Homemade dog food is healthier than most dog foods sold at grocery stores. Fortunately, dogs eat pretty much anything you put in front of them, so they won’t balk at seeing healthy items such as green peas or carrots in their bowl. If only they could teach kids how to appreciate such items.
Store-Bought Dog Food
Take a walk down the dog food aisle in your grocery store, pick up any brand of dog food and read the ingredients. Is there a laundry list of ingredients, most of which you can’t pronounce? Better yet, even if you can pronounce them, do you know what they are and what they do?
Lots of them contain fillers, chemicals and a hint of vitamins. Here’s the list of ingredients on Beneful dog food:
Not to pick on Beneful, here’s the list of ingredients on another popular dog food, Kibble & Bits:
Aside from the obvious of having corn as the most predominant ingredient, why is it necessary to put yellow dye #5, #6 and red dye #40? Dogs don’t care about the color of their food.
As with most processed foods, the nutrient value is stripped from the natural ingredients. After the food is processed, manufacturers add back a few of the nutrients and list those nutrients on the label. The unsuspecting consumer thinks the product is healthy because it lists items such as folic acid, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. What the consumer doesn’t realize is there’s a whole list of nutrients that don’t appear on the label. Those valuable nutrients were discarded.
Feeding Dogs Better
Dogs are known to eat anything, from a new pair of shoes to the contents of the household trashcan. Having said that, the best foods for dogs to eat are those naturally occurring foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, probiotics, vitamins and minerals, the very same items that keep humans healthy. They don’t need sugar, red dye #40 or corn gluten.
As a society, it appears that we no longer listen to our gut instinct and rely on the manufacturers and advertisers to tell us what our pets want and need. The result is an increase of the very same diseases in dogs as we humans get. Our pets are overweight, lethargic, suffering from arthritis, cancer and other diseases affected by improper nutrition.
Make Your Own Dog Food
Take a step back and revisit the basics. Even in a busy society, we can make homemade dog food that is healthier than the foods sold in grocery stores. It only takes a little time each week to make a batch of food that will last for the week. Better yet, make enough for the month and freeze it in week-size portions.
A crockpot is a very handy tool for creating large batches of dog food without having to stand over the stove. Fill it with meat, vegetables and natural starches such yam or potato, and let it cook. When you place the food in Fido’s bowl, add a bit of plain yogurt (no added sugar, color or flavorings). You can bet your dog food will be much healthier than most of the food found on grocery store shelves. Just make sure to stay away from unfriendly dog foods such as raisins, onions, chocolate and macadamia nuts.