With the increasing concerns about pet food safety, many people are wanting to feed homemade diets. This is good, but it’s also critical that it be a balanced diet. There is a difference between cat and dog diets since cats can’t metabolize carbohydrates well, but dogs often need carbohydrates in their diets. The basic recipe is meat, vitamin mineral mix, calcium and fish oil, then we add veggies/fruits of your choice.
Meat of your choice, either cooked or raw unless specifically noted below:
- Pork needs to be 93% lean and frozen at 0 degrees for three weeks if it is used raw, otherwise cook it.
- Beef, 90-93% lean.
- Lamb often has high levels of fat and many animals don’t do well with it.
- Fresh Salmon needs to be cooked due to a life threatening parasite that carries a bacteria. Freezing will kill the parasite, but not the bacteria.
- Canned fish is acceptable, although keep in mind that some fish accumulate dangerous levels of heavy metals such as mercury.
- Cats typically do best on any kind of bird or rabbit meat.
- Other options are deer, elk, beef, and other exotic meats
Vitamin and Mineral mix options:
Nature’s Logic All Food Fortifier Dog & C
at Supplement 1 tsp per 10 pounds body weight. It can be found at a great price at Chewy.com. It may also be available in your local pet food stores. I love this product because it is the only natural vitamin mineral mix that is adequate for balancing homemade diets. However, it can be too high in iodine (kelp) for some cats.
Another option is Fresh Oasis Feline T ore Canine T. It can also be purchased online. There are instructions on the bottle as to how much should be fed per day.
Sometimes I give half a dose of Oasis T and half dose of the Nature’s Logic to my cat that can’t handle too much kelp!
Calcium-critical! The vitamin/mineral mixes have some calcium, but not enough to balance a diet!
You may have heard of people using ground bone for the calcium source, however there is new research in humans that has linked eating bone from farm animals to the development of bone cancer due to fluoride being accumulated in bones of the animals. Fluoride is in most drinking water.
A natural calcium product that I recommend is EggShellent Calcium which can be purchased at:
Or you can make your own, just wash, dry and grind! Use 2 1/4 teaspoons of eggshell calcium per pound of homemade diet for adult pets.
Another calcium option is Primal-Cal. It synthetic, calcium carbonate. This product is particularly good if an animal has renal (kidney) disease because calcium carbonate binds phosphorus. Phosphorus levels often rise with kidney disease, which causes more damage to the kidneys. Add 1 1/2 tsp per pound of meat.
Most commercial pet foods are too low in omega 3 fatty acids and we certainly want to make there is an adequate amount in our homemade diets. The proper ratio of Omega 6:3 fatty acids range from 1:5-1:1. Fish oils are best for cats and dogs, compared with flax (which is better for livestock!).
I use 1 1/2 tablespoons of Grizzly Salmon Oil per 3 pounds of meat/fat. It can be increased for arthritic animals. You will also see Grizzly Polluck oil, which is a good choice for young animals due to it’s higher levels of DHA for the brain. Salmon Oil is better for mature animals due to its higher EPA levels with assist with keeping inflammation lower (significantly helps with arthritis).
Eggs can also be added to the diet if your pet is not allergic to eggs. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, itching, hot spots, and ear infections.
Most cats can handle 3-10% carbohydrates in their food. I add a 15 oz can of 100% pumpkin and about 1/3 cup of frozen mixed berries (no strawberries due to allergy potential) to about 12 pounds of food. Home cooked squash is also acceptable rather than the canned pumpkin. Make sure not to accidentally use pumpkin pie filling!
For dogs, the carbohydrate portion of the diet can vary between 10-25%. Examples of carbohydrates are: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, boy choy, apples, bananas, berries (not strawberries), cantaloupe, watermelon, green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, and peas.
I almost never use grains due to their potential for causing inflammation, but if you chose to use grains, make sure they are gluten free such as millet, quinoa, gluten free oats, and rice. All rice should be organic to cut down on the amount of arsenic consumed by your pet!
I add about 2 cups of water per 12# food and then put enough for each meal in a ziplock baggie and place them in the freezer. I thaw one bag at a time so the food is always fresh.
Amount to feed:
This will vary based on an individuals metabolism, but here is a rough guideline of the percentage of food to feed per day. For example, my 10 pound cat would eat 1/4 pound of food or 4 oz per day to maintain her weight.
1.5% Weight Loss
2.5% Maintain Weight
3.0% Slight Weight Gain
3.5% Significant Weight Gain
4.0% Kittens/Puppies (8 weeks-1 year)
4.5-8.0% Kittens/Puppies (4-8 weeks)