We all know that healthy dogs need to eat a healthy diet, and going organic is a great way to step away from the potentially harmful chemicals used in today’s food production. By making homemade organic dog food, you can tailor your dog’s diet to his specific nutritional needs. Here are the basics that you should know before making your own homemade dog food.
Ideal Balance of Ingredients
When you buy dog food at the store, that food has been designed to have a specific balance of protein, vegetables, fat, and more. Your dog needs a specific balance of these elements in order to keep his body functioning properly.
The exact balance of ingredients in dog food partially depends on your dog’s breed, age, activity level, and even health conditions. However, you can use the following balance as starting point:
Create a food which consists of between 40-80% protein, 5-10% fruits and vegetables, 20-60% carbohydrates (with plenty of fiber) and 5-15% fat. Additionally, you’ll need to supplement the food with vitamins and minerals.
The Role of Your Vet
Confused by the ranges presented above? That’s okay. The truth is, there is no one specific formula for food that will work for every dog. That’s why it’s important to consult with your vet about your planned dietary changes for your dog. Your vet can advise you about how to best design a dietary program that will work for your pet, and can also recommend specific vitamins and minerals (and their amounts) that you should supplement the diet with.
A Note About Puppies
While it can be great to be able to provide your dog with a homemade organic diet, it’s advised that you keep puppies on a more standard formulated food. This is because puppies grow so quickly that their bodies heavily depend on an ideal nutritional program which is balanced and able to meet their nutritional needs. If you design a homemade puppy diet which is imbalanced or lacking in a component, this can have long-lasting effects on your puppy’s health.
Transitioning Your Dog
If you do decide to feed your dog a homemade diet, then make sure to gradually transition him on to the new food. Feed your dog his old food while slowly adding in bits of the new food. Over the course of two weeks, gradually reduce the amount of old food that your dog eats while increasing the amount of the homemade food he receives.
It’s also important to keep an eye out on your dog’s health during this time. Watch for signs of digestive upset, like diarrhea, and contact your vet if these symptoms persist. Your dog may be allergic to an ingredient in your homemade diet, or the transition may be a bit too fast for him.
Remember that if you decide to feed your dog homemade food, then you’ll need to schedule time for the food’s preparation. If you’re able to make that commitment, then feeding a homemade organic diet may be a good option for you.