Good Dog: Behavior & Training
YaffBars serve both species
Dogs have eaten people’s leftover food for thousands of years, so it should really not be that revolutionary to create food suited to us both. Yet, though many people prepare food for their dogs with ingredients they also plan to eat, commercial products that aim to serve both species are far from common.
There are exceptions, though. Mark Brooks developed YaffBars—energy bars for people and dogs—by combining his two main loves of French cooking and dogs. He wanted to make a bar that tasted good for people and was safe and delicious for dogs, too. His first approach involved making a dog biscuit that people could also eat, but his daughter’s refusal to partake convinced him to change his tactic. He worked on making a good product for humans that they could also share with their dogs.
The goal was to create a product that outdoorsy dog guardians could share with their dogs when out on excursions. He wanted them to be healthy as well as to provide energy for active individuals.
YaffBars are made from ingredients that are not bad for dogs like many ingredients in human treats such as flour, butter, sugar and chocolate. Instead, Brooks used puffed rice, cranberries, brown rice syrup, honey, carob and almonds. There are three flavors of YaffBars: blueberry carob, honey almond cranberry and banana peanut butter.
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
New kitchen appliance on the market
Anything that makes cooking and baking easier is welcome in my world, and that applies to products and ideas that help in preparing food for dogs as well as for people. So, I was pleased to see a new appliance for making dog treats.
The Nostalgia Electrics DBM200 Dog Biscuit Treat Maker Kit allows canine chefs to create dog treats quickly and easily. This countertop appliance bakes up treats in five minutes, and using the cookie cutters that are included, those treats can be shaped like a small bone, a large bone, a cat, a dog house, a fire hydrant or a dog. It comes with a decorating kit and a recipe booklet. I especially like the storage container that comes with the set, as it is stylish enough to stay on the counter all the time.
I know that many people choose to have only those kitchen gadgets that do more than one thing, so let me point out that this item allows you to save time, make charming homemade treats, make your dog happy AND add something chic to your home décor.
An extra dose of delicious
A homemade vinaigrette on the salad, fresh herbs over a perfect al dente pasta — these are the flourishes that elevate our experience of eating. Everyone who has watched their dogs dig into a flavorful meal knows that they too are gastronomes to the core.
Like us, our dogs occasionally enjoy a little something different, and it’s easy to provide those quick hits of tastiness that make a meal just that much better. This is especially true for dogs with diminished interest in eating, whether due to illness, age or simple boredom. By adding toppings, you have a real opportunity not only to brighten your dog’s day with fragrant, fresh tastes, but also to slip in some supplemental nutrition in the process.
The good news is that you need go no further than your own pantry or the aisles of your local pet-supply or grocery store to discover simple, healthy ways to liven up an otherwise humdrum dinner for your dog.
Some of you may be saying, Wait! We know dogs have only about one-sixth the number of taste buds we do. Why bother dishing up anything out of the ordinary? Ah-ha. You’ve forgotten another widely known fact: When it comes to smell, dogs have 125 million sensory cells to our 5 to 10 million; they can smell each and every ingredient. Imagine that! And research has shown that they are able to distinguish at least four flavor profiles: sweet, sour and salty, which they tend to like, and bitter, which they do not. (Put down that saltshaker; according to Psychology Today, because dogs’ wild ancestors ate primarily meat, they did not develop salt receptors like those of humans, so what we consider perfectly seasoned is likely to be too salty for them.)
In this round-up, The Bark shares three different kinds of toppings: On the Go, or easy toppings that will bring a little surprise and variety to their meals. For the Home Cook, which includes ingredients and recipes that take a bit of preparation and Off the Shelf, commercial additions that often include nutritional enrichments. With a few key harmful foods excepted (see box on left), the only real limits to topping your dog’s food with delicious add-ons are her particular needs and tastes, and your imagination. Of course, each dog is different and it’s best to clear dietary changes with your veterinarian.
On the Go
Even easier? Drizzle some oil. Few supplements are as popular as salmon or fish oil for the canine mealtime — and for good reason. Fish oil is among the most beneficial additives to the canine diet: it is excellent for the treatment of canine allergies, but is now recommended for everything from arthritis to high cholesterol as well. One convention for calculating the amount of fish oil to include in your dog’s diet is to multiply your dog’s weight (in pounds) by 20. For a 60-pound dog, for example, the daily target dose is 1,200 mg. Another top product is flax seed oil, which is credited with healing, strengthening bones and maintaining dog’s energy. Flax seed and olive oil are both great sources of antioxidants, and key for maintaining canine cardiovascular health.
For the Home Cook
Postins selected these ingredients with a dog’s health in mind. Both cherries and fennel are packed with powerful antioxidants, and fava beans tonify, or maintain the healthy function of, the spleen, liver, kidneys and pancreas. But you don’t need a PhD in animal nutrition to boost your dog’s meals. One more home cooking approach: simply buy a medley of vegetables in bulk (see low-prep list) and oven-roast as many as your dog might eat in four to five days, then store in refrigerator and add at mealtime. A healthy “fast food” your dog will love. You can even just stock up on frozen vegetables — defrost and serve!
