Owned by Pugs

Ease Your Mind with Home-Prepared Meals

By OwnedByPugs.com

April 1st, 2007

With the recent Menu Foods pet food recall of 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat food spanning over 90 brands, many are seriously considering making the switch to a home-prepared diet for their pet.

Home-Prepared Diet Basics

When you first embark on preparing your pug’s meals at home there are a few things you will need to decide before you begin.

The first is whether or not you will feed your dog a raw or cooked diet. The next is whether you will include raw bones in your pug’s diet.

There are a lot of resources available that list the pros and cons of each diet, but I find a lot of the decision is based on personal preference and what you are willing to feed your pug. I opted for the cooked route simply because I was more comfortable with it.

In an article in the The Whole Dog Journal, Mary Straus cites three basic rules to home-prepared meals.

  1. Variety
  2. Balance over time
  3. Calcium

Because it is extremely difficult to create a recipe that is completely balanced and has all the required nutrients your pug needs it is important to vary what you feed your pug. By offering your pug a variety of foods, in the long term, your pug will get the benefits of a balanced diet.

Advantages of a Home-Prepared Diet


One of the biggest advantages of feeding your pug meals prepared at home is that you are in complete control of what your pug eats. There are no hidden ingredients, no unnatural additives and no unnecessary filler that gets hidden in your pug’s food dish.

You are able to tailor your pug’s diet to accommodate the special needs of your pug by excluding any items that may not agree with your pug (food allergies, sensitivities, etc.)


I can personally attest to the health benefits of a holistic diet. In fact, I first switched to a home-prepared meal plan hoping to cure my pugs medical woes. When my two pugs, Benjamin & Henry, were pups they had chronic diarrhea and upset stomachs. The veterinarian ruled out any health issues and attributed their maladies to the food they were eating. I tried many different types and brands of dog food over the course of the year, but nothing seemed to cure the problem. Finally, my veterinarian suggested making the switch to home prepared meals.

Once I made the switch, my pugs' chronic upset stomachs and loose stool went away. Their coats and skin looked healthier and they absolutely loved the new food they were eating.

Disadvantages of a Home-Prepared Diet


I will be completely up front here, preparing your pugs meals can be time consuming. Life is no longer as easy as buying a couple cans or pouches of dog food at the store and simply popping open a can when your pug gets hungry.

Also, if you and your pug are traveling special arrangements are usually needed for your pug's food. For example, my pugs' food must be refrigerated so when we travel I must bring a cooler and our final destination must have a refrigerator where I can store the dog food.

The type of diet that you decide to feed your pug, raw or cooked, also affects the amount of time it takes to prepare your pug’s meals. However, companies like the Honest Kitchen sell dehydrated raw dog food that can help cut down on your food preparation time.

Personally, I have developed a meal preparation system that helps ensure I always have time to make our pugs food. I cook all meals on Sundays and pre-scoop the week’s meals into bowls. The daily feedings then only require taking a bowl out of the fridge for each dog.


Before I started feeding my pugs home-prepared meals, I certainly wasn’t able to put together a balance diet for them. Before you can make the switch you must talk to your veterinarian and research what foods are healthy for dogs and make sure you come up with a good balance of nutrients.

The Next Steps

A home-prepared mealIf you are ready to make the switch from commercial dog food to home prepared meals the first thing you should do is consult your veterinarian. Veterinarians that are certified by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) will be able to provide you with a lot of insight and resources for home prepared meals. Your veterinarian will also be able to help you determine the proper portion sizes for your pug.

Once you are ready to make the switch to home prepared meals it is important to gradually ween your pug over to the new food. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with a time line on how to make the switch. Usually, this process only takes a week or two.

My only other piece of advice is to do your research. There are lots of resources available online and plenty of books that will help you create a balance meal plan for your pug. In addition, there are also companies that will supply you with all-natural mixes that can help save you time if you are not up for the task of completely preparing all your pugs meals.


Benjamin, Henry & Luna's Home-Prepared Meal
For the most part, this is what Benjamin, Henry & Luna eat each day. We vary the ingredients from time to time to ensure that they get a balanced diet.

The Whole Dog Journal
The Whole Dog Journal is a monthly guide to natural dog care and training. It requires a subscription but it is a great resource for those interested in holistic care.

A great resource on home feeding offering tons of useful information and resources.

The Honest Kitchen The Honest Kitchen offers a range of dehydrated raw pet food that can make it easier to feed your pug a home-prepared diet.