Make Your Own (Vegan) Dog Food

Leif, Buddha, Sochi, Michael and our 3 new feathery friends (we're loving us some sweet hens)

Leif, Buddha, Sochi, Michael and our 3 new feathery friends (we’re loving us some sweet hens).  Love that my dog and my boy both are learning to love all beings (they both love to watch the chickens–Sochi is very gentle with them).

When we first adopted Sochi, I ran out and bought the sweet potato and salmon Costco dog food they recommend. Its normal to feed your dog dog-food, right? That’s what dogs need to be healthy, right? However, I felt a little guilty about it. How could I justify supporting an industry that is on its way to depleting our oceans fisheries–or in the case of farmed fish, that creates unhealthy conditions for fish and creates pollution. Not to mention, I worry about the pollutants in our fish supply and the risks associated with consuming animal products.

I began to do a little research–was it possible for a dog to thrive on a plant based diet? Of course I wanted to make sure that I was doing it safely and keeping Sochi’s best interest in mind. I began reading and talking to a few people. Josh’s co-worker told me that his last dog had died of kidney disease–the vet suspected it was from a diet rich in animal proteins. His vet suggested he put his other dog on a vegetarian diet. I read of other accounts of this online.

Dogs evolved as omnivores. They need a diet that is about 20% protein to thrive (compared to humans 8-12%) and of course need a healthy dose of fatty acids. This is totally do-able on a plant based diet (just as with humans) but special attention needs to be given to protein requirements, fats, and of course a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. I ordered a supplement called Vege-dog that I sprinkle on Sochi’s food to ensure she’s getting all she needs with her home-cooked goodness.

Also to note, we eat a TON of plants in our family and our food bill is quite high. I was worried that feeding another mouth would make this super expensive. BUT, fortunately, we are seasoned bin inspectors and a trip to our local produce bin (ahem- veggie dumpster) really off sets the cost. Also to note, there are several foods you should never feed your dogs as they can be toxic for your furry love bug–

Never feed your dog:

Grapes/Raisins

Garlic/Onions

Chocolate

xyitol (found in sugar free crap)

Alcohol (duh)

Raw Yeast/Bread Dough

Macadamia Nuts

Avocados

I’m posting this knowing full well that there will be people out there that think I’ve gone coo-coo. There is no doubt that dogs LOVE meat. I’ve had to wrestle Sochi for chicken wings thrown in the parking strip before (because I don’t want her to choke on bones/there’s crazy ass people out there that try to poison animals–true fact). I’m not going to freak out when she gets a hold of safe animal products. There’s a lady at the farmers market that sells home made doggie treats that Sochi is like head of heals in love with (she thinks the market is a place where people feed her delicious goodies). I’ll probably crack one of our hen’s eggs over her food for a treat every once in a while (our friends and family collect the rest).  Also, so you don’t think I’m depriving my sweet Sochi, I give her peanut butter treats I bought at Back to Nature pet shop down the road from us and I’m working on making our own PB treats for her.

Simple Plant Based Dog Food Recipe:

3 cups cooked whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, wild rice)

3 cups cooked lentils or beans (switch it up to provide variety)

2 medium cooked sweet potatoes

1 cup chopped greens (spianch or kale work great!)

1 cup other veggies (I use carrots or zucchini often)

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup flax oil

Preparation:

I chop all the veggies, cook the grains, lentils and sweet potatoes and then mix it all up in a big pot. Sochi eats about 1 1/2 cups 2 times a day (it seems like a lot but because its not as calorie dense as store bought food containing meat, it seems to be the right about for her. I sprinkle on a spoonful of vege-dog supplement once a day!

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Supa-dupa Green Smoothie

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On Thursday afternoon I got a call from Jeff at the Humane Society. Jeff asked me how our adoption is going and I said, “GREAT!” There was a pause and I instantly knew something was up. He went on to tell me that Sochi’s previous owners had contacted them and it turns out they wanted her back. Sochi, or Ruby rather, had been a farm dog and wandered off for some reason. She was picked up as a stray on the boarder of our county and hers and brought up to our shelter. Her owners only checked with the shelter in their county and so never came across her. It turns out they hired someone to help track her down and they discovered she had been adopted out of our shelter. They understood that she legally belongs to us now but thought maybe there was a chance we would sell her back to them.

As you can imagine, my heart broke into a million pieces. I was sobbing on the phone with Jeff, telling him how she sleeps in our bed, goes everywhere with me, and how much our son loves her. I told him I needed to think about it. I cried all afternoon and talked to various people about how to handle the situation. In the end, I told Jeff we could not let her go. She is now part of our family and she has accepted us as her pack. I am truly heart broken for her previous owners and would love to write them a letter. Of course Jeff was very understanding and acknowledged I had been put in a very difficult situation. Commence stress eating. I ate way too much food in way too short of time. Today has been about loving my body through cleaning smoothies, walking, and yard work.

Supa-dupa Green Smoothie

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In the blender:

1/2 avocado

2 stalks celery

3 cups mixed greens of your choosing

1 cucumber, peeled if not organic

1 green apple

2 dates

juice from have lemon

1 cup of water