Should I Feed Homemade Dog Food?


Doglicious Says " I love people food best"!

Homemade diets can be a wonderful choice for feeding a dog, especially after the commercial pet foods scare. When you're home-cooking your dog's food you can control the quality of the ingredients that go into each meal, and completely eliminate all of those harmful commercial food additives, colorings and preservatives.

It's true that correctly providing a homemade diet for  your dog can take commitment on your part. It can be somewhat more complicated, and slightly more expensive, especially if you have a larger dog. However, in the long run, you'll be rewarded with a happier, healthier animal, and have far fewer vet bills! You'll be just delighted when you see how your dog will thrive!

It's strongly recommended by many experts that, prior to placing your dog on any homemade diet, you discuss this option with your veterinarian, or a holistic veterinarian with an in-depth knowledge of canine nutritional requirements and who is in favor of homemade diets for feeding a dog.

For a list of holistic veterinary practitioners by state, see our "Dog Resources" page...

A Word Of Caution About Raw Diets!

There are a number of advocates who tout the benefits of feeding a dog raw meat. But there are also a great many veterinarians and "experts" who believe that raw meat can be extremely dangerous to everyone in the household.

So, who's right?

Salmonella, a bacteria associated with raw meats, is often implicated in serious illnesses in humans resulting from from raw meat contamination. Salmonella is present in some raw meats and eggs, but does not appear to cause as many problems for dogs as it does humans. Because of a dog's shorter gastrointestinal tract and quick elimination timetable, the bacteria does not have much time to multiply.

The experts believe Salmonella exposure does not present a great threat to healthy animals. In fact, it's been estimated that more than 35% of normal healthy dogs (most of which eat commercial pet food) already carry the bacteria, but have no symptoms . One study showed that, despite the fact that 80% of meat samples were positive for Salmonella, 70% of the dogs eating that meat tested negative.

It's important, however, to be very careful and try not to feed your dog any "non-organic raw ground beef", due to extreme contamination problems in the meat packing industry. It's also imperative that you avoid any cross contamination when handling raw meats, whether for yourself or when feeding a dog.

When discussing raw food, bones are a frequent subject . Everyone  accepts the fact that feeding a dog cooked bones is a serious no-no and is never to be done. Most raw food advocates, like Dr. Ian Billinghurst, creator of the "BARF" (Bones and Raw Food Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), advise feeding a dog "raw meaty bones." Presumably, raw bones don't splinter the way cooked bones do. However, there are many documented cases of even raw bones causing intestinal impactions or even perforations, which are deadly.

At the least, many dogs have fractured their teeth on raw bones; probably either from bones too big for the dog, or from bones left out too long--they dry out and become virtual concrete after as little as a few hours in warm weather. Grinding bones is a possible option; raw feeders claim that even ground bones will help keep the teeth clean. For super safety, though, human-grade bone meal from the health food store is the best bet.

The other main concern, expressed by veterinarians, is whether or not a homemade diet is balanced and contains all necessary nutrients. This is where education plays a big role. There are dozens of books and websites and other resources that provide adequate recipes. However, there is justified concern because over time, care givers tend to "simplify" or modify the recipe, dropping supplements or not varying the meats and vegetables used; this can indeed get you into trouble over time. If you do it, make sure you do it right.

Important Notice! Although we are long time dog enthusiasts and dog advocates, we are not veterinarians or professional animal nutritionists. Our purpose is strictly to provide you with information, so that you can make your own decisions. Any and all of the information contained or stated on this web site and on our blog is provided for general information purposes. The information provided is not direct veterinary advice and should not be construed as such nor substituted for a consultation with a veterinarian or dog nutrition professional. Every dog and situation is different. If you have any concerns about your dog's health, please contact your veterinarian's office immediately. We all love our dogs and want only the very best for them! "In Dogs We Trust"



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