The Benefits And Drawbacks of Feeding Your Dog A Homemade Diet
Your dog isn’t simply a pet. He or she is a beloved member of your family. From daily walks, to nutritious meals, you do all that you can to keep your pup healthy and happy.
Unfortunately when it comes to food quality, all dog foods are not created equal. In fact, a majority of commercial dog foods are made primarily of highly-processed corn, soy, and meat byproducts - meat that is deemed “unfit” for human consumption. A handful of high-quality commercial dog foods do exist; however, they tend to be rather expensive - costing more than $70 for a 25-30 lb. bag.
So, are you forced to either break your budget, or sacrifice quality? Fortunately, there is another option. A well-planned homemade diet provides an affordable and nutritious alternative to commercial dog food.
Is home-cooked cuisine the right option for you and your dog? Review the following benefits, and potential drawbacks, of a homemade diet.
Here we collected some benefits of homemade diet for your pet.
The greatest benefit of switching to a homemade diet is the degree of control that it provides over the specific foods you feed your dog. Instead of the poor-quality, ambiguous meats frequently found in commercial foods, you can opt for pristine, lean cuts of chicken or beef.
Not only do you possess a great deal of control over what you include, you are also in complete control of what you exclude. With homemade meals, you can completely avoid potential irritants and allergens, as well as chemicals, preservatives, emulsifiers, and artificial colors and flavors.
At first you may worry that “high-quality” necessitates “high-cost”. Luckily, with a bit of proper planning and preparation, you can actually cut your overall costs.
- Watch for “bulk discounts” on meat. Store extra meat in a large freezer for later use, or join forces with a few friends to split costs.
- Watch for sales on frozen, and canned vegetables, as these items have a long shelf life.
- Opt for vegetables that are in-season, instead of their more expensive out-of-season counterparts.
- Add inexpensive bulk to your meals with rice and potatoes (as long as your dog tolerates these items).
But there are some drawbacks as well...
Meeting Nutritional Requirements
Dogs have their own unique nutritional requirements that, if not met, can lead to chronic deficiencies and illness. Commercial dog foods are supplemented to ensure that these needs are met; homemade meals may lack some of these critical vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Guard against deficiencies by incorporating a wide variety of foods into your weekly meals, and by supplementing your meals when necessary with additional vitamins, minerals, and oils.
Cooking And Preparation Time
When switching to a homemade diet, you trade a bit of convenience for quality. The most appealing aspect of commercial dog food is its almost nonexistent preparation time. Simply open the bag, pour it into a food bowl, and - voila. In comparison, with a homemade approach you must set aside time to prepare, cook, and package your meals.
If you aren’t a chef at heart, keep kitchen time to a minimum:
- Cook in batches. Set aside a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to prep and cook all of your meals for that week. Package and store individual portions in your freezer so that your weeknight meal prep requires nothing more than a couple minutes in a microwave.
- Use a crockpot or slow-cooker. A crockpot is extremely user-friendly. Simply toss in your ingredients, set it, and forget it. Your food will cook while you are away during the day tending to other priorities.
- Keep it simple. Healthy meals do not have to be overly-complicated. Simple staples like meat, vegetables, and carbohydrates can form the foundation of your meals.