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 You share a lot with your pet: your home, your affection. To help build strong muscles, bones and a shiny coat, you should also share home-cooked meats, veggies and whole grains. Here's how to do it right.

  1. Work with your vet. Design a home-cooked diet that's right for our pet's breed, age and size with advice from your vet. Have your pet's eating plan reevaluated at annual check-up time, or sooner if you notice health changes like lethargy or a dull coat.
  2. Serve a variety of foods. About 30 percent of your pet's diet should consist of food you make yourself, and should include meat (ask your vet whether meat should be raw or cooked), grains, vegetables and fruit.
  3. Don't overfeed! More than 45 percent of dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight due to overfeeding. Any homemade food you feed your pet should be part of their normal diet, not in addition to it.
  4. Teach good table manners. Incorporating people food into your pal's diet doesn't mean you should teach him to beg for table scraps. Serve meals in a bowl he's used to eating from, away from your table and on a regular schedule--two or three times a day depending on activity level.
  5. Avoid these toxic foods. Some human foods contain ingredients that can harm dogs and cats. Never feed them grapes or raisins, chocolate or caffeine, onions or garlic, processed food or raw eggs.

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