TEN REASONS WHY
HOME-MADE RATIONS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PETS
First broadcast on www.provet.co.uk
Note for Pet Owners
This information is provided by
Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your
veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the
diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Many owners feed home-made rations to
their pets, or add a lot of supplements to commercially available pet food.
Both practices are recipes for disaster ! Why ? Here are 10 good reasons !
- The daily intake of a ration must
contain enough of all the essential nutrients that the pet needs. For
cats and dogs this means it must contain the correct amount of essential
amino acids (in protein), essential fatty acids (in fat/oils), minerals (macrominerals
such as calcium, and trace elements such as cobalt) and vitamins.
- The relative amount of some ingredients
to each other is very important and can cause serious problems if it
is wrong. For example, a balanced ration for cats and dogs should contain
slightly more calcium than phosphorus per gram of food. If a ration
contains considerably more phosphorus than calcium skeletal problems may
occur ...even if both minerals exceed the amount needed to meet the
nutritional requirement of the animal.
- It is well accepted that some nutrients
cause problems if too much is given. For example, excess fat in a
ration will increase the risk of obesity because fat is extremely high in
energy content, and high fat diets exceed the energy needs of the animal,
so the excess energy is deposited as fat.
- Some ingredients interfere with the
availability of other nutrients in the food. For example, some types
of fibre can reduce the digestibility of some nutrients, such as minerals.
As a result, the animal may not be able to digest and absorb the nutrient
in sufficient quantities to meet it's needs , even though it is present in
- Different raw ingredients have different
nutritional content. For example, the same crop grown under different
conditions (eg soil, rainfall, pesticide treatment) or harvested at
different stages of growth can have very variable nutrient content, and
nutrient digestibility and so the availability to an animal can vary.
- Home-made rations are often based upon
unqualified peoples opinions of what is good or bad and as a result some
real fads are, sadly, still advised. Some of the worst advice -still
being given is :
a) It is good to feed an all-meat ration (CLICK
HERE to find out why it isn't !)
b) It is good to feed a lot of raw liver
(liver can be regarded as "meat" but it also contains masses of
vitamin A...which can cause serious skeletal problems due to toxic effects.
CLICK HERE to find out more about Vitamin A
c) It is ok to feed a vegetarian diet to
cats ...DEFINITELY NOT - cats are obligate carnivores (CLICK
HERE to find out why it isn't)
- If you feed a complete and properly
balanced pet food (the word COMPLETE is your guarantee that the food
contains all the nutrients to meet your pets requirements) and you add
any supplement you are effectively increasing the daily intake of some
nutrients and possibly upsetting the correct balance of nutrients in
the food. This probably doesn't matter for small amounts of supplement,
but sometimes far too many vitamins, minerals or fatty acids are given
....and veterinarians all over the world see the results as illness !
- The only way to be sure that a home-made
ration contains every nutrient that a pet needs, in the correct amounts,
and in the correct proportions to each other is to have a
detailed chemical analysis performed ..and of course pet owners do not
- The only way to be sure that the ration is
bioavailable ..ie digestible, and absorbable by the pet is to perform
detailed feeding trials looking for evidence of deficiencies or
- Owners and breeders often think their
pet's ration is good because it's coat, behaviour and other external
signs of "health" appear to be normal. However this is not
necessarily true. Most veterinarians will have seen pets that develop
multiple fractures of the bones because they have been weakened by an
"all-meat" ration. Otherwise these animals can appear to be very
Provet's advice is : Ask
your veterinarian for his/her advice about the most appropriate ration for
your pet. Feed commercially available "COMPLETE" pet foods produced
by reputable manufacturers who perform controlled feeding trials on every
batch of food that they produce.
Updated October 2013