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I have been making my own veggie mix for several months now and it's gained a lot of attention from people across the country who want to add fresh, organic vegetables and fruit to their dog's diet. I often get the same questions repeatedly and I thought it would be fun to answer them in a blog post.
When one person has the question, you can bet many others do as well.
Why do you add vegetables to your dogs' raw meals?
I feed my dogs a raw food diet based on a modified BARF model that I call FrankenBARF. I developed their diet through research and the help of our holistic veterinarians. I add vegetables to our dogs' meals because I believe that thanks to decades of pollution and treating the earth like a dump, our soil isn't as fertile as it once was and, as a result, it isn't producing the minerals and nutrients at the same levels.
When grass-fed animals eat the grass that grows from nutrient-rich, non-toxic soil, it leads to more nutrients in the meat we feed to our dogs. Healthy animals, nutritious meat, healthy raw fed dogs
And, using this logic, it's important that the fruits and vegetables we eat are grown from
Well, my crazy logic continues and I conclude that if I add meat, organ meat, bone, organic vegetables, and organic fruit to our dogs' diet, sourcing human grade meat when I'm able, then our dogs will have the best I can offer to them.
Not everyone agrees with my logic and that's okay. Every point of view offers something that teaches me how to raise healthy dogs.
Why do you make your own mix instead of using a base mix?
The Honest Kitchen's Kindly and Preference base mixes are top quality and too expensive when raising four big dogs. Plus, I like controlling and understanding what food goes into our dogs' meals.
What vegetables are safe for dogs?
I use the following vegetables because they were recommended by our veterinarians and they're available in our area; you can do an online search for more vegetables if you wonder if something is safe (or not safe) for your dog:
- collard greens
- garlic (yes, it's safe for dogs)
- green beans
- yellow squash
Do I have to cook (or blanch) the vegetable before pureeing?
I don't cook or blanch my vegetables before blending them in my NutriBullet. This is a personal choice. Some people believe that some vegetables need to be blanched in order to break up the cellulose wall (the wall that surrounds the plant cells in the vegetables) and release nutrients for a dog's system to digest and utilize.
Have you ever feed your dog a carrot and later see pieces of carrots in his or her poop? That's because the cellulose wall blocks a dog's digestive system from breaking down the vegetable and utilizing the nutrients. I believe, based on my research, that by pureeing the vegetables, I'm breaking down the cellulose wall and making the vegetables digestible for my dogs.
My dogs eat both the juice and pulp that is created during this process.
Also, the process I use to make my veggie mix involves heat – the pureeing process warms up the veggies – I don't want to add more heat than what naturally occurs when I'm creating my mix.
Do I have to use organic vegetables?
No. I think organic vegetables are best because you're getting further away from pesticides and other chemicals. However, many people in the farming industry have told me that there really isn't anything that is truly chemical free unless you grow the vegetables yourself. I'm new to gardening and don't grow enough vegetables to source them myself year around. Therefore, my goal is to expose my dogs to as few chemicals as possible.
Do I have to use the vegetables you use?
Absolutely not. The vegetables I use are what's available in the organic aisle of the produce section in my town and at the farmer's market. These are also what I'm growing in my garden. I change things up depending on where I do my shopping. For instance, organic green beans aren't available at my grocery store, but they are available at my farmer's market (and my garden).
I suggest sticking to vegetables that are safe for dogs. Avoid nightshades (e.g. potatoes and eggplant) and onions. If you are curious about the safety of a vegetable, you can Google it; there are a ton of reputable sites that will give you a complete list.
Why do you add supplements to your veggie mix?
I used to add green lipped mussel powder to my base mix along with a couple of other supplements. I no longer add anything to my base mix – just vegetables.
Do I have to add supplements to the veggie mix?
Nope. Not unless adding supplements will help your dogs.
How much of the supplements do I add to meet my dog's daily needs?
Adding supplements is optional and I don't think that there is any single supplement that will meet a dog's daily nutritional needs.
What if I have limited access to certain veggies?
Add what you have available. Try for as many organic and human-grade ingredients as you can find and confirm that the vegetables (and fruit) are safe for dogs to eat.
What vegetables are easiest for dogs to digest?
All veggies that are safe for dogs are easily digestible IF they're served in a puree. When served whole, they tend to pass right through without leaving behind any nutrients.
Scroll back up and see “Do I have to cook (or blanch) the vegetable before pureeing?” for more information about this topic.
Do you think the vegetable mix is making a difference with your dogs?
Absolutely! I can't tell you what it's done, because I haven't been tracking their progress and they've been on a BARF (FrankenBARF) diet for several years with a short break when I attempted Prey Model. Ultimately, they've been eating vegetables or years.
How much do you add to each meal?
Mostly, I add my veggie mix when I'm doing meal prep. I add 1-pound to each 8-quart bowl of pureed vegetables. On the rare occasion that I add vegetables to each dog's dish individually, I add 3-4 heaping tablespoons to each dog's dish.
Is your veggie mix the same as GreenJuJu?
It's similar in that it's made with vegetables for dogs. Beyond that, it's very different. The popular Seattle product that is made for dogs and sold in local pet stores has been formulated by a local dog owner who works with a nutritionist (I believe) to perfect the recipe. The details of the recipe aren't public knowledge, however, the ingredients used are listed on the website.
The veggie mix I created was developed with the help of my veterinarian and fellow raw feeders who make a similar recipe. My friends and I constantly share ingredients and ideas to tailor our mixes for our dogs.
The Seattle product is top quality and highly recommended.
My dogs eat kibble, can I still add the veggie mix?
Absolutely! I believe that the more fresh food a dog gets, the better.
Can my dogs eat jackfruit? And if so, could you please make a video on how to prepare it properly?
Stop it, Rodney.
This isn't a common question, but it made me laugh, so I've included it here. For those of you who are curious (I was), according to NPR…
“[J]ackfruit is not your typical fruit. It's got a distinctive, musky smell, and a flavor that some describe as like Juicy Fruit gum. It is the largest tree fruit in the world, capable of reaching 100 pounds. And it grows on the branches — and the trunks — of trees that can reach 30, 40, 50 feet. (Trunk-growing is a good thing because it reduces the odds of a jackfruit bopping you on the head.) Jackfruits are also a nutritional bonanza: high in protein, potassium~ Source: NPR.org
andvitamin B. And, with about 95 calories in about a half a cup, they aren't quite as high-carb or caloric as staples like rice or corn.”
I do not add jackfruit to my veggie mix, because I just learned of it's existence today and it's not growing in Marysville, WA. At least I don't think it is.
If you have questions about my veggie mix, feel free to ask. I'm more than happy to share.