How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Andy Your Own Question
Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30067
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Andy is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, Ive been told by few different vets that home-cooked

This answer was rated:


I've been told by few different vets that home-cooked food can damage the kidneys of the dogs as they can't process the food the way the well-researched commercial food are being processed by their bodies.

With all the food recalls and what actually goes into our pups' food, I'm very worried.

If I'm starting to cook for them, should I also give them multi-vits to make sure they get all they need? Is canine multi-vit full proof?

wai kwan
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern.
Great question.

No, a multi-vitamin is far from perfect. Why?

Well, its not just about ensuring appropriate vitamins and minerals.
It is about having the proper proportions of protein, carbs, and fat as well.

I have a client, just saw today. He does his own prepared meals at home and does raw.
Unfortunately, this basenji is now having issues with persistent protein in the urine, as well as, excessive struvite crystals (often caused by the urine pH being too high due to the diet).

So, it is not that home cooked will damage the kidneys. Dogs can process all sorts of foods like we do. The problem is in it being properly balanced.

If available, if you stick with a food company like Science Diet or Royal Canin you really should be fine.

I am a huge fan of simple, premium foods. Does not have to be holistic, and certainly, not raw. Well balanced, ingredients from U.S., and Science Diet is one of the only companies that tests the diets. Most foods are "formulated", meaning the person testing the food is you, on your pet!

It is primarily China and India where some problems have been arising.

Also, some great links for your answer as well:

Another option for helping you to prepare a at-home meal, but not as a replacement to a true consultation with a nutritionist:
BalanceIt Food Recipe Maker

Here is some information on the AAFCO requirements for dog food

Please let me know if there is anything I did not cover for you. I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Please, hold off providing your feedback rating until you have asked all your questions. My goal is to try and provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr. Andy,


Thanks for the links and answer. It solved the 'mystery' on why home-cooked food can be bad for kidneys :D


So, if I understand correctly, if the home diet is balanced, it will not be necessary to supplement with multi-vits?


Just curious, my dog's acupunturist is an ardent advocate of 'real food'. she told me the proportion is 80% protein and 20% vegetables. What happened to the Basenji? Too much protein? I used to give on of my dogs 100% protein (lamb/chicken) as she was a stray and won't eat kibble.

No, honestly, I would still give some type of multi once a day as well.

80% protein! That is not accurate at all and not based on any literature.

Look at a bag of Science Diet food. That food has been actually clinically test in pets. I don't believe any of there foods exceeds 40%.
Now, there is lots of other holistic diets out there trying to make an argument for these exceedingly high protein foods, and these are the pets, I see with awkward protein loss in the urine and problems with crystals.

I disagree with 80% protein.

What happened? The owner was adamant to continue their diet, so I have referred them to a nutritionist to help them balance the foods that they do want to use, and we will recheck the urine in 1 month to see if there is improvement.

Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Wk,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr. Andy,


Everything's fine. I'm keeping my non-renal dogs on kibbles for now. My renal dog was a rescued stray and dislike kibbles. But she's (very)slowly eating Royal Canin Renal food.


Her creatinine came down from 280 mmoI/L to 235 mmol/L but her BUN went up from 38 to 46.4 mmol/L.........probably due to food in her GI, we didn't fast her for the blood test.


I have tried reducing her protein to within the 'allowed' protein for her case. However, her albumin is low and so she's also on Benazapril. Very tricky business feeding a renal dog who won't eat kibbles, need protein and yet not too much :(

This is why I utilize other resources. Even vets get only so much training in nutrition. When necessary, I utilize nutrition specialist all of the time.

Good Luck
Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you