If you want to home cook for your chihuahua, you are going to need to be brave. Without a doubt, you will get criticism from your vet and from people who prefer processed dog food.
Home cooking can be a viable alternative to buying processed food and surly, using fresh ingredients has got to be better than food that’s got preservatives added, right?
The reason vets and canine health professionals are so against home cooking is that many diets are not balanced and not well put together. Some diets are so poor that owners are depriving their dogs of the essential vitamins and minerals they need to keep them healthy. There are a lot of people who just feed their dog chicken meat and a few veggies, and while there is nothing wrong with either ingredient, this is not a good long-term diet.
Another issue you have is people often believe that if a food is OK for a human then it’s Ok for their dog and that’s just not the case. There’s a long list of things that your dog can’t eat. Rice is big on the list of things that people like to feed their dogs, when actually rice is not a suitable food at all and can contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
Good reasons to home cook
One of the best reasons to home cook for your chihuahua is control over the ingredients and the ability to curate your dogs meal to suite any dietary issues like IBD or pancreatitis. Having more control also means less fillers and carbs and a higher protein content. You dog needs fat and protein to thrive, they do get some benefit from veggies but not as much as people like to think.
Do you have a dog with allergies? The chances are they are eating something that doesn’t agree with them. Dry dog food would be the top of the list here, even the stuff that’s meant for dogs with allergies. Most allergies will start in the gut. Being able to switch your chihuahua out to a novel protein like pork and white fish is very helpful, and then you can work on eliminating the food that is causing the problem. (Pork & fish on it’s own would not be a long-term diet answer but is a helpful short-term solution)
Does home cooking help with weight control?
Getting involved with counting calories for your dog is rabbit hole that you may not want to go down. Dogs need fat in their diet and leaving it out can be harmful. Rather than try and curate a low fat diet go with weighing food out to suite their correct body weight. Most dogs are overweight because of dry food, too many treats and vague feeding instructions mean they are overfed. If your chihuahua is overweight this article may be helpful.
Is home cooking cheaper?
Yes and no, buying the ingredients may be cheaper at the till, but putting it all together is time consuming. We have five dogs and home cooking for my lot is a significant investment of time, I still do it, but not as much. I have found a good quality moist dog food that they all like and this is what they get most of the time.
You also need to take into account the supplements you must add into their food.
This list is essential and should go into all meals. I have linked to places you can buy the products.
This list is advisable and can be curated to site your dogs needs.
This is what I am using at the moment and it goes into shop brought and home cooked food.
(Some of these links are affiliate links and if you use them I earn a few pence so thank you in advance for helping me keep it all going!)
Plaque or seaweed supplement to help keep teeth clean.
Complete probiotics. I don’t add this to every meal, I add it to Macy’s once or twice a week because she is poop eater and this helps stop it. It is also good to keep in stock in case of tummy upsets and seems to help with tear staining.
I use the Calm K9 for the younger ones as it promotes a healthy gut biome and does help them stay in a calmer frame of mind and makes them easier to train.
Then Calm K9 senior for Mika who is 10. This stuff is a little pricey but because chihuahuas are small they don’t need a lot and it lasts for ages. The senior version has made a massive difference to Mika. It supports cognitive health and gut biome and seems to have helped reduce anal gland issues.
What must go into home cooked food
Like humans dogs need a variety of different proteins, just feeding one meat every meal is not a good idea, especially if it’s chicken which is an inflammatory meat. (don’t eliminate it, just mix it up)
- A main meat like ground lamb, beef, pork or chicken on rotation
- White fish and oily fish on rotation
- Lightly cooked veggies on rotation
- Eggs once or twice a week
- Offal, Liver, kidney and heart meat. (This should only be about 10% of yours chihuahua diet as the vitamin A content will be high)
- The essential list of supplements
- A curated list of supplements suited to your dogs lifestage.
Home cooking is not that straight forward but,
While home cooking has its advantages it’s not as straightforward as you first think. It certainly isn’t a case of just dropping some cooked chicken breast in a bowl. But it is very satisfying to do and can have health benefits for your chihuahua.
But once you have all your proportions and supplements sorted and in place it becomes so much easier. If you would like to know more about home cooking for your chihuahua please fill in the pop up. I am filming a cooking course and would love to keep you in the loop.