Croquettes, pâté, or homemade for your dog? Advice and explanations

 Croquettes, pâté, or homemade for your dog? Advice and explanations

The majority of dog owners choose to feed their pets industrial food, mainly for its convenience and economy – but is it really cheaper than making your dog's meals yourself? A choice can be made between dry food (kibbles) and wet food (pâté, dumplings), although it is also possible to combine them.

By taking stock of the advantages and disadvantages of these 3 types of food, everyone will be able to find their account according to their budget and the time to devote to the preparation of the rations.

Choosing an industrial dog food

Whatever its form, industrial pet food has many advantages: easy to dose and store, ready to serve, hygienic, it appeals to 80% of owners. However, it is the quality of the food that must count above all, and the products of the large distribution are unfortunately often lacking in this requirement. Indeed, the first price ranges of kibble contain a large proportion of cereals, which should not constitute the primary diet of a carnivore like a dog, and the proteins are often of poor quality.

Thus, care must be taken to look at the ingredients of the product in question and to choose it concentrated in protein and low in carbohydrates. Entry-level croquettes are generally to be avoided, and it is better to prefer a slightly more expensive food that will cover your dog's nutritional needs. Recipes based on rice and lean meat (poultry, game, fish) are often the most digestible.

Advantages and disadvantages of dry food

Dog food seems to have all the qualities: practical to store and use, they leave no marks in the bowl, can be stored for several months at room temperature, and have no smell. If their composition is adapted to your dog (breed, age, lifestyle) and the daily ratio respected according to its weight and its degree of physical activity, they constitute an excellent food base.

In addition, by promoting chewing, dry food maintains the dog's teeth and limits the formation of tartar. However, the negative points of such food are that it is less palatable than canned food, higher in superfluous carbohydrates, and low in water, which can be a problem for animals with low drinking or kidney problems. They also risk boring your dog because they often lack taste, unless you go to the side of veterinary brands, whose nutritional composition is also much superior.

Advantages and disadvantages of wet food

Wet food exists in several forms (cans, sachets, trays) which present practical aspects in terms of dosage and conservation. It can be more or less chopped, enriched with jelly (pâté), or form balls that the dog risks swallowing if he is gluttonous. Thus, it does not promote chewing and is not an asset for oral hygiene.

However, this type of food is interesting because it offers the dog a variety of tastes, and its texture and smell are very palatable. The mash is therefore recommended for dogs with difficult appetites and older dogs, as it is easier to swallow. It is a food rich in water, which limits urinary problems and provides better hydration than kibble.

It can be beneficial to the health of some dogs, but wet food is not synonymous with quality: in the industry, cans are rich in cereals and gelatin, without nutritional interest for the dog. Again, we must pay attention to their composition.

Mixed feeding, a practical alternative

This option consists of combining the croquettes with another type of food, usually mash or homemade food: cooked or raw meat, small vegetables, rice, etc. The idea of ​​mixed feeding is to compose the ratio based on 50% dry food and 50% of another food, either at once or in two separate meals during the day. The advantage of this solution is that it provides a balanced diet while being more appetizing than kibble alone. It is possible to slightly vary the components of the meal, alternating different meats, cereals, and vegetables.

The mixture of mash and kibble allows you to combine the advantages of each type of food and to increase the water supply thanks to wet food. And in addition, dogs love it because it gives much tastier meals! Another positive point is that the animal does not completely lose the habit of kibble, and if you do not always have time to make elaborate meals, you can always give it to him. If he shuns them, all you have to do is add a drizzle of fish oil or vegetable oil (rapeseed, sunflower), brewer's yeast, or an egg yolk... If you opt for products manufacturers, the preparation time will have the advantage of being reduced.

Prepare homemade meals for your dog

The household ratio convinces more and more owners concerned about the nutrition of their dogs. This type of diet made with fresh ingredients is excellent if prepared in a balanced way. However, embarking on the "homemade" for your dog cannot be improvised, and that in no way means giving him the rest of our meals! The household ration must be prepared specially for your dog and meet several requirements, to cover its nutritional needs with carefully selected ingredients.

The cost of such a diet is of course significantly higher than a conventional diet based on croquettes and/or cans. However, solutions exist to recover good quality food at a lower price, for example, unsold items from the butcher, and certain ingredients can be purchased wholesale and frozen, in particular vegetables (zucchini, carrots, peas, etc.) which can thus be kept for a long time without loss.

The starches most commonly used for the household ration are rice, pasta, semolina which are also economical when purchased in large quantities. They must be well cooked and not whole to be digestible. You can also find puffed rice for dogs on the market, which you just need to rehydrate with a little warm water.

What ingredients for a balanced ration?

We often hear about simplified recipes based on 1/3 cooked or raw meat, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 starch. However, current knowledge in canine nutrition has shown that this calculation lacks precision and that it deserves to be adapted to each animal according to its size, age, degree of physical activity...

The best reflex is therefore to seek advice from your veterinarian, who will be able to tell you the right proportions. The household ration must also contain vegetable oil for the supply of fatty acids and a supplement of minerals and vitamins. Finally, it is crucial to be informed precisely about toxic foods for dogs!

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