A Balanced Dog Diet: Homemade or Commercial?

Dog A Balanced Dog Diet: Homemade or Commercial?

A healthy dog starts with balanced nutrition. Whether you’re making your own homemade dog food or buying a commercially available diet, it’s key to ensure your dog’s food delivers the nutrients they need to thrive. 

Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog

  1. Always select a dog food that offers complete and balanced nutrition. This means that the food is nutritionally adequate and delivers all the nutrients at the recommended levels that a dog needs to maintain its health.
  2. Ensure your dog’s diet is appropriate for their life stage, activity level, and size. Factors such as puppy versus adult, working dog versus couch potato, or small breed versus large breed will impact your dog’s daily nutritional requirements.

What Makes a Balanced Dog Diet?

  • Protein: Proteins offer essential amino acids that dogs can’t produce on their own and are important for muscle maintenance, growth, cell repair, healthy skin and coat, energy, and more. Sources of protein include chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, fish like salmon or whitefish, and eggs.
  • Fat: An essential component of a dog’s diet, fats offer a concentrated and efficient source of energy and play a crucial role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Fats in the diet also contribute to skin and coat health and enhance the flavor and palatability of dog food. Animal fats, fish oils, vegetable oils, flaxseed, and coconut oil are all sources of fats and fatty acids.
  • Carbohydrates: A readily available and efficient source of energy for dogs, carbohydrates are an important component of a balanced diet. Dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate, also aids in digestion and helps regulate bowel movements. There are many sources of carbohydrates, including grains like rice, oats, quinoa, or barley, legumes, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamins: Dogs require vitamins as essential nutrients for various physiological functions to maintain good health. Vitamins play fundamental roles in metabolic processes, growth, immune system function, and overall well-being. Required vitamins for dogs include vitamins A, D, E, and K, and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, pantothenic acid, cobalamin, folic acid, biotin, and choline. Vitamins can be found in sources like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, organ meats, and eggs.
  • Minerals: Minerals support vital functions such as bone health, nerve function, fluid balance, and enzyme activation, and more. Required minerals for dogs include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine. Minerals can come from fish or animal meat and organs, vegetables, eggs, and whole grains.
  • Water: While not always associated with food, water is essential for dogs for proper hydration, digestion, joint lubrication, nutrient transport, organ function, and more. Dogs should always have 24/7 access to clean, fresh water, but including moisture in their diet as well can be helpful to ensure adequate hydration. 

Should My Dog Eat Homemade Dog Food?

With proper research, planning, and preparation, you can make your own dog food at home. However, it can be difficult to guarantee your dog is getting the recommended levels of nutrients they need from homemade dog food recipes. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist before getting started.

Find a veterinary nutritionist here.

Does My Dog Need Supplements?

It has been well established that certain nutrients can have health benefits for dogs when fed above the minimum nutrient requirement as published by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials). Especially when preparing homemade dog food, additional supplementation in the diet can help ensure your dog is getting what they need.

A supplement like Dinovite for Dogs can be used in conjunction with a homemade or commercial diet to boost certain nutrients. Packed with prebiotics, probiotics, omega fatty acids, vitamin E, zinc, and other beneficial nutrients, Dinovite’s daily powdered supplement helps support your dog’s skin and coat health, digestion, and immune system.

Supplements can also benefit your dog if you’re looking to support a specific function, such as hip and joint or skin and coat.

*All information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the expert advice of a veterinarian or veterinary practitioner.