5 Things To Know Before Making Your Own Pet Food at Home

October 5, 2022

More American households are welcoming pets into the family folds. For many, a pet is seen as another family member and is treated accordingly. That can mean home-cooked meals and treats. However, there are some things you should know if you are considering making your own pet food. Here are five facts that may influence your decision and help you choose the healthiest and most appropriate food for your pet.

1. Some Common Foods Are Dangerous for Pets

Some of your favorite foods are unsafe for pets. For example, onions and garlic are highly toxic for dogs and cats. In fact, there are many foods that people think of as special treats that are potentially dangerous. This includes avocados, dairy products, and meat trimmings, all of which can cause nausea, vomiting and anemia in cats.

That doesn't mean everything on your plate is bad for your pet. There are plenty of very healthy treats they can enjoy. As you are looking for answers to "can dogs eat blueberries?" you'll find that many fruits are perfectly safe. Not only that, they can help your pet get enough vitamins and boost hydration levels.

2. Dogs and Cats Have Very Different Nutritional Requirements

While you may be tempted to feed your cat and dog similar foods, they actually have very different nutritional requirements. Let's look at some of the core differences to uncover where you need to focus.

For starters, cats are obligate carnivores. That means they need the nutrients found in meat and animal-based products to survive. That is why feeding a cat a vegan diet would be dangerous, while careful planning makes it possible for a dog. Cats also need substantial amounts of taurine, niacin and vitamin A since they cannot make these on their own.

Dogs, on the other hand, are more omnivorous. They can — and will — eat both animal and plant products. Dogs digest grains more efficiently if they are cooked, so keep that in mind if you are choosing a raw diet.

3. Spices Are Not Your Dog's Friend

You already learned how onions and garlic can be dangerous to pets, but the problem doesn't stop there. Many common household spices and blends can be potentially fatal if your cat or dog eats enough. That includes some favorites like creole and steak seasonings, which often rely on a high allium content for some of their spicy kick.

That doesn't mean everything your pet eats must be bland. Cinnamon and ginger are considered safe and are a great addition to apple and pumpkin treats. Basic and parsley are good choices for more savory meals, and turmeric is an excellent addition that may help relieve inflammation.

4. Your Pet Food Should Address Hydration Needs

If you are considering making your own pet food, it is important to ensure it also addresses hydration levels. Cats in particular often struggle to get enough fluids, especially if they regularly eat dry cat food. Incorporating liquid ingredients can help you keep your pet healthy and hydrated. Raw food diets may also help, but be sure to check that the foods you use are safe for your pet and always practice proper food handling practices to limit the possibility of contamination.

5. Commerical Foods Have Added Vitamins

Before you jump in and start cooking every meal for your fur baby, consider that commercial foods must meet the nutritional needs of the target animal. It takes a tremendous amount of research and testing to create a food that is both palatable and nutritionally balanced. There is no shame if you are not able to take on the task. In fact, you are in the company of the vast majority of pet parents. Instead of stressing about it, look for high-quality food with the AAFCO seal to know you are buying a nutritionally balanced product.

Making your pet's food at home can be fun and rewarding. Before you decide if it is the right move for your family, consider what foods are safe for your pet and what ones are not, and how you will meet nutritional and hydration needs.

 

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