Is your homemade diet giving your dog every nutrient they need ?
Feeding your pup a complete and balanced diet is very important – and we know so many people who want to jump into cooking or home-preparing their dog’s food which is not wrong but you have to do it the right way. And the “right way” is often complicated and there’s always room for some serious mistakes.
“Complete and Balanced” means: If a dog food is labeled “complete and balanced”, it means that it provides your pet the right amounts (in the right proportions) of every single nutrient that your dog's body needs: every day, every meal.
Dogs’ nutritional needs are different from our own, so it’s important to provide a diet that is balanced with the appropriate nutrients needed to optimize your dog’s health. These nutrients include calories to maintain weight or encourage weight gain or loss; protein; fat; vitamins; and minerals. Not enough or too many of any given nutrient can lead to diseases, malnutrition, obesity, and in some cases even death.
A few of the common health risks associated with unbalanced dog food are –
- Joint pain or diminished mobility
- Low energy
- Weak Immunity
- shorter lifespan
- less interest in the activity
- skin issues as a result of compromised resistance to infection
- greater risk of complications during surgery
- Reproductive organ issues
It may seem very exciting to choose ingredients to feed homemade food to your dog, but it’s extremely difficult to provide all the correct vitamins and minerals in the correct quantities at home. That’s because it takes years of research to know how each vitamin and mineral interacts with each other and whether they need other factors, such as certain amounts of moisture or fiber, in order to be effectively absorbed by your dog’s body.
The majority of the homemade pet food recipes are unbalanced, finds a study that examined 106 homemade diets for dogs and cats and found all 106 diets were deficient in at least one nutrient. Most recipes had no precise determination of ingredients and quantities. The most frequent nutrients below recommendation were: iron (68·3 % of the recipes for dogs; 100 % of the recipes for cats); vitamin E (82·9 % of the dog recipes; 84·6 % of the cat recipes); Zinc (75·6 % for dogs; 88·4 % for cats); Calcium (73·2 % for dogs; 73 % for cats); Copper (85·4 % for dogs; 69·2 % for cats); choline (85·4 % for dogs; 69·2 % for cats); riboflavin (65·8 % for dogs; 11·5 % for cats); thiamine (39 % for dogs; 80·7 % for cats); and vitamin B12 (61 % for dogs; 34·6 % (source -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5672303/ )
It is important for your dog’s health to provide nutrients in the correct amounts to avoid excess or deficiency. So, while you can get recipes for generic homemade dog food online, in books, in magazines, or from a friend, not all recipes have been checked to make sure they are nutritionally balanced. A 2013 study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the School of Veterinary Medicine found that a vast majority of homemade recipes are lacking in nutrition. Researchers analyzed 200 different recipes for home-prepared dog food majority being the meat-based recipes. The results showed that 95 percent of the recipes were deficient in at least one essential nutrient and 84 percent were lacking in multiple required nutrients.
There are 37 essential nutrients that your dog needs to get from their food to be healthy and hearty. Making pet food at home is a big commitment and a complicated process. There is always a scope for some or the other mistakes. Cooking your dog’s meals at home would be advisable only under one circumstance the recipe should be formulated by a veterinarian or by a pet nutritionist. To balance any diet whether homemade or commercial, supplements are often needed to ensure that the meals are balanced, particularly when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Preparing a diet that contains all the 37 essential nutrients and fulfilling AAFCO nutritional requirements without adding any supplementation is next to impossible, and adding these supplements just by you at home is not that easy. Follow all veterinary advice to be sure that you’re providing the appropriate amounts of nutrients and that the diet is balanced. Your veterinarian can also give guidance on the types of dog supplements you will need and recommended brands.
The better and safe way to go is to opt for a good commercial dog food brand that is complete and balanced without artificial preservatives and with added vitamins and minerals. Commercial diets include nutritional completeness. This means that you don’t need to worry about vitamin or mineral deficiencies or supplementing your pet’s diet. The basic requirement for any suitable diet is that it is ‘complete and balanced.’ In dogs that are fed a raw or a home-cooked diet, if this is not balanced accurately this can lead to malnutrition and consequently abnormal bone mineralization growth abnormalities and other health issues.
The product you opt for should have the label “Follow or exceed AAFCO/FEDIAF nutritional guidelines for dogs” or “complete & balanced” on the packaging. You will also find the added vitamins and minerals in the ingredient list of the balanced dog food and if you find no added vitamins and mineral then there is a 99% possibility that the product is not complete & balanced and do not follow any nutritional guidelines and standards.
“There are commercial foods that can be purchased that contain whole ingredients that are pre-cooked. Which is very close to cooking, So, while you might think that cooking for your dog is better for their health, it can be just as beneficial to purchase pre-prepared food that’s made with the same principles in mind. Whichever method you choose, just to make sure you are always catering to your dog’s health and nutrition needs.” says Dr. Bartges to American Kennel Club. Source – (www.akc.org).
With Freshwoof you don’t have to worry about anything at all. Freshwoof has been lab-tested to provide all the essential nutrients a dog needs, following American, Indian, and European nutritional guidelines for adult dogs. And just like a homemade food Freshwoof is made with real human grade ingredients without any nasties like artificial preservatives, harmful chemicals, by-products, and artificial colors and flavors. Just healthy and complete dog food made with love in an FDA-certified facility. Freshwoof supermeals is also recognized as one of the "Best Dog-Food Brands in India" by grabon in 2022.
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