Table of Contents
- Popular Dog Supplements
- Using Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
- Things to Avoid in making Homemade Dog Food
- Common Questions About Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
- What Supplements Are Needed for Homemade Dog Food?
- Should I Add Vitamins to Homemade Dog Food?
- What Are the Best Ingredients for Homemade Dog Food?
- Do Vets Recommend Homemade Dog Food?
- Is Making Homemade Dog Food Cheaper?
- What Minerals Does Your Dog Need in His Diet?
- Are Dog Supplements Essential for Homemade Food?
- Can Dogs Eat Rice every day?
- Summary on Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
The biggest danger of making homemade meals is nutrient deficiency. Are dog supplements really essential?
Many commercial dog food brands already have supplements included, but dealing with dog supplements for homemade dog food is actually a little tricky.
If you follow my articles, you know that I share homemade dog food recipes every week.
After publishing them, I'm often inundated with emails from pet owners asking me which dog supplements should be added to the recipe for a well-balanced meal.
This is a fundamental question. But unfortunately, there is no simple answer.
Essential dog supplements in a homemade dog food recipe will highly depend on your dog and the recipe itself. Some recipes will also cater to the health issues of your dog if any.
Some homemade recipes will provide all of the vitamins and minerals that a dog needs through its ingredients, but that is very rare.
Most recipes will not, and it's not always easy to tell which is which.
I decided to share this guide on dog supplements for homemade dog food to shed some light on this important aspect of the homemade diet.
In the video above and the article below, I'll explain which dog food supplements should be added to homemade dog food recipes and when, how these dog supplements may change over time, as well as the best resources to use when trying to figure all of this out.
Popular Dog Supplements
There are now plenty of dogs owners that give their dogs dietary supplements. Due to different illnesses or even aging, dogs are now benefiting from these dog supplements.
However, always keep in mind that it would be best to consult with your vet first, to make sure that the proper supplements are given. Here are popular dog supplements and what they're used for:
Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics are dog supplements that make the immune system stronger, help with digestive problems, and help fight infections. Probiotics also make vitamins and nutrients that can help the dog's microbiome.
When there's a change in their microbiome, there can be health issues like diarrhea, allergies, obesity, and cramping.
Secondly, one of the most popular dog supplements is Fish Oil. Omega-3 fatty acids and EPA/DHA are found in this supplement.
Fish Oil for dogs can be bought in liquid or capsule form. It is generally easier to handle the liquid form than the capsule because some dogs don't really like taking tablets.
Furthermore, a few benefits of fish oil for dogs are:
- Protects the heart
- Great for Dog's coat
- Aids anxiety relief
- Benefits brain development
- Helps dog's eyesight
- Aids arthritic joints
- Improve immune system
- Helps control diabetes
Furthermore, antioxidants are dog supplements that help protect against cellular damage. It also helps neutralize the effects of chronic inflammation.
However, if your dog lacks antioxidants, this can lead to a number of health problems like respiratory diseases, skin allergies, eye problems, arthritic joints, and heart disease.
One of the most popular or the most popular over-the-counter arthritis medicine is Glucosamine. As they age, they are more prone to suffer from arthritis.
Moreover, Glucosamine helps relieve pain caused by hip dysplasia. It also helps with the treatment of spinal disc injury.
Furthermore, Glucosamine Supplements can boost the repair of damaged cartilage.
Using Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
Why You Need Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
Even the best dog food recipes recommended by veterinarians and canine nutritionists (such as those in our free eBook) do not always supply enough vitamins and minerals a dog needs.
Every homemade dog food recipe will be different and provide different vitamins and minerals, depending on the ingredients used.
What dog supplements for homemade dog food you will need to use will depend on two factors: (1) nutrients missing from the recipe's ingredients, (2) your dog's current health and individual needs.
In a 2013 study from the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, 200 homemade dog food recipes were evaluated. The recipes came from 34 different sources, including pet care books, websites, and even veterinary textbooks.
Researchers evaluated the ingredients used in these recipes and the instructions for preparing the food.
They found that only 9 of the recipes provided the essential nutrients in adequate concentrations to meet the minimum standards set for adult dogs' Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). And of those 9 recipes that met AAFCO minimum standards, only 5 recipes provided the essential nutrients in adequate concentrations set for adult dogs by the National Research Council.
This means that only 2.5% of the recipes out of 200 evaluated provided adequate nutrients for adult dogs, according to the AAFCO and the NRC.
