KUSA — Our four-legged friends are members of our family, but many of us don’t give a second thought about the food we feed them. However, they are just as susceptible to medical conditions as we are.

The type of food that is right for your dog varies largely by their life stage (age, pregnant, lactating), activity level, and any conditions they may have.

It’s important to remember that dogs need more than just meat.

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Many pet owners are experimenting with making raw dog food. I spoke with a few veterinarians who cautioned that the challenge of preparing a raw diet at home is making sure all necessary vitamins and minerals are included, the ingredients are of good quality, and proper bacterial control is exercised.

Deficiencies in vitamins may not be evident for years until they suffer a bone fracture or some other condition related to nutritional deficiencies. Dogs need nutrients to protect their joints, antioxidants to support a healthy immune system, vitamins for healthy vision, respiratory, and heart function, and healthy fats for their skin, coat, and nerves. It’s also important to remember, they are not small humans so you can’t just give them one of your one-a-day multivitamins, and that vitamins or minerals in excess could be toxic.

If you’re going to make your own dog food at home, be sure to consult with your veterinarian or you can find a veterinary nutrition expert through the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, www.acvn.org.

Treats can be made by baking the mixture at 325-350oF for 20-30 minutes. You can also dehydrate fruits and/or vegetables at 140-150oF in a dehydrator or oven. Dehydrating will take longer.

I decided to try my own homemade diet for my dog. In this recipe I used chicken legs, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, kale, and a whole egg. Once everything was cooked, I pureed it in a blender. She devoured it!

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KUSA

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