Homemade vs. Commercial dog food

More and more people want to give the best to their pets. We try to reduce chemicals and toxins in the environment and provide the best diet we can find. A typical commercial dog food, even popular brands, contains a lot of questionable ingredients and sources. If a dog eats the same pre-packaged food every day for life, it is going to cause health problems. We always try to avoid processed food ourselves, why is it different for our dogs? Cooking fresh ingredients for your dog at home might sound much work, but it can be a great option to provide the best health if done correctly.

homemade dog food

Commercial vs. Homemade vs. Dehydrated / Freeze dry dog food

Many people have different opinions about what to feed your dog? Some believe commercial food is the best way because it is all balanced nutrition by big manufacturer and experts. It is also very convenient. On the other hand, some people insist homemade meal from fresh meat, veggies, and grains be the best you can get for your dogs.

There is also some high-quality commercial food that is all holistic, organic, and no junk filler ingredients; and dry freeze or dehydrated dog foods you can buy that are fortified with balanced supplements to meet a dog’s need. When the food is rehydrated with water, it will look like a delicious stew dish even us humans will enjoy. It saves the time of cooking and hassle of calculating a balanced diet for dogs. The downside it the cost, it usually costs more than the typical commercial food, and you might need to order online from special stores.

The homemade food is still the best option if you have the time and knowledge to prepare the meal. You can pick the organic meat from supermarket yourself to ensure the best quality for dogs. Dogs will bond with you even more for the extra effort you put in to make the yummy food. The downside, it takes more effort to plan, shop, cook, and store the food. It also needs some learning, in the beginning, to formulate the best diet and adjust according to your dog’s changing needs.


Most homemade dog meal will need an extra supplement to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. For example, bone meal, vitamin and mineral, probiotic, and fish oil. Without this supplement, the meal is not balanced for dogs. An owner has to research and choose the best supplements for your dogs. Some company might try to sell “all in one” supplement for homemade dog food, but it usually gets expensive to purchase month after month.

Veterinarian Nutritionist

It is owner’s decision to pick what’s best to feed the dog at the moment. Consulting a veterinarian nutritionist is a good idea if you are not sure. They can help you formulate recipes for homemade dog food custom made for your dog. There is also a lot of resource and books online, but not all of them have the best advice for your situation. There are many questions you have to ask yourself. For example, do you prefer raw food that is supposed to be very natural and healthy for dogs, but with the possibility of contamination? Or, cook food that might have decreased nutritional value but less contamination? Do you have a little or big breed? Do you have a young puppy, a senior dog, or a dog with special needs? Is your dog active or laid back? Each dog requires different nutritional needs, and the needs change over time. You also have to consider your schedule and budget to decide what works best for both you and your dog.

Perfect situation

In a perfect situation, you do your research, consult with a vet nutritionist, cook a fresh diet with right supplement, evaluate and adjust your cooking according to your dog’s changing needs. If you are not ready to change all meals to fresh home cooking, maybe start with some with topping on the commercial food, and see how the dog reacts. Another choice is the freeze dried or dehydrated food from special online stores. Rotating different flavors will reduce the chance of developing an allergy to a particular food.

I would suggest keeping an open mind on all the options available. Life changes and we change our plans too. Instead of setting your mind on one way of feeding, check with your dog from time to time. If the dog has an adverse reaction, it is time to slow down or revise your plan. Ultimately, your dog’s health is what matters most.

More reading

 - I like www.onlynaturepet.com for dehydrated dog food and natural treats.

 - For learning more about taking care of the dog, see www.whole-dog-journal.com.

- More info about basic training and cooking, see Michele Welton’s ebook from www.yourpurebredpuppy.com

- To calculate the nutrition of homemade dog meal and the required supplement, see www.balanceit.com