"Life is filling in the time between meals".
This is something many of us humans feel, but for dogs they love food so much it really is the highlight of their day. We imagine that if they wore wristwatches, many of our pups would sit next to us tapping them to remind us that their next meal time approaches!
On a serious note, however, the question of “why should I make homemade meals for your dog?” is a nuanced and important one to reflect upon. Food sharing and making food for others is perhaps the oldest tradition, the very thing that bonds us, connects us and it is still the way that we show love.
Cooking is fundamentally an act of love, and it is astounding how much love transforms food. If you love cooking you will know what we mean and if you don't yet cook, we’d highly encourage you to give it a go. In fact, many people find cooking forothersmore gratifying than cooking for themselves.
When we engage our senses and cook health-giving, wholesome, delicious food…what’s not to love about this act of pure love for your dog? That is something truly special.
Today, in this blog we will take you through the benefits of homemade cooking for dogs, what the challenges of homemade cooking for dogs can be, as well as some healthy dog food recipes to get you started on your nutritionally complete homemade dog food journey.
Let’s get to it!
Why make homemade meals for dogs
Real, living food will always be the best option for your dog as opposed to highly processed pet food you find on supermarket shelves. By preparing your dog’s food at home, you are in charge of what goes in and have full control over your dog’s nutritional needs. Indeed, the health benefits of homemade meals for dogs are numerous.
To summarise, some of the reasons why you should consider feeding your dog homemade meals include:
- You have greater control over what goes into your dog’s meals
- You can vary the ingredients, textures and tastes to make your dog’s mealtimes more enriching and stimulating
- You can better manage your dog’s weight with homemade meals; where certain commercial dog food brands can contribute to weight gain
- You can save money by using both human-friendly and dog-friendly ingredients in both your own meals and your dog’s meals
- You can build a deeper bond with your canine companion through this mindful, conscious act of home cooking
Common fears of feeding homemade meals for dogs
However, we understand that a fear many pet parents share is that their dog will not receive all the right vitamins and minerals to sustain them…
…and that their dog will experience nutritional deficiencies - not because of any purposeful neglect, but because their owner is simply unaware of the hidden nutritional gaps.
The issue often comes in the gap between what you make and what dogs’ need, and so introducing a nutritional supplement into your dog’s diet can be extremely beneficial…Luckily, we have just the thing!
Our wholefood dog nutrient blend combines 22 ingredients that act as something of a safety net to ensure the highest level of nutrition for your pup. In short, we created this supplement to take a lot of the guesswork and stress out of feeding your dog a wholesome homemade diet for your dog.
Indeed, the reason why Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 was formulated and developed through extensive research was to provide the frequently low or missing essential micronutrients in typical homemade diets for dogs. It's primarily designed to support and enhance homemade food for dogs, whether cooked, raw or mixed, although it can be used on commercial food to improve the plane of nutrition too.
Some of the benefits of adding WEC22 to your dog’s homemade meals include:
- A softer shinier coat
- Improved skin integrity
- A good poop (firm moist and easy to pick up, healthy looking and usually a reduced or less offensive odour)
- Brighter eyes
- An increase in that essential vitality!
Many of our community members have also reported that their dog’s persistent health problems have improved too. Whether that’s their skin condition, a limp, a smelly coat, lethargy or “senior dog” moments; even dogs experiencing allergies and arthritic/joint problems have experienced improved mobility.
In our eyes, it just goes to show how carefully created homemade meals and wholefood supplements can transform the health potential of canines of all ages.
The difference between Real Food vs Highly Processed Food
Highly processed pet food is the majority of what we see on supermarket shelves today. These kibbles are easily accessible and often very affordable, making them a seemingly good choice for your canine companion.
However, highly processed dog food is often only at 10% moisture, making it harder for your dog’s internal system to re-hydrate and digest. These foods are also often extremely pro-inflammatory, as the protein, fats and oil included in the recipe are often of very poor quality. Worst of all, these highly processed dog foods usually contain no real, living foods.
And by ‘real’ food we mean the natural things that we as humans would incorporate into our diets to enhance health and vitamin intake - such as fruits & veggies, good quality proteins and carbs, as well as healthy and beneficial fats.
As we mentioned earlier, buying natural, real ingredients to whip up into tasty meals for your dog often works out as the cheaper option. Plus there’s the added peace of mind, where you can rest assured that your pup is getting all the good-quality nutrients to keep them healthy and happy for many years to come.
Homemade cooking for dogs doesn’t need to be complicated or all consuming, there are an unending array of dog-friendly recipes online to get your started, and it is always best to begin with the basics. Start by introducing a few real foods into your dog’s diet, perhaps mixing them with commercial pet food or offering them some tasty real-food snacks to try.
This is a great way to slowly introduce your dog to a change in diet, and also to get an idea of the types of things they like. Slowly but surely, you’ll be able to ditch commercial pet food altogether and have a fully home-fed pup!
Homemade cooking for dogs: the essentials
Making homemade meals for dogs isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as it may seem on the surface.
After all, we’re not looking for haute-cuisine here. We’re simply trying to give our pups a simple tasty and nutritious meal that is packed with goodness.
Here’s a few ideas for what to include in your dog’s homemade meals:
- Vegetables - Dog-safe vegetables are a delicious and crunchy source of vitamins and minerals for your pup, filling their plate with new flavours and textures to keep mealtimes interesting.
- Bones - Great for their teeth and gums, incorporating a treat in the form of a bone can be a great way to stimulate your dog’s attention whilst also offering some much-needed dental health. Just be sure to monitor your dog at all times when they have a bone, and remove the bone if they start to “crunch” and swallow the bone shards.
- Fish - Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dog-safe fishes are a great element to add into your dog’s diet. These acids can help decrease inflammation as well as being a great source of protein.
- Grains- As well as being a great way to bulk out meals, grains are a good source of healthy fats, carbohydrates and antioxidants for your dog, helping keep them energised and on top of their game.
- Avoid too much fat - Too much high-fat food in your dog’s diet can lead to longer term health issues, as well as often being quite rich for your dog to stomach. So when in doubt, remember moderation is key!
We hope this blog has helped to make homemade cooking for your dog feel easier and more accessible.
Even if you partially cook for your dog but still use commercial dog food in between, this is still going to help support your canine’s wellbeing whilst helping to strengthen your bond.