Expert Q&A

Read this before you decide to whip your dog up a sampling of Grandma’s old-fashioned stew. (Or any other homemade recipe, for that matter.)

Read this before you decide to whip your dog up a sampling of Grandma’s old-fashioned stew. (Or any other homemade recipe, for that matter.)

BY: Cheryl Lock

Q: Can I feed my dog homemade food?

A: It’s only natural that we would want to share some of our favorite recipes with our favorite friend – our dogs. But is that a smart idea? Here’s what Oscar E. Chavez, DVM, MBA, Member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, has to say about it:

You certainly can feed your dog homemade food – as long as it’s a balanced, tested recipe. Just five years ago, I would have leaned toward a ‘no’ answer, as there weren’t many proven options to support pet parents in making their own dog food. That’s changed, though. Here’s something to remember though: Wild dogs, without veterinary nutrition and care, only live about six years, on average. Thus, the incredibly long lifespan we are achieving in our domestic dogs today must be due to something, and it’s unlikely to be just evolution, as the time range is too short for them to have evolved an advantage in this respect, and there are no natural selection pressures in the pampered pooch lifestyle.

Thus, biologically, the only explanation is balanced veterinary nutrition. For this reason, a home-made diet must be balanced in order to continue to provide the life extending benefits we have come to expect. My dog, Rey, is a 16-year-old Golden Retriever still going strong—and he’s had a balanced meal all his life.

“Good” recipes will attempt to balance a majority of the food with wholesome ingredients. Keep in mind, though, that achieving a daily complete nutritional balance with ingredients alone is practically impossible. Just as we need our daily multivitamins, homemade diets are balanced by adding a specifically compounded vitamin and mineral supplement blend to the food at the end of cooking it.

And beware of ‘one size fits all’ powders or blends that claim to balance any mix of ingredients. Instead, a specific blend should be used for each ‘recipe’ of home-made ingredients, custom tailored for that specific purpose.

Find out what your dog’s nutrition has to do with his appearance here.

Cheryl Lock is an editor at Studio One. Her work has appeared online at Petside and Pet360, as well as in print in publications like Parents, Family Circle and Runner’s World. She lives in New York with her adorable rescue cat, Penny, and a rabbit named Nugget.


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