A reliable guideline for determining the appropriate food portions for your dog is to maintain a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables in a 1:2:3 ratio, complemented by a teaspoon of coconut oil, ghee, or another source of healthy fat.
Ensuring a well-balanced diet is crucial to keep your puppy happy, robust, and in good shape. Whether provided exclusively or alongside some kibble, homemade dog food should be carefully balanced. Imbalanced ingredients can lead to deficiencies in vital nutrients, potentially causing growth issues in young dogs.
We strongly recommend commencing your dog on homemade meals only after they reach 6-8 months of age. During this period, we suggest providing them with appropriate quantities of kibble.
Here, we offer a quick overview of ingredients suitable for preparing fresh dog food. This diet can also be extended to street dogs you may be feeding.
Ingredients for Preparing Homemade Dog Food
Crucial for the formation and maintenance of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, proteins additionally enhance the immune system, provide energy, and promote healthy skin, nails, and a glossy coat. Options for your dog include eggs, chicken, boneless/fillet fish, or any boneless meat. Alternatively, small amounts of paneer, soya chunks, and cooked lentils can be incorporated.
These provide a readily available energy source and are a significant aspect of your dog's diet. Healthy carbohydrate choices encompass rice, oats, ragi, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, prepared through cooking or boiling. We advise avoiding wheat, as many dogs have gluten intolerance.
A small portion of the diet should consist of healthy fats, which are essential for improving skin and coat health and regulating body temperature. Without fats, dogs can develop dry, itchy skin. Common fat sources include coconut oil, ghee, sunflower oil, and olive oil. The quantity of oil (1-2 teaspoons) should align with your dog's size.
As omnivores, dogs can consume a variety of foods, including vegetables. Carrots, beans, okra, beetroots, peas, sweet corn, broccoli, and pumpkins serve as excellent low-calorie fiber sources to balance your dog's diet. If preparing meat, add vegetables during the final 10 minutes of cooking to maximize their nutritional value.
While many spices are harmful to dogs, some have nutritional value and benefits. A pinch of turmeric can boost metabolism, alleviate arthritis discomfort, and support brain health. Pepper can be added in moderation, as excess consumption may lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Small amounts of cumin can enhance immunity, and a touch of ginger can aid digestion.
Small quantities of buttermilk or yogurt can be offered to assist digestion.
If your family follows a vegetarian diet, we still recommend providing your dog with at least one meal of kibble per day. Most kibbles contain essential meat-based ingredients crucial for your dog's health. If you are uncomfortable with meat-based kibble, there are vegetarian or vegan options available, such as Drools Milk and Vegetables for Puppies, Pedigree 100% Vegetarian Adult Dog Food, and V-Planet Regular Kibble for Small & Mini Breeds/Medium & Large Breeds.
Foods to Avoid for Dogs
Certain foods should be kept away from your puppy, as they can be toxic and lead to various health issues:
- Dry Fruits and Nuts: Raisins, almonds, macadamia nuts, and currants can have varying effects on dogs and contain chemical compounds harmful to their health, potentially leading to kidney failure.
- Chocolate: Chocolate, whether white or dark, contains theobromine, which dogs cannot effectively metabolize. Consumption can result in vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, tremors, seizures, and even death.
- Sweets: Candies, gums, peanut butter, or baked goods with xylitol can cause insulin surges, leading to blood sugar drops, liver failure, diabetes, dental issues, and joint problems.
- Salt: Salty foods can make dogs excessively thirsty, leading to frequent urination and sodium ion poisoning, with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, high temperature, tremors, seizures, and potential fatality.
- Avocado: Avocados contain persin, potentially toxic to dogs if consumed in excessive amounts. Although most dogs are somewhat resistant, caution is advised.
- Fruit Seeds: Apple, lemon, cherry, plum, and peach seeds should be avoided as they can cause intestinal problems due to cyanide content, potentially leading to cardiac arrest.
- Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol can intoxicate dogs, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, coma, and death.
- Coffee/Tea: Caffeine-containing beverages can be lethal for dogs, affecting their heart adversely.
- Yeast Dough: Unbaked dough can expand in a dog's stomach, releasing toxic ethanol levels into their bloodstream, causing bloating and, in severe cases, alcohol toxicosis.
- Lemon/Lime: Citric fruits can lead to digestive issues due to citric acid content, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.
- Plums: While dogs can consume plum flesh, seeds and pits should be avoided as they contain cyanide, which is harmful to both dogs and humans.
- Milk and Dairy Products: These can lead to vomiting, gastrointestinal diseases, and allergies, as dogs lack the enzyme to break down milk sugar effectively.
- Onions and Garlic: High quantities of these foods can destroy a dog's red blood cells, causing anemia, weakness, vomiting, and breathing problems.
- Grapes: Toxicity from grapes can lead to lethargy, weakness, dehydration, diarrhea, and kidney failure, varying in severity among dogs.
When transitioning your dog's food, it's vital to do so gradually to prevent gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. For an effective diet transition, follow these steps over 7-8 days:
- Days 1 and 2: Mix 20% of the new diet with 80% of the old diet.
- Days 3-5: Combine 50% of the new diet with 50% of the old diet.
- Days 6 and 7: Blend 75% of the new diet with 25% of the old diet.
- Day 8: Shift to a 100% new diet.
While this transition typically suits most dogs, those with sensitive stomachs, food allergies, or other gastrointestinal problems may require a longer adjustment period. Monitor your dog's response closely, and if they exhibit discomfort signs, proceed more gradually or consult your veterinarian for guidance.