It's no secret in the health and wellness world that eating fresh, cooked meals instead of junk food or eating out is a simple way to alter your diet. The reason this has such an impact on health is that low-quality nutrients and substances in commercial foods such as preservatives and additives are hazardous to your health. How many times have you eaten a bag of chips and felt bloated and ill as a result? The same goes for your pet!
"Think of it as eating the same highly processed food for every meal, day after day, for years," says Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and American College of Veterinary Nutrition diplomate.
That makes so much sense! There are numerous reasons why you might wish to prepare vet-approved homemade food for your dog, according to Dr. Bartges.
The most straightforward strategy to ensure your dog is eating healthy is to ensure they are consuming more natural, whole ingredients and less manufactured foods. Even though commercial dog food brands claim fresh meat proteins and high-quality components, the finished product will not be as healthy as advertised. More dog owners are catching on to this reality, and feeding dogs human-quality food is becoming more common as we become more aware of the benefits of eating clean ourselves.
We've put together the best guide to homemade, additive-free dog food. Continue reading to find out more about:
Making nutrient-dense homemade dog food
The Advantages of Fresh Homemade Pet Food
How to Find the Best Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipe
What ingredients should be used?
Including natural vitamins in your homemade dog food recipes
What ingredients should you avoid using in your homemade recipes?
How much homemade dog food should you feed your dog (with a dog food calorie calculator!)
Feeding fresh, home-cooked food is made straightforward and effortless.
We touched on this briefly before, but let's take a closer look at why you should consider homemade dog food for your furry companion.
Free of preservatives and additives
Avoiding elements that could be hazardous to your pet's health.
Clean, high-quality ingredients
You can avoid substances that typically cause dog food allergies if you have more control over what goes into your pet's meals. You can also ensure that you're producing natural dog food or organic dog food for your cherished pet.
Fresh prepared food is healthier for weight loss since it has fewer high-calorie fillers.
Skin and coat are soft and glossy.
Natural oils and nutrients in commercial meals that are crucial for keeping your dog's coat silky and shiny might be destroyed by high heat processing. Gently prepared food, especially when supplemented with natural supplements like Omega-3 fish oil, can keep your dog's coat in tip-top shape!
You'd better poop!
Many commercial diets contain substances such as gums and additives that, over time, can place a strain on your pet's digestive system. Human meals and handmade diets are more easily digestible.
Making nutrient-dense homemade dog food
The most basic strategy to guarantee your dog is eating well is to know what they're eating and to feed them high-quality fresh food. However, it is also critical to feed your dog with all of the essential nutrients he or she requires to flourish. Home cooked dog food isn't always perfect for everyone because it's important to learn what nutrients should and shouldn't be added, which might take a long time. If you're up for the challenge, the first step is to find vet-approved recipes for comprehensive and balanced homemade meals.
It is critical to comprehend: 1. How to balance meals so that your dog gets all of the necessary nutrients; and 2. What dogs should and should not consume.
If you're thinking of transitioning your dog to a homemade diet, the best thing you can do is see a canine nutritionist or a holistic veterinarian who has received canine nutrition training. They will assist you in developing recipes that will provide your dog with a nutritionally balanced food.
Remember that your dog's dietary requirements are always changing. These requirements are determined by a variety of factors, including age, weight, activity level, and health condition. Your dog's nutrition will need to adapt when these variables change.
Any dog food should contain a supply of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Puppies require more protein in their meals, but 10-20% is sufficient for adult dogs, depending on breed and activity level. However, these compositions can vary depending on your pet, so it's important to consult with your vet before embarking on your home-prepared dog food journey.
You have the freedom to buy the freshest, highest-quality ingredients if you prepare your dog's meals yourself. Make sure to weigh your dog on a regular basis to ensure he maintains a healthy weight. Before beginning a new diet, take your dog to the vet, a vet nutritionist, or a dog food advisor so that your vet can calculate your dog's ideal weight and instruct you accordingly.
Quick Tip: Vet-approved balanced home cooked meal for dogs should include
Protein (particularly, animal protein derived solely from high-quality meat cuts. Organs must be utilized with caution.)
The list of superfood fresh ingredients featured in all of Kafka's recipes is provided below as a suggestion to select vegetables and proteins to include in your dog's homemade meal.
Sweet potatoes - these root vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and are a good source of carbohydrates for your dog.
Raw carrots are good for your teeth and gums, as well as your eyesight (thanks to those powerful beta-carotenes). Green beans can also be briefly cooked to provide crunch that your dog will enjoy!
Kale, a form of fresh greens, can help prevent cancer in puppies. Kale is nutrient-dense and packs a powerful punch in this category.
Other vegetables include green beans.
Fresh, high-quality meats such as turkey and lamb, as well as fish such as rockfish, salmon, and cod, are all excellent low-allergenic protein sources for home-cooked dog food. When creating your meals, you can use ground beef or ground turkey for ease and convenience.
Omega-3 and 6 fatty acid sources - Consider adding organic coconut oil, safflower/flaxseed oil, and tiny amounts of olive oil to homemade diets.
A vitamin and mineral mixture - it's critical to supplement any missing nutrients in fresh food with a vitamin premix like this one. Ground eggshells are an excellent source of calcium for your dog.
Adding natural additives to your homemade dog food
We get this question a lot from pet parents who want to manufacture their own pet food for a variety of reasons. Let's talk about the supplements you should think about when producing homemade pet food.
