The premise of natural food is to compose the pet’s diet with ingredients intended for human consumption. Trying to approximate the composition of the food that animals (dogs and cats) got from nature, and with the assurance of knowing that our pet is receiving high-quality food.
Owners’ interest in this type of food began due to a large recall of canned pet food in the United States between March and April 2007. During this period, a Canadian company, the largest food manufacturer in North America, announced the withdrawal from the market of 60 million canned pet food. The reason for the recall was the death of 16 animals (officially confirmed) with kidney and liver failure. The agent causing this contamination was identified as wheat gluten contaminated with melamine, a substance used in the manufacture of plastics.
Faced with food safety problems and the concern with quality foods that meet the nutritional needs of companion animals, differentiated products with the appeal of “natural” began to appear on the market. In addition, the increased demand for alternative foods originates from the search for novelties in the pet food sector and the frequent humanization of animals.
What Is Natural/Homemade Pet Food?
Natural/homemade food for pets is understood to mean food without chemical processing, artificial preservatives, and additives, except for industrialized products (vitamins, minerals, and nutraceuticals) used in homemade foods to balance and make the food. Natural/homemade pet food is divided into three categories. Check it out:
- Bone and raw food: was one of the first natural diets for dogs, proposed by veterinarian Dr. Billinghurst in 1993. It is commonly referred to as the BARF diet. The principle of this diet is the provision of meats, vegetables, fruits, and bones, all in their raw form, based on a diet of the ancestors of dogs, which would be constituted mainly by prey. With this, the supply of grains and supplements is avoided. With the premise that raw bones already provide all essential nutrients for dogs. BARF is sold with approval from Organs competent bodies in several countries, such as the USA and Canada.
- Raw food without bones: as the name implies, the raw ingredients are offered to animals. However, unlike BARF, bones are not included in the diet. This modality is interesting for brachycephalic dogs and cats (such as pug dogs and Burmese cats) with few teeth or chewing difficulties and tiny dog breeds.
- Cooked food: the ingredients that will make up the pet’s food are cooked or roasted. Compared to other modalities, its advantage is that because the food is cooked, it becomes more attractive and is usually better accepted by animals with more demanding palates. In this diet, bones are not provided since they are not safe to be consumed after going through any cooking process because when they are chewed, they form ends that can obstruct the digestive tract.
What Are The Benefits Of Natural/Homemade Pet Food?
Providing a balanced natural/homemade diet for pets has several benefits. Among them, we have a significant improvement in the palatability of food, which makes the diet more attractive to animals, greater concentration of moisture that can help reduce urinary problems, especially for cats, less selectivity of food when crushed, improves coat and immunity.
And also, personalized homemade food formulated for a particular animal and made by a trained animal nutrition professional has several advantages. To give customized diets according to each animal’s nutritional needs and particularities are super recommended for animals with some comorbidities, such as diabetes, renal and liver diseases, and others.
Is There Any Harm In Offering This Type Of Food?
There are several drawbacks to domestic dog food preparation, which are often unknown to owners. Firstly, it is essential to emphasize that this type of food costs more than the complete commercial foods found in the market. Another negative point is that making meals at home requires an investment of time. So it is necessary to make purchases at the market, prepare the ingredients, and weigh and assemble the portions, and this requires storage space in freezers, so it is also essential to say that you need to be organized so doesn’t lack food that your pet.
With the growth in demand for this product, several companies are emerging in the natural/homemade pet food market, so, to get around the problem you would have when making it at home, you can order your pet’s food directly on these websites. Companies or markets, as is already found in North America and Europe.
Can I Follow Recipes Available From The Internet?
It is not recommended to follow ready-made diets found on the internet. Cause since most of these internet recipes do not meet the nutritional needs of animals established by nutritional recommendation guides such as AAFFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) and FEDIAF (European pet food industry). Another critical factor is formulating a complete and balanced food, which requires specialized knowledge, so look for professionals in animal nutrition.
What Happens If You Change The Prescribed Diet?
Unfortunately, changing the diet prescribed by professionals is a widespread mistake among owners, whether changing ingredients or changing established measures. Depending on the deficiency or excess of each nutrient that is ingested, they can cause some health problems. That’s why it’s important to follow professional recommendations.
With all this information, it is easier to decide whether or not to change the type of food your animals to natural/homemade.