The Dangers of Homemade Dog Food
Homemade dog food is all the rage right now. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? We get to choose the ingredients and the quality of those ingredients. What could be healthier?! Well… Let us tell you some crazy facts about homemade doggy diets.
I'd like to start off by saying I've cooked homemade meals for my dogs! I love it! Sometimes, I just want them to experience the finer things in life. There's nothing wrong with that!! But if you don't know what you're doing (aka me) when it comes to making a complete balanced diet for each pooch, it shouldn't be fed often.
80% of pet parents have the misconception that nutrition for dogs and humans is similar. So they basically cook a meal for themselves and feed it to their dogs. Our diet requirements is not what they need! Less than 10% of pet parents actually know the correct proportion of key nutrients their dog needs. When preparing homemade meals, you must include proteins, enzymes, aminos, vitamins, minerals, and supplements to make sure there are no serious nutritional deficiencies.
Are you willing to take on the extra effort and expense to prepare your dog’s food from a recipe designed specifically to meet his/her needs? These factors include size, breed, activity level, health status, age, etc. Are you also willing to run to the store instead of finding a convenient substitute if you’re out of a required ingredient? #sacrifice
Proteins are altered to the point they aren’t very digestible. They’re more abrasive on the intestines, and may even create allergies in the dogs that eat them. Cooked fats are altered to the point where they can become toxic. Cooking also changes the correct balance of short and long chain fatty acids that are essential to an animal’s good health. The carbohydrates in any cooked dog food or kibble are quickly turned into sugars. The immune system is surpressed as well as the fat burning and muscle building pathways as insulin is released. This is what happens every time our pets eat their kibbled food or cooked food with grains. Vitamins and minerals can be added back into cooked food, but finding the appropriate balance is incredibly difficult.
If you’re cooking homemade meals for your pup on the reg, please only do so if the recipe and diet is designed by an accredited veterinary nutritionist. If you’re given a recipe from an accredited veterinary nutritionist, will you commit to following all guidelines and not make any changes to it (unless you talk to the nutritionist first, of course)?
I was researching homemade meals for dogs and came across a very interesting blog post. This was dated back in 2013, so clearly homemade dog food has been a thing for awhile! Leave it to me to show up to the party late. #whoops! From 2013 to 2017, the concerns are still the same though. Do you know the portions your dog should be receiving for protein, enzymes, aminos, vitamins, minerals, and supplement?
In this blog post, they talked about a study performed by the American Veterinary Association. The researchers analyzed 200 homemade recipes; 134 recipes were from veterinary textbooks and pet care books (4 of these were authored by board certified veterinary nutritionists). The other 66 of the recipes were obtained from 23 different websites. 43 of the recipes were written by veterinarians and 23 of the recipes were authored by non-veterinarians.
Of the 200 recipes they studied, only 9 recipes met or exceeded the National Research Council’s recommended allowances or minimum requirements for all essential daily nutrients. 9 recipes exceeded the nutrient minimums established by AAFCO. Recipes that were written by veterinarians had a lower number of deficiencies compared to those written by non-veterinarians. Go figure!
170 recipes had multiple nutrient deficiencies. The most common deficiencies were zinc, choline, vitamins D and E, copper, calcium, and EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Believe it or not, 13 recipes included garlic and/or onions! WHICH WE KNOW ARE TOXIC TO DOGS!! These ingredients cause the destruction of red blood cells which can lead to anemia. #whatintheworldaretheythinking
Majority of the recipes were vague and required assumptions concerning actual ingredients, preparation method, and supplements used. Majority also didn’t include feeding instructions or guidelines! #confusing
As you can see from the results, there’s a lack of attention to detail given by these authors. If an author of a homemade receipt can provide a USDA database comparison of their recipe to NRC and AAFCO requirements (for all 42 essential nutrients for dogs) then I’d say that recipe is most likely adequate!
Petdiets.com and BalanceIt.com provide access to board-certified veterinary nutritionists.
We are all for homemade diets! But we want to be sure that your pup is getting the adequate nutrients for his/her needs. Please, please do your research and find out what your pup needs for size, breed, activity level, health status, age, etc. We know you love your pups just as much as we love ours! Let's keep them all safe and healthy!