A mentor shared this idea with me years ago and since, I encourage clients to use this simple recipe to add fresh foods to their dog’s diet. With food toppers, the challenge is to not add excessive calories or cause an imbalance with the existing diet. To maintain a complete and balanced diet you can exchange up to 10% of the current diet with this stew. So a nice way to reduce calories while upping antioxidants! Here’s a simple crockpot option that offers a range of beneficial antioxidants and can be a baby step toward making your dog’s food. This is by no means complete and balanced, but you can think of it as a natural nutritional supplement, a tasty food topper, and healthy filler for helping with weight loss. If you are big on eating veggies and greens, then you’ll find it easy to steal some from your stash to make this dish—leftover edible peelings or the beet greens or not so pretty lettuce leaves. If veggies aren’t on your preference list, here are a few suggestions that offer the most bang for the buck. Offer organic whenever possible. If you have a great source of fresh produce then take advantage, but I often recommend frozen organic because it’s easy and convenient, and a number of references recommend frozen because they are picked when ripe and offer more nutrients. I suggest just a mix of a few in each batch and then rotate for variety.

Preparation:
Crockpot version: A selection of 3 or 4 – 8 or 10 oz package of dark leafy greens and select veggies (see below)
Add 4 cups low sodium broth, chicken, beef, or vegetable or ‘” halfway up” the veggies in the crockpot. (We want a
consistency that will stay on a spoon, not soup-like.)
Cook on low 4 hours. Separate into serving size containers and freeze.
For raw option: Use fresh, well-rinsed produce, or thaw frozen smaller volumes and puree in blender adding broth or water to preferred consistency.
For small dogs add a teaspoon or two as topper to dry food, canned or raw. Larger dogs can be given up to 1/4 of a cup per meal.

Suggested greens and veggies:
Kale
Collard greens
Turnip greens
Swiss chard
Spinach
Mustard greens
Broccoli
Broccoli rabe
Red and/or Green leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce
Cabbage, green and/or red
Bok Choy
Zucchini
Bean or Broccoli sprouts

For more info on the benefits of some of these greens:
http://thescienceofeating.com/vegetables/best-leafy-green-vegetables/
And, for more immune support consider adding ¼ cup shiitake or white button mushrooms.

© Terri Grow, 2021

Terri Grow writes and speaks on pet health and welfare, working with veterinarians, trainers, shelters and manufacturers to empower canine and feline health through diets, herbal therapies, supplements and environmental adjustments.