Exactly what is nutritional balance?
It’s one of the many ploys today’s commercial dog food manufacturers use to blindside unwitting consumers. But exactly what is nutritional balance in dog food? Manufacturers constantly refer to it as if they’re talking about the Holy Grail. As if a bag of dry dog biscuit made with cheap, low-grade ingredients laced with chemical by-products that doesn’t remotely resemble real food can truly be nutritionally balanced. Especially when it can sit on a shelf for 18 months without spoiling. Yeah, right. Pull the other one!
Nutritional balance is of course the dietary term which signifies that a diet provides all the necessary nutrients. That it contains protein, fibre and calories in sufficient quantities so as to help us maintain good health and a stable bodyweight. Something we all need to consider if we wish to remain healthy. That’s a given. But we human beings manage to achieve that almost mythical state all by ourselves. Yet commercial dog food manufacturers would have us believe that we are incapable of achieving that same state of nutritional nirvana when it comes to feeding our dogs. Why? Why should it be any different?
Imagine you’re going into your local supermarket to buy food for tonight’s dinner for yourself and your family. You pick up, say, a pack of beef mince and place it in your shopping trolley. Perhaps our local supermarkets in the South West are particularly out of touch with current trends. Down here at least, you don’t suddenly see a warning sign flash up in front of you. A reminder that in order to make that pack of beef mince nutritionally balanced you need to add some vegetables, some carbohydrates and some supplementation in terms of herbs and spices.
Likewise, the supermarket’s doors don’t suddenly slam shut and alarm bells start ringing if you try to walk out of the store having purchased a piece of fillet steak. Without buying accompanying vegetables to make a nutritionally balanced meal out of it. It just doesn’t happen. Does it?
Instead, you decide what do buy to cook alongside the beef mince or fillet steak. And if that particular meal doesn’t end up being completely ‘nutritionally balanced’, so what? The meals you cook during subsequent days will mean that, over time, the diet of your family will end up being nutritionally balanced. By dint of the fact that you will cook and prepare a variety of different meals using a variety of different ingredients. Not every meal is or has to be nutritionally balanced. ‘Balanced over time’ is the key phrase here. ‘Nutritionally balanced over time’ would be a more meaningful objective. And a much healthier one in my view.
So please, please don’t be put off by the naysayers who say you can’t make healthy, homemade food for your dog. That you can’t achieve nutritional balance in the food you feed your dog. Because if you can prepare and cook meals for yourself and your family, then you can most certainly make nutritious homemade food for your best friend. And believe me, it will be exponentially more healthy than nutritionally-compromised commercial dog food!