It can be hard to know exactly what is in a commercial dog diet. Some owners are choosing to make their own to avoid any surprises and stomach upsets.
Nutrition is a key component of animal welfare. A good diet will keep dogs fighting fit and healthy. Poor diets can lead to lethargy, poor coat condition, and soft feces. It’s even more important to get the diet right when a dog is diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dogs with IBD can get stomach upsets much more readily than those without and have extra dietary requirements. It’s important to involve your vet in the decision to make homemade meals for your dog with IBD, they can help guide you towards the right source of protein and make sure it’s a complete, balanced diet.
Components of a balanced diet
Like humans, dogs are omnivorous meaning they eat both plant and animal-derived foods. Some people are even choosing to feed their dogs a vegetarian diet but it’s important to still feed a balanced diet to meet their nutritional needs. They need a source of protein to provide energy, fiber to help with digestion, and carbohydrates. Though fiber is usually attained to help with bowel movements which don’t necessarily sound helpful for dogs with diarrhea, a high fiber diet usually contains less fat which helps with stool firmness. Rice is the most common source of carbohydrates found in dog food which is easily combined into a homecooked meal. Vegetables are usually personal to each dog and what they prefer but sweet potato, carrots, and pumpkin are popular. It’s usually recommended to pure the vegetables to make the meal more palatable with a soup-like consistency but also stop picky eaters from removing their veggies.
Importance of finding the right source of protein
Dogs with IBD can be sensitive to different proteins so it’s impossible to recommend just one source that can satisfy all IBD meal plans. If you’ve had difficulty in the past with commercial foods and have struggled to find something that doesn’t upset your dog’s stomach, try a more rarely used protein. If your dog is intolerant to chicken or beef then try bison or rabbis. No one protein will suit every dog. It’s a good idea to stick to a single source of protein to help manage their digestive system and give you a better understanding of what they cannot digest. For owners who feed their dogs a plant-based diet, research has suggested that plant proteins are helpful when it comes to dogs with dietary sensitivities. Plant-based diets can sometimes be less palatable for dogs and make it harder to get enough protein into their diet so it all depends on the level of protein your vet recommends. Another risk of a plant-based diet for dogs is often softer feces so may not be the way to go with a dog who suffers from frequent diarrhea. Common plant proteins found in homemade dog foods include soy, chickpeas, and green peas.
Benefits of a homemade diet for dogs with IBD
Home-cooked meals for dogs with IBD are an excellent way of managing an exclusionary diet because you can tell exactly what goes into your dog’s food if you make it yourself. With a single source of protein, it helps to check off what your dog is and isn’t tolerant to. Commercial dog foods often contain a large number of extra ingredients to improve longevity that isn’t needed when making homemade meals for your dog. By making their food yourself you get to know exactly what you are and are not feeding them. Be sure to check with your vet regarding recommended portions to maintain good body weight.