Hey, fellow pet lovers!!
Today’s post is all about the many benefits of fermenting veggies for our canine friends and includes a super simple sauerkraut recipe for you to make. This was my first ever attempt at making fermented veggies for Nia and Lily and they have a few weeks to wait until they can give them ago, so I’m really not too sure how they are going to react.
Let’s jump straight into today’s post and learn all about the importance of fermented veggies for our pets!!
Fermented Veggies for our Canine Friends
Today’s post is basically a homemade sauerkraut recipe, I love sauerkraut but it has taken me a little while to get used its unique taste and I’m not too sure how the girls are going to react to it, but we will find that out in the next few weeks…
So what’s so good about fermented foods?
There are so many health benefits for ourselves and also our canine friends when it comes to consuming fermented veggies and in today’s post, you are going to find out all about the wonderful benefits of fermentation. Humans have been eating fermented foods for millennia, long before the availability of an everyday probiotic supplement.
This is due to fermentation being a reliable way to store food for a long time without it spoiling, this is because fermented foods are filled with trillions of probiotic bacteria that also support a healthy gut microbiome.
Fermented veggies contain essential nutrients that our dogs are unable to get from their everyday diet and for my girls, this consists of fresh muscle meat, raw edible meaty bones, liver and other secreting organs, as well as the odd bit of low sugar fruit or goats dairy products.
By fermenting various veggies for our dogs we are making sure they are more digestible which means they are able to get essential nutrients that they otherwise couldn’t obtain from eating normal veg. Cats are obligate carnivores and don’t require any vegetable or fruit matter in their diet to be in an optimum state, however, they will consume some pre-digested veggies that are in the GI tract of their prey.
I have mentioned many times in previous posts that having a healthy gut microbiome by supporting your good gut bacteria by consuming probiotics such as fermented foods and green tripe for your canine friend, you are able to prevent a wide range of problems such as digestive issues, which a lot of today’s pets, unfortunately, suffer from.
So what are the health benefits of fermented veggies?
Filled with plenty of probiotics to help support a healthy gut microbiome.
When fermenting veggies for both our dogs and ourselves we are recruiting the help of billions of microscopic bacteria in a process we call lacto fermentation, in the anaerobic conditions of your jar filled with veg and brine these bacteria start the process of digesting the plant matter and producing lactic acid to create an environment in which only these good bacteria can thrive.
Just as in the jar, when we consume this good bacteria, they make themselves at home in our guts helping to produce an environment that promotes more good bacteria and helps to keep any that might be harmful at bay. When we take a high protein diet into context such as that of our canine friends we can assume that their guts are teaming with bacteria that feed on amino acids and these bacteria produce compounds that can be harmful to the body, consuming lactic acid producing bacteria from fermented foods helps to buffer these negative effects and keep our microbiome in harmony.
By fermenting veggies, you are making them more bioavailable for your canine friend.
If you keep up to date with epoch.pet or you have done your research on canine physiology then you should know by now that your non-obligate carnivore is not so able to digest their veggies as their omnivorous owners are, this is due in part to the lack of the enzyme amylase in their saliva.
Although they are able to produce some of this starch-digesting enzyme in the pancreas they do still struggle to unlock all of the nutrients bound up by the cellulose in fruits and vegetables. When we ferment vegetables we are recruiting bacteria that has the ability to produce amylase, this means that any veg we ferment is already partially digested and all of those nutrients that were locked in become more bioavailable.
Filled with various vitamins and enzymes that all support healthy metabolic function.
On a meat only diet, our dogs would be missing out on many micronutrients and phytonutrients. Nutrients such as antioxidants play a large role in keeping a body healthy by switching on genetic pathways that help to maintain an environment that can help to keep disease such as cancer at bay. By pre-digesting these vegetables for our dogs, we are ensuring they have access to a whole array of bioavailable nutrients that will play a large role in keeping them healthy well into old age.
Also filled with Choline and Acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is used by the body as a neurotransmitter of which choline is a precursor, it is used as a messenger molecule by nerves making it a very important nutrient in the maintenance of good physical and cognitive health. Although more studies need to be done on the benefits of increased choline in the diet we can see that deficiency can have a very detrimental effect on the body leading to liver and muscle damage.
Filled full of lactic acid due to the fermentation process.
The lactic acid produced by the bacteria in the lacto fermenting process has a host of benefits when it gets inside the body.
By producing lactic acid the bacteria create an environment that is a comfortable home for good bacteria and keeps potentially harmful bacteria at bay, this, in turn, supports a healthy immune system and is linked to a reduction in some forms of cancer due to its buffering effects on other bacteria in the gut. It is important to note that the gut is full of neurons which are a direct link between our gut biome and our brains, by keeping our microbiome in check we are sending the right signals through these neurons which helps to keep ours and our dogs minds healthy too.
