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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Dog Food and Vegetable Stock

We have a 19-year-old Jack Russell Terrier that hasn't been able to eat regular dog food for 5 or 6 years now.  Ever since he was on death's door, we have been cooking for him, and since we have to cook for him our other dog, a 7-year-old mutt, is on the same diet. They get a combination of pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, chayote squash, sweet peppers, celery, and cabbage. Depending on the growing season, we alternate the vegetables with each batch, but it’s always a good mix of tasty vegetables.

First, we peel the skins off of any vegetable that has a skin difficult for a dog to digest, like pumpkin, sweet potato, chayote squash, etc. Then we process all the vegetables with the shredder disk on our food processor. Depending on what the vegetable is, we will process anywhere from ¼ kilo to a full kilo of each vegetable. Then we cook the vegetables with no salt or seasonings in a large stockpot with enough water to cover all the vegetables. We cook in several batches, but always enough food for a month. Once the vegetables are cooked “al dente”, we scoop all of them out of the cooking liquid and freeze them several plastic bags that are large enough to hold a week’s worth of food.

Our vegetable blend gets added to the proteins and carbohydrates included in the dogs’ diet. These may include chicken, fish, water-packed tuna, plain rice, plain potato, yogurt whey, etc. They also get occasional treats of fresh pineapple, papaya, apple, watermelon (seeded with no rind), and low fat/low moisture farmer's cheese.

We always have plenty of vegetable stock leftover from the cook, so we just bump it up a notch by adding ingredients that are not good for our fur kids. This includes a little salt, a couple of coarsely chopped onions, several cloves of minced garlic, a couple of diced tomatoes, a large diced carrot, a stalk or two of coarsely chopped celery, fresh rosemary and oregano and anything else found in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin. We let this cook for a couple of hours until all the goodness from the additional vegetables is extracted and we are left with a rich vegetable stock that is better than anything found on a grocery store shelf.

Today, we put up 3 liters of the most amazing vegetable stock that will be used in many of our future meals. If you’re cooking for your pets, take advantage of all the leftovers for yourself, and make vegetable stock. I sometimes think our fur kids eat better than we do!

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