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What You Should Know When Cooking For Your Pets

Thinking about cooking for your pets? Choosing a fresher diet is a step in the right direction. A fresh cooked diet is usually lower in carbs, more bioavailable, and more hydrating than kibble, not to mention more delicious to most pets.

But cooking for pets isn’t as simple as tossing a pack of chicken into a crockpot. Your pet’s nutritional needs are much different from that of your family’s, so it’s also not ideal to give them dinner scraps as their primary diet.

If you’re interested in learning to prepare balanced, nutritionally complete meals for your pets, here’s what you should know to get started.

Common Issues With Home Cooked Pet Food
There are many pages that come up when you search “home cooked dog food recipes,” or “homemade cat food recipes,” but the majority of these recipes are not designed by a veterinary nutritionist. Fed on occasion, they are typically harmless, but over time, they can lead to nutritional deficiencies in your pet.

Growing puppies and kittens are especially prone to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. An unbalanced diet can lead to skeletal deformities, a weakened immune system, blindness, and even death.

For fully grown pets, poorly designed homemade diets can still be a hazard to their health. A diet with too much fat can cause an acute pancreatitis attack. Too little calcium can cause weakness and muscle spasms, while too much can lead to kidney stones.

Even if you find a home-cooked recipe online that has been formulated by a vet, it may not be suitable for your individual pet. For example, smaller pets need smaller serving sizes to match their proportions, but they tend to have a higher metabolic rate, so a diet designed for a medium-sized dog may not have the correct caloric density for them.

The Right Way To Cook For Your Pets
Cooking for your pets doesn’t have to be risky or complicated. The best way to design a balanced home cooked diet is to work with a veterinary nutritionist. Many offer affordable online consultations and can create a menu with several recipes that are perfectly tailored to your pet’s needs. Find a certified veterinary nutritionist through the American College Of Veterinary Nutrition Database.

If you are not ready to do all of the research required to properly feed your pet a home-cooked diet, you can boost their regular diet by adding fresh toppers. Since most commercial pet foods are high in carbohydrates, it’s best to leave out ingredients like rice, oatmeal, or potatoes. Meat, fish, and eggs can make up no more than 15% of your pet’s diet. Just make sure their portion is lean and free of added salt, sugar, and certain seasonings. Basil, parsley, and many other herbs are safe for pets, but onions and garlic are not. When in doubt, leave it out, or just ask your vet.

There are also great commercial alternatives to conventional pet foods. Wysong Frozen Raw Pet Food and Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Pet Food & Base Mixes are complete and balanced, yet less processed than kibble. To ensure you’re making the best choice for their needs, talk to your veterinarian before making major changes to your pet’s diet.