If there is one unwanted position that all of us dog parents have been in, it is that uh-oh moment when you go to feed your dog their dinner and there’s no dog food left in the bag or container. Those big puppy eyes are looking up at you as if to tell you he knows what you have done! Although the dog food running out has caught you off guard and you feel terrible, don’t panic. Your dog is not going to go hungry tonight because, after reading this post, you’ll be armed with some food scrap knowledge that will help you toss together a great plant-based dog-approved meal in minutes!

Please note: The following suggestions are meant only to be an occasional one meal per day since a quickly thrown together homemade meal may not contain the proper daily nutrition needed. Also, be sure to read up on dog-safe people food before tossing together a human-food meal for your beloved four-legged companion.

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1. Start by looking at your basic dinner

A good place to start when you’re in a pinch is to begin with the foods you cooked yourself for dinner. Did you prepare a simple meal base like pasta or rice? Even if you didn’t, rice and pastas cook up rather quickly, and they’re a great place to start. Add a serving of well cooked, plain rice or pasta to a bowl as your base. You will have to estimate this amount based on the size of your dog, but do bear in mind that you should generally have less rice and pasta as compared to other ingredients such as beans and vegetables.

2. Look closer at the other foods on your plate

As long as the foods are not heavily seasoned, you can dice up some side sweet potatoes, mash up some black beans, chop extra broccoli, or cut up baked pumpkin or squash. Add any or all of these foods to the bowl with the rice or pasta base.

3. Check out what leftovers and fresh vegetables you have in the fridge

If you are a plant-based eater, then many of your meal leftovers can be shared with dogs. Do you like tofu, tempeh, or seitan? Adding a small amount can be healthy, but as with humans, big amounts of soy and wheat-meats should not be consumed as a main source of nutrition. Finely chopped steamed or raw vegetables like green beans, carrots, celery, and lettuce are yummy additions to any homemade dog meal.

Now that you have a bowl of food mixed and ready…

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Is your dog staring at you as if to say, “What’s this?”

If your dog is not used to eating a homemade meal, consider topping their meal with a dollop of classic hummus, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, or add a little sodium-free veggie stock to add a more hearty flavor.

Before you get going with your quick, homemade dog-approved meal, just be sure to keep these notes in mind:

  • If a food is healthy for you, then it’s usually healthy for dogs (but always check to make sure).
  • Feed your dog people food in moderation — this is key.
  • Feed a tossed together meal only occasionally (because it may not contain complete nutrition).
  • There is no need to add salt to the dog food dish.
  • Do not include any foods or ingredients that your dog has trouble digesting, is allergic to, or that could be unsafe for dogs.

Happy tossing!

Image source: Shane Adams / Flickr

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