The Guide to a Balanced Diet including Human Food for Our Beloved Dogs

What Your Furry Friend Needs to Stay Healthy and Happy is a Balanced Homemade Dog Food Diet!

A balanced dog food diet is essential for a healthy, happy pup. It’s crucial to provide your dog with the proper nutrients to live a long, healthy life. A balanced diet for dogs should include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. By providing your pup with the right balance of these nutrients, you can ensure they have all the energy and nutrition they need to stay active and healthy. In addition to providing essential nutrients for your pup, a balanced diet also helps prevent obesity and other health issues associated with an unhealthy diet. Understanding what makes up a balanced diet for dogs and its benefits can ensure your pups’ happiness and healthy for years to come.

Critical Vitamins to include in your Dogs Diet

Ensure your pet gets the best care; getting familiar with the basics of a balanced home-cooked diet is vital. To help you out, here are some key components that you should include while discussing options with an expert.

Protein: Dogs need to gain ten essential amino acids from the protein in their diets. Their bodies create these acids and act as building blocks for glucose production, which turns into energy. Animal proteins are excellent protein sources and include chicken & turkey without the bones, fat & skin, beef & lamb and pork in moderation. Other fish protein sources include salmon, whitefish, herring, walleye and flounder.

Fats and Fatty Acids: Animal fats and plant seed oils are a canine diet’s most concentrated fat sources. An appropriate diet supplies essential fatty acids that are not produced naturally by the dog’s body. Fatty acids are critical for cell functioning, healthier skin & coat and increased palatability. These can come from plant-based oils like corn, soybean, canola, flaxseed, and fish oil.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to dogs and found in various forms, such as sugars, starches, and dietary fibers. Familiar food sources of carbohydrates for our canine friends include rice, pasta, oatmeal, and quinoa.

High Fibre Content

Fibre: Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for dogs, who need adequate fibre in their meals. Feeding them food with high fibre content like carrots, apples, pumpkin, dark green leafy veggies, brown rice, or flaxseed can help keep their GI system functioning correctly and prevent them from gaining unnecessary weight.

Multi-Vitamins: Vitamins play an integral role in the development & upkeep of dogs. If these essential nutrients are not present in their daily diet, it can lead to health issues. However, excess vitamin consumption can also be unhealthy for your pet.

Dogs need a variety of vitamins to stay healthy, such as A (carrots, pumpkin), B (liver, green veggies, whole grains), C (fruits/veggies & organ meat), D (liver, fish, beef), E (leafy greens, liver & bran/plant oils) K (fish & leafy greens) and choline. Ensuring your pet gets the proper amounts of each vitamin is essential for their well-being.

Importance of Minerals

Minerals: Dogs need 12 minerals to stay healthy, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus & more. These minerals are vital for the well-being of your furry friend.

  • Eating foods rich in calcium (like tofu, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower) and phosphorus (meat & eggs) can help strengthen bones & teeth.
  • Fruits, Vegetables with whole grains are rich in vital minerals like magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride, which are necessary for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and cell signalling.
  • Sulphur-rich foods such as meat, fish or molasses can improve the health of your skin, coat and nails.
  • Red meat & poultry not only provide you with iron and help keep your red blood cells and immune system healthy.
  • A healthy thyroid includes iodine-rich sources like dairy, kelp, and seafood in one’s diet.
  • Foods rich in zinc, such as eggs, lamb, liver, and brewer’s yeast, can help boost your immune system while also promoting healthy skin & coat.
  • Selenium-rich foods such as meat, vegetables, seafood and brown rice can help to boost your immune system. Eating these nutritious components can ensure that you are maintaining a strong and healthy body.
  • Copper-rich foods such as whole grains, seeds, and seafood can help your body grow and develop strong bones.

Water is essential to a dog’s diet, and you should remember to give it to your dog. Finding any dog food with the required amount of water is challenging. Therefore, you must always keep clean and fresh water out for your furry friend.

Feeding Human Food to Dogs

Do You Consistently Feed Your Dogs from the table?

