There’s nothing like a healthy and delicious, homemade meal at suppertime. Guess what, the same feelings go for dogs, too. Do you enjoy eating the exact same food every meal? Of course not, and dogs experience this if you feed them the exact same dog food every now and then.
Dogs love homemade meals, but you need to be more careful about what you feed them because some foods that are a delight to us can be toxic for them. In this article, learn how you should feed your pups with homemade goodies made with love from you.
First off, you can feed your dog with either raw or cooked food. Oftentimes, raw food can be tolerated if the dog has lived in the wild, but for domesticated dogs, it might be dangerous. Leftovers are OK, as long as they are foods fit for human consumption, not fatty scraps.
If you want to give them cooked food, there are a lot of homemade recipes for dogs online that you can follow. Or treat them like one of your children or siblings and give them some of your home-cooked meal (but not all the time).
It is also important that you feed them with a wide variety of foods from different food groups for them to get the optimal nutrition they need. Here are some guidelines:
Meat and organs
This should make at least 50% of the dog’s diet. It’s the base ingredient for dog food since dogs grow well on a protein-based diet. Make sure to give them fresh meat, just as those you eat yourself. Meat appropriate for dogs includes pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, buffalo, venison, etc.
Avoid giving them too much fat because too much can lead to obesity. Limit the fat to only 15-20% of the meat you give. Unless your dog is active, give them lean meats as much as possible.
Liver is good for dogs. Beef liver is especially nutritious, but includes chicken and other types of liver occasionally as well.
Fish is also good, but not as a main staple. The best choices would be canned fishes such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.
Plus, you can include raw, meaty bones. These must only make up at least one-third to one-half of the dog’s total diet. Don’t feed them cooked bones.
Dogs lack the digestive enzyme needed to break down carbohydrates in grains. They just go right through the dog’s digestive track, and could cause canine disorders like obesity, arthritis, allergies, kidney disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Many dogs are fine with grains, but they should make up no more than half of their diet.
If you would give them grains, pick brown rice, oatmeal, pasta, quinoa and barley. Make sure these are well-cooked.
Eggs and dairy
Eggs are highly nutritious. However, the smaller the dog, the lesser egg you should give. Dogs that weigh around 20 pounds or more can eat a whole egg every day.
Most dogs tolerate plain yogurt, kefir and cheeses like cottage and ricotta cheese. Do not give them too much of other types if cheeses, as they are high in fat. Milk and other dairy-based products can upset their digestive system, so avoid them.
Fruits and vegetables
Some pet owners ask, “Can dogs eat fruit and vegetables?” Since these are good for humans, some are wondering if these are great for canines too. But the answer is: not so much. They don’t take much advantage from their nutrients, unlike humans do. Only 15% of the dog’s diet should be taken up by fruits and vegetables. Feeding them with some types of fruits and veggies can also lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even serious poisoning.
Certain vegetables are good for dogs, as long as they are cooked and/or prepared properly. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber while they are low in calories and fat. Despite the reputed benefits of some vegetables to your pets, keep in mind that you should feed them in small and controlled portions. Always consult your veterinarian or veterinary dietician first before trying to introduce something new to your dog’s diet.
Avoid tomatoes and mushrooms as they are considered toxic to dogs.
The following are the veggies that are good for dogs to eat:
- Asparagus: Asparagus is rich vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, and K, copper, folate, iron and fiber. However, since a dog’s digestive system is designed to break down meat, your pet may find asparagus hard to digest if it’s not properly prepared. That’s why it is important to remove the tougher and more fibrous end of the asparagus first, and then wash it thoroughly. Drizzle a little olive oil on the grill, and grill it for about a minute.
- Potatoes: Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber. However, you must not feed your pet a raw potato, because it contains a substance called solanine which is considered to toxic to dogs. Cooking the potato will help reduce the levels of solanine. The most preferred methods of cooking potatoes are boiling and baking – just cook them as is, with their skin on. Do not add any oils or seasonings, as these ingredients are not good for your pets. Avoid feeding your dogs with mashed potatoes, French fries or potato chips as they contain saturated oils, butter, milk and salt. These foods are considered unhealthy for your pooches.
- Carrot: Carrots are rich in vitamin A, K, beta-carotene, potassium and fiber. These vitamins and minerals can keep your dog’s fur and teeth healthy. Rinse the carrot well and cut both ends. Get your dog munching on this orange veggie, or cut it into pieces. You can also boil it for about 10 minutes, and then make a puree to be combined with dog food.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K, C, B1, potassium, biotin, magnesium and copper. You should peel and cut it, then remove all seeds.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables the dog can eat. It helps in maintaining red blood cell levels and preventing obesity. It can also help in preventing cancer. However, it should be given in moderate portions because it can obstruct the esophagus and cause gastric irritations if taken too much. Cut small flowers, wash them thoroughly and then boil for about 8 minutes until they become crisp and green.
Fruits contain a lot of sugar (fructose), so dogs must take them in moderate portions. Remember not to give them too much of these fruits and instead make them as supplements in their diet. Avoid giving them grapes and raisins because they can cause kidney failure. Cherries are toxic for dogs, too.
These are some fruits great for your pet:
- Apples: These are good sources of vitamin A and C, as well as fiber. Be sure to remove the core and the seeds first before giving them. It’s nice to give your pet frozen apples during warm weather.
- Bananas: Bananas are low-calorie treat for dogs if given in moderation. Their high sugar content doesn’t make them preferable as part of their regular diet. But dogs could benefit from bananas because these are high in potassium, vitamins, fiber, copper and biotin. They are also low in sodium and cholesterol.
- Berries: Berries like blueberries and strawberries make nice treats for your dogs. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber. Since these fruits are bite-sized, they could be great for training your dogs to catch treats in the air! And when we say treats, this means you must only give them just a few.
- Oranges: These fruits are rich in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Oranges serve as tasty treats for your canine friend. However, always peel off the skin and remove the seeds before giving it to them.
What are the symptoms of food poisoning?
Dogs would eat anything they see on the floor – it is quite difficult to tell whether your dog has ingested something toxic. But in case you have seen that in your pet, take them to your veterinarian immediately. The common symptoms of food poisoning in dogs may include any of the following: weakness, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, inability to control frequent urination, diarrhea and bloody stools, among others.
To prevent this from happening to your pet, avoid giving them the following foods: caffeine, alcohol, chocolates, dairy products, sweets, onion, garlic, chives, raw meat and fish, raw bones and sharp bones. Another, do not feed your dogs with snacks and drinks that are loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives.