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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Homemade Diets Not Always Best

Homemade diets not always more nutritious or safe
The debate on whether or not your pet is better off on a homemade diet is an ongoing one. Without a doubt, feeding a commercially prepared diet is more convenient, safer, and more economical. Feeding a homemade diet can be very effective but can also be fraught with difficulties. For example, you must be sure that the diet that you prepare contains the proper amount and balance of all nutrients, that the ingredients are easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the pet, and that it is palatable. You must make sure that the nutrients are not altered or destroyed in any way during processing and storage. You must also ensure that no contamination of the food occurs before, during, or after food preparation. Finally, vitamins and minerals must be supplied in the proper ratio to ensure good health. Commercial pet foods are routinely tested for nutritional composition, something most pet owners are unable to do on their own.

Problems can and do occur if raw foods are fed. For example, meats should not be fed raw because of the danger of transmitting parasites (e.g. toxoplasmosis) and harmful bacteria (e.g. Salmonella, E.coli, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, etc.). In addition, studies show that most dogs and cats prefer cooked meat.

There is nothing wrong with providing your pet with a homemade diet. Consult your veterinarian for recipes and advice so that you can be assured of a healthy and well-balanced diet. However, also be aware of the fact that commercial pet foods are of exceptional quality and value, and that most of the "bad press" they receive is unwarranted and unjustified.

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