21 million pages in less than half a second: that is the result of searching Google for “homemade pet food.” But using this source (consultation and food) may not be a very good idea, according to a recent study by the University of California, Davis, led by Jennifer Larsen.
The study, published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, is the first to examine homemade recipes for healthy adult cats. Larsen’s team evacuated 114 recipes written by veterinarians and non-veterinarians. The results showed that 40% of the recipes did not provide feeding instructions, and the rest of them lacked details or their specifications were not clear.
“Only 94 recipes provided enough information for the nutritional analysis,” explains Larsen in a statement. “And none of them had all the essential nutrients to meet the amounts recommended by the National Research Council for adult cats.”
The recipes analyzed lacked nutrients regardless of whether they were written by veterinarians, although the latter had fewer deficiencies in essential nutrients. Most recipes lacked concentrations of three or more nutrients, and some lacked adequate amounts of up to 19 essential nutrients. In addition, many recipes had serious deficiencies, which provided less than 50% of the recommended amounts of various essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, thiamine, vitamin E and manganese.
As for dogs, long ago Larsen conducted a similar study on these animals.
His team analyzed 200 recipes from 34 different sources, including veterinary textbooks, pet care books and websites. The results, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, point out that only nine of the 200 recipes, including eight of the nine written by veterinarians, provided all the essential nutrients in concentrations that met the minimum standards set for adult dogs.
The authors’ conclusion is that pet owners should not fear commercial foods, but recommends that owners of dogs and cats who wish to give them a homemade diet, consult with a veterinary nutritionist specializing in formulating homemade diets for pets.
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