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Evermore Pet Food founders live on their canine cuisine during the month of March
Have you ever tried your dog’s food? Despite the human grade ingredients in my dogs’ kibble, it still doesn’t look very appetizing to me (though they go crazy for the stuff). Two New Yorkers, Hanna Mandelbaum and Alison Wiener, were tired of feeding their dogs unappetizing kibble, so a year ago they founded Evermore Pet Food.
Hanna and Alison believe so much in their product that for the month of March they’ve pledged to live only on their dog food products and meals made from the same ingredients. The Evermore Me project includes eating a 1.5-pound container of Evermore’s chicken or beef food each day.
Evermore Pet Food is a cooked food that is sold frozen. Ingredients include USDA-inspected antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, fresh produce, and organic grains. Even more, all of their ingredients are locally sourced.
Evermore Me is a pretty cool project, even if it just gets people to think twice about the ingredients in their dog’s food. And I hope it inspires more pet food companies to think about if they would dare eat their own food for a month!
News: Guest Posts
Rather than a pricey new addition, Donald R. Strombeck puts his book online
When he wrote Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets: The Healthful Alternative, Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD, created one of the first-of-its-kind nutrition and dietetics books. It went on to become one of the standards for both veterinarians and those looking for an alternative to commercial pet food.
Once again the professor emeritus at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine is breaking ground and demonstrating that his overriding concern for the health of dogs and cats. When his publishers asked him to update his book for a new edition, he declined because he felt there wasn’t enough new, valuable information to warrant the update. He and his publisher stood to make a bit of money off a new edition, but he’s not motivated that way. So when the publisher stopped printing the original, Strombeck put all the information on a website, Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets, so anyone can find and use it for free. How great is that? There is so much important information contained in Strombeck’s book we are thrilled everyone will have the opportunity to read it and consult it often.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
My dog helped himself
Years ago when I had my first dog, we visited my aunt for Thanksgiving. The roasting pan containing grease and a truly alarming amount of turkey skin was sitting unguarded in the kitchen while we feasted in the dining room. Suddenly a crashing sound in the kitchen alerted us to the fact that the dog was no longer lying in the dining room with us. Whoops.Rushing into the kitchen, I immediately saw that my dog was not, as I had previously thought, a dog who would never take something off of the counter. He had not previously been a food thief, but clearly the temptation of the remains of a Thanksgiving turkey at precisely nose level was too much to resist. To his credit, he had pulled the pan off the counter with such tremendous skill that he had managed to keep it upright so that only a little of the grease slopped out. In spite of myself, I took a moment to be impressed. And he had only eaten about half of the turkey skin by the time I got there and took the rest away, which made me less fearful of the health consequences of consuming large quantities of fat. My aunt is very experienced with dogs and loves them very much, so she understands that dogs are natural scavengers and are likely to go for high quality food that’s so easy to reach. And we all acknowledged that we were lucky he took the leftovers and not the whole turkey when it was still in the pan. So, all in all, what could have been a dreadful situation was just a little blip. Have your dogs ever helped themselves to part of the Thanksgiving feast?
News: Guest Posts
Thanksgiving dessert that’s dog-gone good
The thought of making homemade pie is intimidating. No question about it. This recipe doesn’t involve a rolling pin or fitting crust into a pan. It’s made with a food processor in one simple step. A light crust is formed from the flour when the pie bakes. This pie is every bit as delicious as a traditional pumpkin pie, which is loaded with calories, fat and sugar. Pumpkin is great for us and dogs because it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 50-60 minutes Serves: 8-10 Ingredients: 1 14-ounce can pumpkin (I prefer organic pumpkin. It tastes sweeter.) 1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened coconut or hemp milk (Do not use rice, soy or almond milk as it is thinner and will ruin the consistency of the pie) 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large egg 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup buckwheat flour 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (Xanthan gum is used as a thickening agent and is available in the baking section of most markets or on the Internet) 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt (Celtic sea salt is a secret ingredient in successful gluten-free baking. While regular salt may be used, Celtic sea salt produces a better result. It can be found in the spice section of most markets and on the Internet.) 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1. Align baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350 F. 2. Lightly grease a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate 3. Place all ingredients in a food processor, or in the bowl of a large stand mixer. 4. Mix until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. 5. Pour into the prepared pie plate and smooth over the top with a spatula. 6. Bake for 50-60 minutes. When the pie is done is will be firm, but will still be a tiny bit soft to the touch in the middle. The center should not be wet. 7. Remove the pie and cool on a rack. It will fall a bit as it cools. This is normal. 8. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving. NOTE: Do not vary the ingredient list without doing research to ensure the safety of your pet. My recipes are safe for the majority of dogs. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. Also, see my tips about sharing Thanksgiving with your dog in moderation.
