What can go wrong with homecooking?

When we choose to homecook, we have complete control of which ingredients we are choosing and reassurance of what we are feeding to our pets – wholesome healthy and nourishing ingredients with no additives. Homecooking for your dog offers the most cost-effective way of feeding plant-based and it is also the most palatable way to feed your dog if they happen to be extra fussy with their food.

It is possible to homecook without the addition of any supplements as a plant-based diet is so healthy, but as a dog owner and the knowledge I have acquired as a vet, I am also so aware that we could get it wrong too and that is the last thing I want for my own dog. I have been contacted by so many owners feeding their dogs plant-based and some of their dogs have had issues with painful urinary crystals and urinary tract infections, heart conditions or lack of calcium – all of these were corrected by simply adding in supplements to the homemade food!

” If you are not using a commercially prepared complete vegan dog food, with a formal analysis that you can check for nutritional completeness, be very careful that you are meeting a dog’s nutritional requirements. Months after starting to feed Nancy on home-cooked meals without a supplement (and thinking that we had researched and understood her nutritional requirements), she started to become unwell. She had increasingly worrying congitive and physical symptoms that could have been put down to her age (doggy dementia).

It turned out that she had insufficient Vitamin D in her diet, causing her to have problems with processing of available Calcium (which WAS already present in her vegan diet in sufficient quantities). Tested calcium levels in her blood samples were worryingly low. Some of our misunderstanding about Vitamin D was thinking that it was present in things such as tofu (it’s not in the UK, unless fortified).

From this point on, we have always added a supplement to her meals.”

Steve, West Yorkshire

Nancy, 16yr old Border Terrier


Daniella Dos Santos, the president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) states that “It is theoretically possible to feed a dog a vegetarian diet, but it’s much easier to get it wrong than to get it right,” she says.

The last thing that you want as a dog owner, and me as a vet, is to cause harm to your pet. Any unbalancing of nutrients, deficiencies or excesses of nutrients can cause harm. For example:

dog icon The main source of protein in a vegan dog food diet comes from legumes, peas or soya and these tend to produce phytates that lower the absorption of important nutrients such as Zinc and Taurine. These need to be supplemented but in just the right proportions to make up for this shortage, or certain dog breeds may be more prone to developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

dog icon A plant-based diet tends to result in a very alkaline environment in the intestines, and in the bladder. This can result in your dog suffering from urinary tract infections with resulting bladder stones, and this condition is extremely painful for your dog. Some owners add apple cider vinegar to homemade food to attempt to balance this, but cider vinegar actually turns alkaline in the intestines so has the opposite effect! The addition of one of the sulphur amino acids methionine, is the most important way to acidify your dog’s urine. This is found in the foods we recommend as well as in the supplement we use in our homemade recipes.

dog icon There is enough calcium in many of the green leafy foods that we recommend in our homemade diets, but it can only be properly absorbed with the addition of just the right amount of Vitamin D. Your dog may get enough Vitamin D if taken for a few hours walk a day, but for most of our dogs (and us too) this just does not happen. A lack of calcium in your dog’s body can cause so many painful arthritis issues as well as heart issues and again, it is SO important to supplement correctly.

heartWhy we made our JUST BE KIND supplement


Lucy eating homemade vegan foodAs a vet and owner of our own family dog, getting it wrong with turning him onto a 100% plant-based diet was not an option. Only once I felt that I had it 100% right for him, did I feel that I could offer my advice to you the owner as I know just how important it is.

We are a family of vets and professional medical ‘children’ so getting it wrong wasn’t an option. We turned to science and made up a batch of his favourite homemade recipe – Feed the Rainbow and we sent it off to a laboratory for a full analysis (at a cost of £2400 for the one recipe!)

We thought it was nutritionally complete made with brown rice, oats, beans, soaked and cooked red lentils, peas, sweet potato, Algae oil capsules, sesame oil, kale and mushrooms…..but the results we received from our pet nutritionist who analysed the results for us were astounding, as it was lacking in so many nutrients:


Adult Dog FEDIAF nutritional recommendations (2020 and subsequent EU regulatory updates where appropriate)
Based on Adult MER of 95kcal/kg 0.75
MinimumMaximumMoisture (%) =71.9Product test result
UnitUnit per 100g DMUnit per 100g as fed at above MoistureUnit per kg as fedUnit per 100g as fedUnit per 100g DM
Tryptophang0.20.05620.562Not reported#VALUE!
Valineg0.680.191081.9108Not reported#VALUE!
Linoleic acidg1.530.429934.29931.13884.0526690391459OK
Calciumg0.582.5 (N)0.162981.62980.04420.15729537366548Low
Ca/P ratiog1/12/1 (N)--0.47783783783784Low
Chlorideg0.17 0.047770.47770.030.1067615658363Low
Magnesiumg0.080.022480.22480.0280.099644128113879Marginal low
Iodinemg0.121.10.033720.3372Below limit of detection#VALUE!
Ironmg4.1768.181.1717711.71771.324.6975088967972Marginal low
Selenium (wet diets)ug2756.87.58775.87Below limit of detection#VALUE!
Selenium (dry diets)ug2256.8#VALUE!#VALUE!NA#VALUE!
Vit AIU70240000 (N)197.2621972.62Below limit of detection#VALUE!
Vit EIU4.171.1717711.71772.659.4306049822064OK
Thiaminemg0.250.070250.70250.0760.27046263345196Marginal low
Pyridoxinemg0.170.047770.47770.0680.24199288256228Marginal low
Folic acidug29.98.401984.019Below limit of detection#VALUE!
Vit Kug---0.0130.04626334519573
Legal or nutritional maxima

heart These results prompted us to produce our JUST BE KIND supplement to make up for all the deficiencies shown to be lacking through intensive nutritional analysis of a homecooked diet. Our main concern centred around the need to add in those extra proteins shown to be lacking in the homemade food such as Tryptophan, Valine, Methionine, Cysteine; as well as Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Copper and all the B Vitamins that just like humans on a plant-based diet need to be supplemented.

We even went one step further and we have added in pre and probiotics to our JUST BE KIND supplement to support your dog’s gut microbiome and ensure increased health and vitality! Please note that there is no addition of it D3 as we recommend an Omega 3 Algae oil that perfectly complements our supplement to supply your dog with all the natural Omega 3’s that they need as well as plant-based Vit D3.

“We’ve just tried all the new recipes and JUST BE KIND supplement.
Molly loves them all, especially ones with peanut butter in – The little bits of icing are great for hiding her tablets in!”

Debbie, Doncaster

Molly's Owner

“Can’t wait to try the new recipes and JUST BE KIND supplement as Teddy loves these homecooked meals! He is so much healthier since I transitioned from raw with no more itchy ears – it’s amazing. Just ordered your new supplement and so excited to try it!”

Christine, Liverpool

Teddy's Owner

just be kind vegan dogs

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