Last week I shared my fears of a coming health epidemic among dogs as a result of unhealthy homemade dog food diets. Despite the best intentions to offer their dogs the best dog food, owners are unwittingly depriving their dogs of vital nutrition. We have been told that a variety of wholesome foods rich in various nutrients will make yourself and your dog healthy. But variety and “rich in” is not the same as adequate or sufficient. In fact, it isn’t even close. But an even greater epidemic threat is not from those feeding entirely unhealthy homemade dog food, but from those feeding unhealthy hybrid homemade diets.
What is Hybrid Homemade Dog Food?
Hybrid homemade dog food is a combination of homemade ingredients and commercial dog food. Most dog owners that feed this way, supplement a basic meat and carbohydrate diet (chicken breast and rice) with small amounts of dry or canned commercial dog food. Others follow a program suggested by a celebrity veterinarian and feed exclusively commercial dog food part of the week and any combination of people food the rest of the week. The belief in these approaches is that the commercial food will provide the nutritional needs not met by the people food.
How Do They Make Dog Food?
Commercial dog food is required to be formulated in a specific way. It must be made so that when a dog is fed its needed number of calories it will also receive its daily requirement for all 42 necessary nutrients. The food is not super fortified. Unless the dog eats its entire calorie allotment it will not get the necessary amounts of essential amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals. I hope you see the problem.
If a dog is fed mainly chicken and rice, the small amount of supplemented commercial food will not fill the nutritional void. The diets are deficient in vitamins and minerals. These dogs may develop osteoporosis due to inadequate dietary calcium, possible muscle wasting due to inadequate amino acids and eventually poor immune response with susceptibility to infections and decreased skin and fur quality.
Feeding adequate amounts of commercial dog food and supplementing with people food is equally unhealthy. If a dog receives the proper amount of calories of commercial dog food, it will receive all of the necessary nutrients. If people food is added then excess calories are added to the diet. This promotes weight gain and the many medical problems associated with the overweight or obese condition.
What is the Best Homemade Dog Food?
As you can see from these two blogs, feeding healthy homemade dog food is not easy. Dog owners need recipe and supplement recommendations from veterinarians that can offer proof that their formulas meet the necessary daily nutrient requirements. As mentioned in the previous post 95% of all homemade recipes online and in popular books are nutritionally inadequate. Your dog deserves better than just being another statistical casualty of unhealthy homemade. The link below can help you provide your dog with not only completely balanced homemade dog food but a diet formulated to maximize the health and prolong the life of your dog.
~Dr Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN