Food & Nutrition
Food and Nutrition
Types of Homemade Food
There are different ways to prepare your pet’s homemade meals but generally, they are classified into two types: cooked and raw meals. There are advantages and disadvantages in both types but they are definitely a better option compared to store-bought pet foods. Cooked pet foods can be prepared using the same methods that you use to cook your own meals: baking, frying, steaming, boiling, and grilling etc. In case of raw foods, they are the easiest to prepare.

Let us take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of homemade pet foods.

Cooked dog food
Cooking does a lot of things to your pet’s food. First, it makes certain nutrients more readily available for your dog. Dogs do not have enzymes that break down carbohydrate in their mouths so cooking them makes it easier for your pet to digest them. Vitamin A in carrots and tomatoes has been shown to become bio-available through the cooking process.

Another benefit of cooking food is that it kills germs and bacteria which may be present in the meat or vegetable. This is not a major problem with dogs though as they have stronger digestive acids which can kill these microorganisms and even digest bones and other tough materials. It is only recommended for those who cannot bear to think of giving raw food to their pets or if their pets are not used to eating raw meat.

Raw dog food
Supporters of this type of pet food also have several bases in doing so. First, not cooking food helps to retain its essential nutrients such as enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It also helps to maintain the natural moisture content of food which allows dogs to digest it much easier compared to cooked ones. One of the best examples is meat bones. Cooking bones dehydrates them and makes them susceptible to splintering when chewed. Raw bones, on the other hand, are more pliable and digestible for dogs. They also retain their nutritional components better than cooked ones. This is also true in cooking vegetables or fruits. To prepare raw dog food, you just need to toss the ingredients together and serve. This is highly recommended for those who cannot find the time to prepare their pet’s meals.

Main ingredients of a balanced dog meal
When preparing your dog's meal, it is important to consider its nutritional needs. Remember that their dietary needs are different than yours. Dogs require a larger amount of calcium every day compared to humans and they also need more protein than carbohydrates.

Animal protein
Since a dog is carnivorous, their main diet should consist in animal meat or protein. If you’re going to take a look at their diet while in the wild, you’ll realize that they eat the whole carcasses of their prey. The recommended protein requirements are often based on daily percentages. Some diets require 75% meat while others only prescribe 50% of the overall meal. Dogs require a lot of protein for their overall growth and development. Low protein diets often lead to musculo-skeletal problems and degeneration of mental abilities in dogs. Sources of animal protein can range from mutton/beef, eggs, turkey, chicken, lamb, buffalo, and rabbits. Pork is not recommended for dogs since they contain a specific type of parasite which can produce adverse health effects in dogs.

This is the second most important ingredient in a dog’s diet where they derive essential micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes. Pet owners are cautioned against using a large amount of vegetables since they lead to the formation of oxalates which eventually develops into kidney stones.

Some of the veggies that you can use in your dog’s diet include cabbage, cocumber, pumkin, squash, carrots, broccoli, spinach etc. Eggplants, peppers, onions, beans, mushrooms, and garlic are not recommended due to their known adverse effects on dogs.

As a responsible pet owner, you also need to be careful about the type of grain that you feed your dog. Please make sure that they are not allergic to it. Stay away from grains that are commonly genetically modified such as corn and wheat. Some of the best that you can give are potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, couscous, and brown rice.

Fats and oils
Fats can be easily gotten from meat products and as for oil, you will have to find the healthier types. These two ingredients are what keeps your pet’s coat shiny and glossy and they also help provide some isolation from the cold. Chicken fat, in moderate amounts, is a good source of linoleic acid and fish oil is a high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You can use salmon oil, cod liver oil, olive oil, coconut oil and other healthy types of oil except for nut oils if your dog is allergic to them. You can add a teaspoon or two of these oils per meal either by cooking or mixing them in.

Although this is not considered to be a natural food, supplements help to provide additional nutrients which may not be gotten from whole foods. To make sure your pet is getting the nutrients they need, it is recommended to provide them with supplements such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, multi-vitamins and fish oils.

Some useful links:
Some available dogs dry food in India
Top 20 Healthy Dog Food Recipes
11 Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Dangerous Food for Dogs
As a loving pet parent, you probably would wish to share all your delicious food with your pooch. It's really hard to resist those innocent eyes begging for a portion of your food. Sometimes being a good doggy parent is knowing when to say, NO. Some foods are just downright bad and harmful for dogs and can cause all sorts of health problems. Even if your dog has eaten these foods in the past with no problems, they could be causing serious issues that you might not be aware of. Here are a few foods you should never feed dogs.

Toxic food
● Chocolates
● Onions and Garlic
● Nuts and Nutmeg
● Sugar Substitute Xylitol
Found in some candies, gums, baked items, toothpastes etc.
● Cherries
● Alcohol / Alcoholic drinks

Potentially dangerous food
● Cow Milk, Ice-cream, Cheese & other dairy products
Many dogs are lactose intolerant. Dairy products can cause dogs to vomit, have diarrhea, or develop gastrointestinal diseases. The high fat content can also lead to pancreatitis.
● Sweets (Sugary) and Salty Food
● Raw Eggs and Raw Fishes
May cause salmonella & E. Coli infections, skin allergies and parasitic infections.
● Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are known to cause renal failure in dogs.
● Avocado, Citrus, Mushrooms
● Fast Food, Oily Food, Pork and Fatty Meat
● Tea, Coffee or any food that contains Caffeine
● Yeast dough
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