Dog treat recipes for lifelong wellness: Top ingredients from 5 food groups for a healthy and vibrant dog
Everyone loves a good home cooked meal, especially when made with fresh, whole food and organic ingredients. Similar to men, the way to your pet’s heart is through their stomach. If you want to make them the happiest member of the family, try whipping up some of your own homemade, delicious but healthy dog treats.
Maintaining your pet’s nutrition is the key to health, happiness and longevity. In order to do this, feeding your pet a variety of whole foods is extremely important. Most commercial pet food manufacturers are utilizing many of the same harmful ingredients that have made their way into people food, and often for the same reasons.
Using meat fillers in cat and dog food is cheap and extremely common. These fillers offer absolutely no health benefits and can cause damage due to their genetically altered backgrounds. The most common reaction to genetically modified organisms (GMO) in pet food, are allergies. Dogs in particular, can sometimes react harshly to GMO ingredients like corn and soy, experiencing uncomfortable skin irritations ultimately leading to severe rashes and hair loss.
It’s best to avoid corn and soy altogether when it comes to pet food.
Organic or non-GMO food is the best route, however, brands that meet this criteria can be really expensive and hard to find. Baking your own doggy treats at home removes the uncertainty of mystery ingredients in store-bought food.
Protein, such as chicken, beef or turkey, is one of the most crucial ingredients to include in your dog’s diet. Make sure to use REAL sources of meat when baking your own treats.
Your local supermarket can be a great place to find raw meats for your dog. Many butchers dispose of certain animal parts like necks, bones, feet and tails; all of these can be used when making your own pet treats.
The doggy BARF diet has become one of the most popular regimens, especially after pet food exported from China in 2007 was found to contain deadly toxins like rat poison and fertilizer. This forced many pet owners to venture into their own kitchens, creating food that’s safe and healthy.
BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, the diet your dog was on before he became domesticated. Dogs weren’t designed to eat processed foods, but rather a diet of raw food. Feeding your dog 100 percent processed food all the time can severely harm your pet’s health.
The BARF diet has been known to improve your dog’s teeth, gums and breath. It also strengthens their immune system, reduces allergies and helps them produce a shiny, healthy coat.
Below is a list of raw foods in the top five food groups best for your dog:
1. Meats: raw eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, venison, turkey, rabbit, fish, buffalo, ostrich (60 – 80 percent of their raw diet should consist of meat)
2. Vegetables and Grains: broccoli, carrots, romaine lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, summer squash, asparagus, rice, oatmeal, kale (promote overall nutrition)
3. Dairy: cottage cheese, plain yogurt (help improve digestion)
4. Fruit: bananas, mango, apples (promote overall nutrition)
5. Oils: olive oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, hemp oil (help improve your pet’s coat)
The following foods are known to be poisonous to your dog, so make sure to avoid at ALL costs:
- Grapes and raisins
- Macademia nuts
- Apple seeds
- Cherry pits
- Potato leaves and stems (any green parts)
- Alcohol, or alcoholic beverages
Homemade doggy treats
Follow these easy steps from The Bark, to make the Bow Wow Brunch.
You will need:
3 cups cooked oatmeal
2 cups active-culture plain yogurt
2 cups cottage cheese
2 Tbsp. safflower oil
1 banana, peeled and coarsely mashed
1 apple or pear, cored and chopped
1 cup ripe mashed mango
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate, do not freeze. (Use caution if your pup has not been exposed to dairy.)
Yield: 8 cups, which feeds a medium-sized dog for about 2 days at 4 cups per day.
Serving size: 2 cups
Total cost: approximately $10
Cost per serving: $2.50
Daily cost: $5
Energy: 400 calories
Protein: 26 grams
Carbohydrates: 52 grams
Fat: 12 grams
Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.5 gram
Dietary fiber: 6 grams
Calcium: 324 mg
Try making your dog a Frozen Sunrise, a cool, icy treat sure to offer relief from the summer’s hot blistering sun.
You will need:
2 cups fruit juice (apple works best)
1 mashed and pureed banana
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 cup pureed strawberries
Combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Pour mixture into small disposable cups (three-inch bathroom or kitchen paper cups work best). Freeze until solid (at least four hours). To pop out the treat, push up on the bottom of the cup.
Total calories: 540; divide by the number of servings for individual calorie count.