Things to consider before DIY-ing your dog’s dinner, and other top tips to keep your pets happy and healthy.
Many animal owners consider their pets to be members of the family. As such, this means that they want to give them the best care to ensure that they live long, healthy lives. And since we all know that the cornerstone to optimal well-being is a balanced diet, it’s only natural that people would want to feed their canine companions the freshest and finest food available.
Most people buy their dog food at grocery stores or from their local veterinarian. The kibble available at conventional retailers is more cost-effective, but doesn’t always offer the best nutrition, and it is often loaded with artificial dyes and chemicals. The more upscale variety that can be bought from vets often have ranges catering to specific breeds or health requirements and conditions. These are also considered to be the healthier option in general, as they contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary for your pet’s healthier development.
But, more increasingly, dog owners are looking for options that don’t come in a sealed bag with an extraordinarily long shelf life. This has led many owners to consider the idea of making their own dog food instead. If you are one of them, here’s what you need to know before becoming your pooch’s personal chef.
Dog’s dinner, DIY-style
It’s only natural that loving pet owners would want the best for their animals, and this extends to their daily diet. But not all commercial dog foods have been made equal, with many now containing low-quality ingredients. Others, however, are created by trained animal nutritionists who understand the dietary requirements for dogs. However, as it goes, the better the formula, the higher the price tag.
The raw-food movement has also been gaining traction all across South Africa, with many dog owners now claiming the benefits of this diet. The raw meat blend can be purchased from several pet shops and requires some assembly, with owners adding anything from leafy greens to raw eggs for an extra boost. Despite its growing popularity, however, veterinary experts have cautioned that it can lead to parasites and even bacterial infections.
But what about serving your pooch a home-cooked meal? While this might seem like the most wholesome option, it comes with both pros and cons. It will require you to do some thorough homework so that you can ensure that your dog’s diet is a balanced one, and that process could turn out to be extremely time-consuming.
The most obvious advantage to preparing your dog’s food is that you are aware of all the ingredients going into it. It also guarantees freshness and allows you to cater to even the fussiest eater. The downsides are that it has a shorter shelf-life and might not meet the nutritional needs necessary for healthy development and long-term well-being.
While it’s not impossible to make the switch from shop-bought to home-made dog food, it will require time and lots of research to strike the perfect balance. A mix of vet-endorsed dry or wet food with the addition of some dog-safe vegetables and supplements can ensure that your four-legged friends live a long and happy life.
While making their food might be more complicated, treats are significantly less so. Many animal owners bake biscuits and treats for their pets in much the same way as they would for themselves. Because, as we all know, nothing beats home-made when it comes to freshness and flavour!
Try These Easy, Three-Ingredient Dog Treats to Bake for Your Best Friend:
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs
• Add the flour, peanut butter and eggs to a bowl and mix until combined.
• Slowly start adding water until the mixture has reached a wet, dough-like consistency.
• Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Then roll out the dough and cut out dog treat shapes.
• Once the oven has reached temperature, put in the dog treats and bake for about 20 minutes. Once baked, set aside to cool.
TIP: Carrot, pumpkin and a variety of fruit and veg can be added to baked doggy treats.