As many of you know, I used to work as a veterinary technician for Sun Dog Cat Moon Vet Clinic: www.sundogcatmoon.com
One of the things they focus on is food therapy. Dr. Ruth Roberts developed The Original Crock Pet Diet for cats and dogs. This basic diet is for the average healthy cat or dog. It does not take into consideration food allergies, specific health issues or the pet’s constitution. For more information regarding whether this diet is ideal for your pet, I strongly suggest you visit the website above, fill out the Pet Personality Form and Dr. Roberts will be able to diagnose which foods are best suited for your pet. For example, if you have the typical Jack Russell…you know the ones that are bouncing all over the place and can’t seem to calm themselves…then you have a Fire Animal and needs to eat Cool/Cold and/or Neutral energy foods.
I’m posting this recipe due to several requests on how to go about cooking for your pets. I will try to explain as much as I can here. For those of you new to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, feel free to contact me or Dr. Roberts, as it would be easier to address individual questions one on one versus trying to put it all here.
The recipe is for one pet and will yield 16 cups of food.
You will need:
1 lb Turkey (it does not matter if it is whole or ground, with or without bones)
1lb White fish (Cod, Whiting, Tilapia) or Pork (white fish will stink when it’s cooking for long periods. You may either use Pork or leave the crock pot out on the porch or a well ventilated room while it’s cooking to avoid the smell)
1 lb Ground Beef (chunks of beef is fine as well)
4 tablespoons Coconut Oil
3 cups total of either Spinach, Collard Greens, Kale or any type of leafy greens will be okay to use either one at a time or mixed together.
4 cups Vegetables (preferably seasonal vegetables: green beans, butternut squash, zucchini, etc. Cats seem to prefer butternut squash over yellow squash and zucchini.)
1 can of Kidney Beans ( or 1/2 lb of dried kidney beans)
4 large Carrots or 2 large Sweet Potatoes
1/2 tsp dried Tumeric
1/2 tsp dried Mustard
1 clove of uncooked Garlic
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1875 mg Calcium Powder per 3lbs of protein ( you can use bone meal, calcium supplements or tums)
( if cooking for cats add 6000mg Taurine…can be purchased at health food stores or vitamin retail stores. Alternatively, you can use Nu Cat supplements once daily added to the meal.)
4 cups of water or broth ( I use home made broth)
1 cup of Barley or Brown Rice ( this is located either next to the dry beans, rice or grain section of your supermarket. Quaker Quick Barley is around $1.59 a box)
Cut your greens into bite size pieces. I used fresh collard greens from the garden. I prefer using fresh ingredients whenever possible. However, you can purchase shredded collards or pre-washed greens like Kale or Spinach…or you can use frozen or canned if in a pinch. Remember this diet is a step up from the commercial food you’re currently feeding…so it will be better regardless of whether it’s fresh or frozen. For the die-hards like myself, I use organic, fresh, local and homemade as much as possible. If I feel confident to eat it, then I’m confident to feed it!
Add it to the crock pot.
Add the Kidney Beans. If using canned kidney beans, drain the liquid before adding or you’ll end up with an overflow while it’s cooking. If using dried kidney beans, you can add it directly to the crock pot. OR you can soak them overnight before adding them. Many people are concerned about the gas that is produced as a result of not soaking dried beans….especially if you’ve ever experienced your pet’s wonderful gas ;) While it’s true that soaking does help to remove the indigestible complex sugars (oligosaccharides) from the outer coating of the beans, it’s certainly not the primary reason to soak. The most important reason for soaking is that it allows shorter cooking times, and that preserves the most nutrients, so you get the benefits of all the proteins, vitamins and minerals in the beans and maximize their food value. But because you’re cooking it in a crock pot…the cooking time is a moot point! I would advise washing the dried beans to at least remove the accumulated surface dirt and bacteria.
