Bingo's Bounty Vegetables for Dogs

Farm Fresh Goodness for Your Furry Friends

May 2011

Taking the Plunge

There are usually three reasons why people decide to make the switch to a home cooked diet for their dog. Sometimes they have recently returned home from the vet with that heart-rending diagnosis of cancer. Perhaps they lost a previous dog to cancer and want to protect their new puppy as best they can. Or their dog is suffering from a disease that is not life threatening, but that is making their poor pooch miserable, such as horrible food allergies. Whatever the reasons, when you do decide to take the plunge into a home cooked diet for your dog, DON’T PANIC!

The most common mistake pet parents make when switching to a home cooked diet is that they over examine everything. Don’t misunderstand me, being informed is very important and you want to be sure that you have all the knowledge you need to make important decisions. The problem lies with people who read one good idea, then another, then another and decide to try all three of them at once on their dog, whose system then becomes overloaded and then reacts badly, leading the pet parent to think that a home cooked diet or herb is not working for them. So, to prevent such occurrences, I’ve put together my list of “ten commandments” every pet parent who is thinking about taking the plunge into home cooking should memorize:

1. If it doesn’t go into your mouth, it doesn’t go into your dogs (including raw meat).

2. Protein is the most important part of your dogs diet. Always maintain the 2 (protein) to 1 (carb) ratio.

3. Calcium to phosphorus ratio MUST always be balanced (see home cooking for details).

4. Recommend amounts for feeding are just that. You are your dog’s best judge of correct portion size.

5. Vitamin supplements are best utilized when they are based on whole foods, not chemicals.

6. Cooked grains are not bad for dogs. Bones, raw or cooked, are.

7. Diet adjustments to correct blood value, gastrointestinal, or other health issues take time. Be patient.

8. Herbs take time to do their work. Add one at a time and give them a month before adding another.

9. Herbs are drugs. Always give your dog a break of two days per week from any herb.

10. When it comes to foods, variety, variety and more variety = a happy and healthy dog.

An old friend of mine once said that the best way to approach a task that appears daunting was “to keep it simple stupid.” I laughed at her self-deprecating humor, but she was absolutely correct. Don’t micro-manage your dog’s home cooked diet as if it were a chemistry exam. Learn the basics of dog nutrition, try a variety of foods to see what your dog likes and what he doesn’t tolerate, adjust portions according to your dog’s current needs, and follow the “home cooking ten commandments”. You will soon have one happy dog!

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