I’ve often found that most people are usually on board with the idea of cooking for their dogs, once I’ve explained how beneficial it can be to make your own fresh, wholesome meals, and how it can actually save you money, time, and heartache in the long run by significantly improving your pet’s health and extending his or her life.
But even so, most clients still find it challenging to prepare these meals for their pets on a regular basis. The biggest barrier? TIME.
And lack of knowledge / confidence in being able to provide a balanced diet as the second barrier.
In general, most people have very busy lifestyles and don’t even cook for themselves, relying instead on processed foods and going out to eat. And although this approach is convenient, tasty, and cheap, it’s not necessarily the best way to stay healthy. The same is true for dogs and cats.
So in this article, we’re going to cover some quick tips you can start employing TODAY to help improve the nutritional quality of your pet’s food.
We’ll go through this in two parts. First, I’ll talk how to improve the nutrient quality of your dog’s current food (i.e. how to make your current commercial kibble healthier). Next, I’ll present you with some quick and easy recipes to try out at home if you want to feed entire fresh food meals.
Part I: How Can We Make Commercial Dog Food Healthier?
Recently, a research project determined that red meat and other fats that have been subjected to cooking will have carcinogenic substances present that may lead to various types of cancer, especially colon and rectal cancers. But by simply adding chlorophyll-containing foods such as green salads, broccoli, kale, spinach and Romaine lettuce, this risk can be reduced by 50 percent!
We’re going to use the same approach to improve your dog’s current food.
Commercial dog food can be made safer and healthier with the addition of these vegetables, or the addition of Spirulina or Chlorella supplements.
Here’s how to start:
- Reduce your dog’s dry food by 25% (by volume, so just pour 3/4 the normal serving amount into his/her dish) then add instead 25% of chopped up salad greens mixed with 1 small raw egg (but cook the egg if your dog has a sensitive tummy). As an example, let’s say your pup is getting 1 cup of dry kibble at each meal. This time, pour 3/4 cup of kibble into the dish, then add 1/4 cup equivalent of salad greens plus one egg.
- Mix this all together with your dog food. This will improve the mineral, vitamin, and enzyme content of the food.
It’s important to supplement commercial dog food with additional nutrients because commercial pet food lacks these key qualities:
- Quality of Ingredients
- Life Force
Here’s a list of good additions to dry food/kibble or processed raw pet foods:
- Fresh raw salad greens
- Fresh raw sprouts
- If not, then spirulina
- Raw egg
- Nutritional Yeast
- Trace minerals
- Cooked vegetables
Do not add any meat, or canned food to this.
If feeding raw commercial diets or feeding raw chicken, probiotics maybe necessary to combat any salmonella or other pathogens possibly present in the meat. I recommend a probiotic such as Protegrity EZ by Kemin:
Good Additions To Canned Commercial Foods:
- Fresh raw salad greens
- Fresh raw sprouts
- If not, then spirulina
- High Fiber foods: cooked green beans, broccoli, beets, and celery
Do not add dry kibble, or extra meat/protein.
Unsure of which commercial foods to feed? Here’s a list of foods we recommend if you do require a commercially-available kibble or raw food.
Dr. B’s Current List of “Better” Commercial Foods:
- Honest Kitchen
- Newman’s Own
- Taste of the Wild
- Ziwi Peak
The Benefits of Feeding Green
What is the one simple thing you can add to your pet’s diet of commercial food that would make the biggest difference? Greens! Dogs (and cats!) need to eat their vegetables to stay healthy. If they won’t eat them mixed up with their regular food, then you can make a liquid from the veggies and mix it in with their food.
Dose: Begin with 1 tablespoon per 10 pounds of body weight once a day. After your dog gets used to the taste, increase to twice daily.
If your dog is ill with liver or kidney disease, you can increase the dose 3 times and administer the liquid with a syringe separately, from meals.
The following recipes can be made easily with a blender, juicer, or Vitamix.
Peppers for Peepers
(Nutrients insure eye and skin health)
- 1 red bell pepper (without seeds)
- 1 apple (peeled if not organic)
- 1 large carrot
- 1 teaspoon Spirulina or Chlorella
- 1 teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese.
- ½ cup of kale, romaine lettuce or spinach (raw)
- ½ cup of water or coconut water
Juicify the ingredients and then pour into ice cube trays for future use. 1 oz per average dog 2 times daily
Cream of Green
(All-purpose raw vegetable mineral antioxidant supplement)
- 1 cup Romaine Lettuce
- ½ cup celery
- ¼ cup of beet greens
- 1 teaspoon of Parmesan Cheese
- 1 teaspoon of Brewer’s Yeast or Nutritional Yeast
- ½ cup of water
Mix together and serve using instructions above.
Part II: Quick & Easy Whole Food Meals
As you may have guessed, I prefer that clients feed whole food diets whenever possible, containing fresh and unprocessed ingredients. So if that’s a option for you, I highly recommend you feed those diets instead!
