The Pending Health Epidemic for Dogs: Unhealthy Homemade Dog Food – Part 2

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.

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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

Homemade Dog Food Recipes and Supplements

There are 6 comments

    1. Dr Ken Tudor

      Thank you. Sure, feel free to contact us by any means listed on our website. Just click on the Hearthstone Homemade box above and it will take you there.

  1. Run A Muck Ranch

    Isn’t it possible that the problem with homemade diets is the unwillingness of vets to assist clients in formulating diets appropriate to the patient?

    Ours is a home that lost due to recalls. We can’t be blamed for making the switch to home made. The transition would have been much easier if I had veterinary guidance – but it wasn’t there (multiple vets, even holistic ones). Still, through research,not of off the shelf books, but the vet school texts and peer reviewed journal articles, I have a diet plan (not a specific meal), without additional supplementation, that is holding up in blood tests of my dogs. More than a year with no deficiencies or other problems in labs (on dogs, not the diet plan), all previously medicated dogs (various conditions) are off meds and doing very well per vet exams and labs, and my vet STILL says I am playing with fire feeding on my own.

    I think a better response to a person asking a vet about home making food, rather than don’t do it, would be a discussion about the work and detail involved in doing it right. If the client is willing to put forth the effort, the vet should support and monitor.

    Is home making for everyone? No. If a person is not willing to do it right, stay with commercial. But if someone is willing to do what is required, the vet should be the guide.

    Just my humble opinion.

    1. Dr Ken Tudor

      Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. Don’t get me wrong, we are all about homemade, it is our business. We truly feel that it is a better way to feed dogs for healthier, longer lives. But each meal needs to be correctly balanced. Our fear is that so many people are feeding homemade without guidance and good intentions may end very badly. Unfortunately routine veterinary blood tests will not reveal nutritional deficiencies. That is why the caution from your vet. Deficiencies may not show up for years and may be in the form of conditions like osteoporosis, which can only be diagnosed in later stages by x-rays.

      It is a shame that more veterinarians do not take the time to help owners formulate healthier homemade. Unfortunately, nutritional training for veterinarians is limited and most do not know how formulate such diets, especially when it comes to the necessary vitamin and mineral supplementation.

      And your are also right that homemade is not for everyone. But those that are willing to put in the effort should have a healthy alternative. Again that is why we founded Hearthstone Homemade. We have formulated 109 cooked meat recipes and 93 raw meat recipes and developed supplements that will balance each recipe and provide extra nutritional advantages with antioxidants and omega-3 fats.
      You might want to visit our website and check out our program by clicking on the link at the end of the article.

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