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Guest post: Why I love my homemade dog food

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Guest post: Why I love my homemade dog food

Guest post by Jamie Anderson Bruiser and Millie anxiously wait for their homemade dinner My dog, Harley, a rather handsome cattle dog mix, is quite possibly the pickiest canine ever. From the moment we brought him home as a puppy, it was a chore to get him to eat. We tried multiple kinds of kibble, and even some canned food, but he wasn't enthused by any of it. Feeling dejected, I decided to try making him a  homemade diet with the help of a friend. She'd been feeding her Dalmatian, Bruiser, raw meat and veggies to accommodate his sensitivity to commercial dog foods. When she got her second dog, Millie, she began feeding her raw as well. Harley was next to try a homemade diet. Since making the transition, Harley and I have never looked back to kibble or canned. But some argue homemade or raw diets aren't safe or balanced—so I decided to check it out for myself. E. coli, listeria and salmonella Dr. Cindy Kneebone, a veterinarian at the East York Animal Clinic and Holistic Centre in Toronto, recommends treating homemade and raw diets the same as you would your own food. This means washing up before and after dealing with raw meat, and keeping everything stored at correct temperatures. She says that, even in commercial dog foods, there are recalls due to E. coli, listeria and salmonella, so the risk is always there. A raw diet is fresh so it is easy to tell when it has gone bad, says Lori Dzingala, owner of Heronview Raw and Natural Pet Food in Whitby, ON. Kibble is dry, which makes it harder to tell when it contains moulds. Dzingala has been selling raw and natural pet foods since 2007, when she grew tired of working in the commercial dog food industry. Balancing the diet Feeding raw is about balancing the diet over time by using a variety of proteins as well as bones, muscle tissue, organs and, depending on the dog, vegetables," says Dzingala. Of course it is extremely important to talk to a holistic vet to determine what kind of diet is right for your pet, but Dr. Kneebone says that most dogs should eat two to three parts vegetable for every one part meat. For every 10 pounds a dog weighs, it should be eating a minimum of 11 grams of protein per day. Benefits of raw What I love about my homemade raw diet is that I know exactly what my little man is eating. No wonder Dzingala says it can help with issues such as allergies, diabetes, cancers and irritable bowel syndrome. I've also noticed Harley's enjoyed cleaner teeth and a softer coat—even less poop—since making the transition to homemade. This only scratches the surface when it comes to safely feeding a dog raw or homemade food, and determining whether it will work for you and your pet. All I know is my dog is the happiest that he has ever been, and I don't think he would ever forgive me if we ever went back to kibble. He lives for "chicken time"! A Basic Homemade Recipe Courtesy of Dr. Kneebone This formula makes enough food for a 10- to 20-pound pet for three to six days, or a 50-pound pet for one to two days.*
  • 2 cups meat (your choice)
  • 1 cup ground bone or extra calcium, magnesium
  • 1 multivitamin
  • 4 cups vegetables
  • 1 tbsp oil (nut butters, fish, olive or half avocado)
  *Never feed dogs grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, garlic, fava beans or macadamia nuts.  
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Guest post: Why I love my homemade dog food

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