NUTRITION 101: Shortfalls of Home-Cooked Dog Food

by Healthy Barks Social August 24, 2022 7 min read

NUTRITION 101: Shortfalls of Home-Cooked Dog Food

Cost of Nutrition imbalance in home-cooked meals 

Are you spending enough time with your dog or are you constantly worried about preparing your dog’s next meal?

While we as pet parents always want to feed the best food to our dogs, and have this perception that preparing meals at home would be the healthiest options of all.

But, is it really the optimal choice for your dog?  

Is a home-cooked meal fulfilling all the nutritional needs of your dog? Is it complimenting your dog’s health or making it worse? Is it veterinarian-approved? Have you considered the life stage of your dog before preparing meals for him? Is the calorie-content in your dog’s home-cooked meal taken into consideration? 

Worry not! while home-cooked meals might be considered fresh and hygienic, it is crucial for pet owners to meet the personalized nutritional requirements of their dog while choosing a particular food. 

 

Lack of Nutritional balance in Home-cooked Meals

We often neglect the fact that a home-made diet is an incomplete diet. Like humans, every dog is unique with his unique dietary needs. Home-cooked meals don’t seem to match that. So if you are thinking of a home-made meal as the healthiest meal choice for your dog, you might want to reflect on that.  

Dogs need to be fed a “complete and balanced” diet consisting of a variety of nutrients. Lack of nutrition intake can result in severe health problems in dogs. 

According to Pet Med, a balanced diet should contain protein, vegetables, novel grains, fat, and micronutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids for skin and brain function in dogs. Apart from this, dogs need 50 vital nutrients in their diet including Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus. 

Pet Med says, “The balance between these nutrients is important, too.” #Reality Check:  If your dog has a number of diseases, such as arthritis or renal disease, feeding him an incorrectly balanced diet might worsen his condition. 

In such critical cases, home-cooked meals can’t serve the purpose and  it becomes even more important to consider your dog’s personalized needs and give him a veterinarian consulted diet which is complete with all the nutrition your dog needs. 

A poor diet can result in a number of serious dog illnesses including:

  • Skin and Fur conditions
  • Obesity 
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Rickets
  • Increased Allergies and Hair Loss 
  • Inconsistent bowel movements/ Unusual behavior 
  • Dull Coat
  • Growth disorders

According to Pet Med,Obesity,Pancreatitis,Bladder Stones,Heart disease, andDiarrhea are the5 Common Dog Illnesses impacted by nutrition.

 

Unsafe Ingredients 

We often are not very aware of the ingredients we should use and the ones we should avoid. Pet owners using the same “human food ingredients” for their dogs is not always enough and fails to incorporate the necessary supplements that are crucial for the dog’s health. Mistakes in cooking at home can lead to drastic long term effects. Some of the human foods that are unsafe for your dog include avocado, chocolate, onions, raisins, grapes, etc.

Here is a video showcasing a list of food that are toxic for your dog:9 Foods That Will Kill Your Dog 

If you feed your dog:

(1) Just Curd Rice

(2) Milk chapati

(3) Boiled veggies,

Stop Right Away! 

Exclusively feeding human food to your dog will not provide your dog the correct nutrition that he needs to maintain his health and good body condition. Dogs need nutrients in comparativelyhigher concentrations than can be provided through ingredients like yogurt, cottage cheese or milk.

The curd or milk do not meet the optimal calcium needs of dogs and result in weakness, loss of appetite, lactose intolerance, and restlessness in dogs. 

Here is an article that summarizes the effects of insufficientCalcium in Homemade Dog Food leading to serious health issues like loss of muscle control, bone pain, swelling, limping,spontaneous fractures, losing teeth, neurological signs, and as severe as death. 

Moreover, dogs thrive on a diet that is made up of primarily animal protein, and their digestive system is not made to handle large quantities of vegetables. Adding large amounts of vegetables to a dog’s diet may cause digestive distress as veggies have cellulose in them which are difficult for dogs to break down.

This is the reason why dogs often leave behind veggies which don't get digested easily.Also, if you are cooking vegetables for your dogs, the process has already drained vegetables of 40 to 60% of the total nutrients.

Some vegetables have elements that interfere with the absorption of minerals, and others, such as the nightshade family including tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplants and peppers that contain solanine, an alkaloid aggravating inflammation in dogs. 

Hence, it is recommended by canine nutritionists and veterinarians to switch to a complete and balanced diet for your dog in order to fulfil the unique nutritional requirements.   

