Homemade dog food has become increasingly popular in recent years. From the freshness of ingredients to not worrying about pet food recalls, there are many reasons pet owners consider the homemade route. But, is constructing a diet at home for your pooch really a good idea?
The answer is a complicated one. If done correctly, under the guidance of a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist, a carefully planned homemade diet can sometimes be a safe and healthy option. But, you can’t just feed chicken to your dog every night and expect that to be nutritionally sufficient. If you’re considering putting your dog on a homemade diet, take the following precautions.
- If your dog is still a puppy, think twice: Growing canines are still developing bone and muscle, and the wrong quantity of certain minerals can trigger serious orthopedic problems. For growing puppies, a nutritionally balanced commercial puppy food is often a safer option.
- Make an appointment at the vet: It’s important that your dog gets a thorough examination before making a major change. This will probably include a physical exam and a blood panel. The results of this examination can be a good baseline for your vet to make home feeding recommendations. Be sure to mention why you’re considering a homemade diet, and be prepared to listen to your vet’s own experiences and expertise. Regular 6 month checkups are a smart idea after making any big change to your dog’s diet to ensure your dog is remaining strong and healthy.
- Consider additional professional advice: It’s not only important to make sure your dog is getting the right nutrients, it’s also important to ensure your canine companion is eating the right amount of calories. Your dog’s vet may be able to refer you to a veterinary nutritionist for some additional professional guidance.
If this all sounds a little too complicated, the good news is there are many commercial dog foods available that provide the right balance of nutrients. Consider finding some balance by swapping out high calorie dog biscuits for small amounts of dog-safe “people” foods like sweet potato, carrots, or apples. Always speak with a vet regarding your dog’s individual nutritional needs.