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 25-28 September, 2018 | Singapore
owner, and this is particularly useful when there are no commercial diets available for the patient.
Finicky patients
Homemade diets might be better consumed by dogs and cats with capricious appetite, although this is
not always the case. The owner must have realistic expectations, especially when the pet’s disease requires protein or fat moderation.
Concomitant diseases
In some cases, the combination of diseases in one pet makes finding a commercial option difficult, although there are more and more “multifunction” diets in the market. Homemade diets, in these cases, allow provision of nutritional modifications without sacrificing important nutritional strategies for one or more conditions.
Electrolyte alterations
One study7 reported the usefulness of low potassium homemade diets in dogs with chronic kidney disease and hyperkalemia. Other electrolyte disturbances where homemade diets might help include idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats, although we do not have published data at this time.
High digestibility
Homemade diets can be more digestible than commercial diets and this can be helpful in some gastrointestinal diseases (such as short bowel syndrome.
Ultra-low fat diets
Despite the presence of low fat diets in the market, especially for dogs, there are some patients
with fat sensitive diseases that will require more aggressive fat restriction, such as some instances
of hypertriglyceridemia, chronic pancreatitis, and lymphangiectasia. It is very important that these diets still provide enough essential fatty acids, thus, their formulation requires skill.
In order to obtain a homemade diet, it is recommended to contact a boarded veterinary nutrition specialist. In the US, the specialists are part of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (, whereas in Europe they are part of the European College of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition ( animal-owners). Other countries can have their own veterinary nutrition specialization organization, and the veterinary schools or the veterinary licensing bodies can also be contacted for information. Many services can work remotely through a referring veterinarian.
Patients eating homemade diets should be visited at least twice yearly (or even more, depending on the health status of the patient) to undergo a complete
nutritional evaluation8 assessing the pet, the diet (in detail), and the environment, to ensure the homemade diet is being used properly and to assess if adjustments are needed. The WSAVA website has useful tools to perform this evaluation ( Global-Nutrition-Guidelines).
1. Michel KE. Unconventional diets for dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2006;36:1269-81.
2. National Research Council (NRC). Nutrient requirements of dogs and cats. National Academies Press, Washington DC. 2006.
3. Stockman J, Fascetti AJ, Kass PH, Larsen JA. Evaluation of recipes of home- prepared maintenance diets for dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;242:1500-5.
4. Heinze CR, Gomez FC, Freeman LM. Assessment of commercial diets and recipes for home-prepared diets recommended for dogs with cancer. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012;241:1453-60
5. Larsen JA, Parks EM, Heinze CR, Fascetti AJ. Evaluation of recipes for home- prepared diets for dogs and cats with chronic kidney disease. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012 Mar 1;240:532-8.
6. Johnson LN, Linder DE, Heinze CR, Kehs RL, Freeman LM. Evaluation of owner experiences and adherence to home-cooked diet recipes for dogs. J Small Anim Pract. 2016 Jan;57(1):23-7
7. Segev G, Fascetti AJ, Weeth LP, Cowgill LD. Correction of hyperkalemia in dogs with chronic kidney disease consuming commercial renal therapeutic diets by a potassium-reduced home-prepared diet. J Vet Intern Med 2010;24:546-50.
8. Freeman L, Becvarova I, Cave N, MacKay C, Nguyen P, Rama B, Takashima G, Tiffin R, van Beukelen P, Yathiraj S; WSAVA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines Task Force. WSAVA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines. Compend Contin Educ Vet. 2011 Aug;33(8):E1-9.

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