While many dogs thrive on kibble or canned dog food, it still might not be the best option for your furry friend. This is especially true for dogs with allergies, digestive problems and other health issues. Serving fresh dog food or homemade dog food can be the best option for several reasons.

1. Homemade Dog Food Is Preservative-Free

Dog kibble typically contains a mix of preservatives to extend shelf life. While a long shelf life can be handy, and certainly profitable for dog food companies, these preservatives aren’t particularly healthy for our canine companions. The most common artificial preservatives are butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and ethoxyquin.

While these preservatives have been used for many years, there are studies out there that show these ingredients can be dangerous. Ethoxyquin has been linked to digestive issues, and BHA and BHT have been linked to higher cancer rates. In fact, the State of California actually lists BHA as a carcinogen. More research certainly needs to be done, but, in general, anytime you can avoid processed ingredients or artificial preservatives, this is a better choice. 

There are kibble brands out there that use natural preservatives, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C or rosemary extract. These are better options, although they do not extend shelf life as long as the artificial preservatives.

Still, if you opt for fresh dog food or create your own homemade dog food, you don’t have to worry about preservatives at all. They certainly don’t have the shelf life that kibble offers, but they also don’t contain chemicals that you might want to keep out of your pet’s diet.

Canned dog food usually doesn’t need to contain preservatives, because the actual process of canning is a method of preservation. However, a study from the University of Missouri showed that many canned dog foods are placed in cans that contain bisphenol A, or BPA. BPA has been shown to possibly contribute to cancer and reproductive issues in humans as well as dogs. Limiting exposure to any chemicals, especially those such as BPA, is always the safest choice for your dog (and for humans, as well).

2. Fresh Dog Food Contains No Fillers

Kibble contains proteins, often low-quality cuts of meat and poultry, but it also contains an array of “fillers.” These are ingredients with little nutritional value, such as corn. Corn isn’t harmful to most dogs, but it’s also not packed with nutrients. It provides some protein, but it’s simply a cheaper form of protein than, say, a good cut of steak or chicken.

Fresh dog food or homemade dog food can be formulated to include the best possible ingredients for your dog. Corn isn’t necessarily harmful, but there are certainly other foods that provide the nutrients and amino acids your dog needs that are better choices. With fresh dog food, you are more likely to be providing your dog with the best quality ingredients.

3. Ingredient Control Is Easier With Fresh Dog Food

One of the best aspects of homemade dog food is that you have 100% control over the ingredients. If you know there is a specific ingredient that your dog cannot tolerate or that your dog simply doesn’t like, then just leave it out.

Even if you purchase fresh dog food from Naked Dog Bistro or another fresh source, you will be able to understand all of the ingredients listed on the package. There won’t be a long list of odd chemicals and preservatives with long complicated names. It should be whole ingredients, such as fresh meats and fresh veggies and these fresh dog foods don’t contain salt, which is not good for your furry friend.

4. Homemade Dog Food Can Improve Health

Obviously, if your dog has allergies or any type of health issue, a trip to the veterinarian should be your first stop. That said, we find that many dogs enjoy much better health when they quit eating processed dog food and make the switch to fresh dog food.

Some dogs are gluten-intolerant, so switching to a grain-free, gluten-free dog food can be the best way to quickly improve their health. Dogs prone to allergies and those with sensitive stomachs, also tend to enjoy better health with fresh dog food.

Many veterinarians are now recommending fresh dog food for their patients rather than feeding kibble or canned foods, and there’s research to back it up. For instance, a 2005 Purdue University study showed that when you mix fresh veggies with kibble, this can slow or prevent cancer cell growth by 70% or more.

Another study looked at one brand of fresh dog food and tested each variety to determine their level of digestibility. In general, kibble is less digestible, simply because many of its ingredients are difficult to digest. Regular dog food, such as kibble or canned, is not held to the same standard as human food. Fresh dog food, however, is filled with ingredients that are human-grade, and thus more digestible for dogs.

5. Fresh Dog Food Can Be Just As Convenient

It might seem like buying a bag of kibble or grabbing some cans off the shelf is the easiest option. These days, you can even have food shipped directly to your door, which is about as convenient as it gets. However, the same can be true of fresh dog food.

Obviously, making homemade dog food takes a little time, although you could make it in batches every three or four days to save time. At Naked Dog Bistro, however, we create our own healthy, organic fresh dog food and, if you live in Laguna Beach, we offer free dog food delivery.

Our small-batch fresh dog food is grain-free and gluten-free, and we create it in the Naked Dog Bistro kitchen. We offer fun flavors such as Paw Lickin’ Chicken, Lean Lickin’ Pork, Bark-B-Que Beef, Herby Turkey, Beef Pot Roast and Wild Salmon. Three varieties – turkey, chicken and pork are pancreatitis-safe, which means they contain 5% fat or less.

Our journey into the world of fresh dog food began when we discovered that our furry companion, Kona, was gluten intolerant. We switched Kona to a potato-free and grain-free dog food, and the quality of his life was transformed. We were so excited about this change, that we decided to create our own fresh dog food and share it with others whose dogs also might be experiencing similar issues.

Homemade Dog Food Tips

While we sell high-quality, delicious, gourmet fresh dog food at Naked Dog Bistro, you certainly can make your own. Several websites offer some fun recipes for fresh dog food. Here are a few tips to consider when crafting your homemade dog food.

 Do not add onions, garlic or other toxic foods – While these are flavorful for humans, dogs cannot eat onion, garlic, avocado, grapes, raisins, dairy products or chocolate.

 Skip the salt – While humans love a sprinkle of salt, dogs will enjoy your homemade food without salt and it’s not a healthy addition to their food

 Skip sugar & sweetener – Artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, are toxic for dogs, and sugar isn’t necessary either. Ingredients such as sweet potato, yams and pumpkin can add sweetness and are healthier choices.

 Research the ingredients – It’s always smart to do an internet search and research each ingredient you add or ask your vet if the food is safe.

 Choose low-fat meats – Typically, you want to select cuts of meat with 15% fat or less, and there are plenty of healthy choices such as turkey or chicken breast, pork, beef, venison, ostrich and more.

 Choose organic veggies & fruits – We love organic veggies such as carrots, zucchini, yams, green peas, spinach, apples, yellow squash and blueberries, just to name a few.

Of course, it’s often just convenient to buy pre-made fresh dog food and, as we stated above, we offer a free dog food delivery service throughout Laguna Beach. For our friends that live elsewhere, give us a call and we will set aside some fresh dog food for pickup.

In addition to our homemade dog food, we also create freshly baked treats daily at our local dog bakery. This includes doggie cookies, cupcakes, French fries, dog sushi and we can even create a custom dog cake for your furry friend. We also formulate CBD oil for dogs and bake CBD treats for dogs. We are located in downtown Laguna Beach at 424 Forest Avenue. Feel free to stop by with your furry companion and take a look around our dog treat bakery and boutique.

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