If you have been a dog person for long, chances are you have observed man’s best friends chomping on something that you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot-long pole. Sometimes they just can’t help it if the grossest things to us seem like quality chew toys to them. And if you just happen to leave the lid of your garbage bin open? Jackpot.
But come feeding time, your four-legged friend expects that what you put in its bowl is anything but garbage.
Issues with Commercial Pet Food
Critics of commercial pet food suggest that many brands of dog food and treats are filled with toxic ingredients that can contribute to skin disease, digestive problems and shorten the lives of the pets.
While there is not a wealth of evidence showing these effects to be directly caused by commercial pet foods and treats, it is still a well-known fact that their ingredients are often questionable. If store-bought is the way you want to go, it is worth searching for brands that are transparent about what goes into the food, as well as how it is sourced. One of the best ways to improve your carbon footprint as a pet owner—and your dog’s paw print—is to choose responsibly and sustainably sourced foods.
Why Not Try Homemade?
Some experts say that no matter how much you research pet food ingredients or sourcing, it may be difficult to know for sure what is in it. If you are concerned with what goes into your pet’s food, it may be worth trying to make your own.
A growing number of people are opting to make their own pet food, studies show. This can be a time-consuming endeavor, but advocates claim it is fun, rewarding, and no more complicated than cooking for your own family.
If you decide to make your own food for dogs, please take some time and research how to do it. Many of the foods we eat are not ideal for dogs.
Start with Treats
If you are on the fence about the commitment of making homemade dog food, start with some easy-to-make treats. Your dog will certainly thank you!
There are tons of ways to make your own treats, and once you get the hang of it, it is easy to experiment (within recommended dietary limits) and come up with great recipes of your own! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Classic Dog Biscuits: The little bone shaped biscuits your dog loves so much are very easy to make at home! And by doing so, you can control what goes into them. Many store-bought brands are filled with preservatives to increase their shelf life. But there are tons of recipes online that use simple variations of flour, eggs and broth. You simply combine the ingredients, cut into shapes and bake!
- Frozen Pup Cups: In the hot months of summer, no dog can turn down a refreshing frozen cup of goodness. Mix peanut butter and Greek yogurt together and freeze in cupcake liners for a quick and easy treat.
- Dehydrated Food: If you own a food dehydrator, you can make all kinds of nutrient-rich treats using meats and dog-friendly fruits and veggies.
By researching what ingredients promote health and longevity in pets, and experimenting with what your dog likes and doesn’t like, you can save money and peace of mind by making your own treats. And if you find yourself really enjoying it (as well as your dog), you can venture out and try making your own dog food as well. Just remember to be mindful of the ingredients. When you introduce new recipes, always pay close attention to make sure your dog doesn’t react negatively to it.
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