As I’ve mentioned before, I make most of my dogs’ food at home in my own kitchen. It’s quite an undertaking, having good food on hand for two meals a day for two hungry dogs, but it’s totally worth it.
When I prepare my dogs’ food at home, I know exactly what’s in the food, and I love the peace of mind of knowing my mutts are eating wholesome, healthy food.
Another reason I cook for my dogs is the fact that Miss Nike, my Pit Bull mix, has so many allergies. We haven’t been able to figure out exactly which foods affect her, but I know the things I make from scratch don’t seem to bother her.
Once you make the decision to start cooking for your dog, it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll feed her. A few of the things I’ve incorporated into my dogs’ diets are:
- Skinless, boneless chicken breast (which my husband is kind enough to cook on the grill!);
- Lean ground beef;
- Lean ground turkey;
- Eggs, usually scrambled but honestly, the dogs will eat them in any form;
- Cooked brown rice and oatmeal;
- Sweet potatoes;
- Bananas, blueberries, and apples;
- Raw and cooked carrots, green beans, and celery;
- Cooked spinach;
- Cheese, milk, and plain yogurt;
- Peanut butter.
Note: Some foods to avoid include grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, corn, and chocolate.
The obvious challenge of cooking at home for your dog if you don’t happen to be a dog nutritionist – which I’m not – is making sure she’s getting everything she needs for a healthy, balanced diet.
Clearly, what your pet needs is determined by her age, weight, and activity level, among other things. There’s no one better to guide you than your veterinarian, so I strongly advise talking to him about your decision to cook for your dog before you start.
Of course, I understand that not everyone has the option of cooking at home for their dogs, and that’s okay. There are a few wonderful commercial dog food brands I recommend with complete confidence, like Hill’s. Hill’s makes Science Diet, Ideal Balance, and Prescription Diet (all of which my dogs and cat have eaten at one time or another).
(Hill’s also offers a plethora of information about pet care, nutrition, diseases, and more. They can answer a question as simple as “How often should I feed my dog”, or more complicated ones regarding issues like hip dysplasia in dogs and hyperthyroidism in cats.)
As always, I encourage you to do your research and read labels so you know exactly what you’re feeding your pet, and never feed your pet food or treats made outside the United States.
Do you cook for your dog (or cat)?
I’d love for you to share some recipes and tips with me in comments below, or visit our Facebook page and join the conversation!