Customizable dog meals popular, but vets caution

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Dog food recalls are making many owners change the way they feed their pets, but new trends may not be the answer. (KABC)

Dog lover Allison Lynch likes to concoct customized home cooked meals.

"Baking, boiling, broiling, washing, and all of the above," Lynch said.

But now, a growing number of products available online and on store shelves are designed to let pet parents customize doggie meals without all the preparation, similar to mix it up meals you find in your grocery store.

"I was thrilled to find out that what I would make at home for my dogs, I could find in the pet store," Lynch said.

You just add water, your pooch's favorite meat, or even the vegetables of your choice. The American Pet Products Association says these products are the result of the popularity of home cooking for dogs in the wake of pet food recalls.

"Dogs have different nutrient requirements than we as people do, so just cooking for your dog the same way as you cook for yourself wasn't necessarily the way to do it, but they were still looking to mix themselves," said Bob Vetere, American Pet Products Association president and CEO.

Labels tout all-natural ingredients, gluten-free, and even that they're human-grade. But veterinarians remind us our furry friends aren't humans.

Some of the meals include raw meat. The FDA cautions against raw diets for dogs, since raw meat is more likely to be contaminated with microorganisms that can lead to illness.

Vets also caution against including too much protein in a pooch's diet.

"You need to be very careful about jumping on the latest trend," said Vetere.

If you're planning to change your dog's die talk to your vet.

Lynch says these days meal time is a party.

"They are much more excited about every meal," she said.

For owners who choose to provide their pooch raw meals, experts recommend safe handling tips, including: Wash your hands well after touching any raw foods, disinfect the preparation area, and immediately refrigerate or throw away foods your pet doesn't eat.

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