A common concern for dog owners who are feeding a home prepared diet is whether or not it is ‘complete’. People worry that it won’t be nutritionally balanced and that their dog will miss essential nutrients that can only be found in commercial dog food.
One of the most common questions asked when changing diets, either to raw, home cooked, a mixture of raw and home cooked or adding fresh food to kibble, is how to maintain balance in the diet.
Let’s look at the meaning of the word ‘balance’. Most commonly it is referred to as the calcium/phosphorus ratio in the diet. Phosphorus is quite abundant in all foods. Calcium, however, is harder to find in foods. Commercial pet foods add calcium to bring the calcium/phosphorus ratios into balance. In the wild, dogs will consume bones from their prey which gives them the additional calcium needed.
Protein is found in most foods, including carbohydrates. But dogs are carnivores and the best source of protein for them is found in animal products. This would include meat (pork, beef, poultry, lamb, rabbit, fish, dairy and eggs, just to mention a few). Animal based proteins contain a complete amino acid profile needed by carnivores. Plant based proteins are missing important amino acids, including taurine and carnitine. Both of these are important for heart and organ health.
The anatomy and digestive process of dogs are designed to most easily digest animal fat and protein. Dogs perform best on animal based products. Studies have shown you cannot feed a dog too much protein.
Mixing Fresh Food with Kibble By Lew Olson • January 2005 Newsletter Often I find people want to feed their dogs a better diet than just commercial pet food, but for a variety of reasons aren't willing to feed a raw diet or a home cooked one. This can be due to a feeling of … Read more