Wellness: Recipes
Dog Food Recipes: Low-Cost Homemade Treats
Making dog treats from leftovers

Table scraps: dogs love them, and their pleading eyes are difficult to deny. However, the consequences of this indulgence can range from minor and annoying to life-threatening and expensive. Some human foods — onions, chocolate, grapes and raisins in particular — contain enzymes that may produce gastrointestinal upsets, neurological problems, seizures and even death if fed in large quantities.

With care and common sense, though, you can turn leftovers into tasty and nutritious treats for your dogs.

How about a canine trail mix? Chop meat, potatoes, vegetables, even fruit, into 1/2” pieces. Spray lightly with cooking spray and place in a food dehydrator or 200° oven until dried for a nutritious treat to take along on those long post-meal hikes.

Holiday meals bring a bounty of leftover meat. Instead of feeding your dog the scraps, create a healthy frozen treat. Rinse off any seasoning and chop into small pieces. Fill an ice cube tray partway with water, drop an equal amount of chopped meat into each cube and freeze. Even dogs who don’t usually chew ice cubes will lick this refreshing treat.

Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, C and E as well as protease inhibitors, which are thought to help prevent cancer in dogs. Remove the peel and slice them 1/4” to 1/2” thick. Place the slices in a food dehydrator or a 200° oven until they’re dry and chewy.

You can also make crunchy dog treats using leftovers. Start by rinsing the seasoning from any combination of leftover meat, rice, noodles or vegetables. Purée until smooth in a food processor. Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and an egg. Use milk or water until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream. Add a tablespoon of dried parsley and enough whole wheat, soy or rice flour to make a stiff dough. Roll the dough to about 1/4”, cut into shapes and bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven overnight to crisp. The treats will keep for about a week in a cool, dry environment.

Healthy and nutritious dog treats are limited only by our imagination — be inspired to create your own recipes!

Wellness: Recipes
Dog Food Recipes: Kaptin's Crunchy Kibble
Makes 20 to 30 servings for a 25 lb. dog

Cooking for your dog is not only healthy and affordable but rewarding too. From stews, stir-fries and other one-pot delectables recipes abound that make it easy—but have you ever thought about making your own kibble? We were happy to find a great kibble recipe from Wendy Nan Rees’s cookbook, The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats. Try it out—it’s delicious and nutritious!

This is my basic kibble recipe. I keep 8 cups in a sealed container in the refrigerator and freeze the rest in vacuum-sealed food storage bags. The kibble will keep in an airtight container for two weeks in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer.

4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups rye flour
2 cups nonfat milk powder
2 teaspoons bone meal
1 cup plain wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 2 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs
1 cup safflower, olive or corn oil
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups water
4 cups cooked ground beef, pork, lamb, duck, chicken or turkey
2 cups cooked and puréed sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apples
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray two large cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, milk powder, bone meal, wheat germ, parsley and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and blend them with the oil. Add the Worcestershire sauce.
4. Add the water to the flour mixture and mix well.
5. Fold in the egg mixture and combine it all evenly.
6. Add the meat, sweet potatoes, dried apples and spinach and press them into the dough.
7. Spread the dough on cookie sheets (18" x 13" work best), making it very flat and thin. Use a knife to cut it into small squares.
8. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the kibble is golden brown and not doughy when you break a piece open. During the baking process, take a wood spoon or spatula and move the kibble around on the cookie sheet so it bakes evenly. Then turn off your oven, keeping the door closed, and let it dry out in the off oven for at least 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
9. When you remove the kibble from the oven, it will still be slightly warm and moist. Let it sit on cooling racks for another hour or two until it is completely dry and cool.

Variations: Here are some other ingredients I like to add for flavor and nutrients: alfalfa leaf, barley, basil leaf, beets, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, flaxseed meal, green beans, kamut, nutritional yeast flakes, peas, potatoes, rolled oats, rosemary leaf and zucchini.

Wellness: Recipes
Thanksgiving Dinner for Dogs
Winning ways with leftovers

Dogs love turkey and sweet potatoes, too. Cook this meal from scratch or use up the leftovers—either way, your chow hounds will chow down with gusto!


Nutritional Information

Per 1-cup serving (approximate, depending on ingredient substitutions)

Calories 321

Protein 44 g

Carbohydrates 16 g

Dietary fiber 1.9 g

Fat 7.7 g (with gravy; less if omitted)


Facts (Vet’s View)

This is a moderate-carb recipe suitable for healthy adult dogs.


Portion Size

For small dogs, 3/4 cup; medium dogs, 1 1/2 cups; larger or more active dogs, 3 cups.



Add 400 mg calcium per 1-cup serving (600 mg if using bone meal).



Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 9 1-cup servings


3 lb/1.3 kg skinless turkey pieces (light and dark meat)

1 cup (about 6 oz/175 g) oatmeal (cooked)

1 lb/450 g sweet potatoes, cubed

2 tbsp cranberry sauce

4 tbsp turkey gravy (optional; to reduce the fat content, omit the gravy or substitute olive oil)



Use turkey leftovers or roast the turkey: 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly oil a roasting pan.

