Cooking for your loved ones is one of the sweetest love languages. A well-prepared meal is nourishing and tasty, aiming to please the senses and provide health. It’s the same if you want to cook for your dog. Your food must be appealing and balanced, meeting your dog’s dietary needs.
Fatty and sugary snacks may initially please them, but they can have dire consequences on the dog’s health later. Also, some ingredients in almost all our dishes can be toxic for dogs. In any case, you can find professional advice and help at Woodland Hills Vet, for example, your go-to place for any issues regarding your beloved puppy.
Before putting an apron on to start cooking, it’s essential to understand that dogs have different nutritional needs from humans. Dogs can’t eat some things we eat every day, like onions, for instance. Dogs can’t eat spicy food either. This means you’ll need a guide on how to cook for your dog, so you don’t make any mistakes. Here’s everything you need to know in cooking for your dog.
There are many advantages to cooking your dog’s food at home. At home, you have complete control over the quality and freshness of the products. You’ll make sure the food items don’t contain chemicals like stabilizers, preservatives, and artificial colors. Besides, it’s easier to adapt to specific dietary needs with homemade food by adjusting a few ingredients. You can feed your dog fresh, balanced, and varied meals.
Comparatively, packaged food can be low-quality and lead to various health issues. Some are full of processed carbohydrates, which can cause diabetes with time. There are also reports of allergic skin reactions, pancreatitis, obesity, gastroenteritis, and urinary stones. While there’s high-quality packaged food, you can do everything at home with natural products.
Things Your Dog Can’t Eat
Dogs chew everything, from shoes to remote controls. However, when it comes to diet, they can be pretty sensitive. Indeed, cooking for your best friend requires some knowledge and preparation. Items that are a staple in the human diet, like dairy products, garlic, onion, raisins, nuts, yeast dough, and salt, are some ingredients you should never use in cooking for your dog.
Onions, garlic, and salt are present in any human food. What’s healthy and tasty for us kills red blood cells in dogs, leading to anemia. The canine digestive system can’t handle milk or dairy products since it lacks the enzymes. Raw yeast dough can lead to alcohol poisoning, as it ferments inside the stomach. Dogs can eat salt, but never too much, since they’re sensitive to sodium ion poisoning.
Never give chocolate to your pet. Chocolate can stop your pet’s metabolic system. It contains methylxanthines, which are very toxic for pets. If eaten in large amounts, it can cause seizures and death. Your pet should stay away from anything containing processed sugars. Like in humans, processed sugars cause tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.
Preparing the Menu
If you want to keep your puppy happy and well-fed, you’ll need to add quite a lot of animal protein to its plate. Muscle meat, organs, fish, eggs, and bones are some of the best options. A balanced meal must also include vegetables, fruits, and fats.
You’ll need a large pan, casserole, or crockpot for cooking everything. You’ll also need a scale to measure your ingredients correctly and a sharp knife. A dehydrator and a grinder can also help in the process. You don’t need to cook for your dog every day, though. Make large quantities and store them in the freezer in glass or silicone containers.
You can change ingredients occasionally, but your recipe must have 50% muscle meat. Such meat should have about 15% fat. Organ meat makes up 25% of the recipe, and you must also add 15% of uncooked bones. Vegetables and fruits are only 10% of the meal.
Avoid adding starchy carbohydrates, as they can raise insulin. While dogs need carbohydrates, they shouldn’t come from starchy food but fruits and vegetables. Starchy legumes and vegetables, like potatoes, also aren’t recommended.
Quantities and portion sizes may vary according to your pet’s size. That’s when the scale comes in handy. Considering that 10lb of food can feed a 50lb dog for up to 10 days, your recipe will look like this: 5lb of muscle, 2.5lb of organs, 1.5lb of bones, and 1lb of fruits and vegetables.
Muscle meat is arguably the most essential part of the recipe. Popular options include beef, pork, turkey, and chicken. However, chicken tends to have omega-6 fatty acids unless they’re pasture-raised. This means it’s an inflammatory food and should be balanced with omega-3 fatty acids. Goat, lamb, rabbit, and venison are fantastic options to add more variety to your pet’s plate.
Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can include 10 oz for each 10lb of food. Unlike omega-6, omega-3 is anti-inflammatory, with several benefits for the heart, brain, eyes, and immune system. Some species contain vitamins B2, D, and A, including zinc, copper, iodine, and magnesium.
There’s also a wide variety of organ meat to choose from so that your dog’s food doesn’t always taste the same. You can easily find livers, hearts, and kidneys, all of which have an excellent range of nutrients. Glands, lungs, brains, and eyeballs are also recommended. Still, they can be tricky to find and icky to handle.
Bone content is about 15% of the meal, but it’s a critical component. You can grind it and add it to the food or feed it raw thrice a week. Bones are a great source of calcium, but they should never be cooked and only be included in basic formulas. Adding bone marrow to the food is a good option if you don’t want to feed it raw bones.
There are many reasons to cook for your dog, but love is undoubtedly among the most compelling ones. However, the cooking should be done with special care and planning so it meets all the dietary needs. Otherwise, even your best intentions can backfire, causing more harm than good.