You Are What You Eat, and So Is Your Dog
I wouldn’t call myself a health nut, but I do believe in eating whole foods that retain their nutritional value and are not processed. I am definitely not militant about this, but I try not to eat foods with preservatives or pre-made/pre-packaged foods. I really believe that what we eat affects not just our outward appearance, but also our inner health and well being. I have extended these beliefs to my dog’s nutrition as well, and have been preparing his food from scratch since he was about 12 weeks old. I’d like to share my recipe with you. If you are interested in cooking for your dog, give it a try!
Many people tease me about cooking for my dog and say that Snickers is spoiled, but providing my pup with proper nutrition free of preservatives and byproducts is my main priority. I did quite a bit of research online and by talking to several veterinarians prior to settling on the “right” recipe for Snickers’ food.
Although your dog may be the most gentle and sweet pup, he is still a descendant of the wolf and retains his carnivorous physiology. The best source of amino acids for dogs is animal protein from meat, though dogs can consume and metabolize proteins from vegetables and grains. A general rule is that a dog requires about 1 ounce of high quality protein per two pounds of body weight per day. Component amino acids from protein are used for bones, muscles and tissues, and since puppies are still growing, they require a higher percentage of these amino acids than adult dogs. A puppy’s diet should contain about 28% protein while an adult dog’s diet only needs to contain about 18% protein.
Based on these numbers and the research I had conducted, I decided to create a stew for Snickers that incorporated meat proteins, some whole grains and some vegetables. I usually use ground turkey for the meat, but sometimes I switch it out to beef or chicken or a combination of the three.
3 lbs ground turkey (I use the 15% fat / 85% lean turkey)
3 large yams
¾ to 1 cup of steel cut oats (I usually eyeball this)
1 lb spinach (fresh or frozen)
1 lb green peas (fresh or frozen)
Wash the yams well and chop them into medium sized chunks (the smaller the chunks the faster the stew will be ready).
Using a large non-stick pot, place the yams in the pot and cover with enough water to have about two inches of water over the yams.
Bring water and yams to a boil (uncovered) and continue to let yams boil until they start to become soft.
Once the yams start to become soft, add the steel cut oats. Let yams and oats cook for about 20 more minutes.
Once the yams and oats are practically cooked, add in the turkey. Mix in the turkey with the yams and oats until all of the turkey is covered and starts to cook. Let the turkey cook for about five minutes.
Add in the peas and spinach and mix well. The spinach and peas should cook very quickly and you do not want to overcook them because then they start to lose their nutritional value.
Cool and serve! I like to portion out the stew into several containers and freeze all but one so that the stew is fresh each time I serve it to Snickers.
I usually give Snickers about a cup of stew in the morning and a cup of stew in the evening. Snickers weighs about 15 pounds, so he doesn’t need much food. I usually make this batch of stew every two weeks. Snickers has only been fed homemade food since he was about 12 weeks old and has been very healthy. He never smells (even after a month of not bathing), does not have any itching or allergies and appears to truly enjoy meal time, everytime! For treats he usually gets little pieces of broccoli, peas or cheese. The only time I ever give him actual dog treats is when I’m training him to do new tricks. His teeth get continuous compliments as does his fur coat. I really believe that having a whole foods diet is contributing to his well-being, both inside and out.
I’d love to hear any recommendations for additional dog food recipes. Please comment below with any recipes!