Recently I’ve become aware of the many benefits of cooking for your dogs and thought I would share them with you. I started cooking for our dogs, which sounds silly, but was the last resort I knew to try. One of them has severe digestive issues and the only thing that was recommended to be effective outside of expensive surgery was a homemade diet of simple to digest, soft foods. I started researching how to cook for pets and to target specific health issues when doing so. I learned so much that I thought I might share with you some health benefits of cooking for your pets if they have health issues too. Now, be aware, you don’t want to give your pet table scraps or any heavy, large meals you’re cooking for your family. That’s not the kind of cooking I’m talking about! I know it might take a bit of time and preparation, but with the many benefits of cooking for your dogs I hope you’ll see it’s completely worth it.
1. Easier Digestion
As I mentioned, one of the biggest benefits I’ve seen for cooking for your dogs is easier digestion. Soft, easy to digest vegetables, such as peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, pumpkin, squash, and green beans, are all great and can be inexpensive. Also, buy any plain frozen veggies and you can to save even more money. Then, add in easy to digest proteins like lean poultry (skinless), fish, and grains like oatmeal and quinoa. Dry foods and processed dog food are extremely drying to dogs’ bodies and can harden their stools or cause constipation. It might also cause hemorrhoids or bloating. Be aware of how the food affects your dog. Most dogs do not tolerate hard to digest grains or low fiber grains like rice and wheat effectively, even though they are found in many dog food formulas.
2. Better Mood
I have also noticed a huge mood boost in my dogs since feeding them homemade meals. They’re getting the nutrition they need and their bodies naturally operate better. This enhances their mood all on its own, not to mention the nutrients from these foods are much easier to absorb than processed dog food. Nutrients enhance our mood in many ways we don’t realize. B Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, and healthy fats all affect our mood in a positive way. Just like you, your dog can absorb them better from whole foods than processed foods.
3. More Energy
You’ll likely notice a huge increase in your dog’s energy levels when you start feeding them too. This is no coincidence! When your dog’s digestion is better, they naturally have more energy. Also, natural foods have more of a benefit to the metabolism than processed foods. Be sure to give your pet a little activity to help them get all that energy out!
4. Better Sleep
If your pet is anxious or has hard time being still, especially at night, a home-cooked diet will also help. Their hormones are more regulated, which naturally helps them rest more efficiently.
5. Skin Allergies
You might also notice your dog starts to have less skin allergies if that’s an issue they deal with. Rashes, dryness, or redness will likely all clear up once you improve their diet. If your dog has skin allergies, be sure not to feed them allergenic foods like gluten, soy, eggs, and especially dairy. I would avoid giving them dairy altogether anyway, since they do not digest lactose well at all.
6. Shinier Coat
Your dog’s coat will also improve as they eat healthier meals. You need to be sure to include some healthy fats with your dog’s meals as well. The best sources are coconut oil (which also helps digestion and absorption of nutrients), olive oil, hemp oil, flax seeds, plain peanut butter or almond butter (no sugar or salt added), or flax oil. I would avoid butter and animal fats if possible.
7. Weight Loss
You’ll also likely notice your pet will lose weight if you start making them healthy meals. Many dogs who eat processed foods or table scraps can become obese, just like humans. Avoid giving them processed dog food, processed food you have, and table scraps. The simpler and healthier their meals, the better.
You can easily prep meals in your slow cooker for your dogs and make them ahead of time to save money. That’s what I do. I also buy two forms of protein to get them through the week, and usually buy what’s on sale. Oatmeal is cheap and makes a good simple grain to have for breakfast, along with a little protein and one veggie. Keep dinner to vegetables and a protein, along with one tablespoon of fat. This will fill your dog up and is excellent for their health. Do you have to prepare special foods for your pets?