Here are several examples for you to try. Alternate between these to create a balanced meal plan for the week!
Healthy and balanced home cooked meals don’t have to be fancy or contain a multitude of ingredients. As an example, here’s a typical dinner that I feed my dog Hina.
Hina’s Broccoli Beef and Spouts
- 1/2 cup Beef chunks (grass fed or organic)
- 1/4 cup Broccoli (steamed)
- 1/4 cup Gluten free noodles (boiled)
- 4 tablespoons Cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon Clover Sprouts (finely cut with scissors)
Mix all together and serve.
Sardines, Egg, and Greens
- 1 can Sardines in water (You can substitute ½ cup of Light Tuna, Alaskan Salmon, or Mackerel)
- 1 Egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons Sprouts: Clover or Alfalfa
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
- 1/2 cup Brown rice (cooked)
Mix the egg yolk and nutritional yeast with the sprouts, then with the sardines. Serve over brown rice. Makes one meal for a 20 to 25 lb dog.
Sardines & Greens, Version #2
- 1 small can (1/2 cup) of sardines, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup of salad greens (chopped up well)
- ½ cup of cooked brown rice or pearl barley
- ¼ cup of ripe avocado (meat…not leaves or the pit)
- 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese powder
- ½ teaspoon Spirulina
Mix the salad greens with the sardines, then mix in the rice and avocado. Add the ½ teaspoon Spirulina and then sprinkle the whole recipe with parmesan cheese, stir and serve. Makes one or two meals for a 20-25lb dog.
Apples, Local Beef and Lettuce Delight
- ½ cup chopped apples
- 1 cup ground hamburger / beef
- 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil
- 1/3 cup of chopped lettuce
Heat frying pan to medium melt the butter and add the apples. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add Hamburger and cook medium rare. Remove from heat, and let cool. Then add lettuce (raw).
Hamburger, Lettuce, and Tomato
- ½ cup chopped shredded lettuce / or cucumber, spinach
- 2 chopped up Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup local grass fed beef
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kelp
- ½ slide of multigrain bread (cubed)
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Nutritional yeast
Mix bread cubes with cherry tomatoes and egg yolk. Add hamburger, cheese and yeast mix well. Mix in with the lettuce and make 2 patties. Feed raw or cook the patties in a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of Coconut oil. Feed one patty per 15 to 20lb dog.
Grass Fed Beef Burgers IN Paradise
(You can substitute ground turkey or pork)
- ½ celery stalk
- ½ carrot
- 1 tablespoon of ketchup
- ¼ tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp Hawaiian sea salt
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1 organic / local chicken egg / cracked and raw
- 1 ½ slices multigrain bread
- 1 ½ to 2 cups of ground grass fed Kauai Beef.
Put everything in a Cuisinart or Vitamix and make into a mush. Make into 2 patties (one for your dog and one for you) and cook in a wok in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on medium high heat/or on a gas grill or barbeque.
Detox Recipe for Skin Health
- 1 cup Sardines (alternate with light tuna and canned salmon)
- 1/4 cup Cottage cheese (alternate with one raw or boiled egg)
- 1/8 cup (handful) Alfalfa or Clover Sprouts
- ½ cup Lettuce (chopped up small)
- ½ cup cooked Barley
- ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese
- 1 Omega fish oil 1,000mg capsule (squeeze out the liquid)
- 1 Evening primrose oil capsule (500mg)
Mix the omega 3 fish oil and the evening primrose oil with the sardines first, then mix in the barley, lettuce and sprouts. Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast/cheese combo. Feed the above once a day and your other food another time. If you dog has allergies to your regular food, you should not feed it any more. Feed ½ cup per 10 to 15 lbs of body weight.
If your dog is allergic to fish, then this would not be an appropriate recipe so skip it.
Sweet Potato and Chicken Liver
- 1 cup of chopped up sweet potato (cooked, steamed or baked)
- Peel Skin if not organic
- 1 cup of chicken livers (raw) Foster Farms (comes in a tub like margarine)
- 1 tablespoon of Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- ½ teaspoon of Hawaiian salt
In a frying pan heat up butter with olive oil and add the chicken liver when the oil is hot. Cook on medium heat, stirring until the livers are done. Put the livers in a large glass mixing bowl and add salt, then add chopped up sweet potato. Mix well, and let sit covered until room temperature. Then put all of the ingredients in a Cuisinart. Makes about 3 – 4 meals. Feed about ½ cup per meal.
Quick Meal for Weight Loss
- 1 soft boiled egg
- 4 tablespoons of cottage cheese
- ½ teaspoon nori
- ½ cup of steamed vegetable: broccoli, carrots, shredded
- ¾ cup of cooked brown rice or pearl barley
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Mix together all of the ingredients. Makes 2 meals for a small dog. Feed twice daily.
Get Started Today!
There you have it — a variety of easy recipes you can try out and follow to help supplement your pet’s diet and enable you to ease into home cooking for your dog.
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email.
Photo via dogfoodinsider.com