Homemade diets: attributes, pitfalls, and a call for action

Rebecca L Remillard
Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 2008, 23 (3): 137-42
At one time, it was estimated that the majority of dogs and cats in the United States received 90% or more of their nutrition from complete and balanced commercially prepared foods, and this estimate was reaffirmed in a 2004 survey. However, 4 years and several pet food and treat recalls later, fewer pet owners are feeding commercial pet food products exclusively and more are asking questions and looking for alternatives. As in any market-driven economy, there are many more alternative diets and food products available today from which pet owners may select. A difficult to measure but growing number of clients are feeding homemade diets that provide 100% of their pet's nutrition, while a larger number are feeding a combination of products, treats, and home prepared meals. Most practitioners can attest to this increase in their client's interest in homemade meals and to having insufficient knowledge to assist them. At a time when motivated clients are considering homemade for their pets as an alternative, veterinarians are less than adequately versed in canine and feline nutrition and dietary options. The article addresses the two most important health issues concerning pet owners and veterinarians about homemade diets: nutritional integrity and food safety.

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