It is great that you are thinking of (or have started to) introduce healthy meals into your dog's diet. Fleetful fresh food kits are different to all other dog foods as they are animal protein free AND unprocessed. Other benefits are that the kits are organic and use a protein powder form so are easily digestible. This blog post is here to help you transition your dog safely and give you hints and tips to batch cook for your dog!
Always transition / change foods slowly
If your dog is not used to a fresh, plant-based diet, make sure you transition them slowly. This is important to ensure that your dog's gut microbiome adapts to the fresh food. We recommend that you do this over at least a week. For example, adding 10% of the Fleetful food on the first day to 90% Fleetful food on the 7th day.
Some of the ingredients in our recipes can be substituted. This helps eliminate waste when cooking for your dog. I always have a look at what needs using in the fridge when making a batch of food. Including a variety of vegetables is incredibly good for your dog's digestion. Adding in something different will be beneficial to their health.
- Courgettes - Substitute these for any green veg. The only rule is no onions or leeks. Only use 30% spinach/ kale / chard as these contain oxalates which can impact the urinary tract. Fed in moderation and cooked, they are very healthy for your dog. I like to use and chop up stems of broccoli - incredibly healthy and a waste product!
- Carrots - Substitute these for any other orange veg. This could be butternut, pumpkin, sweet potato or a mixture.
- Peanut Butter - Substitute for tahini
- Sunflower oil - Can be substituted with rapeseed oil or sesame oil. DO NOT use coconut or olive oil. Oils high in linoleic acid are needed.
- Frozen vegetables are also great in your recipes. Some owners like to keep some frozen veggies ready in case they run out of fresh.
- Banana cannot be substituted for a 100% complete diet with the Hearty Hemp recipe. We are developing a new banana-free recipe - get in touch if you would like to know more. email@example.com
Cook in batches and freeze
It is easiest if you cook a large batch, pre-portion to meal sizes and then freeze what you don't need in the next few days. A little planning and organisation will ensure that your dog will always have fresh healthy food. If you have a smaller dog, you could half the recipe and cook half a batch at a time.
Tips for quick and easy cooking
Cooking for your dog in batches doesn't have to take a lot of time (or electricity!). It is important that your dog can start digesting food immediately so always make sure that vegetables are cooked properly. Fleetful use a protein powder form which means that you don't have to worry about ensuring proteins are processed - it has already been done for you. Our top tips for cooking Fleetful Hearty Hemp and Chickpea Recipe Kit:
- Blend or grate the carrots and courgette (or equivalent orange / green veg). This means you won't need to boil the vegetables for long (a few minutes will do!)
- Use a stick blender when adding the powder if stirring with a spoon is difficult on the wrists.
- You can add less water at first if you like to adapt consistency. Some dogs prefer a wetter food, some dogs prefer a dryer food.
- If you dog likes a 'crunch' you can bake the tray (before adding the supplement topping) for 20-30 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees C.
- For larger dogs, make more than one batch at a time. This will save on washing up!
- Have a look at the equipment needed below, it really will help make cooking quick and easy :)
- Buy veg in bulk and process (grate/chop). You can freeze these in portions ready to be cooked.
Get the right equipment
To cook a full bag of Fleetful dog food, a 9 litre pan is the main bit of equipment that you will need. If you are trying Fleetful food for the first time and don't have a large pan, you can split the recipe into half (or even quarters or thirds). There are other pieces of equipment that will make your cooking quicker and easier which you may want to invest in. Feel free to watch this video for the equipment we personally use.
Don't worry too much about portion sizes at first
On your recipe card, there is a guide on how to portion your home made food. We do not offer weights as people may use different amounts of water which would make everyone's batch weight different.
Each dog will need different amounts of food depending on their activity level, breed, age and stage of life. Use the guide at first, keep an eye on your dog's weight and adjust accordingly. Some owners also choose to mix with kibble or other foods so a bit of trial and error is needed to ensure that your dog stays a healthy weight.
Avoid unhealthy dog 'treats' and snacks
Try to avoid giving your dog unhealthy treats and snacks, especially at first while you are trying to understand what suits your dog's digestion. Processed meats and treats are not healthy for dogs (or humans) and should be avoided.
Treats to avoid:
- Processed meats and dairy (sausages, cheese, meaty treats)
- 'Raw' treats e.g. raw hide/ pig's ears/ 'natural treats' - these can be bleached and contain the same dangerous bacteria as raw meat (but not refrigerated!)
- Anything else processed - crisps, human snacks etc.
- Processed treats - basic dog biscuits. Who knows what is in these. Best to avoid.
Treats to offer:
- Fresh fruits and veggies - blueberries, carrots, apple (no onions, no leeks, no grapes/raisins).
- Peanut butter (100% peanuts)
- Sweet potato chews
- Tofu (unless your dog has a sensitivity to soya)
- Home made natural treats - e.g. using our Umameo protein powder.
Feeding your dog a fresh, healthy diet just needs a little organisation and about 30 minutes a week to batch cook. If you have any questions at all about the cooking or transition process, please do get in touch through emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from you and are always happy to help :)