Recipes for balanced home cooked dog food

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Ever since the pet food contamination scare of 2008, pet owners have been turning to their own kitchens to provide balanced meals for their four-legged friends. Making home-cooked dog food is a challenge, though, because the right combination of protein and plant sources is vital to ensure proper nutrition and growth.

You also need to know which human foods are toxic to your dog and avoid including them in any meal.

Toxic human foods

Most dog owners know that chocolate in high doses is dangerous to your dog's health. But chocolate is just one of many human foods that can cause adverse and possibly deadly reactions in dogs. So, before preparing a home-cooked meal for Fido, you have to know which foods to avoid. The Humane Society provides a list of potentially dangerous foods you should never feed to your dog. These foods include grapes, garlic, raisins, coffee grounds or beans, tomatoes, avocados, onions and onion powder. Some of these foods, such as avocado, are especially dangerous and can be fatal. Other foods such as tomatoes can cause serious stomach upset. All toxic food, regardless of the intensity of the potential reaction, should be avoided and never included in your dog's meal.

What Is a balanced meal for dogs?

A well-balanced diet provides your dog with a healthy coat and skin, well-developed bones and teeth, firm stools, clear eyes, fewer illnesses, and good overall energy and vitality. The typical homemade dog food meal consists of stews, soups, pies and vegetables. Feed your dog a balance of protein, vegetables and vitamins. Creating a well-balanced diet should be done with your veterinarian's assistance because developing a diet that meets all of your dog's needs is complicated. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend creating home-cooked meals for dogs because of the list of human toxins and the dog's complex nutritional requirements.

Doggy meatloaf

Doggy Meatloaf from Donna Twichell Roberts' "The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs" is sure to be a hit. Boil 177 ml (3/4 cup) water in a small frying pan and add 1 rib of diced celery and 1 diced and peeled carrot. Cook for five minutes, then drain and cool. In a separate bowl, combine 794 g (1 3/4 lb) meatloaf mix that includes a combination of beef, pork and veal; 85 g (1 cup) oatmeal; 1 slightly beaten egg; and 1 tbsp ketchup. Combine cooked vegetables with the meat loaf and place it in a 22.5 x 12.5 cm (9 x 5 inch) pan lined with foil. Bake at 177 degrees C (350 degrees F) for one hour and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Gil's carrot salad

Gil's Carrot Salad, from Kymythy Schultze's "The Natural Nutrition No-Cook Book: Delicious Food for You ... and Your Pets!" is a meal that both you and your dog can enjoy. Combine 6 medium trimmed and grated carrots in a medium bowl. Peel and segment 1 orange and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl. Mix 55 g (1/2 cup) raw pecan pieces, 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 tsp fresh chopped oregano to your carrot mixture. Top with the juice of one whole orange and mix well.