What’s Holding You Back from Home Cooking Meals for Your Dog?
Lately it seems that dog owners everywhere have a ton of healthy, natural, and organic commercial food options for their pets. With such a huge increase in the availability of pre-made “healthy” food for pets, you may be thinking that there’s no need for fresh home-cooked and home-prepared meals anymore. I don’t necessarily believe that to be the case though.
Here’s a list of the most common reasons people give for not wanting to prepare fresh cooked meals for their dogs. I’ve also included some questions and comments from a recent conversation I had with a curious dog owner who inquired about commercially-made “natural” pet foods, easy cooking options, and the challenges of preparing fresh food.
This pup shows his owners where the best ingredients are kept – the fridge!
Reason #1: There are already many “good” pre-made pet foods on the market.
“Is there any brand of dry dog food that you think is better than the rest? I know you’re all about cooking food, but some people are not willing to do that, but are willing to buy the best brand of food possible.”
There are a handful of brands that I recommend, but I find myself constantly having to reassess that list over time. It seems that many pet food companies become susceptible to product recalls once the “brand” becomes popular and established. As the business grows and increases, the expenses to produce the foods increase, and all too often, the ingredients or the production process are the first areas to be compromised in terms of quality. So although these companies claim to be healthier options, you’ll still see pets having dietary issues as a result of these foods.
It’s also important to note that each animal has different needs, and pre-made diets don’t always meet those needs. Commercially made dog or cat food supplies nutrition for the “generic” pet…not necessarily your own. And don’t forget, you will not find Love in a bag or can of pet food. Love begins in your kitchen, with meals prepared with good intentions and an understanding of the individual needs of each animal.
The bottom line is that preparing your own dog food for your pet is the most reliable way to ensure that your pet is getting a healthy and nutritious diet.
“I can see how true that would be if people were feeding dogs the same low-quality kibble day after day, but it seems like now there are some pretty good human-grade dog food brands. For instance, I found this brand from New Zealand that uses free range meats and and great fresh ingredients – all ingredients from NZ, though it is expensive.”
Yes and no. Imagine eating a nutritional bar three times a day, every day for years. You really wouldn’t be very healthy (even though the nutritional bars claim to be a good source of vitamins and minerals and a good substitute for a meal).
Here’s what you need to consider with commercially prepared foods:
*Where is the fresh food? Fresh vegetables?
*Who formulated the ingredients? What was their education? What is their experience with nutrition?
*How long has the food been sitting in the can or sitting on the shelf?
*How many miles of fossil fuels were wasted shipping the food (for example, from New Zealand to Los Angeles, USA)?
*Is it produced by people who love the people or pets they are cooking for? (If not, the food lacks “mana” or Qi … energy)
The sad truth is that for every $30 spent on dog food, only about 10 percent (roughly three dollars) goes towards the expenses for the ingredients. The rest of the price mark-up goes towards expenses like shipping, distribution, packaging, wages, and then also includes a margin for profits.
“Do you believe that high-quality human-grade pre-made food also makes dogs sick over time?”
Absolutely. Just try it yourself, by only eating processed foods (meals from a box, can, or bag) and see what problems develop. (Okay, of course, I don’t actually encourage you to try this, but I do want you to think about what it would be like to eat this way).
Another problem in the industry is that food labels and descriptors aren’t regulated or defined. “High-quality” or “human-grade” could mean anything. The same goes for the label “natural.” It just doesn’t have any meaning without an industry standard to back it up. Marketers rely on buzz words like those to create assumptions in the minds of pet owners who will then purchase these foods under false pretenses. Scary, right?!