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Is Cooked Food Healthy For Dogs?

Contrary to popular belief, cooking homemade food for your dog is not inherently healthier than store-bought food. Dog food companies develop recipes to ensure that your dog’s food has all of the important nutrients that they need. Here’s what you need to know if you plan to cook fresh food for your dog: 

The Truth About Home-Cooked Dog Food

Fresh, home-cooked food appears healthier and more organic because you control the ingredients in the recipe. The taste of a warm, home-cooked meal on a chilly day is invaluable! However, with dogs, home-cooked food is not so simple because their diets require more regulation. 

When your pup visits for a check-up, their food is almost always a topic of discussion because it’s their primary source of vitamins and nutrients. According to Chewy, one of the biggest mistakes that pet parents make when deciding to cook their dog’s food is not having enough veterinary counsel to support any changes in diet. So, before you start the meal prep, consider the benefits and challenges of cooking for your dog. 

Benefits of Cooking Your Dog’s Food

Add Superfoods to Their Diet

One of the primary benefits of cooking your dog’s food is that you can give them healthy foods that you won’t find in store-bought dog foods. For example, ginger and pumpkin both offer great health benefits that can strengthen your dog’s long-term health. You can gradually incorporate those foods into your dog’s diet. Also, it could become your pup’s new favorite treat!

Give Them A Home-Cooked Meal

Although store-bought food contains a good amount of nutrients, it’s normally not freshly made. Your dog would probably appreciate some fresh new ingredients in its bowl. Also, you know your dog best, so you know what foods make their tails wag. When you add those foods to a home-cooked meal, your dog can see how much you appreciate them. 

Help Them With Allergies

If your dog has allergies or a sensitive stomach, home-cooked food might help them digest their food. You can use custom recipes that avoid their trigger foods and offer better diet alternatives. This approach can help make their life easier. 

Challenges of Cooking Your Dog’s Food

Cooking Without Seasoning

Adding seasoning to your food is habitual for many people, so you must remind yourself not to season your dog’s food. Many common seasoning and ingredients that people love to add to their food, such as garlic, can be deadly to dogs. If you plan to make a home-cooked meal for your dog, remember that bland is better. 

Risks of Health Condition

Every day, your dog needs a balanced nutritional diet to ensure that they grow strong and maintain their health. According to the Veterinary Nutrition team at Tufts University, when dogs don’t get the nutrients they need, they can develop severe health conditions that might be irreversible. Also, your dog might need special nutrients based on its breed and age. If you still decide to cook your dog’s food, the team at Tufts only recommends vet-approved recipes. 

Lack of Sufficient Research

UC Davis conducted a study on homemade dog food recipes and found that nine of the two hundred dog recipes they found from sources contained the nutrients needed for a healthy pup. Therefore, research on healthy recipes for homemade dog food is still developing. So, talk to your vet before trusting a recipe that you find on the internet. 

Healthy Natural Foods That You Can Give Your Dog

If you want to give your dogs some natural food that can help them live a healthier life, try a few foods to use as treats! Trupanion provides a list of healthy foods that your pup can enjoy. Here are a few of the highlights: 

  • Apples 
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potato
  • Watermelon

Instead of replacing your dog’s food with a homemade recipe, try a snack pack with these treats! That way, they can get their nutrients with some additional health benefits.  

Be sure to prep the food so that your dog can eat it safely. Slice the fruits and veggies instead of giving the whole food to your dog so you can use portion control. Also, be sure to remove any seeds or skin. 

Talk to A Vet at Care First About Your Dog’s Diet

Ultimately, everyone’s dog is different, and you have to decide what works best for your pup! Interested in making the switch to home-cooked food? Contact Care First Animal Hospital today so we can discuss the best healthy foods for your dog. 

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