If you have a dog, chances are you’ve run out of dog food before. Usually that just means an extra trip to the pet store or supermarket. But those options aren’t always available to everybody all of the time. You might be camping, in bed with the flu or waiting to get paid.
I used to live in a small mountain town in Idaho. The supermarket wasn’t open on Sundays, and the local department store closed early. I usually worked on the weekends, which meant that if I ran out of dog food or kitty kibble, I sometimes had to scramble. (I had three cats, so cat food was especially important.)
If you’re ever confronted by a hungry dog and an empty food bowl, you might wonder what to do. You might be able to run down to the local 24-hour drug store or gas station and buy a cheap box of Alpo, but switching foods suddenly can often lead to indigestion, upset stomachs, and even vomiting. Other dogs are picky eaters who don’t adjust well to sudden changes in their diet. What should you do?
What to Feed Your Dog When Out of Dog Food
Dogs are usually willing to eat just about anything you feed them. However, dogs also have specific nutritional needs, and careless feeding is not going to meet them. Dog food has specific ratios of protein, fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients that are difficult to replicate with ordinary food.
The good news is, a temporary change in their diet isn’t likely to affect their health, and chances are your pup will think they’re getting a special treat.
The important thing to aim for is a blend of meat and complex carbohydrates. Almost any grain will do, including rice, pasta, barley and oats. Cooked grains should be combined with lean beef, pork, chicken or fish and served to your pet when its cool. If your dog is receptive, you can also mix in some canned vegetables for more balanced nutrition. If you don’t have access to fresh meat, canned tuna or potted meats can be used instead.
If worse comes to worst and you don’t have any meat at all on hand, you can mix peanut butter with oatmeal or rice instead. Bear in mind that peanut butter is very high in fat, so try not to use too much of it. Alternately, you can cook up some eggs and mix those in with the grains as well. Just be mindful of the cholesterol level of the egg yolks. Use the egg whites only if necessary.
While its important to know what to include, it’s equally important to know what to avoid. Don’t add a lot of seasonings or salt. Dogs aren’t concerned with flavor the way people are, and bland foods are less likely to upset their stomach or cause diarrhea. Try to limit how much fat you use. Use leaner meats if possible, and be sure to drain off any excess fat.
The following foods must be avoided entirely:
- Here is a complete list of foods not to feed your dog
At the end of the day, there is no perfect dog food substitute. But with a little effort and ingenuity, you can fix your dog a tasty meal they’re sure to remember – for the next five minutes, anyway!