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Preparing Home Cooked Dog Meals

December 17th, 2007 · No Comments

There are many important things that you need to think about when it comes to your dog’s health. However, one of the most basic and important factors is your dog’s nutrition. What you feed you dog can have a great affect on their life. A healthy and nutritious diet can give your dog more energy and a longer life. I know most people would do almost anything to prolong the lives of their pets, so why not start by providing your dog a well balanced home cooked meal for dogs.

Most people go to the pet store and purchase their food. However, there are some people that prefer to give their dogs a home cooked meal. Of course this requires extra work, but at least you can control exactly what your dog eats for each and every meal. So what do we, as dog owners, need to know if we would like to provide a healthy home cooked meal for dogs?

home cooked meals for dogs


Well, to start, the meal must be well balanced and nutritious. Your home cooked meal for dogs must contain protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. These are all essential elements to keeping your dog happy and healthy. Next, the correct amounts of each of these elements is imperative to a well balanced diet for dogs. You’ll also want to customize each meal to your dog’s stage in life, their size, or for any special needs they require. For example, larger dogs require more protein than smaller dogs. Pregnant or lactating dogs require more calcium for feeding hungry little puppies.

So where do we start? First, let’s start by figuring out what sort of daily energy requirements your dog needs. This equates to how many calories should your dog intake on a daily basis. Obviously, this depends a lot on how active of a dog you have and their size. If you have a very active dog they’ll need more calories than just an average dog. Below is a chart that you can follow for providing the right amount of calories for your dog.

 

 

Dog’s Weight (pounds)

Calories

2

160

4

230

6

320

10

450

20

750

30

1010

45

1250

55

1470

65

1675

75

1875

85

20

The general elements needed for a dog are Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates. First, protein is an essential ingredient that aids in your dog’s growth, tissue maintenance, cell regeneration and repair, and hormone and enzyme production. Furthermore, protein provides many essential amino acids and nitrogen. For dogs, proteins need to be easily digestible and not all proteins are the same. Some examples of proteins that are easily digestible include: eggs, fish, muscle, organ meats, and poultry.

Next, fats are another essential portion to your dog’s diet. They help provide fat soluble vitamins and also help maintain a healthy coat and good skin. Now on to Carbohydrates. Some people may argue the need for carbohydrates in a dog’s diet and some deem them unnecessary. However others argue that they are very useful for providing extra energy and micro nutrients. If you do add carbs to your dog’ diet, I would recommend staying away from glutinous grains such as rye, barley and wheat as these can cause bowel problems for dogs. However, adding cooked carbohydrates such as rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and legumes are usually easily digestible for dogs and will provide them with extra energy and nutrients. It’s also important to point out that any lack of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals can be added through the use of supplements. However, too much is just as bad as too little, so educate yourself properly when deciding how much of each vitamin and mineral is needed for your dog’s home cooked diet.

In all these cases listed above, a calcium supplement will most likely be needed unless you are giving your dog a diet of raw meaty bones. A good natural calcium source comes from organic egg shells. You should turn these into a powder form before giving them to your dog. It’s quite tedious to turn the egg shells into a powder form, but it’s a great source of calcium. I would recommend using a coffee grinder or blender. Another great source of calcium that’s easily digestible is citrate. This already comes in a powder form so you don’t need to worry about grinding it up like the egg shells. Next, Vitamins A and D are very important for your dog. A good natural source of these vitamins comes from cod liver oil. You may need to some zinc, selenium or copper in order to balance these vitamins, however just be sure that the amounts of these vitamins and minerals are measured and used only to supplement what you are already feeding your dog in their diet.

So I’ve emphasized counting the calories and nutritional content of your dog’s diet in order to refrain from over supplying a certain nutrient. Again, it is very important that you don’t give too much or too little of each vitamin, mineral and nutrient. One way to find out the nutritional content of a certain food is to go to the USDA National Nutrient Database. There are also plenty of websites that give out this information.

So with all this information I have just provided, please remember to do your own research. Again, each dog is different and each dog is in a different stage in life. Find out exactly what kind and how much of each nutrient your dog needs. I highly recommend talking to your vet about your intended diet before administering anything to your dog. Also, you’ll want to slowly introduce these home cooked meals to your dog. Don’t rush, and make sure you’ve done the research. Also remember that these meals must remain dynamic. Meaning your dog’s diet will constantly change as they grow older or their activity levels change. Keep a close eye on their behavior and their reactions to their diet and change accordingly until the best results are achieved.

Tags: Health Tips

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