2. For boneless breast or thigh, cook 30–45 minutes; boned breast or thigh, 45–60 minutes; whole turkey, 1 1/2–2 hours or until the meat juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. Let cool.

3. Remove all the bones and dice the meat into large pieces.

4. If using fresh sweet potatoes, roast with the turkey for about 25–30 minutes or until tender. Let cool, then peel and dice.

5. Meanwhile, cook the oatmeal according to package instructions.

6. Mix together the turkey meat, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. If using gravy or oil, add it now and mix thoroughly. (If your dog is at all prone to pancreatitis or other fat-related upsets, omit the gravy.) 

Adapted from The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious and Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love. Published by TFH Publications, 2008. Used by permission. © Ivy Press Limited


Wellness: Health Care
What to Do if Your Dog is Sprayed by a Skunk

You’ll Need

  • A clean plastic bucket in which to mix the ingredients
  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (usually sold in pint bottles, so you’ll need two; use of other strengths is not recommended)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (do not use washing soda, which is much stronger and will burn your dog’s skin.)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid detergent (Softsoap and Ivory liquid are preferred)

How to Use It
Apply to dry dog, working well into the fur. Let stand for about five minutes, then rinse with tepid water; repeat if necessary. Do not store this mixture; it loses it effectiveness and more importantly, it releases oxygen gas and the container could explode. It may bleach the dog’s hair (but better that than the smell!). And remember, the sooner you deal with the skunking, the better, as over time, the smell sets and is harder to eliminate.

Source: Paul Krebaum, Chemical & Engineering News (1993)


Wellness: Recipes
Dog Food Recipes: Fifi's Fishy (or Chicky) Affair

4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth
1 5.5 oz. can skinned and boned salmon or chicken, well drained**
4 Tbsp. dried parsley
1⁄4 cup fish, safflower or olive oil
1 tsp. iodized salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until a paste is formed.
Roll out mixture on a lightly floured cutting board until about 1⁄4 -inch thick. Cut sheet into approximately 80 pieces. Place pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use the center rack in an oven preheated to 300°F. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pieces dry out for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Remove and store in an airtight container.

**Cooked shredded chicken breast can be substituted for canned chicken. If substituting chicken breast, boil 1⁄2 lb. chicken breast until very tender (30-plus minutes), drain, cool and shred.

Yield: 80 pieces, which feeds a medium-size dog for about 5 days at 16 pieces per day.
Serving size: 8 pieces
Total cost: approximately $14
Cost per serving: $1.40
Daily cost: $2.80

Per Serving
Energy: 296 calories
Protein: 12 grams
Carbohydrates: 48 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Omega-3 fatty acids: 2 grams
Dietary fiber: 7 grams
Calcium: 72 mg

Wellness: Recipes
Dog Food Recipes: Puppy Stew

3 lbs. boneless chicken meat with skin (white or dark; skin may be too rich for some dogs, and its inclusion is optional)
2 cups brown rice or barley
6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium package (24 oz.) frozen peas or lima beans
56 fl. oz. diced tomatoes with juice
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley or oregano
1⁄2 cup fish, safflower or olive oil
1 tsp. iodized salt Water

Place all ingredients in a 3-gallon stockpot and add enough water to well cover. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for two hours until all ingredients are soft and liquid is reduced, stirring occasionally. If needed, add small amounts of additional water to keep the mixture from going dry.

Yield: Approximately 32 cups, which feeds a medium-size dog for 8 days at 4 cups per day.
Serving size: 2 cups
Total cost: $18
Cost per serving: $1.12
Daily cost: $2.25

Per Serving
Energy: 342 calories
Protein: 23 grams
Carbohydrates: 31 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 gram
Dietary fiber: 7 grams
Calcium: 65 mg

Wellness: Recipes
Dog Food Recipes: Fido's Fricassee

1 lb. ground meat (beef or turkey with moderate fat content)
1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, or 1.25 pounds fresh spinach leaves
1 cup cooked brown rice or barley
2 Tbsp. fish, safflower or olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 hard-boiled eggs, mashed
2 ripe papayas, peeled, cored, mashed (may substitute canned pumpkin if papaya is unavailable)
1 tsp. iodized salt

Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Line a 9" baking pan with waxed paper and put the mixture into the pan. Bake in a preheated 325°F oven for one hour. Cool before serving.

Yield: approximately 6 cups, which feeds a medium-sized dog for about 1.5 days at 4 cups per day.
Serving size: 2 cups
Total cost: approximately $9
Cost per serving: $3
Daily cost: $6

Per Serving
Energy: 730 calories
Protein: 52 grams
Carbohydrates: 58 grams
Fat: 32 grams
Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 gram
Dietary fiber: 14 grams
Calcium: 180 mg

Wellness: Recipes
Dog Food Recipes: Bow Wow Brunch

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

Per Serving
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