In this post, we will purely focus on the ingredients that you need to cover for healthy homemade dog food.
When preparing food at home for dogs, in most cases, you are either feeding them more or fewer nutrients than what he needs. So I did a bit of research to find the best guidelines for homemade dog food.
These are the things you need to keep in mind when giving homemade dog foods to your pet:
Dog food must contain varieties of ingredients from different food groups.
Calcium is a must whether you give supplement or bones.
Lean meats are best unless you have a busy dog
Hopefully, these guidelines will help you make your own dog food at home.
My story: I have 2 Pit Bulls and 2 GSDs. I only buy dog foods for my Pit Bulls on a regular basis. Because they don’t do well with homemade foods. For GSDs, I developed a mixed diet!
Homemade dog food recipe guideline.
Meat should be the main ingredient.
All proteins should come from meat and animal products. Plant-based proteins are cheaper, but your dog might not be able to digest it and end up becoming a loss factor.
Dog foods must contain 50% meat. So if you give turkey, chicken, beef or whatever, half the amount should be meat.
A little knowledge of the dog food historywill enlighten you about how well-fed dogs from the previous era were. They had a rich protein diet with raw foods.
To keep the fat low (preferably 10-15%), you should opt for lean meats like chicken or turkey. If your dog is not very active, remove the skin as well.
Dog food recipes with chicken are easily available online. And once you start copying others, you will gradually develop your own recipes that your dogs will love.
Bones for calcium.
You can feed your dogs with raw meaty bones. This should contribute one-third of the overall diet. But you can also make bone stew and serve them once or twice a week.
Your dog needs vitamin D too. And the best way to provide this without supplements is to feed them with fishes in small amounts daily.
You can choose any fresh fish for this. But you need to cook it before giving it to him.
As a rule of thumb, one ounce of fish per pound of meat will give them their required vitamin D.
If you don’t like fish or don’t cook it every day, you can feed him once or twice a week. Canned fish with bones is also a good option.
Beef and chicken livers are fairly cheaper than their meat counterparts and also healthy for your dogs. It should make up no more than 5% of the overall diet.
The best is to give organs in little quantities every day. Make sure to cook them before serving.
Eggs for extra protein and nutrition.
You can give eggs to your dogs with the shell. This will add additional proteins and calcium to their diet. For a 20 pound dog, 1 whole egg a day is sufficient.
Fruits and vegetables for nutrition and fiber.
Fruits and vegetables are of no help to dogs. But these food ingredients helps in digesting other foods. So if you want your dog’s digestive system to function smoothly give them deep colored vegetables and fruits.
Feeding meat at home can be expensive. So you can add some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and legumes to some carbohydrate to their diet.
But these vegetables must be cooked for your dogs to digest properly.
You can feed them leafy vegetables in variables quantities. Just don’t give too much. As it can cause gas.
Grains for lowering cost (controversial).
Probably, grains are the most controversial food ingredients in dog foods. It can cause a variety of diseases like allergies or arthritis. Grains that contain gluten can also be problematic for your dog’s digestion.
But you can give grains like oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa in very less quantity to their food. I usually provide 25% of grains in my dog’s diet.
This helps me keep the cost low and stop them from starving. But if you can afford to feed them lots of meat, you can skip the grains altogether.
If you add grains, make sure they are cooked properly.