From raw to cooked, and grain-free to organic, are you feeding your dog meals according to what’s scientifically best for them, or by what you like to eat? As homemade dog food has become more and more popular, the challenge has been to educate people on how to prepare these meals in a balanced and complete manner. Is your dog’s homemade diet what’s best for them or you? Veterinarians are seeing way too many pet parents feeding their dogs the same food they’re eating, with no thought into species-specific, or nutritional balance. Many of these pets are therefore ending up with devastating health issues, and at times, irreversible consequences.
How do you go about preparing a meal for your dog? What do you consider to be an ok meal for them, made from home? You love your dog. He/she is your very best friend and companion. You have very little money, so you give them whatever you’re eating. They’ve been doing fine for a few years, then all of a sudden, they become very sick, and you get the worst of news. Your best friend, who you loved so dearly has become deathly ill. Unfortunately, you didn’t see that what you were feeding them was slowly causing irreversible damage on the inside. Sadly, you couldn’t see what was happening until it was too late.
This is something that unfortunately happens way too often. I am passionate about educating people with easy to understand, straightforward and factual information about simple, homemade diets you can prepare from home. A diet that can easily be implemented right from the start, offering a healthy alternative to commercially processed dog foods. You also don’t have to have a lot of money to feed your dog what they were meant to eat. You just need the right information, and the right foods to feed!
Healthier Food/Eating Trends
“Notice how in recent years there’s been a growing trend toward eating more “whole foods,” while avoiding things that commonly cause allergies, sensitives, cravings for more or weight gain? Even many big-name supermarket chains are making a serious effort to clean up store shelves and remove suspicious ingredients from products — such as trans fats. This movement has been nicknamed “clean eating,” which basically means eating foods as close to their natural state as possible as part of a clean eating meal plan.” Dr. Josh Axe
I think it’s GREAT!!! Many of us are eating better, so we’re feeling better and therefore living longer!! The good part is that we are learning about the amazing benefits of these wonderfully healthy foods, and are implementing them into our diets. We think if they are making us feel this good, why couldn’t my dog eat them too?!. Its healthy food after all…..right? This is where the problem lies. The answer is yes, AND no. Much of it is ok for dogs, but much of it is NOT! If you do not have the time to do the research needed to compile species-specific, nutritionally balanced recipes, please talk with a veterinarian or certified dog nutritionist! This way you can have peace of mind in knowing that you are feeding your dog exactly what they need!
What About A Grain Free Diet, Taurine and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)?
A Grain-Free diet…. it must be the better choice for my dog since so many people are feeding it right??!! Unfortunately, the answer is NO. With recent studies out, Dr. Karen Becker DVM, and Rodney Habib, pet nutrition blogger, discuss the latest statistics showing that the Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Exotic Ingredient and Boutique Pet Foods are actually causing heart conditions in dogs. This is something that is being looked at very closely by the FDA and needs to be taken seriously. In the article below, Dr. Becker discusses the link between grain-free dog kibble, taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.
Dr. Karen Becker also recommends supplementing with high taurine foods, regardless of diet, until studies are more definitive on what is causing the increase in taurine-deficiency related DCM in dogs. The attached link provides a list of high taurine foods to choose from, or you can just add a can of sardines in water to your dog’s food once a week says, Dr. Becker.
It seems that many people are choosing these diets more for their popularity, and not because their dog has any allergies to grains at all! We as pet owners need to be mindful in choosing a food that is the best choice for our dog as an individual. Size, breed, age, and health all play a part in choosing THE best diet for them, that will give them the best quality of life!
Fresh Food For Life!
So what kind of food IS the best for your dog? Fresh, REAL Food, plain and simple!
A fresh, Real Food diet has a couple different names that really mean the same thing. You may hear people refer to it as a Whole, or Fresh Food diet, or, the most popular, a Raw Food diet for dogs. The true meaning of these would be a wholesome and nourishing, human grade food as it’s found in nature, unprocessed and unaltered.
Maybe you follow a very healthy eating and exercise lifestyle and thought maybe you could do something similar with your dog? YES, you absolutely can! Of course, there is a right and wrong way to do it, and it’s going to be different from the way you do it for yourself. It’s imperative that you have a trusted, canine-specific resource on hand to refer to such as Dr. Karen Becker or Dr. Judy Morgan’s wonderful book. Both books are full of easy to understand recipes and much more to get you started in the right direction!
It’s possible that you may have only been cooking for your dog due to an illness he or she had, and on the advice of your Veterinarian. Your dog has done well, and is now feeling great! You then ask your Vet if you can go back to feeding your dog dry food? Your Vet answers with “only if you want your dog to be sick again”. This is where we as pet owners need to understand that our pets need fresh food for Life! Good health and longevity are far more likely to be achieved if your dog, is fed fresh food from the start! Even better, make fresh food part of both you and your dog’s life!! Commercially processed foods are full of sugar (carbs=starch=sugar), chemicals, preservatives, additives, fillers and who knows what else might be lurking in there. KNOW exactly what you and your pet are eating!
The answer is simple. Fresh, Real food is the best choice.
How many of us have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars at the Vet’s office trying to figure out what’s wrong with our pets, to come up with nothing? Dr. Karen Becker is quoted as saying “If you provide good food, fresh air, exercise and lots of love, many conditions improve or heal themselves!”. I absolutely believe this to be true. I certainly understand not all conditions can be healed with diet, but the odds are far better if your pet is fed a fresh food diet.
If you do decide to keep your pet on a dry kibble diet, they may do really well on it. You could, however, be faced with the unforeseen disease later down the road, where diet change may or may not help.
I know it is difficult for some to find the time to prepare a homemade diet at home. For those, there are many simple, already prepared product options you can purchase to help you out. Here are some easy to feed examples.
- Dehydrated Food
- Freeze Dried Raw
- Frozen Raw patties
- Human Grade Frozen
- Veterinarian formulated prepared meals delivered to your door
The most important thing to remember is, be KIND to yourself, and do the best you can, with where you are! If all you can do right now is give your dog a few fresh veggies every day, that’s a start! I am here to help you get started on the right path, whichever one is right for you and your situation!
**As always, before you change to a homemade diet, consult with a Veterinary canine nutritionist to ensure you’re feeding a species-specific, nutritionally balanced diet.**
Another good reference to help you in your journey to preparing your own dog food at home is www.balanceit.com
I would love to hear how you implement fresh food into your dog’s diet, and of course, any and all questions are welcome!