It’s super tasty!!
Not only can your canine friend benefit from eating fermented foods so can you and we all should focus on eating foods that promote a healthy gut microbiome. There are so many fermented foods that you can add into your diet such as Kefia, Kombucha or sauerkraut so why not give one a try today?
Now that you know all about how great fermented food are why you should add them to your canine friend’s diet it is time to move on to making them their very own batch of fermented veggies.
Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe for your Canine Friend
I started off with sauerkraut because we had two small cabbages to use and I really like it so decided to make this simple recipe as my first ever attempt at making a ferment. All you need is:
I used a red and a white cabbage but you can use either or both.
We always use Pink Himalayan salt which you can pick up a big bag for super cheap online.
Large jars for fermenting and storing your sauerkraut in.
I had two large jars left from our store-bought sauerkraut which worked perfectly.
2 large bowls to mix your shredded cabbage and salt together.
A knife or food processor to chop your cabbage.
Once you have everything you need we can start making our sauerkraut.
Step One, Prepare your Cabbage
The first step is to prepare your cabbage which is super simple, if you have a food processor with a grating or shredding attachment then use that as it will save you some time, but if not simply cut the cabbage by hand. If you can find fresh and organic produce then this will be the best to use.
Firstly, remove the first two outer leaves and the cut your cabbage in half, you want to remove the core as it is too hard to eat and will make your sauerkraut an odd texture so simply cut it out, and then start to shred your cabbage and place into two large mixing bowls.
Heres a really quick video on how to shred your cabbage by hand, How To Shred Cabbage For Coleslaw.
Step Two, Add your Salt
Once you have prepared your cabbage it is time to add the salt, depending on how many cabbages or veggies you are using will depend on how much salt you need to use but the recipe I followed said to use between 1 – 3 tablespoons of salt, so I added one level tablespoon to each of my two bowls.
Add what you think is right but don’t exceed 3 tablespoons unless you’re making a large batch, if you are though then here is a great site to check out and follow one of their two simple recipes, Keep the Tail Wagging.
Lastly, use sea salt or cave salt not table salt as it is normally more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and also can have additives added in into it to prevent clumping.
Step Three, Mix and Mush it all Together
Now you need to mix your salt and cabbage mixture together, this took about 10 to 15 minutes of mushing with my hands and also my partner’s help but we finally got there in the end. I did start off using a pestle and bashing it down but I found that using my hands worked better.
If you want you can leave your cabbage and salt mixture aside for ten to twenty minutes to let the salt draw more moisture out and then go back to mashing it up.
Mix and mash everything together until the cabbage releases enough liquid to cover itself when you place it in the jar.
Step Four, Place your Mixture in your Sterilised Jars
Now that the hard part is done you need to ensure your jars and lids are properly clean, let them steep in warm bubbly water and then rinse thoroughly, then allowing to dry before placing your cabbage mixture in.
I just used two large jars that we had left over from store-bought sauerkraut but you can use anything that works really as long as it has a lid.
Step Five, Press your Mixture Down and cover your Jar
Once you have added your cabbage mixture to the jar, push it down to ensure all the water covers it fully. By pressing your veggies down it removes any air pockets and allows you to fit all your cabbage in your jar.
Step Six, Store your Jars in a Dark place for Two Weeks and Burp Occasionally
You need to leave your sauerkraut for about 2 weeks and remember to burp your jars each day to release any pressure. After two weeks, you will have a delicious sauerkraut that hopefully your pet likes but if not, more for you!!
Feeding Guidelines for Fermented Veggies
So I am new to giving my girls fermented veggies but did find some feeding guidelines from Keep the Tail Wagging that I plan on using for Nia and Lily. As with anything you should start small and increase as time goes on, I’m not even sure my girls are going to eat my homemade sauerkraut but I will find that out in the next few weeks.
I plan on giving Nia about 1 tablespoon of fermented sauerkraut and Lily half a tablespoon to start with since she’s smaller, once I know if they will eat it and how their gut reacts I will increase the amount they get on their daily meal. If your pet is a super fussier eater simply try mixing a little bit into their meal and slowly increase the amount every time they eat their food with it mixed in.
However, if your pet downright refuses like many of our canine friend’s will, then there are plenty of probiotic supplements you can try. I think I will write a post at some point talking about the best canine probiotics on the market. Don’t forget though you can also try giving them some goats kefia or other fermented foods until you managed to find something they like.
There you have it a super simple yet extremely healthy addition to your pet’s diet!!
I hope you all liked today’s post and if you did make sure to hit that like button so I know, or give it a share so other pet parents can learn all about the many benefits of adding fermented foods to their canine friend’s diet.
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