After news reports about pet food scares last year in which dozens of dogs and cats died from commercial food laced with tainted ingredients, some pet owners decided to mix up homemade meals for their beloved family pets. Although in the months to follow, the vast majority of pet food brands were deemed safe, some consumers decided they wanted to continue to control what went into their pet's chow.
It turns out, though, there's more to it than just browning some organic chicken livers for your terrier. This is the subject of a new book, "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Homemade Dog Food," by Margaret Bonham.
Vets have tried to get out the message that dogs, cats and other pets need a nutritionally balanced diet of protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins to thrive. Most commercial pet food is produced to provide the right balance of these nutritional ingredients. The "Nutrition Basics" chapter details what nutrients are necessary for good health for dogs, and exactly how to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals. Recipes are included, from Good Morning Sunshine Muffins to Veggie Stir-Fry. There also is a list of ingredients that can prove dangerous: No macadamia nuts; they can cause seizures. The book explores the subject of mineral supplements created by veterinary nutritionists to augment a homemade doggie diet.
Even with a book as your guide, discuss any major dietary changes for your pets with your veterinarian.