Want to save money and keep your pet healthier? Then you’ll want to start making your own dog food.
Making your own dog food at home is an easy, affordable way to make sure your pet is getting the best. Instead of paying for overpriced brand names full of additives, you can provide food at a much lower cost.
This is a great choice for dogs with dietary restrictions, picky eaters, or any beloved pet whose diet you’re concerned about. Making your own dog food is easier than you might think, too.
Keep reading for everything you need to get started.
Why Start Making Your Own Dog Food?
You may be wondering if it’s really worth it to cook for your dog. There are actually a lot of compelling reasons to make the change away from commercial dog food.
It’s tempting to think that the bags of pet food you find at stores are healthy, good choices. However, the reality is that pet food isn’t regulated the way human food is.
There are a few rules and standards, thanks to the FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). But these rules for pet food aren’t very strict, and they also aren’t very well enforced.
Because of this oversight, companies can put just about whatever they want into your pet’s food.
Have you heard about pet food recalls? These happen often because companies use ingredients that aren’t good for pets. Then they’re forced to recall the products later when problems start.
When you make your pet’s food at home, you can add more nutrients while avoiding the preservatives in store-bought food. You can tailor the mix to your dog’s needs. And yes, you can even save money.
This is a great choice for dogs with allergies, IBS, or other common issues affected by diet. It’s also ideal for dogs that have responsibilities they’ll need to be alert, focused and healthy for.
Today, our dogs may be more than just companions. Many people keep dogs who help them in their day-to-day life. Someone who lives alone in the city might keep a dog for protection, while other people may have an emotional support animal (to get your dog certified, check out Certapet for ESAs).
All dogs need healthy, high-quality food, but these dogs may benefit from it even more than others. Now, let’s get into how to start making your own dog food.
How to Make Dog Food at Home
In order to successfully make your dog’s food, you’ll just need to follow a few basic rules.
Some dogs may need extra-special diets, such as a grain-free diet. However, if your pup doesn’t have any restrictions on their diet, a good ratio to keep in mind is 50 percent protein, 25 percent vegetables, and 25 percent grain.
Another ratio that also works is 40-60 percent protein or raw meat, 20-30 percent starches (cooked), and 20-30 percent raw fruits and vegetables.
You’ll need to check which foods are safe for dogs to eat before getting started. Most of us know that dogs can’t eat chocolate, but you may be surprised to learn about the other ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onions.
Finally, you should add certain supplements to the mix, since food on its own doesn’t always have everything a dog needs to stay healthy.
Tips for Making Your Dog’s Food
Now, here are our top tips for making your own dog food.
1. Use a Great Recipe
Your dog’s food is only as good as the recipe you use. Follow the ratios above to get a good blend, and make sure you choose high-quality, nutritious ingredients.
Make sure each recipe you choose has protein, fats, calcium, essential fatty acids, and carbs in it. The best recipes will come from professional animal nutritionists or veterinarians. Remember: just because your dog likes it doesn’t mean it’s good for them.
2. Follow the Recipe
When you good for yourself, you may love to substitute other ingredients and make various adjustments. However, when you cook for your dog, you shouldn’t improvise. Instead, follow the recipe exactly as it’s written.
Making even small changes to the recipe can have effects you don’t want. For example, removing the skin from a chicken before cooking it can change its nutritional value.
Substituting ingredients can also throw off the nutritional balance. Find reliable recipes, and then follow them perfectly every time.
3. Get a Food Scale
To get the ratios right, you’ll need to accurately measure the food you use. A food scale is the most reliable way to do this.
Measuring cups aren’t always accurate, especially for certain ingredients like meat. A food scale is the best way to make sure you’re actually feeding the proper amount each time.
4. Cook Foods Thoroughly
Some foods, such as certain meats and vegetables, can be fed raw.
However, for those foods that need to be cooked, you should be sure to cook them all the way. If you don’t, harmful bacteria could make your dog sick.
5. Add Supplements
To provide the proper nutritional balance, you’ll need to add some extra supplements to your dog’s meals. No matter how good the recipe is, it will probably still lack a few essential nutrients.
Calcium is an example of something dogs need that isn’t often found in their food in high quantities. A pet nutritionist can help you decide what supplements you’ll need.
6. Don’t Add Too Many Carbs
Excess carbs can cause your dog to gain weight or even develop allergies. Some experts don’t think that carbs are necessary for a dog’s diet at all.
Consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist to decide what’s best for your dog.
7. Check the Results
After making your own dog food for a few weeks, schedule a vet visit to make sure the diet is working well.
Watch your dog’s behavior and weight for any changes.
Ready to Start Making Your Own Dog Food?
If you follow these tips, you can easily change your pup’s diet for the better.
Interested in other ways to save money by making things at home? Check out our DIY tips here.