Before pet food products were available, dogs were fed leftovers from human meals. This old-fashioned form of feeding saw a resurgence in 2007 when the untold deaths of cats and dogs occurred due to melamine-tainted food manufactured in China. Pet owners are now opting for home-cooked meals for their beloved animals as they want to be sure of the ingredients used in their pet’s diets. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice among pet owners today.

While this is an acceptable way to feed your pet, some human foods aren’t good for your dog. Some foods are toxic to animals. So, before you start scraping your leftovers into your pet’s dish, you should have a solid foundation on your pet’s dietary needs and which foods are safe and unsafe for your pet to eat.

Did you know that many Human Foods are safe for dogs? Discover 20 such food items that your dog will love!

Our furry four-legged friends can enjoy many of the same foods. Some examples are:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oatmeal
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Hard Cheeses, such as Gouda, Cheddar, and Swiss, are popular among cheese lovers.
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Salmon
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut butter

Human Foods a Dog Should Never Eat

There are certain items you must avoid giving to your pet, and these include:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Yeast dough
  • Bacon is one of the many foods that contain high levels of sodium.
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Soft drinks
  • Avocados
  • Foods containing Xylitol
  • Chewing gum

Feeding The Right Kind of Food

Ensuring your pet’s health and well-being is essential to being a responsible pet owner. One way to keep them healthy is by feeding them the right food. To help you make the transition from commercial pet food to homemade meals, here are some tips to help you get started. With a few simple steps and some guidance, you can begin providing your pet with a nutritious and balanced diet using ingredients already in your fridge or pantry:

1. Purchase meat and bones from your local butcher or grocery store to make homemade pet food.

2. Vary the types of meat you offer, such as beef, pork, chicken, and fish (or ground turkey). Look for cuts that are higher in protein and low in fats.

3. Use all animal parts by including muscle meat (like ground beef) and organ meats (like liver). The liver is an excellent source of iron and other nutrients, so it’s a good idea to incorporate one or two livers into each meal.

4. Dishes like ground pork with lentils and chard can be even more nutritious and delicious when added veggies. Try adding vegetables to those recipes for an extra boost!

5. Include healthy fats like avocado and olive oil in dishes to boost satiety and give your meat a richer flavour. It can also help balance the proteins in a plate so that the dog does not feel too hungry or too full after eating it.

6. Cook ground meats at higher temperatures for shorter duration’s to ensure their texture doesn’t break down when you add them to your recipe (cooking them for 2-3 minutes should be sufficient).

7. Speak with your vet to ensure that any home-cooked meals you are providing your pet are meeting all of their nutritional needs.

Make the Change from Dog Kibble to Human Food Gradually

A gradual transition to people’s food is the best way to move your pet onto its new diet. It’s usually a good idea to give them about a week of slow adjustment to avoid unnecessary stomach issues. Additionally, monitoring your pet during this period should indicate how their body reacts to the changes.

To transition your pet to the new diet, start by introducing a small amount of fresh food mixed with their old diet. Over the next week, gradually increase this ratio until they entirely switch to their new diet.

Mixing 25% fresh and 75% old food when transitioning your pet to a new diet is best. Do this for the initial few days and observe your pet’s behaviour & eating habits.

Wait for two days and if everything looks alright, begin to incorporate kibble into human food. Increase it bit by bit, so you eventually reach a 50:50 ratio after four days and 75% new and 25% old food after six days.

Finally, if your dog tolerates the food well, feed them 100% new food after seven or eight days. It’s a good idea to keep your regular feeding routine, mealtimes, and eating areas the same while transitioning your pet to a new diet. Talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about how your pet is transitioning to fresh food.

