National Pet Month: Healthy Eating for Pets
Owning a pet can boost happiness levels and be a positive factor in your health and well-being. Alongside a healthy diet and appropriate exercise regime, having an animal friend can increase self-esteem and physical fitness, as well as prevent loneliness. It’s no surprise then that Britain is not only a nation of food lovers, but a nation of pet lovers too.
Here at Tower, we like to bring you all kinds of useful and interesting ways to get the most out of your food preparation endeavors, but it seems unfair that we neglect our furry friends when sending recipes your way. So, with that in mind (and to tie in with National Pet Month) we’ve decided to rustle up a little guide to rustling up wholesome homemade food for your domesticated animal chums…
Preparing Homemade Food for Four-Legged Friends
As with humans, any species best diet is it’s native one and in the case of canines, that means MEAT. Unlike humans however, dogs are not susceptible to bugs like e-coli and salmonella, so raw meat is not only acceptable but encouraged due to the higher nutrition value versus cooked meat.
When we cook meat, we do so to kill harmful bacteria that could damage our digestive systems. The cooking process breaks down proteins and vitamins however, meaning that what we’re eating isn’t as nutritious (unless of course you use a Tower Pressure Cooker to keep in up to 90% of vitamins and flavor!).
Dogs don’t have this problem to contend with though, so the raw meet provides them with the vitamins, iron and proteins that they need to stay healthy. Not only that though, raw meat is also rich in moisture and provides a significant amount of your dog’s required daily water intake.
Approximately 60%-80% of your dog’s raw food diet should consist of raw meat, with around 20% of that meat being organs, 20% skin and fat, and 35% muscle meat. Vegetables are fine to feed to your canine pals too – around 20% – 40% of their diet can be made up of veg provided it is combined with meat.
It’s a good idea to puree veg for inclusion in a doggy meal – food processors and blenders are great tools for the task. Blenders with removable, dishwasher and freezer -safe cups such as the Tower 800ml Personal Blender with Spare Cup are perfect for smaller dog meals and the spare cup means you can keep a pre-made portion in the freezer for when you’re pushed for time.
If you have more than one pooch, or you’re planning on supplementing your dog’s raw food diet with veg-based accompaniments or smoothies, the Tower 2 in 1 Food Processor and Blender is perhaps a better option thanks to a feeding chute that allows for precise portion control and blades for chopping grating and dicing.
So, that’s the nutritional information out of the way – you’re now ready to make a wholesome raw food meal for your dog. Follow the instructions below:
Cooking for Cats
Cats may be much smaller than dogs but that doesn’t mean that they’re easier to cook for! Our feline friends eat several small meals a day and need plenty of access to fresh water. Cats also have more specific dietary requirements than dogs and need a combination of meat-based meals and dry foods as they thrive on protein-rich food. It is for this reason that cats cannot be vegetarians – raw meat is essential to their diets to provide taurine; a vital amino acid the helps cats’ nervous systems to function and aids their sight.
There’s a lot of debate at present as to whether dry cat foods are actually of benefit to feline health. The proteins contained within them are derived from plants and do not have the same amino acid profile as meat-based proteins.
Cats are ‘obligate carnivores’, meaning that they’re designed to get their nutrition from the consumption of large amounts of animal-based proteins and lack certain metabolic pathways to utilise plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins. It’s argued that dry foods alone do not supply the critical amino acids cats need, so a balanced diet is very important.
Felines also have an inherently low thirst, so it’s paramount that they consume water within their food. A cat’s usual ‘prey’ is around 70% water whereas dry foods contain approximately 15%, therefore it’s beneficial to your moggy to eat a mix of ‘raw’ and dry foods. Thankfully, though, creating your own cat foods is easy, so you can ensure your cat gets all the protein, vitamins and water it needs. Follow the steps below to make a nutritious feline-friendly meal:
Storage and Safety
After using your food processor or blender to prepare raw meat, be sure to thoroughly clean with hot water and anti-bacterial detergent to prevent contamination. We recommend using blenders and food processors with that are dishwasher safe for this reason.
If you’re only using these appliances to chop, dice or puree vegetables then a quick clean of the mixing jar will suffice. Check out our handy guide on How to Spring Clean Your Blender for some useful tips on freshening up your appliance without dismantling it.
When storing homemade pet food you should bear in mind the ingredients used and store them accordingly, just as you would with food for humans. Meat-based fresh pet food will keep for a few days when kept refrigerated in an airtight container, as will rice and vegetables. The Tower Vacuum Food Saver & Rapid Marinator range is especially useful for this purpose and can be safely cleaned post-use in a dishwasher.
Finally, always consult your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diets as drastic changes in the food they eat can cause ailments and malnutrition. Make sure that the foods you plan to feed your pet are the right ones – there are lots of things that human can eat that cats or dogs can’t including grapes, chocolate, onions, garlic, and raisins (to name but a few).