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Pet Life

The truth about homemade pet food

Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - One myth about pets that has emerged in recent years is that homemade food is superior to commercial products. Numerous recipes can be found on the Internet for homemade pet food, and several books have been published about the benefits of homemade food for dogs and cats. The reality is that the actual benefits of such concoctions do not measure up to the rhetoric.

Pet owners may think that cooking special meals for their pet is the way to show their love, but experts stress that nutritional deficiencies may arise because most of the recipes for homemade pet food do not provide the vitamins, minerals or other key nutrients their pet needs to stay healthy.

Most pet food products on the market are designed to provide total nutrition for pets. Such complete and balanced products contain the right balance of protein, fat, fiber and carbohydrates. Complete and balanced products provide between 42 and 48 required nutrients, including specific vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. "Balancing all of those nutrients is complex, but that work is the day in and day out responsibility of commercial pet food manufacturer” said Dr. Angle Thompson president of Thompson Pet Tech.

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine analyzed 200 different recipes for home prepared dog foods. Recipes were selected from websites, veterinary textbooks and pet care books. The findings were startling: 95 percent of the recipes were deficient in least one essential nutrient, and 84 percent were lacking in multiple required nutrients.

The study found that even recipes authored by veterinarians had significant problems with nutritional adequacy. However, although board certified veterinary nutritionists wrote only four of the recipes, all of these were found to be balanced.

All recipes were evaluated using computer software designed to analyze pet food diets. The nutritional content of each diet was calculated based upon the nutrient profile of the individual ingredients. Once the total nutrient content was determined, it was compared against the minimum requirements and recommended allowances established by the National Research Council (NRC) as well as the nutrient profiles minimums and maximums for adult maintenance set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Later a number of diets were analyzed in a laboratory to confirm the accuracy of the calculated values.

"This study shows that most recipes for homemade dog food do not provide proper nutrition for long, healthy lives. These are serious flaws, and these deficient recipes for homemade dog food should be withdrawn by their authors,” said Duane Ekedahl, president of PFI.

"Don’t take a chance with your pet’s health,” advised Ekedahl. "Feed a nutritionally appropriate commercial diet that will provide all the nutrients your pet needs while saving time for more enjoyable activities like playing or cuddling with your pet.”

The Well Fed, Well Nurtured campaign urges Filipino pet owners to practice responsible pet ownership through proper pet care and nutrition. Pet Food Institute and the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines work hand in hand to strengthen the awareness the importance of responsible pet ownership within the Filipino pet community through informative and educational engagements.

ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN FEED CONTROL OFFICIALS

DR. ANGLE THOMPSON

DUANE EKEDAHL

FOOD

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

PET

PET FOOD INSTITUTE AND THE VETERINARY PRACTITIONERS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

RECIPES

SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE

THOMPSON PET TECH

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

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