A 2013 article in Petfood Industry highlighted a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine that said most homemade dog food recipes do not meet all of a pet’s nutritional requirements.
According to a recent blog from Melissa Brookshire, after the 2007 recall that impacted a massive portion of the industry, pet owners became more interested in home-cooked diets, or diets that seem home-cooked.
The 2013 study included analyses of 200 home-prepared diets. Recipes were found online, in textbooks and in cookbooks for pets. Of the 200 diets, only nine were found to be complete and balanced for adult dogs per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient tables. Additionally, researchers found that 92% of the recipes contained instructions that were too vague and required pet owners to make assumptions about ingredients, or they failed to include calorie information or account for the size of the dog being fed.
“Some of the deficiencies, particularly those related to choline, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin E, could result in significant health problems such as immune dysfunction, accumulation of fat in the liver and musculoskeletal abnormalities,” said Jennifer Larsen, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis and lead author on the study.
In an earlier study of homemade food for dogs, certain nutrients were found to be below recommendations.
“It is possible to feed pets homemade diets, but there are numerous potential problems that can arise if the diet is not correctly balanced,” said Anne Tebb, a veterinarian at Bristol University.
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