No matter what kind of food you feed your dog, leafy greens are a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet. Leafy greens are packed with natural vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.
A study conducted at Purdue University on Scottish Terriers found that the addition of leafy greens to a dog’s diet can even play a role in preventing canine cancer! Because dogs have short digestive tracts, they process greens better and are able to absorb more of the nutrients when the greens are fresh and pre-blended. I came up with this recipe because I wanted to add a variety of finely blended, fresh, and top-quality greens to Miles’ diet in a suitable, affordable, customizable, and simple way. The following recipe is cheap, easy to make, and yields a large batch (1-3 months worth) of greens that store individually portioned in the freezer.
- Three bunches of organic leafy greens: For this recipe, you will need three bunches of organic leafy greens. I like to use three different kinds per recipe. These can include but are not limited to: kale (any variety, there are many!), chard, flat leaf / Italian parsley, bok choy, and dandelion greens. If your dog has any health conditions, please check with your veterinarian to ensure that the greens you use are appropriate.
- Bone broth or water: When you are making these for your dog for the first time, it is essential to use broth! The currently trendy natural low-sodium bone broth that is available for people is great for this purpose because it tends to be very basic, natural, and full of healthy collagen. I get mine fresh from my local health food store for only $4 for 4 cups (aka your typical 32 oz soup container) and it only contains bone broth. If you are going to buy packaged as opposed to fresh bone broth, make sure it is natural, low-sodium, and free from sugar and artificial ingredients. You can also make your own! When dogs aren’t used to eating greens, using any kind of low-sodium broth will make the cubes taste good. Over time, your dog will get used to the taste of greens, and you can switch to water!
- Optional – a kelp supplement: This article summarizes why kelp can be a highly beneficial supplement for dogs. The daily amount is usually 1/8 teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight (please check your brand’s recommended amount). I advise only using high-quality kelp supplements meant for dogs that have 1 ingredient: kelp! USA: I like the brand LifeLine. Canada: Ultra-Kelp is fantastic, has been around for 30 years, and is still owner-run.
Prepping Your Greens
Start by rinsing your greens well. Don’t worry about drying them! Next, “twist” your greens (video below). I use everything but the very end of the stalk.
Below I have my washed and “twisted” greens and some bone broth ready for blending:
Blending The Greens
Which Blender to Use:
You can use a food processor, which is what I did for a long time. It can be a bit messy and won’t yield a very fine blend, but it does work! About 4 years ago, I got this Ninja 1000 Watt Auto-IQ blender which is designed for smoothies. It is so loud I have to cover my ears, but it blends even the most fibrous greens down completely, stalks included. Recently, I gave that one to a friend, and upgraded to the Ninja Countertop Blender. It is about $35 more, and I like that it has a larger capacity so you can make this recipe and others faster. Either way I greatly prefer the affordable Ninja gear to my 2 very nice food processors for this purpose.
Instructions for Blending:
- Food Processor of any kind or Ninja 1000 Watt Auto-IQ blender: put roughly 1/5th of your greens and 1/4 cup of your broth into the blender/processor.
- Ninja 1100 Watt Countertop Blender: start with 1/3 of your greens and around 3/4-1 cup of broth into the blender. You may find that you can do 1/2 of your greens in one go!
Blend the mixture until very well pulverized. If it isn’t mixing well, try adding a bit more liquid. If you run low on broth, just add water! Don’t worry, we will be mixing it all together.
Pour the blended greens into a mixing bowl, and repeat this process until you have no greens left.
Optional: Add a Kelp Supplement
When you are done blending, you will have a nice green soup! The next step is to get out some ice cube trays. Before you place your green soup into the ice cube trays, if you want, you can add a natural kelp supplement designed for dogs into each cube compartment (for little/medium dogs, add a daily serving, for big dogs, add 1/2 a serving per cube compartment). See “ingredients” above for more info on why adding kelp is a great option, and to read about how to pick a brand.
Why do I add the kelp supplement to the green cube instead of sprinkling it over Miles’ dinner every night? Because I am a big fan of doing some quick prep very infrequently, and not having to bother individually portioning this supplement every day! 😛 I also like the idea that the kelp gets re-hydrated in the green soup before Miles eats it, so he isn’t eating anything scratchy or dry.
Why do I use boring ice cube trays instead of fancy silicone molds that will make pretty shapes? Because a standard double set of ice cube trays can quickly freeze 28 green cubes that are 1 3/4 tablespoons each (silicone molds tend to hold too little and rarely have 14 molds each), the cubes pop out easily once frozen, and I can wash them in the dishwasher after to sparkling perfection. If you decide to make prettier cubes for Instagram, tag some recipe credit ❤️ at @wildwiry!
Putting Your Green Soup into Ice Cube Trays
Now you are ready to put your green soup into ice cube trays! For a dog of Miles’ size, around 21.5 lbs, I fill standard ice cube tray compartments to create daily servings. You can get silicone trays that are fancy shapes, but I have found getting the portioning ideal can be tougher in those. For reference, my ice cube trays contain approximately 1 3/4 tablespoons each. For little pups, fill each cube 1/2 up, for big dogs, feed 1-2 cubes a day.
I simply spoon green soup into the trays.
Freezing Your Green Cubes
Now the ice cube trays are all ready for the freezer!
Since you are going to be freezing your green cubes in batches, you’ll want to refrigerate your green soup in the meantime.
Miles is so used to his green cubes that I no longer have to use broth if I don’t have any handy. He relishes green cubes so much that he loves getting a little extra from a spoon when I make this recipe. This to me is really proof that we like what we are used to. Before I came up with this recipe, Miles would have never dreamed of eating plain greens! Now he gets excited when I let him have my discarded kale stalks when I cook kale for myself. Purely anecdotal: Miles rarely eats grass now since getting green cubes every day.
Storing Your Green Cubes
When the cubes are frozen, I transfer them to a labeled Ziplock bag.
Recipe Yield: Miles weighs around 21.5 pounds. I give him one full 1 3/4 tablespoon green cube a day. In the winter, this recipe usually produces 1-2 months of greens per batch. In the summer, when the bunches of organic greens are often huge, I get WAY more than that out of a batch!
Feeding Your Dog Green Cubes
Miles eats raw food, but green cubes are a great addition to any dog’s meals, no matter what kind of food they eat. Again, for a little pup I’d make half cubes, for a medium dog full cubes, and for a big dog, double cubes once a day! I give Miles his green cube at dinner.
I like to feed Miles his daily green cubes thawed most of the time. On really hot days, Miles and many other dogs enjoy their daily green cube(s) frozen.