At KeenDog, we believe in an active approach to dog training – meaning you should be moving with your dog. By keeping ourselves active, we tend to eat in a way in which we should – healthy. Not only is this good for us humans, this is also great to do for your furry sidekick! So we wanted to share some ideas for healthy dog snacks that our friend over at Mutt Mom Baking shared with us. Alicia Hull resides in Seattle, WA, and was eager to share some of her tips on how easy it is to incorporate fruits and veggies into your dog’s diet.
Alicia: Did you know that adding plants to your dog’s diet will reduce their risk for disease, lower vet and food bills, and extend your time together. As an active volunteer for Motley Zoo Animal Rescue and an advocate for continued training and socialization of all dogs, I’ve seen first-hand that canine health is on shaky ground. Over 50% of dogs in America are overweight or obese. In addition, the number of cancers, auto-immune diseases, and allergies in dogs continues to grow. We all know a dog with food allergies. Some of today’s commercially processed dog foods are the equivalent to feeding a bag of Doritos twice a day. However, we can combat this. Studies show that keeping your dog at a healthy weight and feeding them dark leafy greens and veggies 3-4 times per week, can lower cancer risk. You can fight these diseases with food you already have on hand and your dog will love it. It’ll cost you just a few minutes of time and you’ll save money by using less kibble each day.
Sweet Potatoes are easily found in the supermarket and you may already have them in your pantry or fridge. I’m even growing purple ones in my garden this year! I poke a few holes in 2 sweet potatoes and put them in the microwave for 6-8 minutes. Once they are fully cooked and soft, I allow them to cool on the counter and then I put them in the fridge. Putting warm potatoes in a sealed container can cause botulism, so air on the side of caution and leave them unwrapped for storage. Two big potatoes last my 3 medium sized dogs most of the work week. Each morning I cut up a few pieces for each dog. I add it to the top of their breakfast kibble or use small pieces to practice sit/stay and down.
One of my favorite ways to include green vegetables is to feed kale. Kale you say, but I don’t even like kale! How am I going to get my dog to eat it? One easy way to add greens to a few meals a week is by using the kale stems. When I buy kale at the store, I tear off the green parts for my recipes and I’m left with the bare stalks. I used to put them in the compost bin until I found out that dogs love them! Now, I chop them up into little pieces, throw them in a bowl in the fridge and add a sprinkle of the stalks to kibble each day. Dogs also love to eat cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, and celery. Just chop up a few pieces and sprinkle on kibble at your dog’s next meal.
With the summer finally upon us, I encourage you to think of your dog when you head to your local farmers market or grocery store. When you cut off the tops of your strawberries to serve at your Memorial Day party, save them in a bowl for your dog and add one or two tops to her kibble each day. The next time you’re baking blueberry muffins, save a few blueberries for your four legged family members. Blackberries, mango, banana, cantaloupe and pineapple are also wonderful additions to your dog’s diet. No seeds or pits please! It is pretty east to include healthy dog snacks to your dog’s diet. To learn more about how to add in seasonal fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet, follow me on Instagram @muttmombaking. I post several times a week about the plants I’m adding to my dog’s diet.
As you get more comfortable with giving your dog whole foods, you may seek out recipes to replace some of the kibble and treats you’re currently buying. I focus on plant based recipes at www.muttmombaking.com . I’ll show you how I’m incorporating fruits, vegetables, seeds and legumes and give you tips to make it easy for you and your furry family members. You can also find me on facebook and Instagram @muttmombaking.
Alicia Hull, Mutt Mom Baking
Alicia Hull and her husband Jonathan are volunteers for Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in Redmond, Washington. They specialize in the rehabilitation of hard-to-adopt dogs including those with behavioral and health issues. Alicia started focusing on what she was feeding when her dog, Dash, was diagnosed with epilepsy 5 years ago. She and Jon recently added a third dog to their family when they adopted their foster dog, Mystique. She was diagnosed with Pemphigus Foliaceus during her time in rescue and Alicia and Jon knew they were the right family to help her battler her disease.