Homecooking For Your Dog and Cat

HOME COOKING FOR YOUR DOG AND CAT

Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

BOW BOTTOM VETERINARY HOSPITAL

Homemade, fresh pet food recipes, balanced by veterinary nutritionists, even with the ability to choose local and/or organic ingredients!  What more could a pet or pet owner ask for?  This way of feeding pets can help restore a pet’s appetite, hydration, enjoyment involved with eating, especially in pets with serious illnesses or choosy pets who will not eat commercial foods.

My favorite home cooked recipes for pets are made by animal nutritionist Hilary Watson, and are explained in her website www.completeandbalanced.com  It includes recipes for puppy, adult, senior dogs, and special needs dogs such as dogs with food allergies or weight issues, or pancreatitis tendencies.  Hilary Watson also has a cookbook for cats www.completeandbalancedforcats.com.  Cats are carnivores, and have special dietary needs, thus, dog and cat recipes cannot be interchanged.  Hilary also has a cookbook for dogs and cats with kidney disease.   The recipes contain easy to understand directions, and you can use a food weigh scale, or measuring cups and utensils.  Some of the ingredients can be purchases from your veterinarian such as salmon oil, and of course The Balancer, which is the powdered supplement that includes all the essential nutrients and micro minerals.  The recipes are therefore not only complete and balanced, but delicious.  There are many options as well, so if your pet is not enjoying one recipe, you can choose another.   The food can be prepared ahead of time, in batches, and then frozen into individual serving sizes to make life easy.  If you purchase the ingredients in bulk, you can save a lot of money.  Interestingly enough, most of the ingredients are present in people’s homes already, and are already eaten regularly by the pet owners themselves.

Tips on home cooking for your pets:
1.  Contact your veterinarian if you would like to start home cooking.  It is important to examine organ health and your pet’s specific needs so the correct recipes can be chosen.
2. Follow recipes designed by veterinary nutritionists including:  Hilary Watson’s Complete and Balanced program:  http://www.completeandbalanced.com/
3.  Follow the recipes perfectly – do not substitute ingredients unless you discuss with a veterinary nutritionist first.
4. To maintain proper formulation, use the correct supplement powder with each recipe- do not add different supplements or extra supplements.  Animals can die, for example, if given overdoses of Vitamin D.  The veterinary nutritionists have done proper research to ensure their recipes are healthy and effective and safe.
5.  Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions.  They can also contact the veterinary nutritionists anytime.
6.  Pets are attracted to texture and temperature of food, sometimes even more than taste. If your pet will not eat chunky, stew like recipes, then pulse it in a blender to make it a more smooth consistency.  Warming the food up to body temperature promotes digestion and aroma and palatability.
7.  Microwaves can make the food too rubbery or dry.  Best results occur when using slow cookers (Crock Pot), ovens, cooking pots.  Plus the pet will get to smell the food being made in the slow cooker which increases appetite and improves digestion.  When a pet smells the food and watches you preparing it before eating,it’s digestive tract has proper amounts of time to prepare for ingestion, which promotes digestibility.
8.  It helps to make large batches of the home cooked recipe at a time, then freeze it in glass mason jars or pyrex containers separated into individual servings that can be easily thawed out and warmed up.
9.  Monitor your pet’s body weight and condition- It is important to match caloric intake with the energy needs of each pet to prevent obesity and to prevent emaciation.
Check out this clip of Dr Schell on Breakfast Television discussing the benefits of home cooked diets! Breakfast Television Clip

If you want to feed your pet home cooked food but do not have the time for it, Rayne Clinical Nutrition can work with your veterinarian to formulate a diet to suit your pet’s needs and ship it to you fresh frozen.  Check out www.raynecanada.ca

In summary, there are many excellent options for people who would like to home cook for their beloved pets.    Ask your veterinarian to help you choose the best recipes for your pets.    For more information check out www.bowbottomvet.com or give us a call at our office at 403-278-1984.

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