When I first embarked on homemade pet food, I was bewildered by all the conflicting nutrition information—and terrified that any slip-up might damage my beloved pet.
But I eventually realized that all these conflicting theories had one thing in common: every nutritionist, whatever their particular food theory, could draw long lists of pets who had thrived, overcome illness, and extended their lifespans on their particular diet.
Thus I developed my own theory: The differences between pet nutrition theories are merely nuances; the key is fresh, real food.
My goal, then, is not to follow any “scientifically perfect” canine diet—it’s to land on the diet that produces optimum health for my dog. As such, Molly and I experiment freely, and note how certain foods or preparation methods work for her.
One thing I will note: My very first forays into homemade pet food began with my precious cat Angus when she (yes, she) was dying of kidney failure. This is the same way many pet owners stumble into fresh foods for their pets. In a situation like this, maybe your pet is made a bit more of glass—but more importantly, so are you.
- First, condition-specific diets can be really useful; many health conditions can be greatly helped by providing your pet’s body with the particular nutrients it really needs to fight off the disease.
- Second, depending on the condition and how far it’s progressed (usually quite far by the time people turn to fresh foods in desperation), you may not have enough time left to leisurely experiment with your pet’s diet.
- Third, and most important, when you’re stressing out over your pet’s prognosis, it’s too much burden to add the stress of figuring out your pet’s diet from scratch.
So in this situation, for your peace of mind, if nothing else, I would encourage a pet owner to find a condition-specific diet by an experienced nutritionist and simply follow it to the letter. You can rest assured, it produced good results for this nutritionist and his or her clients. Your cat or dog, therefore, will benefit as well.
But if your pet is already in good general health—don’t sweat over balancing every little nutrient. She drinks out of mud puddles, for goodness sake!