Thursday, March 19, 2009
Many people have never thought to give their dog a carrot or a green bean. Just as fruits and vegetables are good for us, they are also good for dogs, too. While not all dogs go crazy for a crunchy veggie snack, you may find that your dog just might prefer a carrot to a greasy, commercially-prepared preservative-laden treat made from ground corn and heavy sugars.I start my dogs out eating fruits and vegetables from puppyhood, and rescues from the time they come to me. It is a good idea to ask your veterinarian what fruits and vegetables he/she recommends for your dog. There are some important things to remember when feeding fruits, for example. Most fruit seeds/pits are toxic to dogs and actually contain cyanide. When giving apples, always remember to remove the seeds first. While bananas are a favorite around here, be sure to feed them in moderation as they can cause constipation and/or diarrhea depending on how much you feed. Grapes are a no-no, as are raisins. Check with your vet if you feel you need help formulating a safe list of fruits and veggies for your dog. A few common fruits and vegetables I use are potatoes (white, red and sweet), carrots, garlic, green beans, apples, bananas and tomatoes. I use organic, but if you are using non-organic, make sure to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly and peel them.
When adding to my protein/rice/pasta base I usually use fruits in the mornings along with oatmeal and yogurt, blended in the blender. I call this concoction Fruit/Veggie Slop or Soup. :-) Any extras are placed into a ziplock container for use the next meal.
Cottage cheese and tofu are good sources of protein that I utilize at breakfast time as well, along with hard-boiled eggs. I add all supplements in the mornings. When you are making your own dog food, it is a good idea to purchase a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to make up any deficiencies in your dog's diet and help in maintaining a gorgeous coat, healthy skin and eyes. I have long used The Missing Link and have been very satisfied with the results, but there are several other brands out there that are worth looking into as well. I have also used peanut oil, wild-caught salmon oil and flax oil for dogs who need a boost in the skin and coat department. Be careful not to use too much of any one particular supplement. If you are using a product such as The Missing Link, it will be unnecessary to add any extra oils as this can lead to over-supplementation.By the time everything is mixed together it looks rather icky, but trust me, dogs go nuts for it. At dinner time, I utilize vegetables in place of the fruits. There is no law that says you can't use veggies in the morning and fruits in the evening; this is just the way I do it. Remember, try to keep a good ratio of protein to everything else. I generally go with a 70/30 split. Working dogs, young puppies and pregnant/lactating females may need more and you will need to adjust the diet in these cases.