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Safely Feed Your Pup If You’ve Run Out Of Dog Food
pet food
It pays to learn which items in the pantry and refrigerator can serve as substitutes when commercial dog foods are unavailable.

Healthy foods are essential for the well-being of companion animals. Many pet owners turn to premade foods because they are readily available and can fulfill nutrition requirements for pets.

But the convenience of premade foods has been compromised during the pandemic, when empty shelves have become the norm. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains, slowed down shipping times and caused other interruptions. For some pet parents, this may mean that they are unable to get the dog foods they normally purchase before their existing supply runs out. Because of that uncertainty, it pays to learn which items in the pantry and refrigerator can serve as substitutes when commercial dog foods are unavailable.

According to Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD., DACVN, and Associate Professor, Nutrition with the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, homemade meals should not be served to dogs for longer than five to seven days because they are not 100 percent nutritionally complete. Even though many human foods are safe for dogs, pet owners may not be able to create complete and balanced blends that provide the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals dogs need to stay healthy. Routinely feeding dogs human foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies over time.

Those who are unsure of what to make for an emergency meal for their dogs should speak with a vet about foods that are safe to serve.

The Dog People, a dog information resource powered by, advises dog owners to aspire for a balance of lean protein and complex carbohydrates in homemade meals. Avoid excess sodium and fat, which can cause excessive thirst and stomach upset. If you’re using canned meats, rinse off the product to get rid of excess sodium.

One of the easiest meals to put together on the spot is chicken and rice. In fact, when dogs are experiencing stomach issues, vets often suggest a temporary diet of bland, boiled chicken and rice. Lean beef or rotisserie chicken with the skin and bones removed are additional options. Many dogs like salmon or other fish as well.

If there’s no rice, oats or plain cooked potatoes can suffice. Many vegetables, like carrots, corn and peas, also are safe for dogs. Eggs can be a great nutritional source when other proteins are unavailable.

When preparing meals, there are some foods to avoid, according to the Canine Journal. These include greasy, processed, salty foods; grapes and raisins; onions; garlic; deli meats that are high in sodium; bacon; cocoa and chocolate; milk; spicy foods. Also, avoid feeding small bones; coffee; avocado; macadamia nuts and any foods your dog is allergic to.

Should a dog eat something it shouldn’t, vomiting is likely to occur. Lethargy and diarrhea also may indicate a dog ate something it should not eat.