Things to Consider Before Switching to Homemade Dog Food

Things to Consider Before Switching to Homemade Dog Food

Author WDF Staff


Some dog owners prefer having complete control over their dog’s diet. Homemade dog food can be a great thing, and dog owners can be sure that the ingredients in their dog’s food are fresh, organic, and controlled. However, before you decide to change things up and start cooking for your dog, you should be sure you know what ingredients dogs need to not only survive but thrive.

Some think dogs are strictly carnivorous, which is not true. Meat is the main part of their diet, but dogs are omnivores, which means they eat plants and meat. There are many sources online that spread misinformation about industrial dog food. These sources claim that homemade dog food is far better and that industrial food ingredients are low quality and overprocessed. However, that is not true at all.

Homemade vs. Industrial

Keep in mind, there are dog food manufacturers that use low-quality ingredients to keep the price low, but it is the same as human food. You cannot expect you will have a healthy diet for a couple of dollars. High-quality industrial dog food is just as good, maybe even better than homemade dog food.

Big companies employ veterinarians, scientists, and dog nutritionists whose job is to find the ideal balance between the ingredients your dog will need. We would urge all dog owners to do their own research and not blindly trust everything they read online. Talk to real scientists and dog nutritionists, true professionals in their field. Most of them will tell you that industrial dog food, especially dog foods made by trusted companies, is of the highest quality. Your dog will get everything they need from it.

That doesn’t mean homemade dog food is bad; on the contrary, it can be very, very good. There are many reasons to prepare food for your dog at home. Some of these reasons are;

  • Fear of food recalls
  • Controlling the dog’s diet
  • Battling food intolerances
  • Feeding a picky-eating dog
  • Bonding

healthy dog food on table

However, before you do that, you should know your dog’s dietary needs and what type of ingredients you should use. When preparing dog food at home, here are some of the things you should think about;

Trusted source

We cannot stress enough how important it is to check the source of your information and dog food recipes. Many so-called expert dog nutritionists have no formal training or education in that field. Getting dog food recipes from them can do more harm than good. You should make sure you are using a trusted source that has genuine professionals giving advice.

If you want to make dog treats at home, here are a few interesting suggestions - Homemade pumpkin dog treats.

Balanced diet

There are approximately 40 essential nutrients dogs need to be healthy and remain in perfect shape. If those nutrients are not given to dogs, they can have catastrophic results. Dietary imbalance can lead to dangerous health issues like malnutrition or obesity. Both conditions can be fatal. Dogs that aren’t adequately fed are prone to different health issues and diseases, and dog owners or vets can figure it out when it’s already too late.

Follow the recipe

Different sources can recommend different dog food recipes, but these recipes can be incomplete or not adequately explained. If the recipe simply says “meat,” it leads to misunderstandings that can be costly for the dog’s health. If you decide on a recipe, make sure you pick one that thoroughly explains all the ingredients and the proper way to prepare them. When it comes to your dog’s food, there should be no room for any misunderstandings.

If you are not sure about any ingredients in a homemade dog food recipe, the best thing to do would be to run it by your vet or a professional dog nutritionist. They could explain the best way to prepare certain ingredients and which supplements you should buy and include in your homemade dog food.

Fiber is important in a dog’s diet. You can read more about it here - Best sources of fiber for dogs.

Safe ingredients

If you have decided to go with homemade dog food, you should be absolutely sure you know what ingredients dogs can and cannot eat. Things like raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate, xylitol, or hot spices are very dangerous for dogs. Some can even be fatal. Make sure you know what ingredients you are including in your dog’s diet and make sure they are safe and beneficial for your dog.

Keep up with recent researches and studies

Canine nutrition is an evolving but understudied discipline. Luckily, there are different studies ongoing, and scientists publish their findings reasonably often. A recent study found a connection between dogs on grain-free, legume-based, high in fiber, homemade diet, and dilated cardiomyopathy. Keep up to date on the newest studies and published results of nutritional researches, and make sure you adapt your dog’s diet to the safest possible option.

Asking for help

Not all of us are canine nutritionists. Getting recommendations from other dog owners from your local dog park should be taken with a grain of salt. Just because something works for their dog doesn’t mean it will work for your dog. Dog owners can give helpful advice, but you should only trust a board-certified dog nutritionist. They know more about dog nutrition than unreliable sources online or your friend in the park. A professional dog nutritionist will account for your dog’s eating history, possible intolerances, and all the nuances average dog owners simply don’t know. That is not a bad thing - everyone can’t become experts in everything, so make sure you ask for help from trusted and certified professionals.

There are different vitamins your dog needs. You can find out more about them here - Vitamins for dogs.

Prepare to invest time and money

Cooking for your dog will take a significant amount of your time, and organic, high-quality ingredients will cost money. Make sure you have the time and budget that switching to homemade dog food needs. This is not an easy process. You should know there is no scientific evidence that proves homemade dog food is superior to industrial, high-quality food.

Some alternatives might be worth looking into. Some dog food manufacturers provide precooked dog foods, which is as close as it gets to cooking for your dog at home. You can get different ready-made meals for your dog. These meals use whole ingredients and are carefully prepared by professionals. It is an excellent alternative for homemade dog food.

World Dog Finder team

World Dog Finder Logo