Adding Human Food to Dog Kibble

If you want to give your pup a balanced, nutritious meal with added flavour, here are some great ideas for kibble mix-ins:

  • A whole egg can be either raw or cooked, whichever way you prefer.
  • Integrate a can of cooked salmon into your pup’s kibble for essential nutrients and a delicious meal.
  • You can add raw and lightly steamed vegetables to your dog’s kibble to boost them with extra nutrients.
  • Adding a small amount of cottage cheese or yogurt to your dog’s kibble can give them different nutrients and vitamins that benefit their health.
  • Including nutrient-dense leafy greens like kale or spinach in your dog’s diet can help them digest the kibble better.

How Can A Homemade Diet Help Many Canine Health Issues?

  • Increases Lifespan: Studies have found that dogs fed new diets have a life expectancy of 20% more than those who don’t. According to a study of 522 dogs spanning one year, those who consumed fresh, real food had an average life expectancy of 13.1 years compared to 10.4 years for those who ate cheaper processed foods. It shows that quality nutrition has a massive impact on the lifespans of our furry companions.
  • Controls Allergies: Making food for your furry friend offers a great bonding experience and ensures that you are aware of the ingredients and can avoid those that could lead to allergies and other health issues. It’s best to do an At-Home Food Dog Allergy test to determine which could cause sensitivities or allergies in your pet before choosing what goes into their next meal.
  • Controls Obesity & Joint Pains: Including homemade options in your dog’s diet is a great way to ensure they receive all the vital components for staying healthy. You can easily adjust the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, vitamins & minerals to give your canine friend an ideal body weight and condition. Being heavy can have serious consequences for dogs and should be avoided. Studies suggest that a dogs of ideal body weight can live up to 2.5 years longer than a heavier one and be less prone to illnesses like hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, etc.
  • Bio-availability: Homemade meals for your four-legged friend can aid digestion and be absorbed faster than store-bought options. Therefore, they can absorb nutrients more efficiently. By facilitating faster nutrient absorption, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids can quickly begin to perform various tasks in the body. These can range from decreasing inflammation which may help manage allergies, to improving general health overall.

Homemade Food

  • Highly Processed & Oxidative Stress Kibble. Homemade dog food can be an efficient way to protect your canine friend from cancer-related issues. It excludes processed & unhealthy food, thus reducing the risk of cancer development in dogs. Home-cooked meals eliminate the risk of consuming carcinogenic chemicals and free radicals released during food processing. It means you don’t have to worry about oxidative stress associated with processed food intake.
  • Fresh Ingredients With No Chemicals: By making homemade meals for your pup, you can be sure that they are eating nutritious and wholesome food with no chemical additives, fillers, high carbs or colorants usually found in store-bought kibble.
  • Aids in Digestion: It is often better to make your dog food than rely on commercially manufactured alternatives. Preparing freshly cooked food can be easy, and it minimizes strain on your pup’s digestive system & liver, reducing the risk of bloating or any other belly troubles.
  • Excellent Taste and Smell. Dogs are true food lovers at heart. They love the smell and taste of human food and will often beg for scraps from their owners. Dogs love exploring new flavours and textures, from savory treats like bacon to sweet desserts like ice cream. Their taste buds come alive when they sample different dishes, making them a delight to feed.

Conclusion: Is Cooking for Dogs Healthy? 

As the frequency of pet food recalls rises, many dog owners opt for home-cooked meals instead of store-bought items. If you’re getting into this, it may seem daunting at first. Nonetheless, with some research and careful planning, it’s possible to create nutritious meals for your canine companion.

Are you trying to figure out what to feed your furry friend? While you may be familiar with the foods suitable for you and your family, it can be a challenge when deciding what to feed your four-legged companion.

As pet parents, sharing our meals with our furry friends is generally discouraged. So, what can we do? Fortunately, a variety of human food items are suitable for consumption by dogs. When cooking for your pet, it is vital to use ingredients tailored to their specific needs.

It takes time to find the perfect balance in transitioning to home-cooked meals for your dog is easy. It’s essential, however, to note that each pup has its preference and possible food allergies. Initially, it’s vital to check if your puppy is susceptible to any particular ingredients. Keep an eye out for any unwanted reactions or allergies that may occur if the canine consumes something it shouldn’t.

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