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As a dog owner, you’re often faced with the decision: Should I buy ready-made food for my furry friend or cook it myself? Both options have their pros and cons that need to be weighed. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences so you can make the best decision for your furry friend. 

Cooking Yourself – Love Goes Through the Stomach 

Advantages of Cooking for Your Dog: 

  • Complete Control: When you cook for your dog, you can be certain that there are no hidden additives or preservatives in the food. You determine the quality of each ingredient. 
  • Fresh Ingredients: Fresh ingredients are often richer in nutrients than preserved ones. You can choose seasonal products to maximize the nutrients in the food. 
  • Variety: By varying the menu, you offer your dog a wide range of tastes and nutrients, making his meals more interesting and balanced. 
  • Specific Dietary Needs: You can more easily implement special dietary requirements, such as for overweight, diabetes, or other health challenges. 
  • Strengthening Bonds: The time you spend cooking for your dog can strengthen your relationship and show your dog how much he means to you. 
Fresh vegetables and various kinds of meats
image: Md. Kamrul Islam – vecteezy.com

Disadvantages and Challenges of Cooking Yourself: 

  • Time Investment: Preparing the meals can be time-consuming, which can be a challenge in a hectic everyday life. 
  • Knowledge Required: You need a solid knowledge of canine nutritional needs to ensure that all essential nutrients are present in the right amounts. 
  • Shelf Life: Homemade food cannot be stored as long as industrially produced food and often needs to be kept cool, which means additional effort. 
  • Cost: High-quality ingredients can be more expensive than ready-made food, especially if you prefer organic products or special ingredients. 
  • Inconsistent Nutrient Distribution: Without precise recipes and analysis, it can be difficult to keep the nutrient distribution in homemade meals constant, which can lead to an unbalanced diet. 

By weighing the pros and cons and perhaps consulting your veterinarian, you can make the best decision for the nutrition of your loyal companion.

Money-Saving Tips When Cooking for Your Dog: 

  • Buy in Bulk: By purchasing supplies in large packages or direct from wholesalers, you can take advantage of bulk discounts. Keep an eye out for special deals and discount campaigns in supermarkets or from local farmers. 
  • Cook in Large Quantities: Spend a day cooking food in advance and portion it for your dog’s daily needs. This not only saves time but also electricity and gas since you won’t need to cook daily. 
  • Grow Your Own Veggies: If you have the space, consider growing some of the vegetables you need for your dog’s food yourself. It’s not only cheaper but also more sustainable. 
  • Utilize Leftovers: Use leftover vegetables or meat scraps from your meals, provided they are safe and healthy for your dog. 

Health Tips for Home-Cooked Dog Food: 

  • Balanced Recipes: Educate yourself on your dog’s nutritional needs to ensure that the home-cooked food contains all the necessary nutrients. 
  • Add Supplements: Some nutrients are hard to cover with regular foods. Here, supplements such as fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids or special vitamin blends may be necessary. 
  • Consult with Your Veterinarian: Before you start cooking yourself, discuss it with your veterinarian to make sure you’re meeting all your dog’s nutritional needs. 
  • Regular Health Checks: Keep an eye on your dog and his dietary regime, and watch for changes in weight, coat quality, and overall well-being to ensure that the home-cooked food suits him. 

By paying attention to these money-saving and health tips, you can not only save money but also contribute to the longevity and quality of life of your four-legged friend. 

Buying Ready-Made Dog Food – Convenience with Quality? 

3 cans on a wooden table
image: Bigc Studio – vecteezy.com

Advantages of Ready-Made Dog Food: 

  • Convenience: Ready-made food is quick to serve and saves time.
  • Easy Portioning: Dry food comes in consistent sizes, making it easier to control your dog’s food intake. Balanced
  • Composition: High-quality ready-made food is often tailored to the needs of the dog and contains all the necessary nutrients.
  • Long Shelf Life: Dry and wet foods have a long shelf life and are easy to store.
  • Dietary Options: There is a wide range of diet foods available for dogs with specific health issues, such as diabetes or kidney diseases.
  • Variety Without Complications: With a variety of flavors and formulas, you can provide variety without disrupting the nutritional balance.

Disadvantages of Ready-Made Food: 

  • Unclear Ingredients: Some products do not make it clear which ingredients and additives are used.  
  • Preservatives and Fillers: Some ready-made foods contain preservatives that can be harmful to dogs in the long run.  
  • Taste and Freshness: Some dogs prefer the variety of tastes and freshness of home-cooked food over ready-made food.  
  • Individual Needs: Standard food does not always take into account the individual needs of your dog.  
  • Ecological Footprint: Dry food and cans can be environmentally damaging due to their packaging and production.  
  • Price: High-quality dog food can be expensive. 

Money-Saving Tips When Buying Ready-Made Food: 

Hand putting a coin in a white piggy bank
image: Khaosai Wongnatthakan – vecteezy.com
  • Look for Deals: Keep an eye out for special offers and discounts.  
  • Buy in Bulk: Larger packs are often cheaper – but check for compatibility before buying in large quantities.  
  • Check Store Brands: Often, store brands from large chains offer comparable quality at a lower price.  
  • Subscription Services: Some online retailers offer subscriptions with discounts for regular deliveries.  
  • Second Choice: Products with damaged packaging that are still within the shelf life are often offered at a reduced price.  
  • Share with Friends: Buy in bulk and share the costs and food with friends who also have dogs. 

Health Tips:

  • Quality Check: Look for the quality seal and the composition of the food.  
  • Check the Nutrient Profile: Make sure the food has a balanced nutrient profile and meets AAFCO guidelines.  
  • Careful Transition: If you change the brand or type of food, do it gradually to avoid gastrointestinal problems.  
  • Age-Dependent Nutrition: Choose food that is suitable for your dog’s life stage – puppies, adult dogs, or seniors need different amounts of nutrients.  
  • Consult Your Veterinarian: Especially if your dog has special health needs, food choices should always be made in consultation with a veterinarian. 

Conclusion

Whether you decide to cook for your dog yourself or opt for ready-made food depends on your personal circumstances and the needs of your dog. The health and well-being of your four-legged friend always come first. Some dog owners choose a combination of both methods to combine the benefits. The important thing is to be well-informed, regularly check your dog’s health, and consult a veterinarian if necessary. Only then can you ensure that your dog gets exactly what he needs for a long and healthy life. 

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