All-natural dog food recipes are those that use natural, whole foods that supply your pup with his needed nutrients. A healthy food, whether store-bought or homemade, requires the right mix of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Proteins are the building blocks of life. Proteins contain amino acids, 10 of which are considered "essential amino acids" because your pooch's body cannot make them on its own. Good sources of protein in an all-natural dog food are chicken, lamb and some species of fish. Eggs also contain healthy amino acids and are an acceptable protein source for your pooch. Beef can be a great source of protein, but it's also a major allergen for many dogs. In addition, you can feed organ meats such as livers and hearts to your dog on occasion.
Just as in the human diet, both good fats and bad fats exist. Your pup needs good fats that contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help the skin and coat, while omega-6 fatty acids provide physiological benefits. Fish is often a great source of good fats, as are eggs and certain legumes. You can also add store-bought supplements to your all-natural dog food to add omega-3 fatty acids.
Carbohydrates are somewhat controversial in discussions of dog food. Wild wolves don't readily consume too many carbohydrates, but the domestic dog has evolved to more closely resemble humans in terms of diet. Carbs are also a great source of quick energy. Brown rice, cooked potatoes and plain, cooked pasta are all ideal for the carbohydrate in your pup's all-natural food.
Fruits and Veggies
Adding veggies to your pup's diet can greatly increase the amount of vitamins and minerals it provides, and most dogs thoroughly enjoy gobbling down vegetables. Veggies dogs tend to love include carrots, spinach, peas and green beans. Sweet potatoes and squash are also ideal additions to an all-natural dog food recipe. All of these vegetables offer something, whether it be vitamin A, calcium or beta-carotene. They're also low in calories, so you don't have to worry about making your pet obese. Fruits are also greatly treasured by many dogs. Most fruits are OK, just never feed the seeds, pits or green parts. Fruits are high in sugars, so they should be an occasional treat instead of a staple. Stay away from grapes, raisins, green potatoes and onions, though, as these can be toxic to your pooch.
When you're putting all the ingredients together, the proper ratio of proteins, veggies, carbs and other ingredients varies according to whom you ask, but protein should always be the number one ingredient. Next comes the carbohydrate source, followed by veggies. A suggested guideline from Founders Veterinary Clinic calls for 1/4 to 1/3 pound of meat proteins or 3 to 4 eggs or 1/2 to 3/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese; 1 to 2 cups cooked carbohydrates; and 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetables. After you get the OK from your vet to experiment with new homemade foods, try different combinations of ingredients to see what your dog likes.