Adding Dog Supplements to Homemade Dog Food Is Tricky
Generally, it doesn't matter where you get your dog food recipes.
Whether you pick something from our list of best recipes, or they come recommended by your veterinarian, they may not be 100% nutritionally balanced. Most of them will have a good balance of calories and macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) but not vitamins/minerals.
The ingredients in every recipe will provide some vitamins and minerals. To reach that optimal number for your dog, you will need to add dog food supplements. This means you need to familiarize yourself beforehand with your dog's nutritional requirements and how much homemade food to feed your pet.
Based on that, you can add supplements.
However, choosing multivitamin supplements for dogs can be tricky.
For example: let's say that you are feeding a recipe that already meets your dog's needs for calcium. If you give a dog a multivitamin supplement that contains extra calcium, they could suffer from calcium toxicity over time (or hypercalcemia, which is actually common in dogs who take supplements).
Conversely, if you are feeding a dog a homemade dog food recipe that is not 100% nutritionally balanced and you choose not to add any dog food supplements at all for that recipe, then your dog could end up nutritionally deficient.
I'm trying to get across the point that there is no one answer to a question such as, “What dog supplements for homemade dog food do I need to add?“. There are too many variables, and you will have to figure it out based on your individual situation.
Here's how to choose the best Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food:
(1) Know your dog's individual nutritional needs, which include calories, macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). It's best to ask a vet or canine nutritionist to assess your pet and help you to figure these numbers out. Write them down and keep them close.
(2) Choose a list of homemade dog food recipes that already come as close to meeting your pet's nutritional needs as possible (ideally, show it to your vet).
(3) Calculate which nutrients are missing completely from those recipes or where their RDA levels do not reach the necessary concentration for what your dog needs.
(4) Based on those numbers, buy all the necessary dog supplements and add them to the recipe to make up for the missing micronutrients while being careful not to add too much.
This may seem daunting, and it does require some extra work initially, but once you've gone through the initial stages, you won't have to do this again (unless your dog's health condition changes).
Before Using Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
The safest way to do this properly is to speak with a canine nutritionist or veterinarian who is well-versed in canine nutrition (not all vets are). Talk to them about your individual dog's current nutritional requirements, dog supplements for homemade dog food you can use, and their dosage.
In the above photo, you can see which dog food supplements I commonly use in my own homemade dog food recipes.
Many of those you're likely to use as well. Most common dog supplements recommended to add to homemade dog food recipes include:
- Multivitamin supplements
- Hip and joint supplements
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids (fish oil)
- Vitamins A & E
- Protein supplements
Some good brands of dog supplements you can buy and use in homemade recipes are:
- NaturVet All-in-One Dog Supplement
- Zesty Paws Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs
- Grizzly All-Natural Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon Oil Dog Food Supplement
- Salmon Oil for Dogs and Cats
Things to Avoid in making Homemade Dog Food
Creating a well-balanced diet using homemade dog foods is a bit tricky. There's still a lot of things to consider when making them.
In making a homemade dog food diet, you'd have to be consistent and careful. We all want what's best for our pup, so here's a quick list of things you have to avoid in making homemade dog food:
- Inconsistent Recipe
- Unhealthy Ingredients
- Using untrusted brands
Cons of Homemade Dog Food
Preparing food for a dog is a much harder process than preparing your own food. You'd have to consider the proper nutrients that your pup needs to be healthy.
Moreover, making homemade dog foods can be costly. But not only that, some nutrients can be missed in making these types of foods.
Making homemade dog food can have a lack of nutritional balance in some diets. That's why it is best to add dog food supplements.
Don't Forget to Make Adjustments When Needed.
Even after you've figured out the exact numbers and your recipes are now 100% well-balanced, sometimes you may need to make small adjustments.
Many variables affect the nutrients your dog's body needs to get from a meal each day and what you should add to your homemade dog foods. It most commonly depends on your dog's age, weight, breed, environment, activity level, medical history, and current health condition.
For example, if your dog has just been diagnosed with some ailment, you will have to adjust your pet's meals and the dog food supplements you're using.
Additionally, along with the ingredients used in recipes, the preparation and storage of those homemade dog food meals will also affect the nutrients included in the recipe.
By doing some research and some math, you'll figure out all the dog supplements for homemade dog food that will be required.
Even if you have the time to do all of this research on your own, I highly recommend consulting a canine nutritionist about your pet's homemade diet.
It's the only way to be completely sure that your dog is getting the nutrition that he needs, and you can cover yourself in just a single consultation.
