More and more people are beginning to make their dog's food at home rather than buying commercial formulas. Homemade dog food doesn't contain any substances that could possibly be harmful to your dog's health such as artificial coloring and artificial flavors.
Another reason to make homemade dog food is the preservatives added to the commercial dog food. Homemade dog food has the benefit of optimum freshness without preservatives.
There are dogs that would greatly benefit from a homemade diet. Some dogs who suffer from allergies that cause severe itching may find relief once switched from commercial dog food to a homemade diet.
Processed dog food is a relatively new product and scientists don't fully understand the differences between commercial food and a diet of fresh food. There may be problems occurring in a dog's health because he is being given food that has had the nutrients cooked out of it and then sprayed back on.
It's also possible that the extremely high heat used to produce commercial dog food may alter the protein structure in the meats used. It's not proven whether such protein alteration negatively affects a dog's health, and since dogs seem to maintain their regular health during regulated feeding trials most people feel that commercial food is good enough to maintain their dog's health.
What if you want more than to give your dog a food that is "good enough". There are many recipes you can use. There are ebooks available with a variety of recipes that will provide your dog a well-rounded diet full of nutrition and every vitamin and mineral he needs
There are certain foods you want to avoid, such as fatty meats, cured meat, (sausage, bacon, hot dogs), any fried foods and raw pork. You also want to avoid any milk, cream, ice cream, pastries, white bread, sugary foods, grapes, raisins and onions. Also, keep in mind that anything you consider to be junk food would not be good for your dog.
Healthy foods to give your dog would include raw or cooked lean cuts of meat: beef, poultry, lamb, whitefish and fatty fish (like salmon). Also included in a healthy diet are cooked grains, eggs (raw or cooked), finely chopped or ground raw vegetables (remember, no onions), and bits of fruit (again, remember to give your dog no raisons or grapes).
These are just the basics. There are books on the subject that provide great recipes and a full list of good foods and foods to stay away from.
A basic formula for a homemade diet would be 50 percent protein, 25 percent vegetables (ground so they are easy to digest), and 25 percent grain (such as rice and oatmeal). Add to that some supplements of certain vitamins, minerals, and oils rich in omega-3 for healthy skin and coat.
There are some pets that do not do well on a homemade diet so be sure to check with your vet before making any changes to your dog's diet. After making the change, pay attention to how your dog responds. Not all dogs thrive on a homemade diet.
Some dogs may have trouble adjusting and others might not like the food or suffer from temporary digestive upset. Slowly changing the dog's diet, gradually giving more of the homemade food and less of the commercial, can help alleviate stomach upset.
If you have the time it takes to prepare your dog's food, or feel very strongly about providing your dog with the best diet possible, a diet of homemade food can't be beat.
Carol Stack enjoys writing about dogs. She lives with her husband, children, four dogs, and seven cats in the United States. Carol and her daughter Christy have created a web site for dog lovers that offers tips on how to select, care for, and train a dog. Please visit the site at http://www.christysdogportal.com.