1. Raw food
Under the assumption that early canids living in the wild (the ancestors of our beloved house pets) ate raw food, Australian veterinarian, Ian Billinghurst, wrote a popular book that encouraged pet owners to emulate this diet because it was healthier for their dogs.
Hence the acronym BARF (Bones And Raw Food).
Some of the ingredients in this diet include raw chicken or fish, raw meaty bones, yogurt, raw eggs and fruits and vegetables.
Billinghurst claims this diet result in greater longevity and increased energy levels for your dog. He asserts that: “Artificial grain based dog foods create innumerable health problems.”
For and against raw food
Proponents of this diet tout many benefits. For example, being free of preservatives and chemical additives. Also, it may relieve problems such as allergies that have been linked to grain-based foods. Moreover, chewing on raw bones cleans a dog’s teeth.
The other side of the debate argues that it isn’t safe for dogs to eat raw bones. They may be exposed to contamination from raw chicken, for example. This could lead to us being exposed to contamination from having the dog in our house. And even that dairy products might not be good for dogs.
2. Good old home cooking
There is considerable disagreement whether dogs should eat “people food” as their main source of nourishment versus a high quality dog food.
For those who question whether pet food is actually of good quality, or even safe, making your dog’s food in your own kitchen is certainly an alternative.
Complete and balanced
The question is: Can you prepare foods that meet the standards of “complete” and “balanced”?
The pet industry would have you believe that coming up with a balanced and complete pet food is not possible for the pet owner.
Keep in mind that complete and balanced doesn’t mean every meal every time has to be complete and balanced. But, that over a few days’ time, your dog will consume the right foods in the right proportions.
A home cooked meal for your dog does not mean going back 100 years in time when dogs were fed table scraps. And it doesn’t mean your dog gets his own slices of pepperoni pizza on nights when you have it delivered.
What exactly is home cooked food
It means selecting good quality human food ingredients that are tailored to the dietary needs of canines. They, like us, enjoy a varied diet of meat and vegetables.
3. The blended diet for Dogs
In the interest of unity between the commercial dog food advocates and the equally passionate homemade dog food proponents, how about a compromise solution: feeding your dog a little of both.
Sometimes when traveling it’s not convenient to prepare a fresh meal. Or you may simply be too busy with other responsibilities at certain times. In these cases it can be handy to have good quality commercial food ready to serve your dog.
One alternative is to forget the kibble. Use a high-quality commercial canned dog food and blend it with foods you prepare at home.
Dry kibble brands have faced more recalls due to suspected contamination than canned foods.
Or, use less commercial kibble and blend it with fresh, organic foods like lean meat and chopped vegetables.