Food is one of life’s great pleasures, so it’s only natural that you’d want to share it with your best friend! Dog owners who’d like to give their pups a more interesting and nutritious diet than what’s offered in store-bought kibbles and canned foods can always try playing chef for their canines. Here’s a guide to making your dog healthy meals.
Raw or Cooked?
One of the hardest decisions to make when cooking for your pet is whether or not to feed him or her cooked food or raw food. You will find people with strong opinions in both camps. Raw food appeals to dogs because of the stronger scent. However, raw meats may harbor bacteria that can make your dog sick. This bacteria will also thrive on their food dishes and anywhere else that your dogs put their muzzles after supper, so you risk getting sick as well. Of course, if you’re feeding your dog vegetables or fruit in addition to meat, those won’t need to be cooked, though some dogs may prefer eating root vegetables that have been softened up by the cooking process. To answer this question for yourself, you’ll need to consider your kitchen setup and how much time you’ll be able to devote to keeping surfaces bacteria-free.
Does Your Dog Have Any Health Concerns?
Before you decide to take your dog away from the dry and canned food diet he or she has been enjoying until now, you’ll need to ask a veterinarian to perform a full checkup. Should your dog have any health concerns, such as obesity or irritable bowels, you’ll want to be sure your new diet will support management or correction of these symptoms. The veterinarian will also be able to guide you in selecting appropriate dietary supplements.
Why Not Add Extras to the Normal Kibble?
Instead of switching your dog to a new diet straightaway, consider adding on extras to the dog’s normal feast of kibble or kibble and canned food. Just as your own stomach may find it difficult to adapt to a completely new diet, your dog’s system may be thrown off by sudden changes. Start by cooking small amounts of meat, eggs and vegetables for your dog and mixing those in to the normal kibble. This will also help you understand what your dog likes to eat. Although dogs are famous for eating just about everything—and especially when it’s something you don’t want them to eat! —you’ll find that certain pups are picky eaters. If your dog loves chicken but hates fish, this is a good thing to know before you start investing time, money and energy into preparing daily gourmet meals!
How Much Time Do You Have to Prepare Meals for Your Dog?
Preparing meals for your dog is roughly equivalent to cooking for another person in your household. You may be able to use the same or similar ingredients for the human meals you prepare as you do for the canine meals, which will save you some time when grocery shopping and doing cooking prep work. However, dogs shouldn’t eat the oils and spices that humans have in their own food, and dogs should stay entirely away from certain foods such as chocolate, avocados and certain types of nuts. So, you’ll probably end up preparing the meals separately even if the basic ingredients are the same. Many dog owners who cook for their pets choose to mix up a week’s worth of food for their dogs and freeze it in daily portions. This will save time, but others prefer to give their dog a fresh meal. Any meal that you make and don’t freeze shouldn’t sit in the refrigerator for more than three days.
Provide a Well-Balanced Diet
Ask any toddler what a dog, cat or monkey eats and he or she will have ready answers. Dogs eat meat, cats eat fish and monkeys go bonkers over bananas. That’s great for storytime, but it isn’t the full truth about what your dog needs to be happy and healthy. Take care to offer your dog a well-balanced diet that includes enough fat, fiber and protein to keep your best friend in fine form. Dogs benefit from vegetables, small amounts of dairy products and fruit in their diets as well.
About the Author:Brent Harte enjoys cooking for himself as well as for his canine companions. One of his favorite dishes is beef stew, and luckily, his dogs like it too! Brent works for VitaHound.