The Inevitable: Cooking for the Dogs
In answer to your e-mails: Yes, I have finally begun to home cook after being profoundly disappointed by even "high-end" dog food (I’ll discuss feeding Emily the FIP-kitty later).
I still recommend some kibble, such as Timberwolf Organics, to people who’ll never home cook. But I simply can’t find any food that has everything I need, in the proper ratios, and that is manufactured with ingredients (and in a manner) that I like. This leads to the inevitable: some sort of home prepared meals containing three components:
- Veggies & fruits. Shredding carrots, greens, celery, beets and apples, isn’t fun. But I do it with a smile.
- Protein. Tofu, nuts (not peanuts or macadamia nuts–and raw, unsalted and organic. I use raw walnut butter), soy beans, black beans and kidney beans are great sources of protein (as is quinoa, which is a grain).
- Grain (not grain flour). Steel-cut oats, quinoa, barley, millet, brown rice all work.
The genius people at Harbinger’s of a New Age have developed Vegedog, which is a vegan product that supplements home cooking to give each meal the proper vitamin and mineral content. You can use it to make your own kibble (they give you a detailed recipe). And though it contains yeast, they also have VegeYeast, which is high in protein and B vitamins, and keeps the pH acidic. Home cooking is infinitely easier than I imagined, particularly with the proper supplements.
I say "some sort of" meal preparation because there are several well-made products that do some of the work for you. They’re dehydrated foods made by Sojos (which has free shipping–and that’s key) and The Honest Kitchen.
- Sojos: European-Style Dog Food Mix and Monzie’s Organic Muesli for Dogs are both grain-based products that you need to add protein and veggies to.
- The Honest Kitchen: Preference: made of alfalfa, sweet potatoes, cabbage, celery, apples, spinach, organic kelp, coconut, bananas, zucchini, and honey (obviously not a vegan product), and is supplemented with vitamins and minerals (so Vegepet isn’t necessary, but it’s nice).
- Use one of the Sojo’s products as the grain, Preference as the veggies, and add Vegeyeast, tofu, or some other protein source (Harbingers has several free recipes you can alter to meet your needs).
- Make your own grain, use Preference as veggies, add tofu, beans, nut butter for protein.
- Use Sojo’s grain, make your own veggies, add Vegeyeast and Vegepet.
Even using one dehydrated product shortens prep time. Once you figure out the ratio that works best for your dog (one of mine does well with a lot of grain, but the other doesn’t), write it down, multiply by 10, make a batch, and put it in the freezer. Voila, food for 5 days for one dog. (Or multiply by 6 to get 3 day’s worth, and refrigerate.)
It’s not difficult after the first week, and built in the formula are ways to vary what you cook so your dog’s don’t get bored (different grains, different veggies, different protein). And you can always add low-sodium soy sauce, raw pumpkin, and any other topping (without onions) that your dog finds tasty.
There’s no time like the present to jump in and get started. Write me with any questions and if I can’t answer, I can always point you to someone who can.