What Are The Best Ingredients for Homemade Dog Food?

Happy Dog

Preparing wholesome, healthy meals from scratch is an excellent way to be sure you know the health benefits of everything that goes into your dog's mouth.

Many dogs with allergies, skin conditions, or frequent gastrointestinal upsets respond well to a home-cooked diet. Relieving such maladies can stop your dog from developing nuisance behaviors that would prevent you from enjoying his company. But remember, it's crucial to your adopted dog's health that he receive the proper nutrients in the proper quantities.

If you decide to cook all of his meals at home, you are taking full responsibility for all of your dog's nutritional requirements. You will need to consult your veterinarian or a nutritionist to be certain that your home-cooked meals are giving your dog everything he needs to stay healthy and happy.

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    Your conventional veterinarian may be concerned that your dog won't receive proper nutrition with a home-cooked diet; however, your quest for nutritional guidance should put her at ease and encourage her to assist you in learning all you need to know about monitoring your dog for ongoing good health.

    What if you're a klutz in the kitchen? Not to worry. You can still add fresh, wholesome foods to your dog's commercial diet. A few nights a week, give your dog some leftover meat and vegetables from your own dinner, but avoid feeding him fast food or spicy dishes. (Remember to put these tidbits into his own food bowl, though, as opposed to slipping him scraps from the table - you don't want to encourage begging.)

    Some terrific ''people food'' that your dog will love (and his body will find healthy as well) include:

    • Lean chicken or turkey, skinless and boneless
    • Beef, ground or cubed
    • Liver, raw or cooked (no more than once a week to avoid a vitamin A toxicity build- up)
    • Most fish, including tuna and salmon
    • Whole (cooked) grains, like brown rice, wheat, couscous, oatmeal, and quinoa
    • Boiled pasta (without sauce)
    • Eggs in any form - scrambled, hardboiled, or poached - no more than a few times a week. You can even feed your dog the eggshells - bake them for ten or fifteen minutes to soften and then grind them up. Some veterinarians believe that you can safely feed raw eggs to your dog while others are concerned of risks of salmonella poisoning or biotin deficiency. (My own dogs only get the no-drug, no-hormone, free-range eggs that I eat, and I scramble them.)
    • Nearly any raw or steamed vegetables - carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, brussels sprouts, etc. (but no onions)
    • Lettuce or other leafy greens
    • Boiled potatoes: the more colorful the potato (like gold and purple), the healthier it is. Red and brown potatoes are harder for dogs to digest, but sweet potatoes, which are not true potatoes, but the root of a flowering plant, are a good source of vitamin A.
    • Peanut butter (organic is better, as many commercial peanut butters are high in sugar and additives)
    • Cheese (no pepperjack or other spicy or flavored cheeses, please)
    • Milk, cottage cheese, or plain yogurt in small quantities
    • Many fruits, including apples, pears, and bananas (but no grapes or raisins). Keep portions small, because too much fruit can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.
    • Organic apple cider vinegar can be added to your dog's drinking water (roughly one teaspoon in a quart of water) to aid digestion and deter fleas.

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