Add the Calcium. Tums is included for the Calcium. More adventurous cooks use egg shells, and whole cow bones with marrow…but it’s harder to figure out the equivalent amount to keep it nutritionally balanced. Most times I use Bone Meal as a replacement. If you have access to bone meal, then substitute it gram for gram. So if you’ve got 250mg per teaspoon of bone meal, you’ll need 7.5 teaspoons to make the equivalent Tums. However, if you’re not that adventurous…you can use the Tums as we’ve calculated exactly how much you’ll need per pound of meat. That is, 2.5 tablets of the 250 mg strength Tums per pound of meat. It also does not matter if the Tums are flavored or not. My guys seem to like the orange and the peppermint flavors :)
Add your liquids. I used pork stock in this recipe. I have used chicken stock, beef stock, duck stock, fish stock, turkey stock, vegetable stock, goat’s whey or water. My favorite is goat’s whey because not only is it readily available to me but it is prized as a special drink to promote health, youthfulness and long life. This is because it is more easily digested and assimilated than most foods and because its broad array of minerals and trace elements makes up for many dietary deficiencies. I digress…My point though is that it just depended on what was available at the time or what their specific health need was at the time. Today we used the pork stock left over from making the pork belly and the roasted pork. However, if your pet has allergies to a specific protein…then keep that in mind as well.
Next add your proteins. Beef, Turkey and Pork were used for this recipe. Next week, my dogs and cats will be getting beef, fish and turkey…because that’s what I’d have lots of next week. Point here is variety is nice and much appreciated by all!
As you can see, the turkey has bones in it. My only word of caution here is when serving the meals, if you come across any broken sharp edged bones, please remove them. Ideally, the crockpot would have softened the bones sufficiently to the point where they are edible and can break apart easily between your fingers. Sometimes, this does not happen, so please remove them. My guys are used to eating bones, so it all goes in their pot. The cats however, I do remove the bones for them. I also remove the larger cooked beef bones, because it is a point of “discussion” between my guys. So to keep the household peace…the larger bones are removed.
Cover the crock pot. Set it on the Low setting and let it cook for at least 8 to 12 hours. I usually start this around 6 pm and leave it overnight, before moving on to the next step.
8 to 12 hours later…Add 1 cup of Brown Rice or Barley… I use Quaker Quick Barley. It’s cheaper and easier to use. You can also use pearl barley. It can be purchased in bulk at the Asian markets, Earthfare or Whole Foods. If using the pearl barley, allow additional time for it to soften. If you can’t find the barley, you can use brown rice. If you are on a completely grain-free diet, simply skip this step.
You can either portion out the food into individual meals or leave it in the crock pot. Refrigerate once cool. You can also freeze batches and reheat them as needed. To take the chill off the food, add some warm water to each meal. Mix in any herbs you may be giving with the warm water and food.
To fill the crock pot, use approximately 40% protein, 25% carbohydrates and 35% vegetables by volume in the crockpot. Always add 1875 mg of calcium per 3 pounds of meat.
Feed 1/8 to 1/4 cup twice a day for cats and dogs under 10lbs of lean body weight.
Feed 1/2 to 1 cup for up to 50 lbs of lean body weight.
And 1 to 1.5 cups for dogs greater than 50 lbs.
If your pet is heavy, start low. If your pet is thin and active, go medium to high, and adjust based on how the pet responds. Always change food gradually, mixing in 50 % of the old diet with 50% of the new diet. Phasing out the old diet over a course of 1 to 2 weeks.
This may look like a lengthy process, but it takes 15 minutes to prep and then the crock pot does the rest. I have a few clients for whom I cook and portion the meals. I do these in bulk, (sometimes puree all the ingredients, mixing it all together to look like a giant meatloaf), bake them in the oven, portion out each meal in ziploc or vaccum sealed bags and freeze them. You can get creative and make muffins using the same recipe and a muffin pan. You can also puree all the ingredients or not. It all depends on the amount of time you’d like to invest in cooking for your pets. It also depends on your pet’s preference…cats prefer a smoother consistency, dogs like the chunkier food offerings.
Some of you may be saying…this looks/sounds/smells good enough to eat! Well..it is…I’ve had clients add ginger, red pepper flakes, replace coconut oil with sesame oil, etc and you’re on your way to another wonderful crock pot meal ;)
There is an additional list of energetic ingredients for substitutions and treats. However, I recommend contacting Dr. Ruth Roberts to get the correct energetic foods prescribed for your pets. Some pets suffer from food related allergies…again, another reason to discuss any change in diet with your veterinary food therapist. Dr. Roberts can be reached at email@example.com or contact the Sun Dog Cat Moon clinic at 843-437-0063 To determine what constitution your pet is, you can complete the Pet Personality Form online at www.sundogcatmoon.com
I also make the diet for clients who have hectic schedules. We work alongside Dr. Roberts to determine and customize the diet for your pets. The food can be purchased in bulk or in individually portioned meals. Based on current market pricing, the cost to you can vary from season to season. But in general, retail costs around $6 per pound, and includes labor and delivery if you live within the Charleston area.