As you know I follow a plant-based diet over here at the Cottage (hubby too). I will not go into the many health benefits of it – you can Google it, but believe me, it has made ALL the difference for us. And if it’s good enough for me and my man, it’s good enough for my dog.
Two years before my sweet Riley went over the Rainbow Bridge he was diagnosed with Stage Four Renal failure (he was 13 1/2). Well, it does not get much worse than that my friends. I decided right then and there to change his diet to a vegetarian, plant-based diet. I did my research, joined some very informative groups on Facebook, and started making all of his food myself. The following year, his Renal Failure dropped back to Stage Two. The Vet was amazed, and I was convinced. Food was the key. He went on to live another two years to the ripe old age of 15 1/2. (Gosh, I still miss him.)
I knew when we adopted our new puppy Maximo I was going to feed him a Vegetarian diet as well. And I also knew that puppies require a certain percentage of protein and vitamins in their diet (puppies more than adult dogs). I started researching Vegan/Vegetarian kibble and decided on Benevo Kibble for Puppies (click on the pink link to purchase through my Amazon store). There are also other options that you can explore, but Benevo was a hit right off the bat with Max and so we are going to use it for the first year, then switch to Adult Benevo. It has all the required protein, plus all the vitamins and minerals our pups need during their first year.
The “homemade” part comes in the form of soft food – replacing canned food (which is icky – read the ingredients!) After a few trials in the test kitchen, I came up with a wonderful recipe that Maximo loves. It keeps him regular (very important~), it is affordable and can be easily made in the Insta Pot in less than 20 minutes. (if you still do not have an insta pot, you can order one by clicking on the pink link!)
I am affectionately calling this “Maximo’s Mush”. Feel free to nosh on it yourself, it is VERY healthy and quite good.
2 large sweet potatoes, skin on, cut in half lengthwise
2 large zucchini, discard ends and chop into quarters (you can use green or yellow or a combo of both)
7-10 carrots, ends snipped
One can of low salt peas
2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter (Maximo prefers Creamy Jif)
Add potatoes, zucchini and carrots to your insta pot with about an inch of water. Cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes. Release steam, remove lid and let cool.
I then put it all into a colander and let it drain. The skin from the potatoes will come right off – just discard it. Then it goes onto my cutting board and gets chopped until it is basically mush. I have discovered this is easiest to do with a pasty cutter (see photo). It will be quite watery but that is okay – don’t discard the water that forms when you are chopping -just mix it back in. Add peas and peanut butter, and continue to mix. This keeps in the fridge for 8 days, but it never lasts that long! I end up making this once a week.
As I said, I do NOT add meat, but of course that is always an option.
If you do not have an insta pot (shame on you!) you can steam the veggies in the microwave.
There are many recipes and variations on the theme for making homemade dog food. I found this to be the easiest and Max just loves it. I mix it with his vegan Benevo Kibble for both the morning and night feedings. My ratio is about 3/4 cup kibble to the same amount of wet food (he is 16 pounds). It stays very moist due to the water content in the zucchini.
Like I said above, this information is only if you are interested in making your dog his own dog food, please no lectures about dogs needing meat. After reading the ingredients on most dog food packages, both dry and canned, I just could not feed it to my babies any longer. The Benevo ingredients are very basic and to the point – nothing you won’t recognize.
If you have any questions please drop me a note and lots of love to you and your fur babies!!!