by Jane Dinunzio
Have you ever wondered why your dog’s breath or body has that distinctive “doggie smell?” It is generally caused by your dog ingesting chemicals and preservatives, rather then an all natural homemade dog food diet. Just by changing your dog’s diet, you will likely see a much healthier, more energetic and less odorous dog. I see and smell it for myself in my two Labradors.
Imagine eating the same dry, chemical and preservative filled food every day for the rest of your life. The build up of cancer causing chemicals and preservatives is bound to affect your health negatively.
Checking with your vet or a pet nutritionist first, before starting your pet on a homemade dog food diet is always recommended. Just as we enjoy a variety of foods, so do our dogs.
Make sure you don’t just suddenly give your dog his new homemade diet in one immediate change, as this will cause stomach upset in most dogs. Slowly change him over by daily increasing your homemade food, and decreasing the old food.
A well balanced homemade dog food should contain approximately 40% meat, 30% starch, and 30% veggie/fruit on a daily basis. To ensure a healthy nutritious diet just follow the basic formula for any combination of ingredients.
Get a good dog nutrition book, written specifically by an animal nutritionist, and read up on the proper kcals (calories) per day per pound of your dog, so you will know exactly how much to feed per day. Also there are many excellent homemade dog food recipe books available now, especially since the dog food recall killed so many of our beloved pets. Many more people are making their own homemade dog food, because we have become much more aware of the commercial dog food companies practices.
Organ meat (liver, kidneys etc.) and occasionally adding eggs are very good for your pet, and as we all know variety in our diets is always nice.
There are three important ingredients that must be included in your dog’s home made dog food every day.
- 40% meat – any lean meat of your own choosing, such as chicken, turkey, beef or venison.
- 30% vegetable/fruit combo – cooked and pureed – your 30% vegetable portion can be just one vegetable such as mashed carrots, or combine a few veggies along with a small amount of mashed fruit. You can use frozen, canned or fresh, whichever is handy and on sale.
- 30% starch – white or brown rice, barley, oatmeal, macaroni or other pasta, or potatoes.
The easiest and quickest way is to make what I call doggie stew. Everything is thrown into one pot and steamed together until cooked. I use just a small amount of water to start to cook the meat, pasta and veggies. Cook the whole batch in a covered pot, and add water as it is absorbed. You don’t want it to be soupy when finished. Then I use a fork and shred the cooked meat and mash the veggies all in the same pot. Done and delicious.
I also give a calcium supplement, along with a few teaspoons of flax seed oil, or a vegetable oil such a canola, drizzled over the top. An addition of iodized salt is also good for your dog in a quantity depending on your dog’s weight.
Feed two meals per day, rather than one big one!
Your homemade dog food can be prepared in larger batches and frozen in the proper serving sizes, ready to thaw and eat. Any hot food should be allowed to cool down before serving your dog. I usually leave the mixture on the counter for 20 – 30 minutes, and it is close to room temperature by then. Your dog’s stomach can be upset if they eat food that is too hot.
Give it a try, and you will find that it is not as time consuming as it sounds, once you get into a routine, and your dogs will live longer healthier chemical free natural lives.
Jane is not a professional animal nutritionist, just an animal lover and advocate of speaking up and doing the best we can for all our pets. She believes that feeding your pet a proper healthy nutritious diet will give them the best advantage to a healthier and longer life. She has more info and ideas for your pets health at: http://recipes4gourmetdogs.com