Should You Cook for Your Pet?
Published November 9, 2020
With increasing interests in natural pet diets and concerns over pet food recalls, many pet parents may wonder if it’s best to feed their pets a home-made diet, much like their human family members. While pets are undoubtedly part of the family, their nutritional needs are very complex and different than our own.
Pet parents need to weigh the benefits and risks of diet options and consult a veterinarian to choose the best diet for their pet’s individual needs.
Pet Nutrition is Complex
While pet parents’ desire to cook for pets alongside their own meals is well-meaning, pet recipes on the internet run the risk of depriving pets of the appropriate nutrients, adding too much of the wrong ingredients, or providing inadequate instructions to prepare meals properly. It’s easy to make mistakes when learning to cook homemade petfood without proper guidance. A common misconception pet parents have when preparing their pets’ food is overestimating how much protein their carnivorous and omnivorous pets actually need.
Online resources and recipes cannot replace a tailored consultation with a veterinary nutritionist. Even some internet recipes crafted by veterinarians could deprive pets of the right balance of nutrients. While your pet’s veterinarian will help you select an optimal diet, general-practice veterinarians do not have the qualifications to develop a diet from scratch. Board-certified veterinary nutritionists earn additional education to develop pet diets.
Pet Diets Need to Be Exact
Those pet parents who do choose to consult a veterinary nutritionist to craft a homemade diet must adhere to it exactly. Even small alterations and substitutes can result in nutritional deficiencies. Pets who eat homemade diets will also need to take a multivitamin whenever eating any homemade diet, since they won’t be receiving all nutrients in a complete commercial diet.
Cost & Time Considerations
Between professional consultations and the cost to provide all appropriate ingredients and supplements consistently, pet parents need to be aware that cooking for their pets is quite an undertaking. Since consistency and adherence are crucial to healthy homemade diets, pet parents need to consider if the cost and time commitment to cook for their pets is compatible with their schedules and lifestyles before taking the plunge.
Major pet food manufacturers have carefully developed pet food formulas to efficiently and safely deliver all of your pet’s nutritional needs. When selecting a pet food manufacturer, it is ideal to look for manufacturers that employ veterinary nutritionists and other scientists to create and refine their diets.
Consult your Veterinarian
Opting for a quality commercial diet prepared by a major pet food manufacturer for your pet is a safe and veterinarian-recommended option. Despite concerns about commercial pet food, quality diets are developed by nutritional scientists, and the FDA makes sure that pet food ingredients are safe and included in the diet for their appropriate uses.
Not all commercial diets are equal, though. Read our veterinarian tips on selecting the right diet for your pet. Your pet’s veterinarian should also be consulted to select the appropriate diet tailored to your pet’s individual needs.
Essential Tip: Book a visit with an Essentials PetCare veterinarian to discuss a recommended diet best suited for your pet.