You are what you eat.
To me, this is not only for humans. What your dogs and cats eat reflects their health, emotions and behavior.
Do you think packaged and canned foods have enough nutrition to maintain our health? What about for your dogs and cats? The number of nutrients may add up, but what about the energy and vibrancy? Can you imagine eating the same food every day—especially canned and/or dry packaged food? Maybe you can, because the average American breakfast is cereal with cold milk, oily bacon or sausage, or sugary pancakes. It could be that people don’t know how to eat healthy, much less how to give healthy food to dogs and cats.
Giving homemade food to your dogs and/or cats has many benefits:
• Promoting health and happiness
• The ability to cook for your pets at the same time you cook for yourself and your family
• Complete knowledge and control of the ingredient list
• Elimination of additives and preservatives
• Good nutrition
• Unprocessed food with no by-products
• Fresh, not frozen (unless traveling)
• Helps heal ear irritation/problems, arthritis/joint issues, food allergies
• Weight control
• Body odor and breath control
• Promotes healthy teeth and gums
• Softer fur and less shedding with proper brushing
• Calmer and more intuitive
• Better focus and understanding
• Improved energy and vitality
• Longer life
• More economical than commercial food
• Strengthens the bond between you and your pets
• Fewer vet visits
Do you want to learn how to cook for your dogs and cats—and maybe for yourself, too?
Here’s a sample of what I feed my dogs, from my book Healthy Happy Pooch:
After one year old
Meal samples for dog weight: 30 lbs.
MAKES ONE BREAKFAST OR DINNER
(Maximum amount per meal at 3% of body weight is about 14 oz. or 13/4 cups per meal. Please note that the per-meal amount is 1/2 of the amount needed per day.)
3/4 cup organic beans, soft-cooked or puréed (optional: 1/2 cup organic raw or cooked ground beef/lamb during transitional period)
1/2 cup organic, soft-cooked whole grains
1/8 cup organic raw carrot, yam, sweet potatoes or butternut squash, finely chopped
1/8 cup organic, raw leafy greens (kale, collard or dandelion), finely minced
1/8 teaspoon powdered kelp
1/2 teaspoon organic dried alfalfa leaves
13/4 teaspoon (9g) Vegedog supplement for vegan dogs
250–750 mg powdered vitamin C (consult with your holistic veterinarian to determine exact amount)
11/2 tablespoons dried shiitake mushrooms, ground (optional)
1/4 cup lukewarm vegetable soup, miso soup or purified water (moisten the food, if necessary)
1/4 teaspoon organic flaxseed oil or 1/2 teaspoon organic flaxseed meal (optional)
1/4 teaspoon organic hempseed oil or 1/2 teaspoon organic hempseed meal (optional)
Optional supplements to meet NRC and AAFCO requirements:
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
125 mg choline (optional)
250 mg L-methionine (optional)
Lentil and Quinoa Stew
Lentils and quinoa make a perfect stew. This could be your meal for tonight.
MAKES 3 CUPS
1/2 cup organic quinoa
1/2 cup organic lentils (tofu, tempeh or seitan may be used instead)
2 cups sea vegetable broth or veggie stock (salt-free or low-sodium)
1/4 cup organic carrot, diced
1/4 cup organic celery, diced
1/2 cup organic parsley, chopped
In a large pot, add the quinoa and lentils with the broth or stock, and bring to a boil. Add all the vegetables and bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are tender.
Allow to cool slightly, and serve at room temperature.
Sweet Potato Cookies
These cookies are very easy to make and delicious; I even like eating them along with my dogs.
MAKES 70 COOKIES
(using a 21/4-inch x 1-inch cookie cutter)
1 organic sweet potato (12 oz)
1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
21/2 cups organic whole-wheat flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel the sweet potato, slice into 1/2-inch pieces, and steam for 15–20 minutes.
Mash the sweet potato with a fork or potato masher, and transfer to a large bowl.
Mix the flour and applesauce in a large bowl. Add the sweet potato and blend until dough forms. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and roll out until about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter, or cut the dough into squares with a knife. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake until crisp, 35–45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing, and continue cooling completely on a wire rack.
I make homemade food for my cats, too, using similar ingredients as the dog food. I cook everything and purée it; when I serve, I add fresh, leafy greens—like kale, collard and/or dandelion—minced very small, along with some fish. Cats can be very picky, so it helps if you start when they are kittens. If they have been eating commercial food—even “natural” ones, which have preservatives—you’ll need to start slowly.
I am available to consult and help you make recipes for your cat. Contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.