Cooking for your dog? Pros and cons about homemade dog food

There are several reasons driving dog owner’s decision to start cooking for their dogs. Among them, low quality ingredients used in many commercial dog foods has been the top one, followed by food sensitiveness, allergies and yeah, picky eaters!

Homemade dog food has its pros and cons and it can be very challenging to create a well-balanced diet. A delicious meal of mixed fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy carbohydrate source may satisfy your needs, but there are important nutrition requirements to follow when cooking a complete and balanced meal for your dog. In other words, that bowl of chicken, carrots, and rice that you’re feeding your dog may actually not being enough.

Pros of homemade dog food

  • Homemade dog food can be made with many natural and fresh ingredients you normally purchase for yourself.
  • If your dog suffers from food allergies, a homemade diet will help you out managing the ingredients potentially allergy-related.
  • Homemade dog food will definitely limit your dog’s exposure to artificial preservatives, flavors and dyes.
  • Homemade dog food is more appealing and palatable, being especially beneficial for picky eaters.

Cons of homemade dog food

  • It can be challenging to meet the right balance of nutrients with a homemade dog food if not using a recipe formulated by an animal nutritionist. There is a great risk for your dog to develop nutritional deficiencies on a homemade diet if you don’t provide the right balance of nutrients.
  • Making your own dog food might be more expensive and time consuming than buying a commercial dog food.
  • Homemade dog food made with raw ingredients increases the risk for food-borne illness such as salmonellosis.
  • Increased risk of toxicity. There is a wide variety of unhealthy and unsafe foods to avoid when preparing meals for your dog. Potentially toxic ingredients are of special concern, including chocolate, avocado, grapes, raisins, onions, among others.

Is homemade dog food right for your dog?

Before deciding whether or not a homemade dog food diet is right for your dog, let’s go over some common misconceptions.

1. Homemade dog food is easy to make. I just need to provide a variety of wholesome foods.

While it is true that wholesome, natural foods will provide your dog with the maximum degree of nutrition, reaching the right balance of those nutrients can be challenging. When you make your own dog food at home you may not be using the ingredients in the right proportions to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. A UC Davis study analyzed 200 recipes for dogs using sources like veterinary textbooks, pet care books, and websites. The study revealed that 95% of the recipes they examined lacked at least one vital nutrient for dogs, and 83% percent had multiple nutrient deficiencies.  

2. Giving my dog a multivitamin will fix any vitamin or mineral deficiency.

A multivitamin may help to supplement your dog’s nutrition, however your dog’s nutritional needs vary depending on size, age, breed and gender. It is not that easy!

3. I have a very healthy diet, so my dog eats what I eat.

In reality, dogs have very different nutritional needs than humans. Humans are omnivores and the average human diet is composed primarily of carbohydrates with some protein and fat. Dogs, on the other hand, are primarily carnivorous so they require a diet that is high in protein. In addition to that, there is a high risk of food poisoning if you choose to feed your dog an ingredient that is not supposed to be fed.

4. I combine lots of different vegetables in my homemade dog food so my dog gets the nutrients he needs.

Fresh vegetables are an important part of a homemade dog food diet, but they should not make up the majority of the formula. Protein is more important than carbohydrate for dogs and that protein should come from animal-based sources, not plant-based sources.

5. The same homemade dog food diet can be used for puppies, adults and senior dogs.

The nutritional needs of dogs vary according to life stages. Puppies, for example, require more protein and calcium to support the growth and development of their bones and joints. Senior dogs may require a lower calorie diet as their metabolism slows down to prevent them from gaining too much weight. Before you feed your dog a homemade dog food diet you need to make sure that it provides the right balance of nutrients for your dog according to his age and activity level. Working with an animal nutritionist will help to make sure that your homemade dog food is properly balanced.

Now you should have a better idea whether or not cooking for your dog is the right choice for both of you. Home cooking is not for everyone and it doesn’t have to be. Another option to provide your dog with wholesome ingredients is to purchase carefully prepared ready-made meals. There are commercial dog foods that contain natural ingredients that are pre-cooked and nutritionally balanced. Whichever method you choose, just make sure you are always catering to your dog’s individual health and nutrition needs.

Joy in the Bowl – more than homemade dog food

Joy in the Bowl gourmet dog food is more than homemade dog food. Natural ingredients are carefully chosen, prepared and balanced by an animal nutritionist to meet all AAFCO requirements ensuring a balanced nutrition for your dog.

Find peace of mind and let us take care of your dog’s food!

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