Most cat and dog owners that opt out of buying commercial pet food and decide to make the food themselves tend to automatically cook the food. This in itself is the first problem before even mentioning the ingredients.
Cooked food for pets that may contain meat, some form of carbohydrate such as potatoes, rice or pasta and some vegetables sounds balanced to some people however the problems are:
· Cooked food is deficient in essential fatty acids
· Deficient in vitamins (having been destroyed in the cooking process)
· Deficient in minerals, in particular calcium
· Depleted of natural digestive enzymes found in raw food
· Depleted of anti-oxidants due to cooking process
· Soft, mushy food that does nothing to assist dental health
Another problem with homemade diets is that many owners will give in to their pets whims and start to feed a restricted diet to make their pet happy. Examples of such diets are:
· Meat only diets leading to arthritis, eczema, kidney, heart disease, cancer
· Fish only diet leading to deficiency of Vitamin E and if raw, B1 deficiency
· Organ meat only diets leading to lethargy, skin problems, arthritis, kidney disease, calcium deficiency associated problems.
Such diets are a disaster as they lead to serious deficiencies and perhaps even more health problems than if the pet was on a commercial diet.
In my own experience of feeding my pets on a homemade raw diet, my cats in particular would dearly love me to feed them organ meat on a more regular basis. However, knowing the high content of phosphorus and protein, the effect this would have on their kidneys (especially at 18 years of age) would be a disaster.
My advice keep the diet raw, make sure there’s lots of chicken meat, bones and offal, greens and supplements. See my other articles, recipes and blog posts for advice on making cat and dog food. It’s really not that difficult and once you get over the hurdle of change you will never look back. Your pet will thank you for it, that’s for sure!
Billinghurst, I 1993, ‘Give your dog a bone,’ Warrigal Publishing, Australia.