Want to home-prepare your dog’s food? Awesome! There are several considerations you will need to keep in mind prior to choosing to DIY your dog’s food so that we make sure that your pup gets everything he/she needs, and you are ready to perform the task
Prior to choosing to homecook or homeprepare your dog’s food you will have to take into consideration these three more more practical aspects doing DIY dog food at home… And don’t worry – if you do find home-preparing your dog’s diet overwhelming at any point, there are many different fresh food options available on the market that you can use instead.
The first is that you will need to have both fridge and freezer space to store not only the ingredients to make your pup’s food, but you will need space to store the prepared food. Depending on the size of your pup and the batch sizes you are planning on making – you may even need a separate fridge/freezer setup just for your pooch!
The second practical thing you need to know prior to homecooking or homepreparing food for your pup is that – the process will be time-consuming to be done right. There will be weighing and measuring involved. Depending upon your recipe you may need specialized equipment just to grind up meat/bone, puree vegetables/fruits or even cook your dog’s diet. As someone who homecooked for about 3 years for two 50 lb dogs – I usually spent a good 4 hours just cooking my pup’s meals, and this did not count the extra grocery trips that were involved with preparing my dog’s food at home.
The third practical aspect you need to understand prior to stepping into the DIY dog food world is that you will need to follow a recipe, without any deviations. I feel this like can be very difficult for the seasoned cook where we might replace oils, meats, or even vegetables in our recipes due to seasonal availability or due to sales. For our pups – you can use multiple recipes (to provide variety), however you cannot switch ingredients within a recipe that is labeled as complete and balanced – the main reason for this is because each ingredient is unique, and is there for a reason nutritionally. But I will be speaking about this in more detail later.
Now if after reading all of the practical aspects of home-preparing food for your dog you are still excited to start on this journey – the next step is to find a complete and balanced recipe for you dog!
The fact is that you won’t be able to use just any recipe that you find online and cook it up for your pet and expect it to be “complete and balanced”.
At this point there have been multiple studies looking at online/book recipes both created by veterinarians and pet owners and 95% of them are just not balanced for your pup – which is why taking a trip to Pinterest for your pup’s recipe is probably not a good idea.
So where do you find “complete and balanced” recipes for pups?
There are a couple different options – first is to use a DIY kit or recipe that was created by a board certified veterinary nutritionist – the second is to work with a boarded nutritionist directly!
There are three places I know where you can go to get puppy recipes…
1. Pet Diets : sells DIY recipes for both puppies and adult dogs with various protein sources (starting at as low as $25), they also offer a custom recipe service : run by Lauren Gaylord, DACVN, DVM AND Rebecca Remillard, DACVN, DVM
2. Just Food For Dogs DIY Kits: these DIY kits come with a recipe and the vitamin supplement mix. All DIY recipes created by consulting with an ACVN diplomate, and recipes have undergone both AAFCO feeding trials and digestibility trials.
3. BalanceIT : a software that was created by Sean Delaney, DACVN, DVM – which allows a pet owner to create a complete and balanced recipe for their dog using their supplement.
Another option you can use is to work with a board certified veterinary nutritionist – there are 19 within the USA that will do client consults via email or over the phone with the referral of your veterinarian.
- Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas : Lindsey Bullen, DACVN
- Tufts Veterinary School, Nutrition : Lisa Freeman, DACVN
- Ohio State University Veterinary School, Nutrition : Valerie Parker, DACVN
- University of Tennessee Veterinary School, Nutrition Maryanne Murphy, DACVN ; Angela Rollins, DACVN
- All Creatures Nutrition : Meri Stratton-Phelps, DACVN
- Colorado State University Veterinary School, Nutrition : Jonathan Stockman, DACVN
- Virginia-Maryland Veterinary School, Nutrition : Megan Shepherd, DACVN
You can find a full list of DACVN diplomates on the ACVN website.
Make sure to join the conversation on Instagram to ask questions, find answers and connect with other pet parents. I’d love to have you as part of our community of pet lovers.
I hope you and your pup/s have a wonderful day, until next time my Canine Health Nuts!
About the Author: Nikki is a Registered Veterinary Technician (Veterinary Nurse) and Dog Mom with over a decade of experience with dogs and cats. Since graduation from college (BS Biology, AS Animal Health -2013) she has adopted two mixed breed dogs – Ranger and Ash, and has focused her time learning about pet food and nutrition.
Nikki shares information on a range of dog nutrition topics: from how to create a homemade complete and balanced dog food recipes, to how to choose a dog food. Nikki strives to give dog parents the information they need in order to make the best nutrition decisions for their pup!
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