The nutritional needs of a puppy is very different from that of a mature dog. After weaning from mother’s milk, a puppy will need a diet that will encourage rapid growth and development – and there is nothing that can compare to the nutrition a dog can get from a home-cooked meal.
The benefits of feeding your puppy food cooked at home include:
- Zero preservatives and additives
- Controlled salt, sugar, fats, and oils
- Greater variety and better ingredients (fresh is always best)
- Great savings since dry dog food costs about $2 per serving compared to a home-cooked meal which should cost about $2 for 3 to 4 cups of food a day.
However, when planning to cook the meals for your dog, you should not just add one more serving to the food you cook for the family since dogs have different nutritional needs than humans. For instance, dogs can handle the extra fat in their diet whereas humans cannot. Dogs also generally have a higher need for calcium compared to humans. In fact, when making dog food, it is important to be sure that there is calcium – around 600mg for every 15 pounds in body weight. That is equivalent to about a half teaspoon of the powdered calcium.
On the other hand, if you plan on mixing home-cooked food with commercial dog food, there’s no need to add that extra calcium in the recipe.
In addition, certain foods that humans love like chocolate, grapes, and garlic (just to name three) cannot be taken by dogs.
Here are a couple of home-made recipes you should try for your puppy:
Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower
Peel and cut up potatoes. Cut up cauliflower into pieces smaller than the potatoes. Boil together then drain when they are tender. Add some unsalted butter, dash of calcium (or ground egg shells), and a little salt and mash. You can use a blender to get better consistency and add some of water used in boiling the vegetables if the vegetables are too chunky .
Serve with some boiled chicken or meat.
Egg Rice Pie
With a cup of cooked brown rice and two cups of any mixed vegetables in your kitchen, you can make a flavorful pie by adding a cup of beef broth, 3 eggs, half a cup of low fat milk, a cup of low fat yoghurt, and water. Mix well and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. Cool then serve. This recipe is good for two meals so you can half it and freeze the other half for serving at a later date.
Quick Tips on Homemade Dog Food
- Use fresh vegetables and choice meat cuts or meat with the fat trimmed off
- The best oils to use are canola, safflower, or fish oil
- Go light on the seasoning and dairy products
- The general rule for cooked food in the refrigerator is that it will have a shelf life of 3 days; if you won’t serve it within the 3 days, put it in the freezer
Finally, ask the help of your vet in creating your homemade meals so you can be sure to meet all the nutritional requirements of your puppy.