Too many or not enough calories in home-cooked food 

Canine obesity is one of the major problems faced by pet parents that can be a life-threatening one in the long run and can also give rise to plenty of age-related conditions in dogs. This is majorly due to overstuffing the dogs with an unnecessary number of meals.  

While preparing meals at home, we often end up either with a lot more calories than required or a lot less. Home-made meals don’t meet the calorie requirements of dogs. Every nutrient has to be fed in moderation. 

If you are adding a lot of fats to your dog’s diet than actually required,  it can lead to inflammation of the pancreas whose functions include digestive enzyme production, and blood sugar regulation. When this happens, the digestive enzymes are forced out of the pancreas and into your dog’s abdominal cavity. Now since the only thing present in their abdomen is their own tissues, your dog’s body starts eating away at itself.  

On the other hand, if you are limiting fat in your dog’s diet, it can result in extreme weight loss. Hence, low-fat diets mean depriving your dog of the vital fats that provide him with energy to support activity and metabolism. The same goes for carbohydrates and proteins which are also to be fed to your dog in moderation. While choosing your dog’s diet, make sure that it is rich in meat, fat, and is complemented by limited complex carbohydrates. 

This leaves us with the fact that giving nutrition in the right amount to your dog is the only way to bringing up a happy and fit dog.  

Let’s take a case in point:

Bella

Kramer

Gender

Female

Male

Breed

Beagle

Golden Retriever

Age

2.5 years

14 months

Stage

Adult

Puppy

Weight

10 kgs

38 kgs


Following are their personalized diet plans catering to their unique nutrition requirements: 

source:healthybarks.in / Personalized Diet Chart for Kramer (Male, Golden Retriever, 14 myths, Puppy, 38kgs)

source:healthybarks.in / Personalized Diet Chart for Bella (Female, Beagle, 2.5 yrs, Adult, 10kgs)

The diet charts show us the difference in calorie requirements for both dogs where one is a puppy and the other one an adult. Themacronutrients (these are the nutrients used to supply energy and nutrition to every part of the body) i.e. Protein, Fat, and Carbs are also divided accordingly. Similarly, themicronutrients (these are the nutrients that the body gets from digesting macronutrients) i.e. vitamins (13 in total) and minerals (11 in total) are derived according to the specific requirements of Kramer and Bella respectively.

Macronutrients are the foundation of a dog’s diet. So it is important to assess the diet in order to make the most beneficial and nutritious choice for them.

These diet charts are formulated by an experienced in-house nutritionist at Healthy Barks and are designed to fulfil complete and balanced nutrition for the dogs. To create your dog’s diet chart, and take a look at your dog’s specific nutritional requirements, you can log in tohealthybarks.in and click onGet Started.

 

Considering the Life Stage of your Dog 

Most of the pet parents have this misconception that dogs of all ages can be fed a similar type of food.This is a myth. A puppy’s diet needs to be twice or five times the nutrition content of an adult dog’s diet. Having said that, hyper-nutrition can be a huge problem in giant breeds. It is important to adjust the diet according to your dog’s growth needs. 

For senior dogs, as they become less active with age, diseases or conditions can further complicate their diet, more than any other age. The diet also depends on the size of the breed. A senior dog will need fewer calories but will need fiber and protein in higher amounts. 

Home-made Dog Food can be Expensive 

It becomes inconvenient to measure, cook, portion, and store your dog’s food routinely and takes a considerable amount of your time that should instead be spent with your dog. Moreover, home-made dog food can be expensive as it relies on costly ingredients.

Even more if you are opting for all organic ingredients. We, atHealthy Barks, are providing the first 7 meals absolutely free to all the pet parents, formulated by our clinical pet nutritionist and personalized for your furry family.

You can use the code HBFIRST on checkout. Go ahead and try out something new. You may be surprised by the difference that an appropriately balanced diet and proper nutritional supplements can create in your dog’s life.

Most pet-parents often struggle with managing their pet’s nutritional requirements. We help pet parents with fresh, complete and tailored nutrition for their pets by providing personalized meal plans (made fresh with real ingredients) specially designed to meet their pet’s health needs, and formulated by a veterinary nutritionist so that they stay worry-free & can get on with spending real-time with their dogs.

We are currently serving in Bangalore. So, if you reside in Bangalore, book a free, in-person consultation with the Healthy Barks family at https://www.healthybarks.in/free-consultation or feel free to call or drop us a ‘Hi’ on WhatsApp at +91 - 76767 20200. Come and enjoy a food tasting session with us!

PS: If you have any additional queries, or would want us to cover any specific topic, feel free to tell us in the comment section below.

Happy Wagging & Healthy Barks! :D


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