SIGMT Winter 2023

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 95 of 107

96 | SIGNATURE MONTANA PET HEALTH 101 Approximately 1,200 and 600 -- the number of dry kibble and canned dog food varieties available in the United States. Nine --the number of fresh raw dog food suppliers that deliver to all states. Unknown --the number of processed, commercially prepared raw foods available. 169 --the number of prescription foods from various manufacturers that cover all pets' health needs. Today's dog food covers all life stages, low fat for less active, high protein for high energy, breed specific, size specific, flavor preference, protein and grain specific or grain-free. Even kibble size. Packaged dog food is an easy convenienceā€¦ you buy it, and it's ready to dump, pour, scoop, or spoon into your pet's bowl. Why is it, then, with all the food options, some pet owners are skipping the pet food aisle and cooking big batches of fido's meals at home? For many, it is about personal responsibility and uncertainty about the ingredients in store-bought products. While ingredients in reputable pet foods are regulated by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials, an organization that has existed since the early 1900s and has been active in pet food regulations since the 1960s) and are considered complete and balanced if they meet their standards, one does question the contents of animal by-products 1 . Dogs with specific protein or grain requirements may need a novel protein such as lamb, emu, and kangaroo or grains like brown rice and peas, items not easily found in commercial foods. Many dogs do not find prescription diets palatable, and they may be cost-prohibitive for long- term or life-long use. Being able to individualize a diet low in sodium, protein, or fat or higher in fiber for a pet with health issues or picky eating habits can provide peace of mind for the pet owner as long as they understand the dos and don'ts of preparing food from scratch. ere are two types of homemade diets. e first is W or BARF (bones and raw food). e second is a cooked human food-grade diet which we will focus on in this article. e highest grade of ingredients should always be selected when making meals from scratch. Remember, dogs are NOT obligate carnivores; they are omnivores, meaning they eat not only meat but also grains and starches. While fresh ingredients provide many necessary nutrients, supplementing with vitamins and minerals is a must and should be based on the pet's life stage to ensure that the diet meets or exceeds what is necessary to maintain the pet's health. First and foremost, proper cleaning and sanitizing are imperative. Delegated chopping boards and utensils that are thoroughly cleaned aer each use and wearing gloves, as well as scrubbing one's hands aer prep and storage, are required to prevent the spread of disease. Your pet's specialized diet will be based on age, breed, energy needs, and known health issues. Once the standard ingredients are formulated, calculate the calories needed for each meal, portion out servings, and store accordingly. Meats and some produce can be frozen and thawed as needed. oroughly cook all meats to avoid salmonella, E. coli, or any potential meat-transmied parasite such as toxoplasmosis. Avoid any bones, as they can be a choking hazard or cause damage to the intestines. Purchasing meats from a butcher, especially the more novel and difficult- to-acquire meats, is a good practice for safety and consistency. Fruits and vegetables should be acquired and kept fresh and not frozen. Grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and dried beans can be purchased in bulk and stored correctly. Essential Omega-6 Fay Acids can be provided in DITCHING KIBBLE Why Some Pet Owners are Making Fido's Food From Scratch THE ARTICLE PROVIDED BY LISA BAKER

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SigMT - SIGMT Winter 2023