Common Questions About Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
Want quick answers to your questions about supplements for homemade dog food?
We’ve carefully gathered the most common questions and answers to give you the most important information about doggie supplements.
What Supplements Are Needed for Homemade Dog Food?
The supplements you need will depend on the ingredients you include in your homemade dog food. Most, for example, will need calcium supplements.
But you can get around this by adding crushed eggshells.
Should I Add Vitamins to Homemade Dog Food?
Don’t ever add human vitamins to your homemade dog food. You can, however, add dog supplements for homemade dog food.
The key is that they should be made for dogs, as they have unique nutrition requirements compared to humans.
What Are the Best Ingredients for Homemade Dog Food?
As pet parents, the best ingredients for homemade dog food will include high-quality protein sources, healthy carbs like vegetables or grains, fat, calcium, and essential fatty acids.
Do Vets Recommend Homemade Dog Food?
Some vets may recommend homemade dog food, but it depends on your ability to deliver the nutrients your dog needs.
You have to be very careful to ensure your dog gets a balanced diet if you give him homemade dog food. That is why supplements and regular vet checkups are so important.
Is Making Homemade Dog Food Cheaper?
It can be cheaper to make your dog homemade dog food, but that is not always the case. Because you want to focus on high-quality ingredients, it can be more expensive per serving than you realize.
However, making the food at home gives you the flexibility to buy ingredients on sale and get creative to reduce the cost.
What Minerals Does Your Dog Need in His Diet?
There are plenty of minerals that your dog needs to attain his diet. These minerals are divided into two groups; The Macrominerals and the Microminerals.
Macrominerals require large quantities as micro minerals require minimal quantities.
Furthermore, here are some of the minerals needed for your dog's diet:
Are Dog Supplements Essential for Homemade Food?
Dog supplements are placed due to the missing vitamins and minerals present in the homemade food. Senior dogs can benefit a lot from these supplements because of their other health-related issues.
However, you can't use multivitamins to cover nutritional gaps in your dog's homemade food. You need to carefully choose the supplement to ensure that it covers the specific gaps in your dog’s diet. This involves analyzing your recipes for nutrients.
Can Dogs Eat Rice every day?
Moreover, we all know that dogs don't have the same digestive system as we do. And that's why we should be extra careful on picking what to feed for our pups.
So can you feed your dogs rice every day? The quick answer is Yes! However, you should always be careful about how much rice are you putting in each day.
Dogs generally can have about 10% of their calorie intake a day. Adding more than this can add additional unwanted weight to your dogs or even digestive problems.
Moreover, if you're planning a rice diet for your dogs, keep in mind that you should always buy high-quality rice. Always make sure that the rice is free of contamination.
Furthermore, there is still a difference in feeding white rice versus brown rice. You're in good hands whether you pick white or brown, but brown has more nutritional value.
Brown rice contains insoluble fiber and natural bran oil that can the prevent effects of Alzheimer's. Moreover, brown rice can also prevent cell damage.
Alternatives for Dog Food
There comes a time that you can run out of dog food. Luckily, there are homemade foods that are healthy alternatives for this.
However, not all of the food that we're eating is appropriate for our pups. We should still always be careful with allergies and other health conditions.
Here are some examples of healthy homemade alternatives for dog foods:
- Cooked Chicken
- Mild Cheese (Beware for Lactose Intolerant Dogs)
- Boneless Cooked Meat
- Cooked Boneless Fish
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Vegetables
Human Foods to Avoid Feeding your Dog
Planning your dog's homemade diet is not as easy as it looks. Unfortunately, some human foods can be very harmful to dogs.
Moreover, one of the main reasons is that dogs don't have the same metabolism as humans. Not only is it unhealthy for them, but in some cases, can lead to death.
Here are some human foods to avoid feeding your pup:
Summary on Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
Furthermore, quality commercial dog foods already have the nutrients needed for our pups. However, if you're planning to switch to homemade foods, there are still plenty of things to consider.
Dog supplements help fight nutrient deficiency. However, the essential supplements needed for your dog can only be determined by vets and canine nutritionists.
Remember that all dogs have different kinds of needs. It is important to consult with professionals to make sure that you can give the proper dog supplements.
Preparing essential supplements for homemade dog foods can be a bit difficult. A big factor to consider is the ingredients.
However, always remember that a dog's digestive system is different from us humans. Having wrong ingredients can lead to serious problems.
Lastly, with proper guidance in making homemade dog foods and the right dog supplements, we can ensure that our dogs can maintain a healthy life.
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