How to Ensure Your Dog is Well Fed in Your Absence

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I believe so strongly in the power of homemade dog vegetable soup and dog stew, that I don’t ever want my furry babies to go a day without it. It can be difficult to ensure your dogs are fed well if they have to stay in a kennel or even if you have a pet sitter come to your home. Kennels and pet sitters will follow your instructions for feeding, and will happily use the food you’ve prepared ahead of time. But….if your dogs get a lot of added supplements at mealtime, a sitter may not take the time and attention to ensure your instructions are carried out to the letter. I know, I know…. but no one can care for the babies like “mommie” can!

To ensure that the babies get the same type of food while we’re gone, and in the right portion size, I freeze individual portions of food. I use freezer bags for this. Included in each bag are the proper amount of supplements for each dog. The bags are labeled so the caregiver will know exactly which dog gets what at each feeding.

Preparing Individual Meals of Dog Soup and Dog Stew

I start by getting out enough quart sized freezer bags. Before filling, I use a sharpie marker to label them with the dogs name and AM or PM. Then I put any supplements needed into each bag, careful not to include anything that would be harmed if microwaved (like probiotics or certain medications).

For our 15 year old arthritic baby Dixie, I include cranberry extract, an herbal bladder support supplement (crushed), homeopathic arthritis support, and an antihistamine in her morning baggie. For young Bucky, I only include an antihistamine if it’s allergy season for him. Every three days I give both dogs a fish oil supplement, so I include this in the baggie as appropriate. Following this, I spoon in the right amount of dog stew with some added water to make it more like a soup. I do this because the morning stew is mixed with dog food, and I want it to make a nice “gravy” for the kids.

The afternoon soup is also prepared in freezer bags, labeled appropriately. If it’s allergy season, I usually add an antihistamine.

  • Hint: Before sealing the bags, I make sure all the air is let out. This helps the food stay fresh longer and takes up less space in the fridge or freezer.

individual portions with supplements

individual meals dog stew
After the baggies are filled, I put them in a container to hold them in one place and they’re ready to use. Or freeze for use at a later time. The nice thing about preparing these individual portions is that you can make them way ahead of time and freeze. When it’s time to take your trip, all you have to do is thaw and serve!


freeze individual portions dog stew


Serving Suggestions

I always heat the dog soup and dog stew for 30 seconds or so in the microwave before serving. I’m not sure if a kennel would do that for you, but a pet sitter likely will not mind. Although I prefer that the food be heated prior to feeding, it’s ok if it’s fed cold; the babies will love it and it’s full of nutrition that they thrive on. The nice thing is that all supplements are already included, so you can be sure your dogs are getting what they need.


It’s Easy to Feed Your Dogs Healthy Homemade Meals
I make big batches of dog soup and dog stew, refrigerating what I need for the next several days in quart containers. The remainder is divided up in proper portions and poured into gallon size freezer bags to freeze for later use.

I started out making dog soup and dog stew in a crock pot, which was convenient.  Later I bought an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and now that’s what I always use.

The Instant Pot gets the job done in a fraction of the time, and the food is actually more nutritious. I use a 6 quart pressure cooker filled 3/4 of the way up, so I get about 4 quarts of soup or stew. I then add water to the finished product to “stretch” it a bit. Each dog gets approximately 1/4 cup of stew per serving (mixed with dog food) or 1/3 cup or more of soup for a snack.

My dog soup and dog stew starts out with healthy vegetables and sometimes a little fruit.  Then I add “clean” natural meat for the stew. Just be sure you don’t use any foods that are harmful to dogs. You can check on the AKC website for a list of human foods that pets can and can’t eat.

Save Your Healthy Scraps for Homemade Dog Soup

We keep a gallon freezer bag in the freezer containing good, clean food prep “scraps”.  I collect things like carrot and potato peelings, ends of veggies, juicing pulp, etc… When it’s time to make soup or stew, I use what’s in the bag to get it started.

Here’s my recipe for basic veggie soup for dogs.

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