28 Jul Homemade Pet Food: How to Have a Balanced Diet
Pet parents around the globe have one wish: for their fur baby to be healthy, happy, and safe. The diet plan and food being consumed by a pet is of paramount importance for the maintenance of their health and happiness. A balanced diet will lead to your pet having a strong immune system which can ward off any potential diseases or threats. A balanced diet is also critical in their development, as a lack of certain vitamins and minerals impacts them negatively; their age-specific development, behaviour, temperament, and their coat.
Given how the diet of an organism plays a fundamental role in their subsequent growth and development, it comes as no surprise that pet parents are opting out of pre-packaged food items and switching to a more homemade diet for their babies. Pre-packaged food items are often riddled with preservatives, not to mention being exorbitantly expensive when compared to home cooked foods. Therefore, homemade meals for your pet are not only more economical, but healthier as well. You can prepare your pets meals at home, provided you have balanced and quality ingredients while doing so. Let’s take a look at what these are.
Meat is a central part of a homemade meal for your pet. Meat constitutes 3/4th of your pet’s meal, and if you have a carnivorous pet, its where they get a sizeable amount of their protein intake. Some different types of meat you can provide your pet with are chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey. Fish can also be served, but sparingly. Since this ingredient makes up the majority of your pet’s meal, it is important to only purchase high-quality meat for homemade recipes. Specify meats which have no more than 20% fat content. Chicken hearts and livers are typically the easiest to source and most nutritional meats you can feed your pet.
Vegetables are important for your pet, but not quite as important as they are for us humans. At any given point, vegetables only constitute 1/4th of your pets’ meal. They are a source of vitamins and minerals, but it is difficult to prevent a loss in their nutritional value while adding them to your pet’s diet. Typically, it is more efficient to puree vegetables as opposed to chopping them, as chopped vegetables are not as easy to digest for pets. Vegetables you can include in your pet’s diet include squash, zucchini, pumpkins, carrots, peas, beets, yams, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans.
What to Avoid
While cooking for your pet at home is a fabulous endeavour, you should be mindful of the composition of said meals, to prevent any adverse reactions. Ingredient selection is key, because obviously, including something your pet cannot digest or is harmful to them is problematic, whether done unintentionally or otherwise.
The first thing to avoid is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient which are the main source of energy in humans. But, for animal and pets, they are not quite so beneficial. Dogs, for instance, cannot digest carbohydrates; they lack the necessary digestive enzymes to do so. Instead of providing them with energy, carbs simply pass through their digestive systems and are a cause for concern. Dogs are adversely affected by carbs, which trigger a host of issues in them: obesity, diseased kidneys, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease, to name a few. It is best to leave carbs on the shelf when concocting a homemade recipe for your furry friend.
Fruits can be had, but again, it depends upon what kind. A dog may have apples, cucumbers, peaches, watermelons, mangoes, bananas, and strawberries, but there are other fruits which may prove fatal for their health
- Grapes: This fruit may be commonplace in households, but even a small amount can be extremely fatal to your dog. Make sure to store them well out of reach of your dog.
- Cherries: The cherry plant and its seeds contain cyanide, and should not be fed to your dog. While they can eat the fruit around the seed, it is better to avoid it completely.
- Tomatoes: While the ripe fruit is not toxic to dogs, the green stem can upset their stomach. Best to simply avoid it.
- Raw Potatoes: Similar to tomato stems, raw potatoes have solanine, which upsets a dog’s stomach.
- Avocados: The pit, skin, and leaves of the avocado fruit contain persin, which is a toxin which causes diarrhea and vomiting.
Supplementing Their Diet
Regardless of how good a cook you are, or how reputed the recipe you’ve selected is, it will probably not cover 100% of their day-to-day nutritional requirements. You pet will need supplements in their food if you’re cooking every meal for them daily. But, don’t just run a google search about pet supplements and start adding them in according to the first result. Your pet is unique, their needs are unique, and so are their supplementary needs. Consult your veterinarian professional before even considering any supplements for your pet.