Is Home Cooking Better for My Dog


There are many claims stating the benefits of home cooking for your dog.  Home cooking should mean you can appease picky eaters and manage diet (calories).  Fearmongering triggers pet owners to believe home cooked food would be a better choice.  The short answer is there is no scientific evidence to support this, while extensive research supports commercial balanced, whole ingredient-based diets.

Dog nutrition is very broad subject far beyond eye appeal and best left to a veterinary nutritionist. Cooking for your pet requires knowledge of pet daily nutritional requirements and understanding which foods are safe for dogs.  There aren’t many resources for dog safe, suitable, healthy homemade meals.  Dilated cardiomyopathy (a heart disease) has recently been reported in dogs eating homemade diets that are grain-free, legume-based, and high-fiber.

Avoid online recipes.  The potential difficulty involves vague recipe ingredients which leave the dog owner to decide which meat to use, or supplement.  There have been recipes discovered to be dangerous after studies reveal they are unbalanced.  Dogs require about 40 essential nutrients, and each supplies a specific need.  Under or over feeding these nutrients creates an imbalance leading to obesity or malnutrition – either of which can result in death.  It’s a misconception that a multivitamin will fill in the gaps to balance a home cooked diet.

The Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diet became popular in 1993 in Australia.  Animal Hospital of Walnut does not endorse a raw food diet for dogs due to potential for bacterial and parasitic contamination and infection, even in previously frozen meats.  Raw meats can harbor bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli as well as microscopic parasites like Sarcocystis and Toxoplasma.  These pathogens can cause serious infections in both people and pets. An unbalanced diet may damage a dog’s health over time.  Additionally, raw food diets are more expensive than commercially prepared kibble or canned food, can cause tooth injuries when they include bones and pose a potential for choking or an internal puncture.

Should you choose to cook for your dog after consulting with your veterinarian do so under the guidance of a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to monitor your dog’s health.

Commercial pre-cooked foods contain whole ingredients offering a great alternative when your decision is to feed your dog something close to home cooking supplying necessary nutrients. JustFoodForDogs is the only fresh food company, and one of just a few pet food companies overall, to conduct systematic feeding trials on all their daily canine recipes. They conducted extensive testing above the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) minimum which requires only four blood parameters be tested over six months in just six dogs, JustFoodForDogs tested the recipes over the course of a year, looking at complete blood counts (CBC) and full internal organ chemistry (CHEM) panels in 30 dogs. Read more.   Animal Hospital of Walnut does recommend JustFoodForDogs.

Talk with your vet to get specific guidance in a diet for your dog based on his health and history.  Give us a call at 909-594-1737.