Should You Make Your Own Dog Food?

Every dog owner wants the best for their pet. It's why you shower them with toys to entertain them while you're away from home. You spend your free time walking them around your neighborhood or cuddling them so that they know they're special. It's also why you may take a keen interest in what they eat, especially when it comes down to their daily kibble.

You may have spent the last few months or years going to the pet store to get food for your dog. After all, there are plenty of options to choose from, but are they right for your pet? Other people make dog food at home. Learning how to do the same could improve your furry best friend's health and happiness.

Read on to discover if you should make your own dog food and what pros and cons it includes. Depending on your pet's lifestyle and nutrition needs, you can decide how to give them their next meal.

1. You Can Avoid Allergens

Food allergies are more common in canines than you might think. You've seen dogs eat human food off the dinner table and snack on leftovers they find in the trash. They seem to want to eat everything in sight, but that doesn't mean their body can digest that food.

While dogs can have milk and cheese, for instance, some are lactose-intolerant and can't process the foods well. You should also avoid almonds, garlic, and anything with cinnamon. It's normal for pets to have slightly sensitive stomachs or food allergies, which can make safe store-bought products hard to find. If you make your dog's food, you can avoid all the allergens your vet points out so that your pet always has a risk-free meal to enjoy.

2. You May Lose Nutrients

Dog food brands can add specific nutrient requirements to their kibble blends. Every bag of food should contain essential daily nutrients like carbs, fats, and proteins. Additionally, dogs need vitamins and minerals. Even if you know that carrots and broccoli are suitable for your pup, they may need to consume more than they can eat to get nutrients from across the food pyramid. It's often easier to read a label than put together a well-rounded meal.

3. You Can Make Unique Flavors

Many dogs jump at the chance to eat anything they can find, but not all. Certain breeds may become picky eaters early in life, with Boston terriers, pugs, and poodles known to be more stubborn than others. If you've cycled through the kibble bags at your local pet store with no luck, try making your pup's food and add flavors you know they love. That might be a spoonful of peanut butter, a splash of chicken broth, or fresh veggies they can munch on instead of dry bits.

4. You'll Need a Large Freezer

Another thing to consider when you make dog food is that it doesn't store the same way as kibble. You'll need to bag up each portion and either freeze it or stack it in your fridge. Anyone with a small refrigerator might struggle to find space. Plus, you may need to schedule some time every few days to making food. With this routine, your pet's diet could be more time consuming than necessary. 

5. You Might Save Money

Making your dog's food could end up saving you money, depending on which kibble brand you buy and how often you restock. The only way to know for sure is to check the price per portion on a fresh food recipe compared to the store-bought variety. Even if it costs more upfront to get the groceries for your pet's meals, it may save you money by being cheaper per serving. 

Consider Your Pet's Needs When Making Food

Dogs live long and happy lives on both fresh and pre-packaged food, so your decision relies on what they need. Think about what health conditions they have, if they're sensitive to some items and if you have the time or space to store what you make. You'll come to the right decision if you take time to think things through and get as much information as possible.


Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk.

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