The Pros and cons of Homemade Dog Food

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Deciding if Homemade Dog Food Could Benefit Your Pet & Your Pocketbook

Do you want to feed your dog a healthier diet, but when you look at the price tag at the pet store realize that you can’t afford it?

Join the club.

It’s true that you get what you pay for, and I’m not saying the prepared homemade diets you can buy at the pet store are overpriced. You are paying for good food, and the time it takes a company to prepare it.

The reality of your finances is still, however, a reality. If you want to feed your pet a homemade diet, but you can’t afford the pet store options, homemade dog food is an option worth considering.

If you have the time to invest, making your own food can have a substantial positive impact on your dog’s health.

Why Consider Homemade Dog Food?

dog in sunglasses licking lips because he is hungry for homemade dog food

There are numerous reasons dog owners consider homemade dog food. Some owners do it because of a specific medical issue their dog is encountering; some simply want to give their dog a higher quality of food.

In my case, it was my first dog, a golden retriever named Allie. When Allie was 11 years old, she had a grand mal seizure out of the blue.

Within days, she had another. After researching online, I realized she was having “cluster seizures,” where she would have multiple seizures in a few-day period, then go weeks with none.

The first thing I did was pay my vet to do a blood draw and sent it to Hemopet, an animal blood lab in California headed by Dr. Jean Dodds.

They analyzed it, and Dr. Dodds said that while Allie’s thyroid was in the “borderline low end of normal” range according to the standard applied to blood tests, it was considered too low for an 11-year-old golden retriever and could be contributing to the seizures. She recommended thyroid medication, and also a change in diet.

I started researching diet changes (Canine Guardian Angels is a phenomenal resource for dogs with seizures), and made an appointment for Allie with a holistic veterinarian.

I ended up switching to a diet of raw ground up meat and bones, blended veggies, and supplements. Once I had a plan/recipe, I ran it by my holistic vet to be sure I wasn’t missing anything nutritional, and he added some supplements which address seizure issues.

The results were amazing. Allie’s seizure clusters became much further apart, and each cluster consisted of fewer seizures, maybe 1 or 2.

Pros and Cons of Homemade Dog Food

veggies and meat laying on wooden table

When you are considering making your own dog food, think through these pros and cons to help decide if this is something you want to do long-term.

PROS

1.    Treats and Reduces Health Issues

Formulating your pet’s diet to specifically address any health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, seizures, allergies, and more can result in a significant reduction or elimination of their health issue.

2.    Healthier Overall Dog

Dogs on homemade diets have softer shinier coats, better gut health, healthier skin, fewer teeth issues . . . the list goes on. A healthier gut has been shown to build a stronger immune system.

3.    Less Poop to Pick Up!

When you feed your dog homemade food, the dog’s body uses more of the food, resulting in less “waste” coming out the back end.

In addition, your homemade diet won’t have all the fillers added that dried food does, also reducing the volume of stinky-ness you have to pick up in your yard each week.

4.    Happier & More Energy

We all know that when we eat better, we feel more rested and have more energy. Same goes for dogs – homemade meals mean happier pups with healthy energy.

5.    Lower Vet Costs

If a dog eats healthier, chances are you will need fewer vet visits during the year.

6.    Peace of Mind

With dog food recalls every few months, it has become nerve wracking to even choose a dried food. The “what ifs” make you worry each time your dog seems “off.”

With homemade dog food there is a huge peace of mind knowing exactly what goes into everything your dog is eating.

CONS

1. Time (at the beginning, and shopping/making meals)

You will need to spend time figuring out how to make your homemade dog food nutritionally balanced (this can be skipped if you have a vet that can give you approved recipes), and time each week making the food.

 2. Potential for Nutritional Deficiencies

When you decide to make homemade dog food, not doing your homework can result in nutritional deficiencies for your dog.

3. Certain Foods Can Be Dangerous to Dogs

There are certain foods out there that are poisonous to dogs. You need to check each ingredient that you feed them to be sure it is safe and healthy for your dog to eat.

4. Expensive – But Pays Off In Fewer Vet Visits And Medications

At first glance making homemade dog food seems expensive compared to buying dry dog food.

But you have to remember that you may be saving hundreds, or even thousands, in vet visits that your dog doesn’t need because it’s so healthy. We all know that one vet visit can get expensive – fast.

5. Inconvenient to Travel

Homemade dog food needs refrigeration – this can be a pain in the butt if you travel. But, it’s not as bad as you think: either pack an extra cooler and keep a block of ice in it, or switch your dog to dried for the vacation.

They will still be way ahead nutritionally if they are on homemade food the rest of the year.

Your Dog Will LOVE You!

woman in kitchen making homemade dog food
Photo by Monicore

One thing that is guaranteed – your dog will absolutely LOVE her dog food. I’m sure there are random picky eaters out there who won’t, but I have yet to hear a story about one. My dogs all go berserk for their meals.

How Can I Learn More About Feeding Homemade Dog Food?

If you’re interested in learning more about making your own dog food, here are some good books to read, both to learn more and to have as a reference for recipes if you decide to take the plunge and make your own:

**note: this post contains affiliate links. No one paid me to recommend these products, I recommend them because I like them. By using the link to buy the products you are helping support happynaturaldog.com!**

Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs

book cover for Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodford

Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, Revised Edition: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals

Raw and Natural Nutrition For Dogs by Lew Olson PhD

Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs

book cover for Yin and Yang Nutrition for Dogs

Still Wondering? Why Not Give it a Try?

cute dog lying in the grass
Photo by Viktoria B.

When you read about making homemade dog food, it can become overwhelming.

At a certain point, if you are still interested, I would just take the plunge and try it for a month. If it turns out to be too much for you to handle, nothing lost – just switch back. 

And you may try it and be amazed, and never go back.

For those of you who have made homemade food for their dog, comment below and share what recipes you chose or how your homemade diet has helped your dog. The more people share the more we all learn!

Naturally,

Karen

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Karen Pedersen Written by:

Karen is an independent copywriter who loves dogs and everything about them. She is married to Scott, has 4 kids, and likes to take a natural and holistic approach to living and pet ownership.

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