Our four-legged friends need attention in order to be healthy just as we do! Just like us, they need exercise, rest, and nourishing food. My Lilly, a very healthy and social Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a handful, but taking care of her also helps me take care of myself.
Living in downtown Charleston, it is easy to take a walk. The neighborhood is beautiful and everyone is always so nice, so I am really lucky there. We try to take Lilly to the local dog park a few times a week (to socialize her with people more than anything else), and on walks several times a week. She’s 20 pounds of pure muscle and so the walk is often a workout for me as well. But she’s worth it.
I have also begun cooking her food from scratch. My dog growing up had severe GI issues (the diagnosis bouncing between Crohn’s, Colitis, and food allergies), and my first dog on my own had long term kidney failure. My amazing mom cooked home made meals for both of these dogs, and it really helped them both.
There are a lot of resources online that provide recipes for your dog, and it’s actually easier than it sounds. It probably takes about an hour to make the food, including prep, then you have to let it cool before putting it in baggies and in the fridge and freezer. I go ahead and baggy by portion size, so that I just have to put it in her bowl, pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds, and give it to her.
My vet directed me to BalanceIT which helps you create recipes for your dog based on his or her needs. Unless your dog or cat has a health problem you can get these recipes for free without assistance (in the case of a health problems they require confirmation from your vet). But just like humans, our pets can’t get all of the nutrients they need out of their food, so this website also sells vitamins you can add to the food.
Below is my dog’s current recipe. I make a batch about once a week and feed her 3/4 cup twice a day.
Homemade Dog Food
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds ground turkey
- 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen
- In a large sauce pan of 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
- Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas, and brown rice until the spinach has melted and the mixture is heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Let cool completely.