Should My Dog Be Whole Food, Plant-Based? Dog Food Recipe.

Pickles Cute

Our dog Pickles, a Bichon Frise, turned 15 in May.  She was overweight, although we only fed her prescription commercial dog food (to avoid any more urinary tract infections). This dog food was high in sodium, and Pickles drank a lot more water. I suppose the purpose of added salt was to increase water intake to help flush out the kidneys. The vet told us that formation of crystals in the urine can lead to bladder stones. We were told that “Nutrition plays an important role in the overall health and well being of your dog.”.

Pickles never ate more than her prescribed dose of dog food. She would often leave some in her bowl. We also fed her a daily Greenie, which we called “crack”. Every day, at 6pm (the scheduled Greenie time), Pickles would whimper and whine until she was given her “crack”. She was definitely addicted to this.

Other than some vegetable scraps, we did not give any treats to Pickles.

Pickles was overweight at 20.2 pounds. Her adult weight began at 13.4  pounds. Especially over the last year, Pickles would make a honking noise each time she played or became excited. “How old is she?”, people would ask when we walked her. After hearing Pickles was 15 years old, they would sadly tell us that their Bichon Frise was as old as 14, 15, 16 when he/she died. Each time our apprehensive groomer would say, “She won’t last much longer. It is her heart. This may be the last (grooming) time.”.

Our vet thought the honking noise was due to her trachea breaking down, common in smaller dogs. We switched from a collar to a harness to avoid further damage. The honking continued.

Pickles also had lymphomas, fatty growths under her skin which became larger and more numerous over the years. She also had red bumps/moles that were growing larger and becoming more visible through her, curly, fluffy white fur.

We had heard of some dogs who seamed to thrive on a whole food, plant based diet. We decided that at age 15, Pickles deserved a chance at a better quality of life.

Pickles Cute


Within a month pickles lost 5 pounds. It has been two months and Pickles is 1.5 pounds over her ideal weight. The honking has stopped. The lymphomas are shrinking. The red bumps/moles on her skin are turning black and falling off.


She has more energy and can play for longer periods of time. People are remarking that our “puppy” is cute. She no longer begs for a Greenie. We had to adjust her collar from the largest to the smallest fit!

I am not a vet or expert in dog nutrition. Some websites suggest adding taurine and other supplements. This recipe is low in oxalates as Pickles has a history of urinary tract infections. Rather than needing to drink lots of water due to the huge amount of salt in the commercial, prescription UTI dog food, pickles gets lots of additional water from vegetables!

Pickles had no problem digesting or liking, ok she loooooves this food.

Check out my hubby preparing this recipe!

We feed 1 heaping cup daily, per Vet’s recommendation.

2 Cups Brown Rice
2 Cup Black Beans
2 Cup Chickpeas
1 Bag Frozen Cauliflower
1 Bag Frozen Carrots
2 Cups Peas
4 Cups Water (reserve 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (I store mine in a glass storage jar)
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric                                                                                                                      . 1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Cup Ground Flax and / or Chia Seed
1 Cup Oats
In large saucepan, without oil, on medium Heat, add 2-3 cups water, and saute’ frozen ingredients till soft. Stir in remaining ingredients  until combined.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Blend to a paste with immersion blender. Add additional reserved water as needed to make a paste consistency.

Refrigerate. Freezes well.

Pickles still enjoys treats of raw vegetables like cauliflower stumps, green beans and as you can see in this video, Pickles loves kale.

I must add that there is one downfall to this change in Pickle’s diet. She is now flexible and skinny enough to crawl under our privacy fence into the neighbors yard!

I hope you found this helpful. Please seek advice from a vet for your dog’s diet.

Please click on follow so that I know you will enjoy more helpful hints, recipes and hacks.

Dogs are not the only living creatures who benefit from a whole food, plant strong lifestyle. I would love to provide you with help in adopting / navigating this lifestyle. Please contact me for a coaching session.

Amy holds a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell

Also, follow me on BeGreenWithAmy YouTube.

Until next time, Be Strong, Be Well and Be Green.


2 thoughts on “Should My Dog Be Whole Food, Plant-Based? Dog Food Recipe.”

  1. hey Amy,

    Thanks a lot for the recipe. I will definitly try it out! 🙂

    Just one advice: I saw in the video, that you put in the omega 3 loaded chia seeds and flax while the food was still cooking.
    I would wait to stir it in when the food cooled down, since you will likely loose a lot of the omega 3 s.

    Just to be save, I would do the same with the nutrional yeast.

    With warm regards from Germany,


    1. thank you for your input. It is so kind of you to take the time to comment. I am always interested in new information when it comes to nutrition. To which nutrients in nutritional yeast are you referring? This is what I have learned about cooking flax seeds: Research studies have shown that the ALA in flaxseeds and the lignan phytonutrients in this food are surprisingly heat stable. For this reason, I concluded that it safe to use flaxseeds in cooking and still receive substantial amounts of ALA and other nutrients when consuming the flax-containing cooked foods.

      Studies testing the amount of omega-3 fat in baked goods indicate no significant breakdown or loss of beneficial fats occurs in baking. For example, in one study, the ALA content of muffins containing 25 grams of flaxseeds was not significantly reduced after baking. Researchers speculate that the omega-3 fats in flaxseed are resistant to heat because they are not isolated but rather are present in a matrix of other compounds that the flaxseeds contain, including the lignan phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties. While flaxseed oil (which I do not use) should not be heated because it can easily oxidize and lose too many of its valuable nutrients, it appears that heat does not have the same effect on whole flaxseeds. If you have any research to share about this topic, please share the references. Here are the references to the studies: Cunnane SC, Ganguli S, et al. High alpha-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): some nutritional properties in humans. Br J Nutr. 1993 Mar;69(2):443-53.

      Cunnane SC, Hamadeh MJ, Liede AC, et al. Nutritional attributes of traditional flaxseed in healthy young adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jan;61(1):62-8.

      Fofana B, Cloutier S, Kirby CW, et al. A well balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio in developing flax bolls after heating and its implications for use as a fresh vegetable by humans. Food Research International, Volume 44, Issue 8, October 2011, Pages 2459-2464.

      Hallund J, Ravn-Haren G, et al. A lignan complex isolated from flaxseed does not affect plasma lipid concentrations or antioxidant capacity in healthy postmenopausal women. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1):112-6.

      Hyvarinen HK, Pihlava JM, et al. Effect of processing and storage on the stability of flaxseed lignan added to bakery products. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jan 11;54(1):48-53.

      Manthey FA, Lee RE, Hall CA 3rd. Processing and cooking effects on lipid content and stability of alpha-linolenic acid in spaghetti containing ground flaxseed. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Mar 13;50(6):1668-71.

      Villeneuve S, Des Marchais LP, Gauvreau V, et al. Effect of flaxseed processing on engineering properties and fatty acids profiles of pasta. Food and Bioproducts Processing, Volume 91, Issue 3, July 2013, Pages 183-191.

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