Have you ever considered preparing a healthy and nutritious homemade meal for your dog? While feeding dinner scraps is a quick and easy way to clear a plate before it heads to the dishwasher, many dog parents may not have thought to start a dinner plate made up for their dog ahead of time. Making your own dog food at home is a great way to know what exactly is in the food, and you can toss in those pet safe table scraps as an added treat before doggie dinner time!
I first want to note that I am not an expert in animal diets. I’m simply the human parent of three crazy dogs who wants to raise happy and healthy hounds by providing additional weekly to daily meal options. What I am writing is a compilation of my own amateur research and homemade dog food making trails and errors!
Now, let’s take a look at some nutritional information for dogs along with a simple food combination idea to get you started with incorporating healthful plant-based foods into your dog’s diet.
Food Pyramid for Dogs
I came across this pet blog called EntirelyPets that has pet food pyramids set up very similar to our own food pyramid, now called ChooseMyPlate. Although this pet site uses red meat as a protein example, with proper research and planning, animal protein can be replaced with plant-based proteins with ease. Over 50 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or considered obese, making it more important than ever for us dog parents to feed a proper diet complete with fresh water and plenty of daily exercise. According to EntirelyPets, a dog’s bowl should be made up of 15-20 percent carbohydrates such as grains, 10-15 percent healthy fats and oils, 25-30 percent vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, and 40 percent protein.
Share a Meal With Your Dog!
Not Lady and the Tramp style, but if you prepare a plant-based dinner for yourself, consider feeding your dog the same thing or at least adding some to their existing crunchy store bought food. For example, mix half of his store bought kibble with homemade, plant-based food.
Keeping in mind that dog’s need a balanced diet, here’s a super simple homemade dog food combination:
- Brown rice. Long grain brown rice is inexpensive and a good source of fiber.
- Beans. Having a variety of beans like black beans and kidney beans in your dog’s diet will provide them with protein, B vitamins, fiber, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, and phytonutrients. Since dogs tend to swallow food whole instead of chewing, it is important that you cook beans thoroughly and then mash them up well.
- Olive Oil or other. Add a tablespoon to the beans while you mash them.
- Orange sweet potato. Sweet potatoes and yams are easier for both humans and dogs to digest. Potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-vitamins. Like beans, cook well until soft and mash up.
- Apples. A great source of vitamin A and C, apples are also a good way to clean a dog’s teeth. Make sure to dice up and to be safe, do not include the apple seeds in dog food.
- Add a spoonful of nutritional yeast that has been fortified with vitamin B12 for a little extra yum!
Add other veggies that you like.
I have found with my dogs (all are over the age of 7 years) that they need to have at least two smaller meals a day when they eat the homemade plant-based food versus once a day on the conventional kibble for older dogs. If you are going to be introducing homemade food to your dog for the first time, it is best to start out by incorporating it little-by-little to their existing food until they get used to the change. Also, play around with the endless food combinations to your dog’s taste. I can’t wait to share more homemade dog food recipe ideas!
Image Source: Andrew Becroft/Flickr