I never had a dog until my dad’s dog came to live with us a couple months ago. When I talked with a friend who is a vegan chef with three healthy, lively dogs, he told me he makes their food. Yes, homemade vegan dog food! He whispered to me “the dogs don’t know they’re vegan.”
It’s easy to pick up bags of highly processed dog foods. But if I don’t feed processed foods like that to my family, why would I feed it to the dog? A little research gave me some basic information about doggy nutrition, and we started experimenting. Guess what? Amitu loves her homemade vegan dog food!
Amitu is a little dog (supposedly toy fox terrier, but there’s clearly chihuahua in there) who weighs only about seven pounds. She doesn’t eat a lot, so it’s easy to make her food. I make a big batch and freeze individual portions in silicone muffin pans, then pop out them out and store them in bags in the freezer. Every couple of days I pull out a few portions and keep them in the fridge so they’re ready for her meals.
I vary the recipe every time for some variety, though many experts say dogs don’t need variety. Like most things, I suppose it depends on your pet.
A few things to consider:
- Homemade dog food is not fortified, so you may need to add doggy vitamins appropriate to your dog’s size and breed.
- Give your dog some variety if she likes it, but some dogs thrive on the same food all the time.
- Some ingredients you should never include in your dog’s food are:
- onions or garlic
- grapes or raisins
- macadamia nuts
Here’s the basic recipe…
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 lb dried lentils (any type)
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 3-4 cups greens or green vegetables (chard, kale, broccoli or similar), chopped small
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- In a large pan, cover the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender. Scoop the sweet potatoes out of the water and into a large bowl to cool. Leave the water in the pan.
- Add the lentils to the sweet potato cooking water. If necessary, add more water until the water is about 2 inches over the lentils.
- Steam the greens or green vegetables until they are quite soft. Add to the bowl with the sweet potatoes.
- Mash the sweet potatoes and greens together. While the mixture is still warm, add the peanut butter and mix thoroughly.
- When the lentils are soft and the water is absorbed, add them to the sweet potato and vegetable mix. Stir thoroughly.
- Mix the brown rice into the bowl with rest of the ingredients.
- Fill silicone muffin pans with the mixture and freeze several hours or overnight. After they’re frozen, pop them out and store freezer bags.
- Every second or third batch, I add textured soy protein, prepared according to the package directions.
- Experiment with different kinds of grains and beans. Garbanzos and black beans are great, as is quinoa.
- Add carrots or replace some of the sweet potatoes with carrots. Always have a nice high-protein mix of beans, grains, green veggies, and yellow veggies.