How to Make Your Dog or Cat Home Cooked Food

October 7th 2019

By Merissa, Client Care Coordinator

Just like ourselves, our pets are what they eat. The only difference is our cats and dogs don’t get to choose what goes in their bowl. So it is up to us to ensure our pets are eating the best possible food for their particular needs, but that isn’t always easy to determine with all the conflicting information out there.
 
We get many questions from pet about the best diet for their pet and the answer is – it depends. Pets have many different dietary needs, depending on their age, health conditions, allergies and even preferences.
 
However, don’t be discouraged, because feeding a home cooked diet can be a great way to deal with all of the above and we are here to help.

The pros and cons of feeding your dog or cat home cooked food 

The challenges to cooking home cooked food for your pet basically come down to time and money, important factors, but the payoffs are far greater.
 
The best thing about cooking your pet’s food is you know exactly what is going into it. Reports regularly come out about the cheap and unhealthy ingredients found in some commercial pet foods and it can become difficult to know who to trust.
 
Home cooked food is also great for picky eaters, or pets with a sensitive stomach, because you can try different recipes until you find one they like. There are also recipes specific to certain health conditions, such as pets with a renal condition or are prone to calcium oxalate, or kidney stones. Pets with allergies, particularly skin allergies can really benefit from home cooked food.
 
Cats, in particular, can benefit from the higher moisture content in home cooked food, as they tend not to drink as much water as they need to.
 
It can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour every week to prepare home cooked pet food and may cost slightly more than kibble, depending on the type of food you are buying now and the home cooked recipe that is recommended for your dog or cat’s needs.
 

What is the best home cooked diet for pets?

 We get a lot of people asking about home cooked food, who often become overwhelmed with all the information that is available on the Internet. There is a lot of conflicting information out there !
 
We recommend the home cooked diet recipes created by Hilary Watson, a pet nutritionist with 20 years experience, who has created a line of home cooked food recipes, products and supplements that ensure your pet will have a balanced and complete diet that meets their specific needs.
 
Watson has written three recipe books, one for cats, one for dogs and another with recipes for pets with renal issues.
 
We also carry Hilary’s Blend Meal Maker, a vegetable blend that only requires a cooked protein to be added to make a nutritionally balanced meal for your pet.
 

How do I know what to put in my cat or dog’s home cooked food?

If you are interested in providing your pet a home cooked diet our vets and staff would be happy to evaluate your pet’s dietary needs and recommend several recipes from Watson’s books to try out at home.
 
The recipes include proteins, such as beef, ground beef, chicken and fish, vegetables, fruits, and in some cases carbohydrates. They also will include oils, like safflower or omega oils.
 

When should I start feeding a home cooked diet

A home cooked diet can be beneficial for pets of all ages and circumstances.
 
Many people start looking for a new diet when their pet is aging, ailing or is refusing to eat its food. We see many senior pet owners interested in home cooked food, but younger animals can also benefit from customized, fresh meals that meet their specific dietary needs.
 
How do I get started feeding my pet a home cooked meal?
After a consultation with our vets or staff to determine your pet’s health concerns, if any, and dietary needs, we provide a few recipes for you to take home and try.
 
It is also important your pet has the right supplements to ensure their diet is nutritionally complete. We can talk to you about the minerals, vitamins and omega oils needed to ensure a healthy, well-balanced diet for your dog(s) and cat(s).
 

Do I need to provide supplements with a home cooked diet?

Supplements and omega oils are recommended with a home cooked diet to ensure your pet is getting the balanced and complete diet they require.
 
We carry Hilary’s Blend supplements for cats and dogs and pets with renal issues that can be added to the home cooked recipes to ensure your pet is getting the proper nutrition. Our clinic also carries omega oils, which are important for skin and coat health.
 

What about my cat and dogs with food allergies?

We also have single antigen recipes to share for pets with food allergies. Grain-free recipes are also available.
 
However, it is important that your veterinarian assess your pet’s medical dietary needs first before introducing any new restricted diet to your pet.
 

Do I need to worry about my pet’s teeth if they eat soft food?

Dogs and cats teeth are always a concern and we recommend regular cleaning as recommended by your veterinarian.
 
That being said, harder foods, like kibble, can offer a measure of scaling of your pet’s teeth, so it is recommended that pets eating a soft diet, like home cooked receive extra dental attention.
 
Brushing your pet’s teeth daily with a toothbrush and dog or cat toothpaste is the best way to prevent plaque build up. If you are interested in learning how to brush your pet’s teeth, read our blogs on how to brush your cat and dog's teeth. Also your vet will keep an eye on your pet’s teeth and let you know when a cleaning is necessary.
 
If you have questions about feeding your pet a home cooked diet, please call the clinic at (403) 615-8016 to book an appointment to talk to our staff.

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