Veganuary: How to get involved in Meat Free Mondays with your dog

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20 years ago, the way people fed their dogs was vastly different from the pampered pups with refined palettes we’re bringing up today. Two decades ago, our shepherd crosses lived outside and enjoyed a tin of Chappie, or – on Sundays – some warm porridge.

Today, with two sassy, somewhat spoiled American bulldogs, I find myself asking them if they fancy Wild Campfire Stew or Lamb Tagine, meticulously meal planning and ensuring they never run out of their beloved fish sprinkles or multivitamins.

But 2021 saw a real rise in vegetarian and vegan diets for dogs, and while I’m very much of the opinion that dogs should eat an omnivorous diet, I’m all for a bit of variety. After all, some of Phoebe and Frank’s favourite snacks are vegan – from Denzel’s plant based bites to Soopa’s vegan treats.

Today, the choices for our dogs are endless, and so long as they’re getting a complete, balanced diet – that’s all that matters. According to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, animals should be fed a ‘suitable’ diet, and if you are considering feeding your dog a solely vegan diet, I highly recommend consulting a vet and nutritionist to check it’s the right thing for your dog, because it’s a very fine balance to get right.

Lily’s Kitchen are a brand who are encouraging owners to get their dogs involved in ‘Meat Free Mondays’ with their range of veggie and vegan recipes – and they’ve just launched a brand new recipe perfect for recreating with your own vegan goodies.

This Veganuary, Lily’s Kitchen have released their new Mighty Burrito Bowl recipe in beautiful pink branding, joined by the existing but re-packaged Vibrant Rainbow Stew.

Marketing director Samantha Crossley said: “The new Plant Power range has been designed so that dogs can cut down their meat consumption, but still enjoy a nutritionally complete meal.

“We believe all pets deserve to eat proper food full of nourishing, natural ingredients, and the newest range does exactly that and celebrates the power of plants.”

The Mighty Burrito Bowl recipe features jackfruit – a popular meat substitute for vegans thanks to its shredded ‘chicken’ like texture. This is a brilliant source of vitamin C and manganese, paired with vitamin-rich red pepper, and kidney beans which serve up plenty of protein and fibre.

The nutritionally complete recipe is suitable for dogs over 16 weeks, and ‘has everything your dog needs to stay healthy’, the brand said.

I joined my dogs in a Meat Free Monday, thanks to Gosh! and their easy vegan bites. The brand aims to make life ‘easier, tastier and healthier’ with their high protein meatless finger food.

I decided to create my own burrito bowl using their beetroot falafel, Moroccan spiced falafel and sweet potato pakora, all which cook in the microwave in just 60 seconds. The high fibre snacks are low in saturated fat, and can be eaten straight from the pack, or warmed up for a last minute meal al-desko, or on the go.

To make my burrito bowl, I added boiled rice to my bowl before topping with half an avocado, cucumber slices and some chunks of lime. I then was able to add my falafel and pakora bites, which added pops of pink and orange to the brightly coloured bowl – they do say you eat with your eyes first, after all.

I was really surprised at how quick they were to cook, and the spicy flavours definitely made the dish more interesting than going meat free might initially appear.

Also from Lily’s Kitchen is the ever popular Vibrant Rainbow Stew, which was the brands first ever vegan recipe.

Lily’s added: “Dogs are natural omnivores so this recipe is a great way to feed a little less meat, whilst keeping your hound happy and healthy. Perfect for pooches who may be sensitive to meat, or for those joining in with Meat Free Mondays. We use protein packed vegan ingredients such as millet and lentils as well as delicious, vibrant veggies like courgettes, carrots and peas to creative a delicious, complete meal for your furry family.”

Phoebe and Frank really enjoyed their vegan recipes for a change, and can’t wait to get involved in more Meat Free Mondays – especially if they can get their paws on the new vegan Lily’s Kitchen’s mango and sweet potato jerky treats.