With all of the dog food recalls, you have decided to take control of your dog’s nutrition. You choose quality ingredients from the market. You prepare recipes found from popular internet sources. Then you discover that scientific studies have revealed that 95% of homemade recipes for dogs found in books and on the internet are nutritionally inadequate. Recipe recommendations from non-veterinarians were particularly faulty. With so few reliable sources, how do you choose a quality homemade dog food recipe?
Avoid Buzz Words and Phrases.
The words natural, wholesome, holistic, and sustainable have no legal definitions. Recipe descriptions using these words say little about the quality of the diet. Recipes that call for organic and free-range ingredients sound healthy. But inadequate amounts of quality products do not make a diet balanced and healthy.
Variety is also a popular word. Many recipe sources suggest that feeding a variety of meats, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables will guarantee a balanced diet. Different foods contain different amounts of nutrients. Variety without directions for the amounts of ingredients will not guarantee a healthy diet.
“The same diet as wild dogs ate” is often used to describe many homemade diets. Unfortunately, wild dogs do not live long. A major reason is malnutrition because their diet is not complete. These recipe sources also recommend recipe ingredients in percent amounts. The percentage is not a precise measurement and is dependent on the total amount of ingredients in the recipe. The ingredient mix will change the total amount of food so that percent instructions are not reliable for balanced nutrition.
What Dogs Need.
The National Research Council (NRC) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have determined specific amounts of the 42 daily required nutrients necessary for each 1000 calories of dog food.
In addition to dietary total protein, dog food must include specific amounts of 10 essential amino acids that are found in proteins. Total fats must also include specific amounts of the omega-6 fat called linoleic acid. Fats must also include omega-3 fats called alpha-linolenic acid and DHA and EPA.
The NRC and AAFCO have also determined the exact amount of 25 vitamins and minerals that dogs need every day in their diet.
Reliable Recipe Sources.
Any homemade dog food source should be able to offer the exact amounts of all 42 nutrients in their recipes. They should also compare those amounts to the NRC and AAFCO standards. If this information is not available, you should seek a source that does.
Feeding homemade is the best choice. Make sure you choose the best resources for homemade diets. We recommend Hearthstone Homemade for balanced homemade diets for normal dogs and Healthier Homemade for balanced diets for dogs with medical problems that need special ingredient restricted diets. Both of our sister sites offer nutrient formulas created by Dr. Tudor.
The Well Dog Place features the recipes of Healthier Homemade, especially for our dogs needing medical diet alternatives.
Dr. Ken Tudor is a recognized expert and leader in the field of pet nutrition and fitness. He has developed a pet weight management program and served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force to develop their Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. He is also a frequent guest on the Pet World Insider radio show and a popular guest on the televised Pet Ex Talks-Pet Experts Empowering Pet Parents show.