After ten years of counting calories and starting (and stopping) fad diets for myself, I began to determine the significance a healthy, balance diet for not only myself, but my pets too. With the growing number of dogs with food allergies and other health issues, some dog parents are exploring a home cooked diet for his or her dogs.

Although processed foods are convenient and supply a balanced diet at an affordable price, fresh foods are healthier for dogs and humans, making home cooking more desirable. “A well planned and eager diet can prevent many common health problems,” says Judy Morgan, DVM.

Cooking for the dogs isn't just like cooking to live in, therefore it is vital that you avoid the following mistakes:

1. Only Using Social Media to understand How to Feed Your Dog

As a raw feeder, I made use of every resource available to learn how to feed a balanced raw food diet to the four dogs. My research included books, seminars, webinars and social networking groups. I found social media to be helpful, because talking to other pet owners could be less intimidating than talking to a veterinarian.

Although gaining support and sharing stories inside a social networking group is important, keep in mind that you're more likely to be getting together with pet owners and not veterinarians. A person with a lot of experience feeding their dogs a home-cooked diet has zero experience feeding your pet a home-cooked diet, so you will need to speak with the vet before starting your dog on any kind of new diet, especially a home-cooked one.

2. Using Untested Pet food Recipes

Dr. Laurie Coger of Healthy Dog Workshop sees many well-meaning dog parents creating diets of just ground beef and rice or chicken and rice. My first foray into home cooking for the dogs included these two ingredients; I didn't know at that time that this wasn't sufficient for dogs.

You can find recipes for homemade dog food online, but not each one is balanced and could be missing essential nutrients like Omega-3, calcium and probiotics. There is a misconception that varying a dog's meals (and also the ingredients in those meals) will provide balance and proper nutrients over time, but this isn't the case.

According to some study of 200 published recipes for dogs, only nine recipes met or exceeded the National Research Council's (NRC) recommended allowances or minimum requirements for those essential daily nutrients for dogs.

This study shows the importance of working with your veterinarian when developing a homemade diet for the dog and taking recipes from qualified sources.

3. Not Customizing Recipes for the Dogs

Making dog food is not as simple as carrying out a recipe, but it could be convenient in the event that were the case. As you are going through cookbooks to find the right recipe for the dog, keep the following in your mind:

  • The age, breed and size of your dog
  • If your pet has any food allergies (one of my dogs has several protein allergies). If that's the case, choose substitutes.
  • Where you are able to affordably purchase the ingredients listed in the recipes.
  • Making sure you will find the tools on hand (e.g. crockpot, mixing bowls and canisters) to make the food.
  • Making food in large quantities can help to save money; do you have adequate space for storage?

Take a minute to think about your dog that you're raising and also the dog's specific needs. For example, puppies require more nutrients; however, a lot of nutrients may have a negative effect on large breed dogs.

4. Not Providing Necessary Vitamins and Minerals

The process of cooking pet food removes vital nutrients, which dog parents can also add to produce a balanced diet. However, it's a misconception that a multivitamin will complete the gaps to balance a home cooked diet. Remember, its not all dog is identical along with a multivitamin is not able to meet the requirements of every dog.

When adding supplements to your dog's diet, start small by only providing what your dog with what she or he needs immediately. Coger suggests minerals and vitamins (because many homemade diets don't include raw bones), a probiotic and salmon oil for Omega-3 fatty acids.

A veterinarian familiar with dog nutrition can assist you to determine if more supplements are essential for the dog.

5. Not Consulting with a Veterinarian

I've hinted in the need for dealing with the vet on your dog's diet, but it's vital that you mention again: work with the vet in your dog's diet. Although our veterinarian isn't experienced in raw feeding, he is conscious that our dogs are on a raw food diet and that knowledge helps him better take care of our dogs and advise me on their nutrition and health.

A veterinarian familiar with dog nutrition will be a valuable resource for dog parents who wish to make their very own dog food. They are able to lead you towards the vitamins, minerals and supplements that will best benefit your pet given his or her health background. As well as your veterinarian can help you make necessary adjustment to your dog's diet because he or she ages.

Homemade diets for dogs are growing in popularity as dog parents realize the significance of quality nutrition, but there are lots of ways we are able to go wrong and fail to meet the nutritional needs in our best friend. When planning a diet for the dog, do your research and meet with a veterinarian familiar with dog nutrition. Gather in the vast variety of resources available to you and make from what you are understanding how to create a balanced, home cooked diet for your dog. Other people you know will thank you.

Kimberly Gauthier writes about raw feeding for Keep the Tail Wagging while raising four gorgeous dogs in the North american.