Dogs and cats better homemade or industrial food ?
Animal nutrition experts detail the aspects to be evaluated before opting for feed or a natural diet
Every day there are more people who strive to recover for their dogs and cats a homemade diet, with natural ingredients
as was done before the generalization of feed and food prepared by the food industry for dogs and cats. Rice with chicken instead of nutritious pellets or prepared croquettes. Doing so requires more effort from the owners, because it is much faster to open a bag of feed or a can.
More knowledge is also needed , because it is not worth giving the leftovers of our lunch or dinner to the animal. Neither do a diet intuitively, without consulting veterinary nutrition specialists . It is also advised against diving on the net in search of tutorials because each animal is a world.
Is homemade food really better for our pets And nutritionally ?
If food is prepared at home, is there a risk of not providing all the nutrients our beloved pet needs? Do you enjoy the dog or cat more eating as their ancestors did, chewing food, instead of always repeating the same commercial formula?
On all these issues there is a lot of debate , and it is convenient to know some keys to not get lost between defenders and detractors of both types of food .
There are those who advocate an intermediate position . Some veterinarians and nutritionists pet recommend a varied and balanced diet, using feed preparations and canned food for dogs and cats in their daily lives – because it is more practical and sure- , but introducing also natural ingredients .
If this option is chosen, the advice is not to mix the homemade food with the commercial one and, remember, say the specialists, that the unprocessed ingredients are perishable .
Another recommendation regarding the food of our pets is to change the tastes , shapes , trademarks and type of feed, so as not to bore the animal and avoid getting used to a single type of feed and end up rejecting everything get out of the most absolute routine and repetition.
Natural ingredients can also be used as a prize. “You should never give the leftovers of what we eat dogs and cats ; if we opt for a natural diet we must cook specifically for our animals, with the advice of a veterinarian and expert in animal nutrition, because their digestive system is different from that of humans, ”says veterinarian Maria Pifarré .
Arguments for and against
Marta Hervera , veterinarian and European specialist in nutrition, ensures that each of the diets, homemade or industrial, has advantages and disadvantages. “A reputed commercial product is always our first recommendation, because there are fewer risks : the croquette is always the same. On the other hand, you can not test a homemade diet, you will try it with your dog or your cat, and it has a series of risks: it is less constant, and must have a series of natural ingredients – be it chicken breast or veal – in addition to some supplements , because the ingredients do not cover all the nutrients, ”he explains.
Pifarré warns that “a small dog is not the same as one of 20 kilos, nor is a cat that is very active than another that does not move much; if we cook the food at home, we should ask for advice from the veterinarian nutritionist, so that the diet is balanced , without deficiencies, and without causing the animal to fatten excessively
On the other hand, Carlos Gutiérrez , a dog nutritionist, argues that “that natural nutrition works in 99% of cases, and animals radically change their appearance, being much stronger and more energetic . With a natural and varied diet you have a super healthy dog . 30 years ago the dogs ate household items and were fine. In three or four minutes you feed your dog – I teach how to do it – and if you can’t dedicate this time to your animal, you better not have it. The cases of failure that I have is in dogs that do not accept anything other than I think about an intolerancefood, dogs that can only eat hydrolyzed protein. ”
“A reputed commercial product has less risk with natural ingredients not all nutrients are always covered, requires advice ”
MARTA HERVERA Veterinaria, nutrition specialist
Gutierrez is a fervent defender of homemade food and offers advice at his nutrition center in Madrid and showing success stories in his notebook. “It is not healthy to feed a dog with feed, however much it is sold as a product with high protein of animal origin. They are dry balls that are not spoiled, it is a super industrialized diet; It has no logic. I have not found anyone, or any veterinarian, to tell me that he would feed his children like this, with a super processed ball that is not spoiled and is dehydrated ; It is cruel. The healthiest things are household things, natural and, above all, high in animal protein; that is luxury for dogs, ”he emphasizes.
Natural food works and animals change their appearance being stronger and more energetic
CARLOS GUTIÉRREZ Dog Nutritionist, natural diet advocate
Despite being critical of the big producers that cover the world market for dog and cat nutrition, it proposes that processed foods be only a complement. “I don’t disagree about giving the dog balls ; It seems perfect as a complement
I encourage you to eat them two or three times a week , just in case one day you can’t take care of your animal, ”he says.
The veterinarian Marta Hervera forms a team in a specialized veterinary consultancy and also analyzes commercial diets to ensure that they contain all the necessary nutrients for the animals. “The problem of the industry, in Europe, is that you can say about the role that the product sold has all the nutrients that the animal needs, but there is no law that requires analyzing diets before going to market, ” he admits .
Information and guarantees
In view of the growing demand for information from users and veterinarians, the world organization of pet veterinarians, the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) has created several guides , with a committee of experts in nutrition animal. In one of them the owners are oriented to know how to choose the best commercial food, and in another they give advice on the information that circulates on the internet.
“We should not follow tutorials; there are foods that can be toxic to the cat or dog, ”warns Pifarré. The veterinarian warns that each animal has its needs , by weight or lifestyle , or because it suffers from any pathology . “I have met a dog that ate the books because he was hungry, the diet he received was insufficient,” he exemplifies.
Hervera explains that “the labels say nothing about the quality of commercial food, it is very frustrating, but it is so.” What WSAVA suggests is to ask the producer.
“One of the questions is whether the producer verifies that, after processing, his product meets (nutritional requirements), although there is no legal obligation; another option is to verify that it is tested with animals before taking the product to the market to verify that everything is fine, analyzing the feces, seeing for example that it does not cause diarrhea; there are producers who do it, and it is a quality parameter, ”adds the expert.
Gutierrez says prepared foods are not perfect diets . “ These balls do not contain all the nutrients , and it does not have 80% water , it is unnatural; Water is the first element of the diet, it is essential; Without water the dog dies. Mammals eat food with 70% water, not 10%. It is an incongruity. Do not compare the quality of a piece of chicken, an apple or natural rice with a processed ball and subjected to very high temperatures, at 500 degrees to make the flours, ”he criticizes. And he adds that “ canids and felines, in nature, eat 10% carbohydrates ; the preparations have 50-70%of carbohydrates, we are making dogs sick . ”
There are those who argue that in addition to nutritional reasons the welfare of the animal should be valued . “The love bond you create with your dog or cat (with homemade food ) is very strong; giving him something that causes him great pleasure creates a very strong bond between the person and his dog, ”explains Gutierrez. “If you put a hundred dogs in front of a plate of chicken and another of feed, 99% will go to natural food,” he adds.
There are some animals that do not tolerate industrial feeding well or systematically reject feed . In these cases, natural ingredients can be a good alternative. They can also be in cases of dogs and cats that suffer certain pathologies.
But be careful specialists say, there are also animals that have food intolerances or allergies to some natural foods . In all these cases, the veterinary nutrition specialist must be used to analyze the homemade diet.
Quality tools are also offered on the internet . The WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) lists some practical resources – previously reviewed – that include nutrition, food and nutritional assessment guidelines. There are also tools to get closer to the world of homemade diets on the portal of American veterinary nutrition specialists.Advertisements