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How To Make Your Own Dog Food

Learning how to make your own dog food can be an ideal way of keeping track of your pet's nutrition and health, and can also be a great alternative to feeding them commercially made foods. However, there are a few disadvantages to consider and there are several things you will want to keep in mind if you are considering preparing food for your pet.

In addition to avoiding the possibility of a pet food recall, you can be sure that the homemade dog food you are giving your pet will not contain any artificial colors or preservatives and chemicals that can be harmful, especially when consumed in large quantities over long periods of time. And dogs with allergies are prime candidates for a diet consisting of homemade ingredients as are those with conditions such as thyroid problems, being overweight, or being prone to bloating.

What Ingredients Should You Use?

It's a good idea to consult with your veterinarian and proceed with their supervision to be sure your dog will do well on a homemade food diet. A vet can also give you advice regarding vitamins or specific supplements your dog may need as well as a list of foods toxic to dogs such as chocolate, grapes, almost all nuts, onions, raisins, raw eggs, and large amounts of garlic. You will also want to steer clear of yeast dough and the pits of fruits including apple seeds, as most contain the poison cyanide.

Some of the ingredients you will want to use when you make your own dog food include at least one type of meat for protein such as beef, chicken, lamb, pork, poultry, venison, or fish. Use organ meats like liver sparingly as too much can cause certain health problems in dogs, such as kidney stones, due to an excess of vitamin A. And although they are carnivores, dogs do need vegetables for vitamins and minerals as well as a few starches. Choose from vegetables such as carrots, corn, green beans, peas, and tomatoes.

Potatoes and either brown or white rice are good for giving your dog carbohydrates but brown rice contains more nutrients. You may also want to add Brewer's yeast and ground eggshells for calcium, and a few drops of flaxseed or cod liver oil will provide omega-3 fatty acids and keep your dog's coat shiny and manageable.

Advantages of Homemade Dog Food

Although the advantages are numerous in terms of health and wellness, there are some distinct disadvantages of making your own dog food which can be easily summed up in two words: time and cost. In terms of preparation time, all of your dog's vegetables and rice will need to be cooked thoroughly as canines' less complex digestive systems are very different from ours - dogs aren't able to process roughage quite the way we can. Vegetables will also need to be chopped or sliced, and care must be taken to ensure all meats are completely free of bones.

Serve your dog meals at room temperature. Naturally you will need to store your dog food in airtight containers in the refrigerator and watch for things like spoilage. Also, avoid the temptation of feeding your dog scraps from the table as eating "human" foods should never entail eating leftovers. To cut down on the high costs you normally incur when you make your own dog food, you may want to buy the ingredients in bulk and cook your dog's meals once or twice a week when preparing meals for the family. Learning to make your own dog food can certainly be a great way of taking control of your pet's health, provided you have the time and the means to feed them the ingredients they will need to thrive and live a long, happy life.

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