Should you make dog food yourself, or buy it?

A long-standing debate among dog parents is whether there are benefits to making your own dog food. For every pet owner who swears by self-made nutrition, there is another one who is all about store-bought food. Another layer to this argument is the superiority of organic, whole food blends over dry food. We will look into both sides of this and figure out what is the best option for you.

Nutrients that your dog needs in their diet

Large white Labrador eating out of a metal bowl
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Your four-legged friend needs a balanced mix of nutrients in their diet to stay healthy, whether you feed them homemade or store-bought food. The main staples needed for a dog to be healthy are:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Unlike cats, that are obligate carnivores, dogs do not need to feed exclusively on animal meat. They have a broader palate and can enjoy some vegetables and cooked grains in moderation. Most commercial dry-food formulas include the minimum recommended nutritional values and have a good balance for your dog.

Benefits of store-bought food

For most dog owners, nothing beats the convenience of buying food at the grocery store or specialized pet store. These foods are regulated to ensure proper nutrition and there are a number of options to choose from. You can select the easiest way and feed your dog dry food but also have the option to supplement with canned wet food. In recent years, there are more options made with raw ingredients and commercial fresh food specially formulated for dogs. It is a great way to provide your dog the closest thing to their natural diet in the wild. They are available in retail stores both frozen and ready to serve.

The problem with commercial dog food

Along with its many benefits, dog food that you buy at the store can come with some perils. The most dangerous is the possibility of tainted food that gets recalled after your dog has eaten it. Another reservation is the origin, number, and quality of the ingredients used. Some brands use filler ingredients and allergens that might harm your pet pooch.

Benefits of cooking your own food

By taking your dog’s nutrition into your own hands, you can provide the perfect meal for their well-being. You can help improve your pet’s health and increase their energy levels by feeding them a balanced and nutrient-dense diet made with quality ingredients. Our top reasons for cooking your own dog food are:

  • Ingredients retain maximum nutritional value.
  • Reduce allergies by eliminating filler ingredients.
  • Avoid recalls and possible contaminated food.
  • Limit your dog’s exposure to preservatives, artificial flavors, and chemicals.
  • Share ingredients that you already use for your own food.
  • You can batch-cook once a week and store for later use.

Remember to do plenty of research on the adequate diet for your dog according to their breed, size, age, and activity level. There are some vegetables and specific fresh foods to avoid, but once you know the right ingredients for your dog, you are good to go.

Another great benefit of preparing your own dog food is the opportunity to add targeted supplements to your recipes to make sure you are providing your dog with everything he or she needs.

Beagle eating out of a metal bowl
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Cons of preparing your own dog food

Feeding your furry friend a steady diet of homemade meals on a regular basis comes with some downsides. Keeping up with the daily need for fresh food is a series of challenges like the following:

  • There is an adjustment process to find the right balance – follow veterinarian-approved recipes to ensure proper nutrition.
  • Homemade food has no preservatives added and has a short shelf life.
  • The price of making your own food might be higher than commercial dry food.
  • If you don’t feed a well-balanced diet, your dog risks nutritional deficiencies and higher risk for disease.
  • By using raw ingredients, you increase the risk of food-borne illnesses.

Beyond the cons and pros of cooking your own dog food, being closely involved in your pet’s nutrition is one of the best ways to show them your love and appreciation. This is the best and cheapest way to ensure a long and healthy life together.

The choice to feed your dog dry food, homemade meals, or commercial raw diets is up to you and your personal circumstances. Not everyone has the time or budget to cook on a regular basis. It is totally acceptable to rely on quality, store-bought alternatives that provide ideal nutrition. Make your dogs the happiest and healthiest by feeding them the best food you can.

Want to know more? Here’s what you need to do when your dog has smelly ears.

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