Home prepared meals are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners. Some prefer it outright – shunning commercial foods. Other pet owners consider home-cooked food a special treat; just another way to add a bit of variety to their pet’s diet and fill their tummies with love.

Here at My Vet, we believe that home prepared meals are great to pamper your pets! But…that’s only if they are done correctly. Many recipes online look and sound good but are not balanced and complete for your pets.

Are home prepared meals good?

A complete and balanced homecooked meal may be the solution for pet owners who:

  • Want to add a bit of variation to their pet’s daily meals
  • Want to know what their pets are eating
  • Have fussy pets
  • Have pets with special dietary requirements, e.g., gut issues, skin issues

Home-Prepared Meals: Raw vs Cooked

There are a few considerations for a pet owner trying to choose home prepared meals. One of the most pertinent questions asked is: raw or cooked? We encourage owners to cook their meals due to health and safety reasons.

But is raw food better than cooked meals? The jury is still out on this; research is still being performed to fill the gaps in our knowledge. We personally do not believe raw food is better than cooked or vice-versa. We focus on ensuring that the meals that are being fed to the pets are COMPLETE and BALANCED.

Raw food: things to consider

There are a few things to consider when it comes to feeding your pet raw food.

  • Safe handling to prevent cross-contamination.

It is very important to practise safe handling of meat to avoid contamination with harmful bacteria that can cause serious diseases. For more information visit the NSW Food Authority on safe handling of raw meat. The FDA also has some information on safe handling of raw meat.

  • Most online recipes and most commercial raw diet are not complete and balanced.

Most homemade recipes that you see on the internet or commercial raw diets that you purchase from the pet store are not balanced and complete. Nutritional imbalances – defined as excesses or deficiencies of nutrients – can be very detrimental to a pet’s health.

  • Higher risk of parasites and bacteria in raw food.

Recent scientific studies show that nearly all raw food is contaminated with bacteria. Some of these pathogens may be completely harmless, while others can cause serious issues. Animals that are fed a raw food diet can shed harmful bacteria for up to seven days in their faeces. This is a real concern for young children, pregnant women, older people and/or immunocompromised patients.

Take-Home Messages

Here are our main take-home messages about home prepared meals:

  1. Consult a veterinary nutritionist to help you formulate a complete and balanced diet for your furbaby that is specifically tailored to his/her nutritional requirements.
  2. Not all pets are suited to home prepared food, just as how some pets are not suited for commercial diet (kibbles).
  3. Regular blood testing and check-ups with your vet are essential to ensure that your pet is receiving all the correct nutrients and minerals. However, complete blood tests that would help you assess micronutrient levels are unavailable,
  4. We recommend cooking home prepared meals rather than feeding raw due to food safety reasons.

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Our team is here to answer your questions and get an appointment scheduled for you.

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