Wyatt is our best friend, professional snuggler, tree enthusiast, water hound, wiggly dancer and all around tiny baby. In my perfect world he would live forever as the healthy and frolicking hound he is now. And even though I’m aware that will never happen, I’m doing my best to provide as long and lovely a life as he deserves.
Because he’s a precocious tiny mushy fur ball of fun.
You are what you eat, as the saying goes. Well, then most of the time Wyatt is a hefty bag of Nutro Natural Choice, preferably the venison one. A few times a month, however, he’s a big bowl of homemade goodness.
Veterinarians are very enthusiastic about homemade food, when introduced appropriately. There are some things to consider though, The main concern is that pet parents, though they mean well, are not providing the appropriate amounts of calcium their dog needs. That’s why most vets will highly encourage a regimen of part store-bought food and part homemade. Store-bought food will always have enough calcium, sometimes even more than enough. Homemade food, on the other hand, ensures you know exactly what is going into your hound and ensures whole foods which are better digested for nutrient absorption.
Remember to always serve their food at room temperature, alongside plenty of water. As far as portion control goes, 1.75 cups per day per 30 lbs. is a good place to start for an active dog. Always check with your vet before introducing a homemade diet.
Below are the typical ingredients found in Wyatt’s bowl:
Chicken (baked plain or boiled, shredded): Protein needs to make up 40%, but no more than 50% of the serving
Brown Rice: A great basic starch, though there are other options (see below)
Apples (skin on): Full of Vitamins A & C, as well as fiber. Absolutely do NOT feed your dog apple cores, however, as apple seeds contain cyanide. Once or twice as an accident will most likely not affect your dog, however if eaten as a regular treat, apple cores will cause deleterious effects.
Cottage cheese: A great source of calcium, though not enough on it’s own to meet the high-calcium needs of your dog. Also a lean protein. Most dogs do well with dairy, but when first introducing it into their diet start with small amounts.
Eggs (scrambled): A source of easily digestible protein, as well as riboflavin and selenium. Make sure you’re feeding your dog cooked eggs, though, as raw egg whites can cause a biotin efficiency. Remember that a little baggie of scrambled eggs can be a great as training treats! Dogs weighing more than 25 lbs. can have a whole egg every day, though give less to smaller dogs.
Sweet Potato (white or orange): Another great source of fiber, as well as vitamins B6, C, beta carotene, and manganese. Feed small chunks of cooked sweet potato in your homemade dog food, or you can dry out thin strips in the oven and give to your hound as a chewy treat!
Carrots: Low calorie and high in fiber and beta carotene. Can be cooked, or given raw as a treat and good for their teeth!
Calcium Carbonate: 600mg per 15 pounds of body weight. If you’re mixing a homemade diet with store-bought food, however, you do not need to supplement as heavily. Most store-bought dog food has adequate or even excessive amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
Other delicious ingredients to consider including:
For starches (25% of serving): Whole grain pasta, barley, oats, beans, quinoa
For Fruits & Veggies (25% of serving): Bananas, kale, blueberries, peanut butter, melon, carrots, collard green, zucchini (remember that raw vegetables must be pureed or cooked to break down their cell walls and render them fully digestible to dogs)
For good fats: Fish oil, cod liver oil, canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, coconut oil
There are SO many “people foods” out there that are perfect for your best bud, but a handful can be potentially life-threatening. Here are common foods that you should never ever give your dog:
Grapes, raisins, apple cores, cooked meat bones, raw Pacific salmon, trout, large amounts of liver, raw broccoli or cauliflower, whole leafy greens, macadamia nuts, walnuts, chocolate, tea, coffee, onions, excessive amounts of garlic
If your pooch is having any kind of respiratory problems, symptoms of arthritis, or inflammation, stay away from members of the nightshade family. This includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.