5 things to do before you start your pet on a homemade diet

Thinking of placing your dog or cat on a homemade diet? These are five things you need to know before you start making your pet homemade diets.

I have given much thought to placing my dog with pancreatitis on an all homemade diet since he has fallen out of love with his prescription food and as a result has lost some weight.

After a ton of research, I decided that I will be placing him on a partially home-made diet using his prescription diet as a base, which he seems to be happy with currently.

The five things I share with you below are steps I took prior to making my decision. None of it is meant to scare you away from creating a homemade meal plan for your pup, but these are very realistic things that should be given thought to prior to doing so.

1. Speak to a veterinary nutritionist

In my opinion, this is one of the very first things you should do before switching your dog to a 100% homemade diet. A veterinary nutritionist will not only be able to guide you on the right path when making meals, but they will also be able to develop meals based on your dog’s individual needs.

If you are having trouble locating a veterinary nutritionist, simply ask your regular veterinarian for a referral or visit the American College of Veterinary Nutrition website and search for one there. Your regular vet may also be able to help you decide on an appropriate well-balanced meal

If speaking with a nutritionist is too costly or not an option for you at least look at websites like BalanceIt that supplies you with vet-approved homemade ingredients.

2. Develop a budget

If your main reason for switching your dog or cat to a homemade diet is to save money, then you may want to rethink your decision. It should be noted that many times feeding your pet a homemade meal is no cheaper than purchasing a pre-made healthy diet.

Per The Mint Life, the average cost of making a balanced, home-cooked diet for a 30-pound dog would cost $3.52 per day or $5.58 if you go organic. Which ends up being two to four times the price of commercial dry dog foods of similar qualities, he says, but up to half the cost of commercial wet foods.

I would definitely suggest adding your dog’s meals to the family shopping budget.

3. Make room in your freezer

Not only does the food cost equal to or more than commercially available food, it usually tends to take up more room.

If you are going to try to be as cost-effective as possible you will want to make your pet’s food in bulk and freeze most of it for a later date. Some pet parents even find themselves purchasing an extra deep freezer to keep their pups food in. This will run you an extra $250-500 on the low end.

Since you will probably be freezing your pet’s food make sure to add freezer-safe containers or baggies to your shopping budget as well.

4. Do a little research

Even after speaking to a veterinarian about creating an appropriate meal for your pet, do your own research as well.

Get books on the subject and join communities (like our mighty networks community) where you can bounce ideas off of other people that are already creating their own homemade diets.

5. Block out time

As you can imagine, making your dog’s meals will take a little bit of time. Most of your time will probably be devoted to the preparation of the meals. If you make many of your meals in a crockpot this will of course cut down on your cooking time.

Looking for a good crock-pot dog food recipe? check out my crock pot recipe for chicken stew toppers.