News: Guest Posts
Another recipe for a dog-friendly Thanksgiving
We continue our dog-friendly Thanksgiving cooking with a twist on mashed potatoes.
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Serves: 8-10 Ingredients: 5-6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into large cubes 1 head cauliflower, washed, peeled and cut into large pieces, slightly larger than the potato pieces 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1. Place potatoes and cauliflower into a large kettle. Add enough water to cover vegetables. 2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender. 3. Carefully drain the water. 4. Add butter and salt to hot vegetables and mash with a potato masher, or using a hand-held mixer, Kitchen Aid mixer or food processor to achieve the desired consistency. I like whipped potatoes, so I prefer to use my Kitchen Aid and whip the vegetables until they are smooth. 5. Either serve immediately or place in a 2 quart buttered casserole dish and refrigerate to serve later. 6. Prior to serving, heat the potatoes in the casserole dish in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes. NOTE: Do not vary the ingredient list without doing research to ensure the safety of your pet. My recipes are safe for the majority of dogs. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. Also, see my tips about sharing Thanksgiving with your dog in moderation.
News: Guest Posts
Gluten-free and Crock-Pot-easy
Moist and flavorful, this recipe is prepared in a Crock-Pot to save space in the oven, and includes a variety of traditional ingredients. I’ve lived in the Midwest and in the South and have had delicious stuffing made from both bread cubes and cornbread. My personal favorite incorporates both. If you are fixed on one or the other, feel free to use equal amounts of one in place of the other.Many grocery stores now carry gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free cornbread. If you can’t find them or want to make your own, you’ll find my recipes for each (which are later dried and used for stuffing) at BoneAppetitBistro.com. Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 5-7 hours Serves: 8-10 Ingredients: 8 cups gluten-free bread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes 6 cups gluten-free cornbread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes 1 pound ground turkey or pork sausage 2 sticks unsalted butter 2 cups celery, diced 1/2 cup parsley sprigs, finely chopped 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon dried sage 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 4 cups chicken stock 2 large eggs, beaten 1. Pour breadcrumbs into a very large mixing bowl and set aside. 2. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. 3. Drain off any fat. Set aside. 4. Into the same skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add celery and parsley and sauté for 6-8 minutes. 5. Add Granny Smith apples. 6. Sauté for another minute. Pour over bread cubes. 7. Add poultry seasoning, salt, sage, thyme, marjoram, and pepper to the stuffing mix. Toss lightly to combine. Pour in chicken broth to moisten. Gently combine ingredients. For a softer texture, add more broth. Taste the seasonings. Add more salt and herbs if needed. 8. Add sausage and beaten eggs. Mix together well. 9. Grease a large Crock-Pot with butter or nonstick spray. Pack stuffing into the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for another 4-6 hours longer. NOTE: Do not vary the ingredient list without doing research to ensure the safety of your pet. My recipes are safe for the majority of dogs. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. Also, see my tips about sharing Thanksgiving with your dog in moderation.
News: Guest Posts
T minus 5 days: Plan ahead
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my recipes for gluten-free Crock-Pot stuffing (on Saturday), mashed potatoes and cauliflower (on Sunday), and gluten-free pumpkin pie (on Monday)—all suitable to share with your pup. (Remember, my feeding guidelines from yesterday.) If you’re like me, you’ll want to plan ahead. Today, I’m suggesting a schedule for your holiday preparations.5 to 6 days ahead: Purchase any specialty ingredients. You will need the following gluten-free flours: buckwheat and tapioca. Tapioca flour is also called tapioca starch. (Gluten-free flours have a shorter shelf life than white processed flours. Extra flour will keep for seven months if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.) You will also need xanthan gum, Celtic sea salt and plain, unsweetened hemp or coconut milk. If your market does not sell the products you need, planning ahead leaves time for Internet ordering and delivery. 2 days ahead: If you want or need to bake your own the gluten-free breads for stuffing, you’ll want to get started 2 days early. Once baked, tear bread into pieces and allow to dry overnight on a cookie sheet. 1 day ahead: Make the pumpkin pie (allow to cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator). Prepare the stuffing but do not cook; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (You’ll place it in the Crock-Pot 5 hours before serving for final preparation.) Prepare mashed potatoes and cauliflower. (Place in a buttered 2 quart casserole dish, refrigerate. Heat through before serving.) Thanksgiving Day: Cook your turkey in your favorite way. Remember not to season with garlic or onion. When making gravy, do not use regular flour to thicken the gravy as it contains a type of gluten that, if dogs sample it, may upset their digestive system. Instead, use cornstarch or a combination of cornstarch, tapioca starch/flour and oat flour.
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