Where can I find home cooked dog food recipes that ensure the diet is balanced?
Original Question: After doing a lot of research, I am not very comfortable about continuing to feed Teddy a "high end" commercial dog food. I want to feed her food cooked at home but I want to make sure that she is getting all of the vitamins and minerals that she needs to grow and develop correctly. Do you have any holistic recipes that would provide her the vitamins and minerals from her food? I was going to cook leg and thigh quarters of chicken (of course removing the bones & saving for a stock). Also adding green beans, carrots, beet pulp, boiled eggs & blending eggs shells for calcium. If not can you recommend a supplement to add. - Amy
Thanks for your question!
It is wonderful that you want to provide the best possible nutrition for your dog. The benefit of feeding a commercial diet is that you can be assured it is nutritionally balanced, having all the vitamins and minerals your pet needs. It also provides a cost-effective and convenient option for most pet owners. You can certainly also achieve a balanced home-cooked diet, but it does take a lot of careful planning and time to do correctly.
The most important thing to remember is that it is very difficult to know how much of each food item to add to get the right amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. For this reason, I always recommend following a recipe. There are some excellent home-cooked recipes available that are developed by veterinarians and nutritionists. There are also a lot of recipes out there that are not based on sound nutritional science, so please be cautious. A vitamin and mineral supplement designed for dogs (not the same as for cats – as the requirements vary) is typically required to ensure the diet is balanced. I cannot recommend a specific recipe or product here, but your veterinarian will be able to provide you with this information. In addition, one reliable resource you may find helpful regarding pet nutrition is the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (http://www.acvn.org).
Additional factors to consider are the pet’s age, and if there are any illnesses. Puppies, adults and senior pets all have different nutritional needs, and a recipe for one may not be appropriate for another. There are also many health conditions that will determine which recipe to use. For example, if a pet has food allergies then you will need to tailor the diet to avoid certain ingredients. It is best to work with your veterinarian to figure all of this out – they may consider consulting with a board certified veterinary nutritionist to design something exclusively for your pet’s needs.
I hope this gives you some insight – wishing you all the best.
Dr. Kim Hester
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