If you’re an avid pet lover, you know it seems as if we can’t go more than a few weeks without a major commercial dog food issuing a new, dire recall warning: This food is contaminated with plastic, that one with pesticides. We’re not sure what got into that batch over there but we’re pretty sure it can’t be good for your dogs.
Studies also show that the heating and processing that kibble undergoes destroys digestive enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients important to your dog’s overall health. Add in a picky eater or a pooch with a food allergy or two and dog owners are left in a bit of a quandary when it comes to what to feed their canine companions. It’s easy to see, then, why home cooked or home prepared meals for your dog are becoming increasingly popular among all types of pet owners. We’ve got the lowdown on this healthy trend that can have big benefits for your pet.
Easier Than You Think
Preparing homemade meals for you dog may seem like an exceptional effort or a scenario out of an extreme “I Love My Dog More” type reality TV series. However, preparation and cooking for your dog can actually be easier and more cost-effective than making the weekly trek to the local pet store in the busy shopping mall. Specialty ingredients aren’t needed, as your dog can get a nutritious and balanced diet with the same ingredients you already purchase during your local grocery store trip. With a few modifications and a little bit of meal prep, Fido will be enjoying optimal nutrition in no time.
Do Your Research
When starting out on the home-made meal bandwagon you’ll want to do your research. Factors such as age, weight, breed, and activity level all play a major role in exact recipe, but for the most part you will want to follow a ratio of 40 percent protein, 50 percent vegetables and 10 percent starch for cooked diets.
Raw diets that consist of meat, fat, and meaty bones will require different ratios as the bones will substitute for much of the vegetable and starch content of a cooked or vegetable-inclusive diet. Many online resources are available to answer questions and get you started with some basic meal plans that can provide inspiration for catering to Fido’s gourmet taste buds.
Pre-Packaged Meal Options
If preparing customized meals seems a bit daunting or time-consuming but you still want to treat your dog to the best in freshly made nutrition, pre-packaged meals for your canine may be the option for you. In response to common complaints surrounding kibble and your dog’s health, many smaller manufacturers or even local pet food stores themselves, are coming out with fresh, frozen, or freeze dried meal options. These precisely measured, portioned and labelled fresh food alternatives for your dog can help bridge the gap for owners just getting started in home-cooked meals.
Prepared doggie dinners also are handy items to have while traveling with Fido or to leave with a sitter while you’re away. Whether frozen or fresh, pre-packaged meals will cost a little more than if you were making the recipe up from scratch, which takes into account the time and effort it takes to prep the fresh ingredients. If you have a very large dog, these types of meals may be a bit cost prohibitive for your family but smaller pups may find this the perfect solution for ease and convenience meets quality ingredients.
Doggy Bag, Anyone?
Regardless of what route you take in feeding, it’s important to keep a few general principles in mind. First, preparing a home-cooked meal for your dog is much easier than you’d expect, once you get a little knowledge and research under your belt, that is. Next, bad ingredients aren’t a healthy part of your dog’s diet, whatever the source. Whether they come from processed food, table scraps, or kibble, keep in mind that much like humans, your dog’s health is what they eat.