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Like human beings, dogs need a balanced diet. Just because your canine won’t resist any tasty food that he comes across doesn’t mean that you should forego giving a broad variety of healthy foods. A dog’s balanced diet is made of vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals. They play an essential role in keeping the dog string and healthy.
Essential Nutrients to Include in a Dog’s Homemade Food
Homemade dog food should have all the essential nutrients. By knowing the exact nutrients that your dog needs, you will have an easy time selecting the ingredients. Here are the vital nutrients that should be in a dog’s homemade food:
Proteins and amino acids: These are the building blocks of the body cells. They help in the growth and development of muscles. The amino acids are also responsible for improving the dog’s immune system and stimulate the metabolism.
Carbohydrates: The primary role of carbohydrates is to give the dog energy. This nutrient keeps the dog moving and physically active.
Minerals: There are different types of metals that a dog needs. Your dog needs calcium to strengthen his bones and teeth.
Vitamins: Some of the vitamins that you should include in a dog’s homemade food include K, B12, B6 among others.
Nutritional Composition of Dog’s Diet
Although all dogs need the above nutrients, their dietary requirements differ depending on the age and stages of life (1). A puppy has different nutritional requirements from an old or reproduction dog. As a dog owner, you need to take note of these differences to ensure that your canine gets the right quantity of nutrients.
Here is a breakdown of different nutritional requirements of dogs (2):
If you have a puppy, the homemade food should have 29% protein, 20% calories, 7% carbohydrates, 5% vitamins, 9% water and 4% minerals.
For an adult dog, the nutritional composition should be made of 26% protein, 40% carbohydrate, 16%fat, 10% water, 6% vitamins, and 6% fiber.
Tips: If you own a lab puppy like me, you may want to know more about how to find the best dog food for lab puppies.
Why Dogs Homemade Food?
Many dog owners are usually torn between buying commercial dogs food and preparing homemade dogs food. There are lots of benefits that your dog can get from homemade food (3).
One of the benefits is you can be sure of the nutrients that your dog will be getting. All you need is to add the right ingredients that contain the specific nutrients.
Do you know that the ingredients listed on the packets of commercial dog’s food may not be there? Also, homemade dog food for puppies is not laced with preservatives.
Without further ado, here are the eight essential ingredients that must be included in homemade dog food.
There is no doubt that eggs are rich in calcium and protein. For this reason, you should include them in your dog’s diet. Eggs contain two critical digestible proteins: selenium and riboflavin. They can increase the protein content in a dog’s food.
It is not advisable to feed your dog on raw eggs as this can cause biotin deficiency (4). Instead, give him boiled eggs as they are easy to prepare. Scrambled eggs will cause no harm to your dog.
Dogs are carnivores. In fact, it is the first food ingredient that should pop into your mind. The most popular types of meat that you can give your dog include chicken, beef, and pork.
When it comes to this ingredient, the debate is usually whether to give your canine cooked or raw meat. If you intend to add meat into dog food for puppies, consider cooking it. The digestion system of puppies is quite delicate hence they need something soft and tender.
Vets recommend that you should feed your dog on grass-fed meat instead of the grain-fed beef (5). This is because some grains contain dangerous hormones that can affect the dog’s health.
Fish contains some potent nutrient ingredients that play different roles in improving a dog’s overall health. Some of these nutrients include protein, fatty acids and vitamin D. Fish species that can make up a perfect dog’s food ingredients include tuna and salmon.
However, you need to be cautious with the proportion of fish that you use as ingredients. This is because some species such as tuna contain worrying levels of mercury. It is also advisable to go for boneless fish as this can protect the canine from getting choked.
Yogurt is a rich source of protein and calcium. Given that it is easily available; you should consider adding it as an ingredient in the dog’s food. The canines will be able to enjoy the nutritional benefits of yogurt.
However, you need to be cautious when processing yogurt for the fish. Do not use a flavored or sweetened flavor. Some flavors and sweeteners can cause some degree of harm on the dog’s food. Ensure that the yogurt has zero or low-fat content.
Although they are carnivores, dogs can also devour green vegetables. A dog can easily eat popular green veggies such as spinach, green beans, and asparagus. This means that you should consider adding these greens in the dogs’ homemade food.
Greens are rich in several nutrients ranging from proteins to vitamins. They also contain essential nutrients that can promote the growth of your pooch. Apart from vitamins A, B, K, and E, green vegetables also contain some essential minerals such as iron and manganese.
Just like in human beings, some dogs loathe green vegetables. The trick here is to start by incorporating small quantities of greens into a dog’s food.
Carrots are rich in vitamins, and fiber. They also contain low levels of calories. The vitamins in carrots can improve a dog’s, eyesight (6). Crunching carrots is also good for the dog’s teeth.
Pumpkin contains carotene and fiber. The leading role of these two nutrients is to streamline the digestion process. They ensure that all the food that your dog is eaten is adequately digested and utilized by the body. These nutrients can also reduce incidences of constipation and diarrhea.
Both the canned and cooked pumpkin can do the job perfectly. You can also add pumpkin puree directly to the dog’s homemade food only that you need to be careful with the quantity. Too much of pumpkin puree can make the dog obese.
Like vegetables, fruits are also suitable for dogs. You need to add them to the dog food for puppies. Most fruits contain vitamins and minerals. These nutrients end up in the dog’s body to perform various roles.
Some fruits can improve the dog’s immune system while others assist in the digestion process. While preparing the fruits, remove all the seeds as they can end up harming the dog.
However, you should take note that not all fruits are beneficial to the dog. Some are toxic. Some of the best fruits that can be used as ingredients for a dog’s food include apple, pears, blueberries, bananas, peaches, pineapple, watermelon among others.
You have an indispensable part to play in ensuring that your puppy remains healthy and happy. The first step is to focus on the food that the pooch eats. Do not just feed the dog to suppress her hunger.
Check if the ingredients in the food will add any nutritional value. A healthy dog’s food should contain the above eight ingredients. If not, find a way of combining them into the food. From a more in-depth analysis, you will discover that each element in the dog’s diet has a unique role that it plays. By combining them, you can be sure that the food will have a significant impact on the canine’s health.
Ruby is the proud owner of Pet So Fun. She is also responsible for the abundant content creation on the website. She knows that there are millions of pet owners looking for the right kind of information online. And this is where her expertise lies. Smith writes about pet care health and fitness along with the best pet product recommendations. There is nothing on her blog that doesn’t encourage others to create a healthy and friendly environment for their pets.