Does your dog love when you cook for them? Mine do! Here are a few of the foods that I like to share with my dogs…
Let’s start in the produce aisle. My dogs are crazy about melons! Their favorites are watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. They can eat them as is, or frozen as a nice crunchy treat. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, huckleberries or raspberries are all good for your furry friend for the same reason they're good for humans: free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Apples are another favorite for them. I recommend seedless, organic apple slices, because apple seeds naturally contain cyanide. Don’t forget about bananas. If they have a problem eating them due to the texture, slice them thin and dry them until they are crunchy.
Fresh, crunchy vegetables are good for your dog's teeth. It’s a bit easier not to overfeed with veggies, depending on what they are. Veggies such as carrots are wonderful, but in moderation because they digest into sugar. Green beans are wonderful because they can fill a dog up. Be sure to buy fresh or frozen, canned vegetables can be full of salt.
Let’s move on to the dairy section. My dogs love plain yogurt and cheese. The active bacteria in yogurt can strengthen your dog's digestive system. Be sure to stay away from any artificially sweetened yogurt – plain really is best. You can always add in some fresh fruit yourself. Just like humans, they can experience lactose intolerance, so monitor your dog's reaction.
Honey is a sweet treat for your do. Honey is very good for your dog, as it is loaded with vitamins, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. If you are able to purchase local honey, it may also help with seasonal allergies. The sticky goo can also be used topically to treat burns and cuts on your dog's skin.
There are some nuts that you can share with your dog, in moderation due to the high fat content. Almost all dogs love peanut butter. Be very careful before giving store-bought to your dog and many brands now have xylitol as an ingredient, which is toxic to dogs. Cashews and sunflower seed (shelled and not salted) are a nice treat for them as well as they are full of calcium, magnesium and protein.
Of course every dog is different and you and your vet know best if he or she has any food sensitivities, weight issues or other health concerns that should guide your dog's diet. It is always a good idea to check with your pet's doctor if you are planning on changing what your dog eats. Also keep in mind that it is best to introduce new foods to your dog slowly. You don't want your pooch to get gas, bloating, soft stools or other digestive problems.
One of our favorite recipes that was given to me by a friend is:
2 6 oz cans of salmon - do not drain
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
Mix all ingredients together
Spread in a well-greased shallow pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
Cool and cut into small squares
Serve or store in airtight container in fridge or freezer