Nourishing And Tasty – 5 Great Food Ideas For Your Dog
Can you imagine eating exactly the same food, day in, day out?
No matter how tasty and nutritious, the time would always come when we’d yearn for a change. If you’ve ever wondered how much your dog really enjoys only eating the same kind of food and whether they deserve something better, it may be time to think about ways to liven up their daily diet.
1. Try air-dried food
For those dog owners who are concerned about the low ingredient quality and potentially harmful methods used to prepare dry food, but can’t commit to preparing all their dog’s food themselves, high-quality air-dried foods are a great alternative. The air-drying process and use of human-grade traceable ingredients mean that potentially harmful additives are unnecessary. While these types of food are more expensive than typical commercial brands, a natural dog food subscription can be cost-effective over time, since optimum nutrition can keep your dog healthy and so reduce the cost of veterinary bills.
2. Provide a variety of healthy snacks
As dogs are omnivores, they are adapted to diets that include plenty of vegetable matter. In fact, they need a balanced diet to maintain optimum health. Avoid being guilt-tripped by your dog into sharing pizza, cakes, and other unhealthy treats by introducing him or her to some tasty new treats and snacks that will also provide valuable vitamins and minerals. Then enjoy your pizza with a clear conscience.
Fruits: Many owners are surprised to learn that their dogs love bananas, apples, or watermelon. Some dogs even enjoy citrus fruits such as oranges
Vegetables: cooked sweet potato chunks and root vegetables, carrots, cucumbers, grated courgettes
Dairy: unsweetened yogurt, small amounts of cheese (use low-salt varieties), a little milk. Some dogs are sensitive to dairy, so introduce carefully.
Natural peanut butter: just make sure it has no added sugar or unrecognizable additives
Eggs: raw or scrambled, just don’t add any seasoning
While there are many ‘human’ foods that dogs can eat with no bad consequences, certain foods can be harmful to dogs and should definitely be avoided. Ensure you’re aware of these before you experiment.
3. Natural chews
Natural chews such as air-dried beef tracheas, chicken livers, cod skin sticks, or duck feet. These kinds of natural chews provide your pet with hours of chewing enjoyment with is beneficial for the health of the jaws and teeth.
4. Keep it cool
This is a suggestion for the summer, but if your house starts to feel overheated and stuffy over the winter holidays, maybe your pet would appreciate something refreshing to help him cool down. After all, he can’t just remove a layer of his clothing or adjust the thermostat!
Make some special ice cubes, flavoured with meat or vegetable juices (no salt), for licking. Let your dog enjoy a little extra nourishment with these tasty, low cost ‘desserts’. Make sure you wait a few minutes after removing from the freezer, so there’s no risk of freezer-burn. To make the cubes extra special, why not place a chunk of food inside, so there’s a delicious surprise as a reward at the end.
5. Prepare your dog’s meals
People typically decide to prepare their dog’s food themselves, rather than using commercial products for one of three reasons. They may have concerns about the quality of many pet foods, and the long-term effects of the additives and low-quality fillers they contain. They may realize that it is often more cost-effective to prepare human quality food, as leftovers can be incorporated. Finally, they may simply want to give their pet a tasty, nutritious, and varied diet.
How to begin
It’s important to realize that, if you’re going to prepare food for your dog, you’ll need to include ingredients which provide nutrients in at least five main areas:
Animal protein (meat, seafood, dairy, or eggs)
Fats from the meat or added oil
Carbohydrates from grains and/or vegetables
Calcium from vegetables or dairy such as cheese or yogurt
Essential fatty acids from egg yolks or oily fish
How much time will it take to prepare?
You may be thinking, this is all very well, but how much time do I have for grating, peeling, and slicing? In fact, not a lot. Allow around 10 minutes to assemble all the ingredients, and around 40 minutes for the rice to cook. Chop the vegetables roughly – your dog won’t notice if the chunks are different sizes, he’ll be too busy wolfing down his dinner.
Use up whatever vegetables you have in your fridge or freezer- frozen veg is a perfectly acceptable option. In general, cooked vegetables are often easier to digest than raw ones.
Just like humans, your dog may not enjoy certain vegetables. In this case, they’ll be gently pushed to the side of the bowl, for you to notice. You’ll then have the choice, either grate more finely or try to substitute with a different vegetable
To avoid cooking every day, just cook a large batch, divide up into meal-sized portions, make a note of the date on the container, and use as required. Remove from the freezer the day before use, and defrost each portion overnight.
If you’re using chicken, be sure to ensure you don’t include bones that can splinter and cause serious injury.
A basic recipe for homemade dog food.
Quantities are given as a guideline and provide a balance of around 50% protein, 25% grains, and 25% vegetables. As you become familiar with the ingredients, you can adjust the quantities of vegetables, and add extras such as eggs, a little cheese, or some plain, unsweetened yoghurt.
· 1/2 cup brown rice
· 1 teaspoon olive oil or butter
· 1 pound ground pork/beef/chicken/turkey
· 1 cups baby spinach, or other green vegetables, chopped
· 1 carrot, shredded
· 1 courgette, shredded
· 1/3 cup frozen peas
Boil the brown rice in a large pan with plenty of water. After 10 minutes or so, turn down the heat, and add the meat, so the juices flavour the rice. When the meat is cooked, add the vegetables, switch off the heat, cover the pan, and leave to cool.
In the end, we all want the best for our pets, so they’ll enjoy a long, happy, and healthy life as part of our family. We hope we’ve sparked some fresh ideas as to how you can make feeding a richer and more rewarding experience not only for your pet but also for you as a caring owner.