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If you're not satisfied with the nutrition in store-bought pet food, try cooking your own all-natural pet food.
Pet owners willing to invest time and resources into understanding how to prepare complete and balanced homemade meals for their pets may improve an animal's general health and can even reap some potential cost savings.

When preparing meals for your pet at home, it is important to understand the types and quantities of nutrients your pet requires. The nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are somewhat complex and require nutrients to be in proper balance with the energy density of the food and with each other, according to PetDiets.com.

Most dogs require a diet that includes 38 daily nutrients, while cats require a diet containing 40 daily nutrients. Pet foods are usually designed to appeal to vast quantities of pet palettes to ensure pet owners repeatedly purchase the product.

When cooking at home, it is not important what the source of the nutrients is—beef, chicken, etc.—as long as it meets your pet's nutrient profile. The focus for preparing homemade meals or feeding your pet should be on giving them complete and balanced meals, but that doesn't mean it can't be done with foods they enjoy that taste great.

This article was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2007 issue of Angel Tales, the magazine of PAWS Chicago.

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