When I first started cooking for my boyos (Tino on the left and Sammie on the right) I’d eat the food I prepared for them. I figured I should be willing to eat the food I was going to feed to them. An unexpected benefit came out of that “taste testing” exercise–I lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks, eating their high protein, low carb diet.
I sometimes still do share their stew, but I also enjoy foods that aren’t recommended for dogs. Even though some foods don’t set well with our pets, a wide variety of healthy foods suit both species. Some of our favorites include:
- Ground turkey
- Ground beef
- Liver and other organ meats
- Sardines (great source of calcium too)
- Cottage cheese
- White, brown, wild rice
- Pearl barley
Not all pets—or people—handle grains well, and dogs don’t have a dietary requirement for simple carbs so grains don’t necessarily have to be included in homemade pet food. Pumpkin makes a great substitute to ensure you’re getting fiber into your pet’s diet.
Research is also cautioning against high levels of arsenic in rice. This is a risk for people as well as pets. I’ll be posting more on this topic, but soaking the rice for a few hours or overnight can help lower arsenic levels.
- Green beans (high in omega-3 fatty acids and calcium)
- Sweet potato (another great source of calcium)
- Squash (acorn, butternut)
- Pumpkin (vitamin A, antioxidants, and fiber)
- Spinach and kale (high in iron)
- Parsley, cilantro
Dogs like veggies but you may notice these foods coming out the other end undigested. Cooking can help, but using a blender or food processor to “pre-digest” these foods will make it even easier for your dog to digest. As far as cats go, they have almost no need for fruits or veggies in their diet according to what I’ve read.
Some of the research I’ve found suggests staying away from cruciferous veggies (broccoli and cauliflower, for example) because these kinds of veggies have been linked to impeding thyroid function. I’ve fed them to my dogs without problem, and I’ve seen them recommended on reputable sites. Moderation and careful observation of how your pet does on these foods would be wise.
- Cantaloupe (great for eyesight and cancer prevention)
- Apples (seeds and core aren’t recommended)
- Blueberries (anti-cancer and cardiovascular support)
- Watermelon (cancer prevention and support for good eyesight)
These foods are some of our pack’s favorites, but every canine is different. I watch my dogs for signs that a particular food isn’t sitting well with their system—loose stools, gas, and a grumbly tummy all clue me in that a food might not be the best choice.
If you’re cooking for your pets, what fruits and vegetables do you cook with? Which are your pets favorites? Do you have any cautions to share?