Have you ever stopped to consider what goes into the mysterious brown kibbles your dog consumes? If you find yourself pondering whether your dog is getting the correct nutrients, switching to a homemade dog food could be a satisfying option for you.
Making homemade dog food can improve a dog’s overall health while effectively take out any guessing when it comes to the contents of your dog’s food.
The Benefits of Making Your Own Dog Food
- If your dog has allergies or specific health issues, making your own dog food is a great solution because you get to select what goes into the food.
- Buying ingredients in bulk can save you money, making it cheaper to make your dog’s food then to buy it.
- Homemade dog food can be frozen, so you can prepare it in large batches.
- You can choose the quality of ingredients. Organic, free- range or local ingredients gives you control over where and how the ingredients are made.
- Balanced dog food is great for picky eaters.
What to Put in Your Dogs Food
The key to making homemade dog food is to stick to what your pup needs in their diet: protein, fat, calcium, fatty acids, and carbohydrates are all required to keep your dog healthy.
Your dog’s food should consist of about 40% lean meats such as animal meat, fish or eggs. Dogs are meat eaters by nature. Several research studies suggest a dog’s ancestral diet would have been about 85% whole animals, with only about 5% fish and eggs.
A well-balanced dog food requires protein amino acids that come from meats/fish.
Grains and Vegetables
Dog’s food should consist of around 25% veggies and around 20% grains or starch.
Grains and veggies are what convert to carbohydrates that give your pup energy. They also provide your dog with necessary dietary fiber to keep their digestive system healthy.
Essential vitamins and minerals found in grains and vegetables include:
- Vitamin A
Good vegetables and grains to feed your dog include:
Your pup needs fat on a daily basis to keep things like their skin and fur healthy. Fats also promote the absorption of vitamins A, D and E.
The American Association of Feed Control recommends 5% of your dog’s food should come from fat. A deficiency will give your dog health problems such as excess shedding.
Because dogs can’t make fatty acids themselves it is important to include them. Most homemade dog food diets consist of adding pills, drops or oils to round out the nutritional value.
Here are five essential fatty acids to be included in your dog’s diet:
- Linoleic Acid (LA) – Omega-6 fat, found in hempseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower and corn oils.
- Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) – ALA is an Omega-3 fat found in flaxseed, chia seed, hempseed and walnut oils.
- Arachidonic Acid (AA) – AA is an Omega-6 fat found in meat, poultry and eggs.
- Eicosapetaenoic Acid (EPA) – EPA is an Omega-3 fat found in oily fish like salmon, herring and sardines.
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – DHA is an Omega-3 fat, also found in oily fish.
How Much Food Does Your Dog Need?
This is a very common question when beginning to make homemade dog food. In a previous post around homemade allergy dog food recipes, we shared this calculator:
Weight of your dog x 16 oz = _______
Take that number and multiply by .02 to find out the minimum daily amount or multiply by .03 to find the maximum daily amount.
For example: If your dog’s weight was 17 lbs the formula would look like this
17 x 16 oz = 187
187 x .02 = 3.74 oz min daily
187 x .03 = 5.61 oz max daily
With a plethora of homemade dog food recipe ideas getting started making your own dog food is easy. Always remember to cook your dog’s food thoroughly and to never add toxic ingredients such as garlic, onions, avocados, or grapes.