Did you know that some pets, dogs in particular, need a gluten free diet?
Eating wheat and other sources of gluten can cause stomach problems or skin issues that can make life uncomfortable for your pooch.
Add to that the fact that feeding a wheat based food to your pets puts you at danger of contamination if you are also intolerant to gluten and it makes sense to feed gluten free pet food if you can find it, or to make your own at home.
Check out my top ten tips below, then try my own dogs' favorite homemade dog food recipes.
If you are thinking of changing to feeding your dog on homemade dog food a call, or visit, to your pet's veterinarian care provider is a good first move.
Making sudden changes to your pet's current diet will make him grumpy! Just imagine what it is like the first few days you are on a diet!
Instead, introduce natural, healthier foods over a period of a few days. Mix the new food in with the original pet food for a few meals, gradually reducing the original food.
If your pet is still eating dry food then water will be especially important.
How important? My Aunt's cat, Tigger, died from kidney failure due to not drinking enough to counteract the dry food on which he was being fed.
Although we love it, chocolate is poisonous to dogs. As are onions and grapes, incidentally.
Garlic is a natural flea repellant and dogs, especially, love the taste.
A spoonful of olive oil or margarine in their diet can give your pets a lovely, glossy coat.
If you wish to continue feeding your pets commercial food, check what is in it. Try to pick gluten free food if available.
If you are on a gluten free diet yourself, this will probably be second nature anyway. There is the added advantage of avoiding the risk of "glutening" yourself accidentlly by touching unsafe food.
And if coeliac children start eating the dog food you won't need to panic! my daughter used to like nothing better when she was a toddler than sitting beside our dog and sneakily sharing his biscuits.
If you are offering homemade dog food, ring the changes and regularly give him something different. He is more likely to get the nutrients he requires if he eats a variety of foods. Include an egg some days, preferably lightly boiled. You can even grind up the egg shells and include them!
Try to avoid letting them eat a dozen eggs at a time, however. When she was a puppy, my dog Skye stole a box of eggs from off the worktop overnight and was not too happy come morning time!
If you provide home cooked dog food you can be happy knowing exactly what your dog is eating.
Don't worry, you won't need to cook it every day as cooked food keeps for up to three days in the refrigerator. Cook the meat until the redness is gone for safety. Add vegetables and rice, cooked potatoes or gluten free oats to round out the meal.
Some people swear by the BARF diet where they feed their dog raw food. Although wolves eat raw meat it is not recommended by most vets to serve it to your pet. It can cause diarrhea and sickness.
Raw vegetables, however, can be chopped very small, perhaps in a food processor or blender, and added to the meal.