Author: Christin Sander, Health Writer
Most commercial pet foods, even those that claim to be all natural, consist of highly processed substances. Many are grain based, making them difficult to digest. In addition, most use synthetic nutrients and lack the true whole vitamins and minerals that promote good health and vitality. Commercial foods are often overpriced, lack freshness and can cause allergies. For those reasons and more, many people opt to make their own pet food to ensure the best nutrition and highest quality ingredients for their cat or dog.
Homemade Pet Food for Cats
Cats are highly carnivorous creatures who need a largely protein based diet. Cats will not tolerate many vegetables in their food, and grains are completely nutritionally useless to them. When preparing meals for your cat, it is important to consider what most closely resembles their natural food supply in the wild. Cats consume and use every part of the animal including bones, organs and flesh.
When preparing food for your feline, use three parts meat to one part finely chopped vegetables as your base recipe ratio. Use beef or chicken as the primary meat and add some organ meats a few times per week to provide taurine. Acceptable vegetables are broccoli, green beans, peas, yams and pumpkin.
Cats need calcium, which is naturally found in bones. Grinding meat with the bones included guarantees your pet is getting this dietary requirement. If you don't have a meat grinder, use bone meal as an additive.
Cats require linoleic acid in their diet, which is found in sunflower and safflower oil. They also need arachindonic acid found in cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is also an excellent source of Vitamin A. Additionally, Vitamin E should be added to your cat’s food.
You can use raw or cooked meats. Many prefer to cook the meat as a precaution to avoid exposure to harmful bacteria. Grind or finely chop the meats and vegetables and cook together. Stir in any supplements at the end. Cats enjoy foods that are thick and not runny so texture matters. Experiment with different blends to find what your cat enjoys best.
Homemade Pet Food for Dogs
Dogs need a large amount of protein in their diets, but unlike cats they do need starch. Dogs require both starch and vegetables to provide necessary amino acids not produced within the body.
Healthy dogs require a diet consisting of 40% meat, 30% vegetables and 30% starch. Good meat choices for dogs are chicken, beef and organ meats. Grind the meat with bones included, or add bone meal as a supplement to provide your dog with necessary calcium. Brown rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat are great sources of starch. Safe vegetables for dogs include carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes and peas. Avoid garlic, onion, avocado and broccoli, as these are toxic.
Once a week, add a raw egg and some brewer's yeast to your dog’s meals to provide additional nutrients. Eggshells can also be ground fine and added to the food as an additional calcium source. The preparation techniques are the same as for cat food. Finely chop or grind the meat and vegetables and cook them, adding supplements at the end. Dogs are not as finicky as cats, so it's much easier to appeal to their appetites with a variety of different blends of food.
Give your dog or cat better digestive health with natural herbal supplements. Extracts of slippery elm, marshmallow and licorice soothe and protect the digestive tract of your pets safely and naturally.