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Pet Pro Samantha Henson, CPN, shows us the best way to go from bags of kibble to pet-friendly home cooked meals.

Over the past 12 years, Samantha has seen every variation of a home cooked pet diet, but nearly 90% are done incorrectly. Poor diet can lead to issues like malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, poor coat health, dental issues, and more. Specifically, dogs and cats have certain dietary needs that should be met with home cooked diets. 

Mistake 5: Assuming Chicken and Rice is Healthy Long-term

Any sort of meat and grain combo is not a good long-term option for your pet. Chicken and rice (or similar options) can be used very sparingly. You should run far away from any recipe you find on the internet that has you cooking lean ground beef, instant rice, and a can of green beans or sweet potatoes for your pet’s daily meal.

Mistake 4: Not Measuring Your Ingredients

Winging it with your famous chocolate chip cookie recipe may work out fine, but guessing with your pet’s food can be disastrous. Pets can overdose on vitamins and minerals, so avoid eyeballing measurements for oils and fats. Always measure and stick to your recipe. If not for consistency, then for the sake of your pet’s well-being.

Mistake 3: Buying Cheap Ingredients

Before deciding to prepare your pet’s food, double check your budget.  The cheapest cuts of meats and economical canned vegetables or packaged grains are usually loaded with sodium and preservatives. Your goal should be to avoid harsh preservatives, high sodium, and artificial dyes–all of which can be found in the cheapest versions of most ingredients used to make pet food.

Mistake 2Over Feeding

Over half of American pets are either overweight or obese. We must stop feeding pets as a sign of our love for them. Often, Samantha sees situations where a dog or cat really, really likes their new home cooked diet and will beg for more, so the owner refills their bowl thinking they must still be hungry. Adding more to their daily meals could unknowingly pack in 300 extra calories a day! Obesity can lead to a number of health issues including diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, and various forms of cancer.

Mistake 1: Not Consulting a Professional

Samantha believes that a general lack of awareness is the issue. Most people aren’t aware that pet nutritionists are available to everyday people, but assume they all work for large pet food companies. Many professionals are available to you and most will do virtual consultations! A certified pet nutritionist will tailor a diet to your specific pet based on things like age, size, activity level, available ingredients, etc. Never trust a homemade pet food recipe that you found on the internet without consulting a professional to teach you some basics and recommend more balanced options.

About the Author

I’m Samantha Henson, founder of Next Generation Pet Wellness​ and licensed Clinical Pet Nutritionist.
I have spent the last 10 years dedicating my life to the health and wellness of animals. 
To learn more about Samantha’s pet nutrition expertise, visit her website here