Home-Prepared Diets Done Wrong: Potential Risks
Below is a list of high risk home-prepared feeding behaviors. Please visit our other pages to learn how to safely prepare a healthy diet for your dog or cat.
Dangerous High Risk Behavior - Please Seek Assistance Immediately!
Feeding an all meat diet
Feeding only bones
Feeding cooked bones (exception: properly pressure-cooked diets)
Feeding too little or no calcium; not feeding enough fully consumable bones or an alternate source of adequate elemental calcium so that the calcium:phosphorus ratio of the total diet is between 1:1 (minimum) and 2:1 (maximum)
Feeding far too much calcium (supplementing a balanced diet with additional calcium)
Feeding the same thing every day (no variety)
Feeding offal/organs for more than 30% of the diet
Feeding vegetable matter for more than 50% of the diet
Never feeding liver (or the nutritional equivalent to meet NRC standards)
Never feeding heart (or the nutritional equivalent to meet NRC standards)
Fasting/starvation as a technique to force a cat into eating any new food
Feeding too much fat to an animal prone to pancreatitis (keep diet below 8% fat); do not feed any animal more than 30% fat
Overfeeding puppies - raw fed puppies should stay lean during the growing phase (growing phase ends: 18 months most dogs; 24-36 months for giants)
Possible Problem Behavior - Carefully Review What You Are Feeding!
Feeding a diet you developed on your own without doing the necessary calculations to determine that your diet is balanced and safe to feed
You decided to "fed raw" or start feeding your dog/cat "raw foods" without following a published diet plan
Feeding recreational weight bearing bones (femurs, marrow, knuckle, etc.) from beef or other large herbivores - these are also known as "wreck" bones. If your dog tries to bite down hard on them/eat them, they are likely to fracture or damage teeth, and are difficult to digest
Feeding bones that are stripped of meat (bones should be fed with meat-on or other bulk)
Unless recommended by your veterinarian, do not feed one type of meat, grain or vegetable all the time, it is unbalanced and can eventually cause food sensitivities
Incorporating or using a commercial pre-mix or commercial diet in a way that is not advised or recommended on the product literature or label (always follow the directions on the label)