I’ve seen several questions in the forum asking about homemade food for dogs. It’s becoming a bigger and bigger trend for owners to try to make healthy, homemade food for dogs. Notice the word “try”. That’s the key term. It’s very difficult to make dog food from scratch that meets all of their dietary needs.
Homemade Food for Dogs Isn’t a Good Idea
*Note: we are not talking about treats here, but rather your dog’s main source of nutrition, the “meal” food if you will. Treats are a whole different story.
As I mentioned in a previous article about homemade hypoallergenic dog food, making dog food at home isn’t a good idea. It’s not just about protein and carbs. Anybody can throw some beef or turkey and rice or potato together. It’s also about getting the right amount of fats into the diet, along with the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. Without these things, you’ll have something that fills your dog’s belly, but not much else.
That’s why I always recommend a high-quality food instead of homemade food for dogs. As much as anyone researches, they will never get it all the way right. It would practically take a preparation room to get it all correct. The correct combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats as well as the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is a precise thing. A thing that’s difficult to get right at home, at best.
Before you go out and buy the cheapest food you can find at some big box superstore, remember, I mentioned quality food. Quality food is not the bargain basement stuff you find that’s full of corn gluten and meat by-products. Quality food will cost you a bit more because it’s far better. You’ll want food that uses something like a potato, brown rice, or other carbohydrate source, as well as a real meat protein source. Don’t buy anything with gluten or by-products. That stuff is garbage.
Related: Feed Your Dog THIS, not THAT!
While I’m talking about why you shouldn’t try your hand at homemade food for dogs, I’d like to address another aspect of this. Always speak to your vet. I’ve seen so many posts talking about homemade food for dogs, but most of them make no mention of a vet. You should never make any decisions that could affect your dog’s health without consulting a vet first. Vets have years of experience, and you should always use that experience to your and your dog’s advantage.
Homemade Food for Dogs – A Bad Fad
With all the talk of homemade food for dogs in the forums and the lack of any mention of getting the advice of a vet, it worries me that there are going to be dogs out there that get a sub-par diet. If you’re thinking about homemade food for dogs, at the very least, consult your vet. Chances are he or she will tell you to opt for a high-quality food instead. If not, he or she can guide you on the process of what to use and what not to use.
Homemade Dog Food from Another Perspective
Hi, this is Nicole here now, weighing in from another perspective! If you recall from our pros and cons of a raw food diet article, Ben and I did a sort of round table debate there. I thought I’d bring a little of that back here and offer another perspective on homemade dog food. Now, let me say that I highly respect Ben. He speaks from a professional point of view. Working with a vet, he’s seen what happens when things like homemade diets, DIY remedies, and the like go horrible wrong. But what about when it’s done right?
A homemade dog food diet CAN be done. However, it does require a lot of research, balance, shopping for the right ingredients, more balance, and consultation with experts in dog nutrition. That last one is super important, because according to The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, even recipes written by vets themselves came up short in vital nutrients. Read more about that in this article on WebMD (I usually don’t source them, but this was an expert-written piece).
Can you successfully make homemade dog food? With a whole lot of dedication, I believe you can. For dogs with allergies and specific nutritional needs, it can be a great way to ensure they’re getting just what they need and nothing else. However, I feel it’s important to reiterate Ben’s points: without the proper intense research and dedication, it can be dangerous. So please, do your research first. I don’t think I have to tell you that though, I know you all love your pooches as much as we do!