Add Fresh Food to your Dog&039s Diet with Pureed Veggies – BrindleBerry Acres

HUSKY IN GARDEN

The thought of going from those crunchy little kibbles to fresh food diets can be very daunting for even the most savvy of pet owners! I get it. I was there once, and I was totally scared I was going to do something to hurt my dogs. so I tried to look back to see what would have made things easier for me when I was new to kibble-free diets. and I think it would have been good to maybe start with small steps. I dipped my toe in the water to see that the water wasn’t really that cold after all, and finally dove in.

Reading: Veggie mix for dogs

CONTAINER GARDENING

Even though I feed them commercial raw food 90% of the time, in the summer I make a lot of fresh vegetable mixes to add to their meal with vegetables from my own garden. it’s very affordable and convenient (food is already literally in your own backyard), so there’s really no reason not to give it a try. If you don’t feed raw, this is another great way to get important vitamins and minerals (in their natural form) into your dog’s body!

CONTAINER GARDENING

why fresh food?

I think we’re starting to see some of the negative health outcomes of fully processed diets in both pets and people. we’re seeing them happen faster in our companion animals for a few reasons, I think. 1. They live shorter lives, and we’re seeing the effects of poor diets on their genetics faster than we can people. and 2. because despite the huge increase in processed foods we eat as humans, our dogs still eat a lot, more, and sometimes it’s all they eat.

When kibble diets (dry food diets) are made, they are cooked at such high temperatures that the natural vitamin and mineral content is destroyed. meaning that synthetic vitamins and minerals are added back into the food to replace them. synthetic vitamins are not as easy to absorb as they are in their natural form. so to put it short and simple, our dogs are missing out on a lot of vital nutrition. This vital nutrition is essential for fighting immune-related diseases and diseases such as cancer.

Watch the tedx talk below with rodney habib – he explains exactly why I’m so passionate about adding “people food” aka “food” to a kibble diet.

choose your vegetables

Most vegetables that are fine for you are fine for most dogs. I could go into detail about which dogs are better candidates for certain vegetables, but I’m going to try to keep this easy for you. so here’s a quick list for you:

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avoid: nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, white potatoes, and eggplant. These vegetables are known to increase inflammation in the body, and since most of our dogs have some form of inflammation in the form of joint pain, allergies, etc., it’s best to choose other options.

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Use sparingly: Leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens can be problematic if fed too often, especially for dogs known to have problems with oxalate kidney stones. so use these greens if your dog doesn’t have a history of kidney stones, in moderation, and while varying with other options. If your dog has a history of oxalate stones, he personally wouldn’t use them at all.

In the photo below you’ll see that in this particular batch I included a lot of these vegetables. this is just because they all happen to be in season right now. I freeze these vegetable mixes in batches with other varieties, so you don’t have more than a few days of each mix at a time.

predominant use: Mix fewer starchy vegetables (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes) with kale, lettuce (not iceberg), broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, beans greens, and zucchini. (there are other vegetables that are fine, I just want to give you a simple starting point for the purpose of this blog post).

You can add some fruit in moderation if you like, and in moderation I’d suggest around 5% of your mix, and would include items like blueberries, cranberries, saskatoon berries, strawberries (if you have them I wouldn’t) . I don’t look for them) or honey berries (as I’ve illustrated below while growing them) and pumpkin.

preparing your vegetables

first things first, you’ll want to gather some ingredients to add to your vegetable puree. you’ll also want to grab your food processor or blender and a large mixing bowl and mixing spoon. I’ve always pureed my dog’s vegetables because I was taught that dogs can’t break down the cellulose in vegetables, and pureeing breaks down that coating and makes them much easier to absorb. pureed vegetables mimic the stomach contents of a prey animal that their ancestors may have killed and eaten in the wild. Plus, it makes it easier to add and mix into food when your dog isn’t a fan of veggies, and it makes it easy to freeze in cubes, too! (see below).

Thoroughly wash and peel store-bought and non-organic vegetables, rinse store-bought organic produce (peels may stay), and be sure to rinse home-grown produce to remove bugs and dirt (although These things honestly probably won’t hurt your dog in small amounts, as long as you don’t add pesticides or herbicides).

remember that variety is key! the vegetables in this mix i made are high in calcium and too much calcium is also not good. you need to mix your batches of vegetables to ensure a wide range of vitamins and minerals. the fruits and vegetables pictured below were in my fridge and were wilting and bruising a bit. I didn’t include all of them in the mix, but I did add some strawberries and carrots.

VEG AND FRUIT IN SINK

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BLENDING VEG AND FRUIT

PUREED VEG

If you have large dogs or multiple dogs, you can freeze your mixes in larger containers and thaw as needed. be sure to enclose a label that lists the ingredients with a freezer-safe label so you know what’s inside and can rotate your mixes.

FROZEN PUREED VEG

If you have smaller or fewer dogs, freezing your mix in ice cube trays or silicone molds can make it easier to add to your pup’s food. however, if your dog doesn’t like the mix, he won’t like to eat them as readily as he would if you could mix them into his food and “hide” them.

how much should you feed?

Vegetables are high in fiber, and if your dog isn’t used to them, they can cause diarrhea. so start by adding small amounts first and monitor your stool. not sure there is a magic amount, but if I had a smaller dog (under 30lbs) I could add 2 heaping tsp per meal, and my boys (55-65lbs) have 2 heaping tbsp per meal in their raw meals . a giant breed can probably tolerate more, maybe 3 heaping tablespoons per meal. just start small and work your way up to bowel tolerance.

Diarrhea is most often caused by overfeeding, so you can reduce your dog’s food portion a bit when you add extras like vegetables to prevent that. to make it easier, just look at roughly the same volume as the volume you added. (does that make sense?)

RAW VEG IN KIBBLE

feel free to add your mix to whatever you’re feeding! experiment to see what your dog likes and what you have at home or in the garden. Adding fresh vegetables to your dog’s diet is the first step to improving your dog’s health! I’ll talk more about other options in future blogs!

Have you tried adding vegetables to your dog’s food? how did it go? let me know in the comments!

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