There are a lot of people looking at alternative feeding options for dogs and cats, especially for easy ways to add fresh foods into their diets. Like us, pets can benefit from better diets, but it is important to do things properly, or you can do more harm than good.
Just adding in some fresh foods can have amazing benefit for our pets. Many of the same superfoods we eat have similar benefits for our pets. Foods rich in antioxidants or vitamin complexes like Kale, seaweeds, blueberries, acai and the like can be used as toppers for commercial foods. Coconut oil, tumeric, chia are standard food "improvers" in our diets, and yes, they work for dogs too. Leafy veggies, though, need to be broken down for the dogs to get nutrition out of them, so making a kale smoothie for the dog and freezing them in ice cube trays makes it easy and effective, my Stitch gets a kale+ cube (a smoothie of frozen kale with coconut oil, tumeric, blueberries, kelp and a manganese supplement) added to her food every day.
Getting cats to eat fresh fruits or veggies isn't always an easy task, some cats love greens, but most don't. For these cats, and dogs too, adding in some fresh meats can boost nutrition. Salmon (previously frozen for 3 weeks) is a great source of Omega 3. Any other meat protein that you are preparing for your own consumption can be offered in a raw form that our pets were designed to eat, and they are also packed with great nutrition. Wild game, like salmon, should be frozen 3 weeks first. Some people prefer to cook anything they offer to their pets, and while it does reduce the nutritional benefits, its still better than nothing.
These additions to the diet need to be handled and offered with the same protocols we use for handling any raw meats. These are not difficult to follow, and should already be being used in the handling and feeding of dry pet foods. The FDA guidelines for handling dry pet foods are pretty strict, they recommend washing the dish and scoop with soap and water after every use, and sterilizing the bin between bags of food. So adding raw fresh foods should not add any steps to a proper cleaning regimen for pet bowls.
For people who want to add something, but don't want to break the bank, the simple egg is a perfect addition. Raw or cooked, it is an amazing protein with lots of benefit. The membrane in the shell is loaded with glycosaminoglycans, said to out perform glucosamine supplements, as well as other proteins. Too much raw egg can be an enzyme and biotin inhibitor, but cooking the egg white neutralizes that. Lightly scrambling eggs in a teflon pan, or using coconut or olive oil, and then freezing them can make for an easy and cost effective nutritional boost for our pets.
If we cross the line for these items being additives to them being a primary part of the diet, we then have to look at creating a fully balance diet recipe. There are lots of them out there, and they can be easy and affordable to follow. It is important to make sure you fully research any home made diets, and ensure they are a proper balance of meat, bone and organs. We don't want to risk our pets health by accident.