his salivary glands.

At any rate, preparing homemade dog food is simpler than you think. One of the easiest meats to prepare for this venture is ground meat. In fact, ground turkey has less fat and is easier to digest than ground beef, so I suggest that you use that. Ground veal is another good option. However, it is usually more expensive, plus it may not be available in your supermarket.

Avoid adding salt or oil since you probably don’t need it. The extra salt will make your dog thirsty and it really isn’t good for him. Cook the meat on slow, stirring or turning it constantly to allow the juices to remain inside the meat. Once the juices have turned clear, the meat is fully cooked.

If necessary, you can use a bit of soy bean oil to keep the meat from sticking to the pan. Additionally, you can add some beef or chicken broth to the pan while cooking the meat.

If you plan on adding vegetables, you can add precooked vegetables when the meat appears to be almost finished cooking. Additionally, you can add raw vegetables in the beginning of the cooking stage provided you have diced them into small pieces.

When selecting the vegetables that you will add, attempt to use some that have the most nutritional value for your dog in regard to vitamin content. Ideally, green vegetables are always a good option. Once your dog has finished eating his homemade brand of dog food, look to see exactly which vegetables he left in his dish if any. Whatever he left, he isn’t going to eat, so don’t include it with the next batch that you make.

How much food you cook depends on several things. It depends on the size of your dog, your dog’s appetite, and the number of meals that you want to be able to store for the week. If you like cooking, then simply prepare your dog’s meal when you prepare your own. If you don’t like to cook, then prepare several meals at a time and refrigerate the leftovers for 3 to 4 days.

Several additional options that you have for meal time is to include a bit of rice or cubed fortified bread to your pet’s dinner entree. If your pet is a bit under the weather, consider crushing some dog vitamins to add to his food.

Whatever you do, always introduce a change in your dog’s diet gradually. This will avoid digestion and elimination problems. Simply add a bit of the homemade dog food to his existing food, gradually increasing the amount and decreasing the amount of his old food until you have him on 100% homemade dog food.

By Ian White ©2007