Many dog owners see homemade diets as a way of increasing the bond with their pets, even though they may not have the convenience of commercial diets. Modifications of ingredients, quality and proportion might change the nutritional composition of the diet, generating nutritional imbalances. The present study evaluated how dog owners use and adhere to homemade diets prescribed by veterinary nutritionists over an extended period of time. Forty-six owners of dogs fed a homemade diet for at least 6 months were selected for the present study. Owners were invited to answer questions by first reading all possible answers and then selecting the one that best indicated their opinion. The results were evaluated through descriptive statistics. Thirty-five owners (76·1 %) found that the diets are easy to prepare. Fourteen owners (30·4 %) admitted to modifying the diets, 40 % did not adequately control the amount of provided ingredients, 73·9 % did not use the recommended amounts of soyabean oil and salt, and 34·8 % did not correctly use the vitamin, mineral or amino acid supplements. Twenty-six owners (56·5 %) reported that their dogs refused to eat at least one food item. All of these alterations make the nutritional composition of the diets unpredictable and likely nutritionally imbalanced. Although homemade diets could be a useful tool for the nutritional management of dogs with certain diseases, not all owners are able to appropriately use this type of diet and adhere to it for an extended period of time and this limitation needs to be considered when recommending the use of homemade diets.
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