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:
xyitol (found in sugar free crap)
Raw Yeast/Bread Dough
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
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!