I want to start cooking for my dog and get him off commercial diets. Any advice?

Preparing a diet at home for your dog can be a rewarding task, but caution must be taken to do so correctly. Home-prepared diets tend to be highly digestible and can provide high-quality nutrition. However, home-prepared diets can be more expensive, can provide variable nutrition, and take considerable time and care to ensure they are adequate for your dog’s health.

 

Dogs are omnivores and require a diet that consists of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water in correct proportions. …

Nutrients Required by Dogs

A nutrient is a chemical or substance that an animal requires to live and grow. Nutrients can be found in food, synthesized in the body, or taken in from the environment. Nutrients that must be consumed in the diet because the animal cannot produce them or cannot produce them in sufficient quantities are considered essential nutrients. Those the animal can synthesize to meet its needs or does not need from its diet are considered nonessential nutrients.

All animals …

Pet Food Labels: Terms Used to Describe Pet Food Types

There are a variety of terms used on pet food labels that appear to indicate the quality of the product. These terms are primarily used on dog and cat food labels, but may apply to other companion animal foods as well. Terms such as “generic,” “premium,” and even “super premium” are among those commonly used, as are “natural,” “holistic,” “organic,” and “grain-free.” But what do these terms really mean? Often, the definition is unclear even to pet food experts. This …

Weight-Control Diets for Dogs and Cats: Reading the Label

kitty

When choosing a weight-control or low-calorie pet food, pet owners are faced with a large number of products and product types. Understanding what products are best for your dog or cat can be confusing. Evaluating product calorie and nutrient content, as well as pricing, are important in choosing the correct diet.

One challenge is that the weight-control diets available represent a wide range of calorie concentrations and recommended calorie intakes for dog and cat weight-control diets. For example, one published …

Feeding the Growing Puppy

Introduction

Puppies grow rapidly during the first six months of their lives and have a large demand for nutrients to meet their changing needs. Diet selection and feeding regimen during this time are critical. Most puppies are fully weaned between seven and nine weeks of age and may enter a new home at this time. When bringing a new puppy into your home, make sure you find out what food your breeder or the previous owner used so you can …

Nutrition for Exercising Dogs: Timing of Meals

Dogs engage in various types of exercise. This may include structured training, such as for obedience, as well as participation in competitive events such as fly ball and agility. This may also include routine exercise such as running, walking, and swimming. Because exercise is stressful and can disrupt a dog’s gastrointestinal tract function, it is important to consider when and how much to feed an exercising dog. The timing of the meal is especially important as it may decrease the …

Diabetes in Dogs

Introduction

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic, or long-term, disorder that occurs in both dogs and cats. Diabetes affects approximately one in 150 dogs. The number of cases has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, but the mortality (death) rates have dropped at the same time. This is due to a better understanding of the disease, early diagnosis, and improved treatment.

The disease is characterized by insufficient production of the hormone insulin or a decreased response to insulin in the …

Body Condition Scoring Your Dog

Sheep guarding dog

More than half the dogs in the United States are not at their ideal body weight. Obesity is a common concern and can result in health issues such as diabetes, joint disease, and stress on internal organs. At the same time, underweight dogs may be more prone to illness as well. One way to determine if your dog is at the ideal weight is to monitor its body condition score (BCS).

BCS is a way to visually evaluate your dog’s …

Pet Food Labels: Feeding Guidelines

Feeding Guidelines

Another item found on the information panel of a pet food label is the feeding guidelines. These tell pet owners how much to feed based on their pet’s body weight and life stage. This amount can be highly variable from one brand of pet food to another. A key difference between high-quality and low-quality pet foods is the digestibility of the product. This is the amount of nutrients in the food that the animal is able to break down and …

Pet Food Labels: How to Read

Commercial pet foods are an easy and convenient way to feed your dog or cat. Deciding what to feed can be difficult for some pet owners. There are some general items to consider when selecting a food that is right for a particular companion animal. When choosing a pet food, read the label before buying. The items on the label can be confusing, but it becomes much easier to make the right pet food choice when you know what to …