8 tips on how to make homemade dog food that’s nutritionally complete

Feeding your furry friend is more than just tossing kibbles in a bowl.

As a loving pet parent, you’d want to serve up meals that are not only tasty but also nutritionally balanced.

Making homemade dog food can be a game-changer.

It allows you to control the ingredients and ensure your pooch is getting the right nutrients.

In this guide, I’m going to share 8 tips on how to make homemade dog food that’s nutritionally complete.

1) Know your dog’s nutritional needs

Dogs, just like humans, have specific nutritional requirements.

And when it comes to making homemade dog food, knowledge is your secret weapon.

The food you prepare should cater to your dog’s age, breed, weight, and health condition.

Puppies need different nutrients than older dogs, and small breeds have different needs than larger ones.

Remember, balance is key.

Your homemade meal should contain the right proportion of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals to keep your pet healthy and happy.

So before you start cooking up a storm, do a bit of research or consult with a vet.

Understand what your furry friend needs to thrive – not just survive.

2) Experiment with ingredients

I remember when I first started making food for my Labrador, Max.

I was excited but also a bit nervous about getting it right.

My first few attempts were, well, let’s just say they weren’t gourmet.

I stuck to basic recipes with chicken, rice, and a few veggies.

Max ate it, but I could tell he wasn’t thrilled.

That’s when I realized that making homemade dog food also meant I could get creative.

I started experimenting with different proteins like beef and salmon.

I added sweet potatoes instead of rice for a change and included different veggies like spinach and carrots.

The result?

Max loved his meals!

His coat was shinier, he had more energy, and even his vet was impressed with his overall health.

The lesson here?

Don’t be afraid to mix things up.

As long as you’re meeting your dog’s nutritional needs, variety can make mealtime more exciting for your furry friend.

3) Don’t forget about organ meats

While we humans might not be huge fans of organ meats, for dogs, they’re a nutritional goldmine.

Organs such as liver, kidneys, and heart are packed with nutrients that aren’t as abundant in muscle meat.

For example, liver is a great source of vitamin A, which is essential for your dog’s vision, growth, and immune function.

Similarly, heart is rich in taurine, an amino acid that supports your dog’s heart health.

Including organ meats in your homemade dog food not only boosts the nutritional profile but also adds a variety to the taste.

But remember moderation is key – too much of organ meats can be harmful.

As a rule of thumb, they should make up about 5-10% of your dog’s meal.

4) Grains are not always the enemy

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not dogs should eat grains.

The truth is, while some dogs might have grain allergies or intolerances, most dogs can handle and even benefit from certain grains.

Whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa can provide your pet with necessary fiber, which aids in digestion.

They also contain essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Grains should never be the bulk of your dog’s diet but used as a supplement to a meat-based diet.

Always cook the grains thoroughly to make them easier for your pup to digest.

However, if you notice any signs of allergies like itching, redness, or digestive issues after feeding grains, you might want to switch to grain-free alternatives or consult with a vet.

5) Quality matters

When we love someone, we want the best for them.

The same goes for our four-legged family members.

The ingredients you use in your homemade dog food should be high quality, fresh, and ideally, organic.

This isn’t just about giving them tasty meals, but about ensuring they have a long, healthy life.

Using poor-quality ingredients might save you some money now, but it might cost you more in vet bills down the line.

Plus, feeding your pet quality food means they’ll likely have more energy, a shinier coat, and fewer health issues.

Remember that every meal you prepare is an investment in your dog’s health and happiness.

And isn’t that what all pet parents ultimately want?

6) Be patient with the transition

When I first switched my golden retriever, Bella, from store-bought food to homemade meals, it wasn’t smooth sailing.

She was hesitant about her new meals and even had a bit of an upset tummy for the first few days.

It’s important to remember that any change in diet can cause some digestive upset.

So don’t be disheartened if your dog doesn’t immediately take to their new food.

Transition slowly, mixing their current food with the homemade one, gradually increasing the proportion of the homemade meal over a week or two.

It may take time for your pet to adjust, but seeing them healthier and happier on their new diet will make it all worth it.

7) Balance over time

Achieving a perfectly balanced diet for your dog in every single meal can be a daunting task.

Thankfully, nutritional balance doesn’t have to be achieved at every meal but can be reached over time.

Just like humans, dogs can have a variety of foods spread out over days or weeks to meet their nutritional needs.

One day you might focus more on proteins, another day on vegetables.

This approach not only ensures that your dog gets a balanced diet but also introduces them to a variety of foods, which can make mealtimes more enjoyable for them.

However, make sure to keep an eye on any food sensitivities and adjust your menu accordingly.

Above all, your pet’s health should always be the top priority.

8) Consult a professional

While homemade dog food can be a healthier alternative to commercial food, it’s crucial to consult with a vet or a pet nutritionist before making the switch.

They can guide you on the right proportions of each food group, advise on any supplements needed, and provide valuable insights based on your dog’s age, breed, weight, and health condition.

Remember, our ultimate goal is to keep our furry friends healthy and happy.

And sometimes, professional guidance is the best way to ensure we’re doing it right.

Feeding with love

The act of feeding our pets extends beyond the simple need for sustenance.

It’s a profound symbol of our love, care, and commitment to their wellbeing.

When we take the time to prepare homemade meals, we’re not just providing them with nutrients.

We’re giving them a part of ourselves – our time, our effort, our love.

And in return, we get the joy of seeing them thrive.

The joy that comes from watching your dog’s tail wag in excitement as you serve up a homemade meal or the satisfaction of seeing their health improve is immeasurable.

As we journey through the process of preparing homemade dog food, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about the perfect balance of nutrients.

It’s about that special bond between us and our pets. It’s about feeding with love.

So the next time you’re in your kitchen, whisking up your dog’s meal, remember – you’re doing more than just feeding.

You’re nurturing a bond that’s like no other.

That is the real beauty of homemade dog food.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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