Veterinarians put dogs on prescription diet food for various reasons, including weight management, skin issues, allergies, urine crystallization and other ailments. However, prescription food is often packed with fillers that cause weight gain, or the food is unappetizing, making it difficult to get a dog to eat it. Prescription food is also expensive. A solution to this problem is to cook for your dog at home.
Why Cook at Home?
Cooking at home for your dog can be time consuming and frustrating, but the benefits of using home cooked diets can keep your dog from eating kibble foods with fillers and additives as well as being able to control exactly what your dog eats and therefore allowing you to feed your dog based on his ailments or needs. According to veterinary consultants at petdiets.com, the No. 1 reason vets will not recommend a home-cooked diet is due to a lack of nutrients, so talk to your vet about what supplements to add to your dog's daily diet.
Meat provides much-needed protein and vitamins when included in your dog's diet. Chicken, beef, lamb and organ meats are healthy choices based on sodium, potassium and calcium levels required to maintain a healthy dog. White fish is also an option for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs. Do not add spices or sauces to the meat while it's being cooked because these may upset your dog's digestive system.
Vegetables and Fruit
Vegetables and fruits are important to include in your dog's home-cooked diet. Vegetables such as green beans, carrots, peas, broccoli and spinach are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Frozen or fresh veggies are best and can be combined with other foods from the meat or grains groups. Fruits are not necessary for a dog's diet if it is getting enough vegetables, but apples, blueberries and pears are beneficial.
Dogs can also eat foods like eggs, plain yogurt, brown rice, yams and cottage cheese in addition to their main diet, but be sure to avoid foods with additives. A daily multivitamin is necessary to ensure the proper intake of nutrients to keep your dog healthy and active. Make dog treats at home using the dog's daily diet food so you know exactly what is in them.
Get to know your dog's nutritional needs according to weight and activity levels. Make food once or twice a week to package and store for quick access to dog meals. If you do not think you can commit to cooking for your dog, find out the main ingredients in the prescription dog food and research online and in pet stores to find a comparable food that may have more benefits.