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We found a new holistic vet, and I took Rodrigo and Sydney in for a wellness check. Rodrigo walked away with a clean bill of health. He has inflammation in his joints, but that was expected and being treated with Canine System Saver, Bonnie & Clyde fish oil, and a raw diet.
Sydney, on the other hand, has an under-active thyroid, which has contributed to the difficulty in helping her lose weight*. Our veterinarian gave me a crash course in hypothyroidism (which Sydney doesn't have) and made several recommendations. As a result, I've made the following changes to his diet.
- Life Line Ocean Kelp (which is great for thyroid health)
- Add more vegetables to Sydney's meals.
I was adding an all-natural vegetable supplement to Sydney's diet; a tablespoonful a day. However, her vet says that this isn't enough. Our vet wanted me to make 1/3 of Sydney's meal vegetables (the serving suggestion on the supplement is significantly less). I increased the amount of supplement to Sydney's meals, but this meant that I went through several containers a week which was outside my budget.
Following my vet's recommendations, I realized that I needed to make a vegetable mixture myself.
Vegetables I'm Adding to Our Dog's Meals
The following list is from a print out that our veterinarian gave to me. When we were going over the vegetables, our vet checked off which ones I should focus on for Sydney's diet, with a few notes. I'll be building a container garden this spring with the following vegetables:
Beets and Green Tops: Beets are a natural detoxifying agent, high in copper, manganese, and potassium. May color urine and feces. Choose dark red bulbs with dark, bright green tops. Process, blend, or grate bulbs and tips together. Serve no more than once a week.
Kimberly's Note: At this time, I do not add beets; while I understand the health benefits, I think it's too much sugar and I prefer the carrots.
Carrots and Green Tops: Carrots are high in fiber, beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamin “C”. They are naturally sweet, and most dogs and cats adore them. Include bits of the green tops when processing.
Kimberly's Note: I do add carrots and green tops, however, I do this every other month. It's no longer a steady part of my veggie mix.
Greens: Greens are high in vitamin “A” and “C” and fiber. Choose from a variety including kale, collards, Swiss Chard, endive, parsley and dandelion greens. Select small, bright green leaves; avoid wilt.
Kimberly's Note: Our vet recommended that I focus on kale and Swiss Chard for Sydney
Pumpkin: Pumpkin is high in fiber, vitamins “A” and “B”, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Process or blend with or without the rind. Pumpkin, like most squashes, retains most of its nutrients even after baking or steaming.
Kimberly's Note: I only add pumpkin to my dogs' meals on occasion to help with diarrhea or constipation. This hasn't been a concern for a while and I prefer Olewo carrots to treat diarrhea.
Squash: Summer or winter, squash is very high in nutrients, and most animals love it. For summer varieties, such as zucchini, choose bright, shiny, firm skins with stems intact. Peel winter squash (Acorn, Danish, Hubbard, etc..) rinds before processing.
Kimberly's Note: I do add squash along with zucchini.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin “A”. They are beneficial for lung ailments and have lung cancer-fighting potential. Choose firm, brightly colored potatoes. Process with skin intact.
Kimberly's Note: I only feed dehydrated sweet potatoes on occasion as a treat.
Salad Veggies: This includes lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, and garlic. Lettuce has little food value; better to choose from more nutritious greens. Raw garlic should be fed in small amounts. Use spinach sparingly-it's oxalic acid content reduces iron absorption.
Kimberly's Note: I feed spinach, but I haven't tried cucumbers yet.
Fruits I'm Adding to Our Dogs' Meals
The below fruits were recommended by our vet from the same document as noted above.
Apples: Apples are packed with vitamin “C” and pectin. Pectin is a powerful detoxifier, reducing the risk of heart disease. Because it slows the absorption of sugars, it is beneficial to animals with diabetes. With the exception of avocados (don't give to birds), apples are the only fruit that may be mixed with vegetables. Apples are best when in season. Leave skin intact.
Kimberly's Note: I don't understand the rule not to mix fruit, other than apples, with vegetables. Instead, I only add fruit when they're in season.
Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium. They are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract and, for this reason, are beneficial for diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Because bananas absorb pesticides more easily than most fruits, choose organic bananas if possible. They are ripe when speckled brown.
Berries: Berries are rich in vitamins “A” and “C”, potassium and fiber. Check your pet's stool to make sure they can assimilate berries. When choosing strawberries try to buy organic. Like bananas, strawberries are often contaminated with insecticide sprays.
DIY Vegetable Blend for Our Dogs
With four dogs, I could no longer afford the all natural vegetable supplement, I attempted to make a vegetable mix using the notes from my veterinarian and recipes from other raw feeders.
In my first attempt, I added the following vegetables, roots, and supplements. Please keep in mind that I'm not a nutritionist.
DIY Vegetable Mix for Dogs (ingredients optional):
- one bunch of organic spinach or collard greens
- one bunch of organic kale
- one bunch of organic parsley
- one bunch of organic celery
- one bunch of organic carrots with greens
- one organic apple
- 5 organic zucchini
- 1-2″ of ginger (purchased a root and cut an inch or two off)
- 1 whole lemon, with peel
- 3-4 tablespoons of local raw honey (or 2-3 tablespoons of bee pollen)
- 1/4 cup of Flora4
- 1/4 cup of green lipped mussel
- 1 tablespoon of ground kelp
- 2-3 cups of bone broth (made with turmeric)
Sydney loves it. She's been eating her food with more vigor since I started adding the above mixture, which J named Jenga-Juice for Dogs, to her food. Next time, I'll be adding blueberries to the mix.
Click Here to see a video of my girl in action.
What You'll Need to Create Supplement
I used the following tools to mix up 10 pounds:
- knife (CLICK HERE to learn more about the knives I use)
- cutting board
- 8 quarter mixing bowl (I started with the blue bowl in the image above, it wasn't big enough)
- Nutri-Bullet (or blender)
- wire whisk
- 2-cup Rubbermaid containers
It takes about 30-45 minutes to chop, blend, and mix everything. I then pour it into the Rubbermaid containers or ice cube trays and freeze. Super easy.
Creating Bone Broth
I store several containers of bone broth in the freezer. I order my bones through our local raw food co-op and store them in a dedicated freezer.
Cost and Storage of My Veggie Mix for Dogs
COST: It costs less than $25 to pick up all of the ingredients for my natural vegetable supplement and I was able to make enough to last almost a month. Instead of spending $100 a month, I'm spending $25 a month, which is well within my budget. At the moment, only Sydney is getting the vegetable blend. I will be creating a larger batch later this month and adding it to all of our dogs' food.
STORAGE: The supplement is ladled into 2-cup capacity Rubbermaid containers; each container holds 1-pound of supplement. I store the supplement in the freezer until needed.
DISCLAIMER: My recipe is similar to several recipes available online that have been created by raw feeders. The ingredients I used are a blend of information from our holistic veterinarian, my friends Tina B and Nikki R, and a raw feeder I follow named Kayak S.
Have More Questions About My Veggie Mix?
You're not alone! I received several questions which inspired a blog post to clarify my veggie mix to readers.
Alternative Recipe for My Vegetable Mix
- Parsley (2 bunches)
- Collard greens
- Zucchini (2 large)
- Oysters (2 cans)
- Garlic (5 cloves) – Yes, it is safe
- Cremini mushrooms (20)
- Bone broth (4 cups)
- Golden paste (1 cup)
- Green lipped mussel powder (1 cup)
- Kelp (6 tbsp)
*2018 update: Sydney's blood work revealed that her thyroid is healthy; however, I haven't changed her diet and supplements beyond reducing the amount she eats.