Can You Feed Your Dog Cooked Food?
We recently addressed a question about someone asking if it was okay to feed raw chicken wings. Similarly, we've also seen people ask questions about feeding cooked chicken, other meats and vegetables. We'll be dividing this into three main pieces. Feeding cooked food as a treat (i.e. table scraps). Feeding cooked food as a partial diet (i.e. purposely cooking food specifically for your dog as part of its diet). And feeding cooked food as a complete diet. If you've had questions about these three things, stay tuned for answers.
● As a treat: Cooked meat and most vegetables (you can research things that you shouldn't feed your dog) are fine as a treat. But if you're feeding table scraps, take into account things like spices and salt. Salt isn't an ideal thing to feed your dog, neither are hot peppers or a lot of black pepper and other spicy ingredients. If you're worried something might be too spicy, it probably is. And if you're worried about salt, it shouldn't be a big issue as long as it's just given as a treat.
If you prefer to cook every blue moon for your dog, but it isn't a significant part of your dog's diet, that's fine as well. Just remember, no seasoning, and nothing hot.
● As a partial diet: Cooked meat and most vegetables are fine as a partial diet. Some people boil or roast chicken, beef, lamb, assorted vegetables like squash, green beans, bell peppers, spinach, carrot, sweet potato, berries, apple, melons etc and mix it with their regular dog food. Or freeze a bunch of it to thaw out in the microwave or refrigerator to add to their kibble, or to be a supplementary meal on certain days or whatever system they choose.
As a partial diet, one has to pay more attention to the nutritional benefits of the food they’re making for their dog. For instance, that leftover piece of bacon from breakfast isn't a big deal when it's just a treat, but you don't want to be frying up a full pack of bacon as a major part of your dog's diet. You are going to have to do a bit of research into healthier grains like oatmeal and rice. You are going to have to do research into the vitamins and minerals in different vegetables and fruits.
It should be noted that dogs can't digest the cell wall (cellulose) in vegetable matter so if it is fed in chunks it can't be digested and your dog will not receive the benefits. Ideally they should be raw and crushed, so either put through a juicer, blender or pulped. But, you can also cook them to destroy the cell wall and make the nutrients available.
There is a lot of information on the internet by veterinarians, canine nutritionists etc. who say feeding raw, whole vegetables can help your dog, and honestly it's a little frightening that they don't know that dogs can't digest whole, uncooked plant matter. Without destroying the plant wall, you may as well be feeding your dog air. It'll simply pass in the same condition it went in. Don't believe me? Feed your dog some chopped carrot, corn or any other raw, colorful vegetables. They'll come out the other end in identical condition.
● As a full diet: At this level, you will have to do real research. You'll need to know which foods are the best for which nutrients. If you're feeding a raw diet, a dog can thrive solely on meat, organ and bone. But when you cook the meat, organ and bone, you lose some of those nutrients in a raw, prey model diet. That means that feeding vegetables and carbohydrates are no longer optional.
A good recommendation is 40% protein, 50% vegetables and fruit, and 10% starches. Some dogs cannot handle high amounts of protein, though, so it is important to visit your vet to determine the best ratio to suit their dietary needs via blood tests. Active dogs can typically handle higher levels of protein than sedentary ones.
For protein, literally everything is fine. Fish, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, you name it, it's fine. Just no bones except canned mackerel, sardines etc. You can also put fish in something like a pressure cooker or insta-pot and cook it until the bones are soft and no threat. Just trim excess fat before cooking. Some fat is necessary, but a ton of it isn't healthy.
We've already mentioned several safe veggies and fruits to feed, but be sure you research any plant you plan to add to your dog's diet. Also realize that a cooked diet is going to be low in calcium, so add calcium rich veggies or supplement with calcium. You can also supplement many other things if you like. K9 Power - Total K9 Daily Health & Wellness is a great supplement to get the nutrition your dog needs.
So is cooked food okay for your dog? Depending on what it is, absolutely. It is nice knowing what is going into your dog's diet. After all of the recalls on dog food for various reasons, it gives a lot of people peace of mind to know what's in their dog's food, which store it came from, how it was prepared, how it was stored etc. I personally feed a raw diet. I have friends who feed cooked diets. The majority of my friends feed kibble. None of our dogs have spontaneously combusted. The last dog I raised from a pup passed at 14 years old and was weaned on liver, ground turkey, and goat's milk soup. I have friends with dogs who lived roughly the same amount of time as mine on kibble or a cooked diet.
Feed what you have time to research and to prepare. Feed what gives you peace of mind. If there's a clear benefit to either of the three diets we commonly feed our pet dogs ... it's so small it isn't worth arguing over. As long as your dog is healthy and likes it, that's all that matters.
Thank you all. If you don't mind, please leave a like and share! Thank you again.
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