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 a recent scientific study 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. 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.
~Dr Ken Tudor
THE DOG DIETITIAN