The 411 on Making Your Own Pet Food

beagle in kitchenWhether it is in search of a healthier option, concerns about food allergies, or looking to save a few dollars, pet owners everywhere are turning to making their pet’s dinner in their own kitchen.

Putting together a nutritious, delicious meal for your dog or cat may seem like an easy task, however it is more of a challenge than many people anticipate. Keep reading to learn more about making your own pet food before taking the leap.

The Positives of Designing a Custom Diet

There are many reasons why pet owners choose to make a diet at home for their pet, and there is no doubt that there are potential upsides to doing so. A nutritious, balanced diet is absolutely crucial to your pet’s overall health and well-being.

Formulating your own diet can:

  • Allow you to know the source and quality of every ingredient your pet is consuming
  • Give you flexibility in adding or avoiding certain ingredients
  • Let you tailor the diet more specifically to your pet’s individual needs

If you want to be sure your dog eats local, you can do that. If you want to be sure that your cat isn’t getting any grains, no problem. Homemade pet food diets can be anything that you wish. What’s not to like?

The Downsides of Making Your Own Pet Food

As with many things in life, making your own pet food isn’t as easy as it sounds. While throwing some chicken and veggies in a bowl and serving them up to your pooch may seem straightforward, pet nutrition is a very complicated science.

When thinking about making your own pet food, consider:

  • Feeding pets, especially larger dogs, a properly formulated quality meal can get quite expensive
  • It is easy to mistakenly deprive your pet of important nutrients, especially certain vitamins and minerals, if the diet is not well formulated
  • Food allergies account for far fewer pet allergy problems than owners would like to think
  • Raw or improperly cooked diets can pose a risk for Salmonella exposure – to both pets AND people
  • Most diets, even when well formulated, need added supplements to achieve proper amounts of specific nutrients

If you do choose to make your own food, a good formulation is essential. It is important to work with a trained animal nutritionist to find a recipe that works for your pet and not rely on Internet sources that may or may not have valid information. Once you have a plan that results in a balanced diet, it is also important to resist substituting ingredients or experimenting in the kitchen. Even seemingly harmless substitutions can have dramatic impacts.

Any time you change your pet’s diet, it is also very important to pay close attention to how things are going. Take a step back and assess your pet’s weight, coat, and overall health before and a few weeks after starting the new diet. No matter how good something looks on paper, it isn’t helpful at all if your pet isn’t thriving.

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, your pet’s health is our top priority. If you have concerns or questions about your pet’s nutrition, we are always happy to discuss it with you. Please let us know if you need help choosing a diet, understanding your pet’s food label, or guidance should you choose to make your own pet food.