Pet nutrition: The truth about your dog’s food

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Yesterday’s documentary titled ‘The Truth About Your Dog’s Food’ on channel 5 gave an eye-opening insight into the world of pet nutrition and how common mistakes and myths could be causing our pets more harm than good.

With the start of a new year, many humans have made changes in their lives in the pursuit of health and happiness. It seems only fair that our pets are part of that journey, and channel 5’s documentary explained just how important it could be for pet owners to make changes to their diets.

A shocking census released by Burns Pet Nutrition discovered that 89% of dog owners believe their pet’s weight is healthy, whilst vets have reported a third of the dogs they see as being overweight.

The dog food industry is worth billions of pounds and every year the British public spend a huge portion of their earnings on manufactured pet food, but owners and professionals are now questioning whether a rise in health issues could be attributed to these processed diets many dogs are now living on.

After delving into the history of dog food, the programme explores different diets such as vegetarian, home-cooked, natural Vs commercial, along with the controversial raw (BARF) diet. Questioning whether our quest for convenience has gone too far, the programme puts forward the argument that our dogs could be much healthier and happier on a fresher diet. As humans we are advised to steer clear of overly processed food, so why should it be any different for our canine friends?

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The programme concludes by encouraging owners to be more inquisitive about what they are feeding their dogs. After one contributor likened processed dog food to junk food, it seems the manufactured diet might become less popular with pet owners.  A home-cooked diet which allows owners to be aware of which ingredients are being used could now be the way forward.

Lily’s Kitchen which was featured on the programme create healthy, home-cooked meals with some of it sold at PetsPyjamas.

If you want to treat your dog to home-cooked, healthy food then here are some tried and tested home-made recipes for you to try at home:

Vegan treats

– 1 & a half cups gluten-free flour

– half a cup of instant unsweetened oatmeal (porridge oats!)

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 1 cup finely chopped or grated raw carrots

– 2 tbsps pitted and finely chopped dates

– half cup organic unsalted peanut butter

– half a cup water

Preheat the oven to 325’F or 165’C. In a mixing bowl combine flour, oats and baking powder, making a well in the centre. In a separate bowl place your carrots and dates, adding the peanut butter and water and stir. Add the peanut mix into the well you made and stir until combined. Flour a surface and flatten the mix to make a ¼ inch thick layer. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter and bake for 14-16 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes and then serve.

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Milk bone biscuits

-three quarters of a cup of hot water

-third of a cup of margarine

-half a cup of powdered milk

– 1 tsp salt

-1 egg

– 3 cups whole wheat flower

In a large bowl, pour hot water over the margarine. Stir in the powdered milk, salt and egg. Add flour, ½ cup at a time. Knead for a few minutes to form a stiff dough. Pat or roll to ½ inch thickness. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake at 325’F or 165’C for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then serve.

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Turkey and Vegetable Dinner

This healthy recipe is a perfectly balanced meal for your dog. The turkey has a very low fat content, making it a much better option than other meats. The turkey is also a great source of protein whilst the vegetables provide some essential vitamins and minerals.

– 4 cups of water

– 1 pound of ground turkey

– 2 cups of brown rice

– 1 cup of carrots, chopped

– 1 cup of green beans, chopped

– 1 tablespoon of fish oil (optional)

Cook the ground turkey in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until the meat is cooked through. Then Add the brown rice, turkey, and water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Next reduce the heat to medium-low and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until the rice is soft and tender.

Add the carrots and green beans and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Allow to cool before serving. (This can be stored in a container in the fridge for 5 days)

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