Begin with a recipe that is nutritionally complete.
We usually recommend starting with a nutritionally complete recipe when making homemade dog food because it is critical that your pet's diet contains everything necessary, just as it is crucial to balance our own diet! You can ensure that your homemade dog food recipes are comprehensive by only using those produced by veterinary nutritionists, as they are vet-approved.
200 homemade dog food recipes were tested in a 2013 study from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The recipes originated from a variety of sources, including pet care books, internet, and even veterinary textbooks.
The components in these recipes, as well as the cooking directions, were reviewed by the researchers. They discovered that just 9 of the recipes delivered the needed nutrients in sufficient concentrations to fulfill the Association of American Feed Control Officials' basic guidelines for adult dogs (AAFCO). Only 5 of the 9 recipes that fulfilled AAFCO minimal standards delivered the essential nutrients in appropriate concentrations defined by the National Research Council for adult dogs.
According to the AAFCO and the NRC, only 2.5 percent of the 200 recipes assessed supplied enough nutrition for adult dogs.
What to stay away from while making homemade dog food recipes
It's excellent to feed home-cooked food, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. A dish that is imbalanced
"Each of the 40 basic elements needed by dogs serves a distinct function in the body." When they are delivered in insufficient concentrations, the function is not ideal, and suffering may occur," explains Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, MS, Ph.D., and Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., board-certified veterinary nutritionists and diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
"Nutrient excesses can also cause sickness." While the effects of an unbalanced diet may be slight, and the owner may not even notice or ascribe the problem to the diet, these problems can sometimes be serious, and pets do not always survive."
2. Dangerous or harmful components
When cooking for your dog, it is vital to use only the highest-quality, human-grade ingredients (or cat). Food that has passed its expiration date or low-quality meats laced with antibiotics can be just as detrimental to your pet as they can be to you.
Certain foods are harmful to dogs and must be avoided:
Chocolate \sOnions \sRaisins
Grapes, walnuts, and macadamia nuts
Coffee spices such as cayenne pepper, curry powder, or paprika
Dough made with unfermented yeast
Some ingredients should only be used sparingly:
Because many canned items already contain salt, butter was salted.
Dairy foods, because some dogs have digestive issues.
Canola oil and other cooking oils
Corn, because many dogs have digestive issues.
Take note of the following:
Human food leftovers- It's difficult to avoid some of the elements dogs shouldn't eat in your meals, such as extra salt, seasonings, butter, and some types of oils.
Because fresh food only lasts approximately a week, you must closely monitor the cook date.
Canned vegetables frequently have lower nutritional values than fresh vegetables. Look for bones and bone fragments in meat portions.
3. Using untrustworthy sources for homemade dog food recipes.
As with other things, there is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet. It is critical to understand who to put your trust in. We frequently pull up a recipe without thoroughly researching the source. When it comes to your dog's home-cooked food meal plan, it's critical to stick to tried-and-true recipes to ensure a well-balanced diet.
Furthermore, some recipes may fail to account for pet-harmful foods.
As an example, cutting a leftover steak that has been strongly seasoned and fried in butter and sautéed onion may sound like a tasty addition to your pet's meal. However, excessive seasonings, onions, and dairy are all toxic to dogs.
4. Failure to properly adapt a dog's diet
Your pet's digestive system, like ours, need a little time to adjust to a new diet. When transferring your pet to freshly cooked fresh pet food meals (or any new diet), follow this easy guide:
Day 1 and 2: 75 percent leftovers, 25 percent homemade
Day 3 and 4: 50 percent leftovers, 50 percent homemade
Day 5 and 6: 25% pre-packaged, 75% homemade
Day 7: All-natural, human-grade homemade dog food meals
These measures do not have to be precise. Simply guess to the best of your ability.
What much of homemade dog food should I feed my pup?
When it comes to homemade food, many pet owners struggle with the issue of feeding amounts. Depending on the source of the recipe, you can utilize their feeding instructions in conjunction with your veterinarian's advise. If your veterinary nutritionist designed the recipes for your unique dog, the best option is to follow their instructions on feeding amounts.
If you're thinking of feeding your dog fresh food, we've got you covered with our calorie calculator for dogs, which allows you to simply build the appropriate meal plan. Simply enter your pet's weight, age range, and body condition to receive an estimate of how many calories and fresh food your pet requires each day.
Consult your veterinarian before deciding on a food plan for your pet if they are sick. Bring your pet food recipe with you to appointments to make things easier.
Is there a simpler way? Find out more about how we did the work for you!
We completely agree that ensuring your pet's diet is a lot of work. It works for some people but not for everyone. That's why we created Kafka's Organic, Fresh Home-Cooked Dog Food Delivery.
After being dissatisfied with the market's low-quality processed pet food, our #GirlBoss creator Sarah set out to establish a straightforward way to provide fresh, natural pet food made from nutritious ingredients, with no preservatives or additives.
Countless hours of research and formulation later, we've created naturally balanced and complete pet food recipes with all the nutritional richness of home cooked food, but without the chemicals, fillers, byproducts, and heavy processing.
Kafka's removes the uncertainty and trouble of feeding home-cooked meals. Simply place your packs in the freezer, defrost for a few minutes when ready to feed, scoop, re-seal, and store in the refrigerator until the next meal!