Tons of people are currently jumping on the health food craze. Many opt for a cleaner, healthier diet with more information about harmful additives and artificial ingredients being brought to light.
While you may worry about what you’re putting in your own body, stopping to think of your pet is also important. Many pet food recipes can be full of ingredients that aren’t ideal for your dogs or cats.
Low-quality pet food may be filled with chemical preservatives, artificial colors, sugar substitutes, and excessive salt. These ingredients and more can be extremely harmful to your fur baby. Side effects of harmful pet food ingredients could include hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver damage, cancer, and in worst-case scenarios, death.
Many people love their pets and go above and beyond to care for them. From purchasing dog-friendly homeowners insurance to spoiling them with luxurious beds, their diet should be no exception.
So what are healthier options pet owners can feed their fur babies to avoid these health problems? Let’s find out.
Don’t Skip the Protein for Your Pet
A good, quality protein is a critical ingredient in healthy recipes for your pet. Dogs and cats need amino acids for their overall health, and protein can be an essential source.
There are many foods or treats you can provide your dog or cat packed with protein. However, it’s essential to pay attention to how easily digestible your protein source is. Some ingredients, such as beaks and hooves, may sound fun to mix in, but they are almost impossible for your pet to digest.
If your fur baby can’t digest the protein, it isn’t beneficial to their health. Instead, opt for eggs or cooked protein-rich meats such as beef, pork, turkey, or chicken. These ingredients are easily digestible for your dog or cat and will provide them with a rich source of protein.
As with any other recipe ingredients for your pet, protein isn’t a one-size-fits-all measurement. You will have to speak to your veterinarian and determine your pet’s best measurements based on their age, weight, and overall health.
Carbohydrates Are Key for Your Furry Friend
Carbohydrates are another essential ingredient for your pet to live a healthy life. Without proper carbohydrates, you may notice them feeling sluggish, tired, and not showing their personality.
Because carbohydrates are most important in providing energy to your pet, a diet without them can be detrimental to your pet’s overall health. Just as you need ample energy to feel your best, so too does your fur baby.
When adding healthy carbohydrates to your pet’s food recipes, there are many ingredients to choose from. Oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, and barley are all excellent sources of good carbs to include in any recipe you prepare.
As with protein and other ingredients, carbohydrates need to be measured for your pet’s needs. Consulting with your veterinarian before creating your recipe can ensure you’re providing the proper amount of carbs to meet your fur baby’s needs.
Make Sure Your Pet Gets Their Greens
Adding vegetables to your pet’s recipes is a great way to keep them happy and healthy. While excessive greens aren’t great for them, adding in a small number of approved veggies can be highly beneficial.
Vegetables are packed with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals that are excellent for your pet’s overall health. However, when steering into the territory of vegetables, it’s important to remember your fur baby should not consume some of them.
Veggies like mushrooms and onions can be very harmful to your pet. Some mushrooms are toxic to dogs. While your run-of-the-mill grocery store mushrooms likely won’t cause a horrible reaction, it’s safer to avoid them altogether.
Onions — and all members of the Allium plant family, such as chives and leeks — can be poisonous to your cat or dog. Side effects from consuming onions may include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and ruptured red blood cells.
It may seem scary to consider including vegetables in your pet’s diet after learning the adverse effects some can cause. But the good news is that many vegetables are incredibly healthy for your them to consume.
Pet-safe and healthy vegetables:
- Broccoli – Broccoli can be very beneficial for your pet in small amounts. It contains high fiber and vitamin C levels, making it an excellent ingredient for your pet’s recipes. Just be wary of adding too much, as excessive amounts can cause an upset stomach.
- Carrots – This veggie is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin A. Carrots are low in calories and can benefit your dog’s teeth as well, so they are a perfect addition to any recipe.
- Celery – Celery has many benefits for your pet, including vitamins A, B, and C, heart health, cancer prevention, and even fresher breath. It’s a great vegetable to include in any recipe.
- Zucchini – This squash offers a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium for your pet. Zucchini can also help prevent infections, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Though these veggies are not the only ingredients you can add to your pet’s diet, they are certainly a good starting point.
Mix in Some Healthy Fats for Your Fur Baby
Just like humans, animals need healthy fats in their diet to look and feel their best. When choosing fats, be sure not to overindulge your pet. Though fats are suitable for their overall health, too much can cause harmful side effects. Fats should be a minor ingredient portion in a recipe you prepare.
There is a wide variety of fats to choose from that your fur baby can enjoy in their meal. Typically, the most common sources of healthy fats come from nuts or oils.
It’s crucial to note when choosing nuts or nut-based spreads to avoid macadamia nuts. These can be poisonous to dogs, causing neurological damage and even death.
Other nut butter such as natural peanut butter and almond butter can be a great source of healthy fats for your pet. They can be wonderful additions to a raw diet or used in any recipe to provide them with essential nutrition and healthy skin.
A healthy diet can also include vegetable oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil. These can be used as ingredients for baking up a special treat for your fur baby or even added to a homemade meal.
Ingredients to Keep Your Pet Healthy
Having a pet is a big responsibility, and if you care for them like family, you want to feed them well. While it’s easy to simply pick up a bag of food at the store, paying attention to the ingredients is essential for your pet’s overall health. Take time to also consider pet insurance policies to help you pay for medical costs in case your pet eats something they shouldn’t.
If you want to know what your pet is consuming, these ingredients make an excellent base for healthy recipes. Your pet will love the delicious flavors, and you will rest easier knowing they are consuming only the best ingredients.
Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, USInsuranceAgents.com. She has five fur babies of her own and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others hoping to feed their pets a better diet.