A growing number of dog owners are pushing manufactured pet food to the back of the pantry and are opting to prepare home cooked meals for their four-legged friends.
There are several reasons why cooking for pets can be a rewarding and healthy substitute for commercial pet food. It gives many pet owners a good feeling inside to know that they are doing something extra for their beloved pets. By preparing food we have control over the quality of ingredients that we feed our animals. Many people make a conscience effort to reduce the amounts of preservatives, artificial colouring and flavours in their own food and would like to for their pets also. There are also safety concerns. In recent years there have been massive recalls on contaminated pet foods that made animals ill and even die, especially in the US.
Home cooked foods can be economical and allows us to cater for different nutritional needs our pets have. Foods can cater for different medical conditions such as allergies, kidney or liver problems, food intolerances etc.
For many years the dog food companies had a “one size fits all” approach to pet foods trying to develop the one diet that would suit all dogs and the one diet for cats. Now they realise that this is not the case and the better companies are bringing out different foods for different stages in our pet's life and even for different breeds. It makes sense that a fit healthy 5 month old Border Collie puppy will have different nutritional requirements to a senior 12 year old Maltese.
How to go about preparing a home cooked meal for your pet?
- Research diet recipes online.
- Talk to your vet. He or she will be able to make specific recommendations for your pet. They may recommend adding supplements such as Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids, calcium and vitamins if required.
- Know what not to feed your pets. Many common human foods are harmful to our pets. For example chocolate, onions, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocado and coffee.
- Feed some raw. Try feeding some of the meat raw. Consider raw bones such as chicken necks and brisket bones. Also raw fruits and vegetables such as apple and carrot.
- Mix it up. Don’t stick to the same diet day in and day out. Try cooking many different foods for your pets. By giving variety we minimise the chance of missing any essential nutrients in our pet’s diet.
If you have any favourite recipes that you are currently feeding your pets, I invite you to send them in to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will check each recipe and post the best ones on our website.