Do you love whipping up meals and treats for your loved ones? Do you find working in the kitchen relaxing and love getting creative with new recipes? Maybe it’s time to try some fun new recipes for your dog!
Even if you aren’t a wizard in the kitchen and would rather eat out or order Postmates, making some dog friendly dishes is easy and might inspire you to actually use your oven. Cooking for your dog can be simple; you don’t need fancy ingredients. Best of all, your dog will never criticize your cooking. Stick with us to learn more about all the benefits of cooking and baking for your dog and why you might want to give it a try.
Why Should You Cook for Your Dog?
There’s nothing wrong with commercial diets for dogs. High-quality dog food is available at a reasonable price point, and it meets all your dog’s nutritional needs. But can you imagine eating the same brown food day in and day out?
Cooking for your dog introduces more variety into your dog’s diet. Adding something new can supplement minor nutritional gaps you didn’t know your dog had. Eating a variety of foods lowers the chance of your dog developing food intolerances and allergies. Exposing your dog to a healthy variety of foods can prevent the stomach upset that some dogs get when you realize you’re out of dog food at 10 pm and the corner store doesn’t have your brand.
Cooking for your dog is helpful if you have a picky eater. You can feed your dog and feel confident he’s getting adequate nutrition. Introducing new foods as a puppy can also prevent picky habits from developing in the first place.
Cooking for your dog helps strengthen your bond. Food is an important part of the bonding process for dogs and humans. Dogs build trust with their humans through feeding and care. Humans often express our feelings to others through care and feeding. Cooking for your dog is more than just scooping food into a dish. It requires thought and time and helps establish in our own minds how important our dogs are to us.
One of the biggest benefits of cooking and baking for your dog is that you know exactly what is going into their food. You control the ingredients, and you’ll know for certain where everything was sourced, that there are no empty calories, and that your dog is eating whole fresh foods.
It’s important to make sure that our dog is getting all the nutrients she needs… especially if you’re making her meals. If you decide you want to start cooking dog food at home, it’s important that you consult a veterinary dietician. They can help you come up with a nutrition plan that will meet all your dog’s nutritional needs and take into consideration any special needs she has. Unfortunately, many dog owners who only cook their dog’s meals find out, years later, that their dog’s meals weren’t actually nutritionally balanced. Don’t make that mistake too!
If you only want to cook your dog the occasional meal, you can find easy recipes that are healthy and safe. Even steaming veggies, or adding some homemade bone broth (watch your seasonings) to your dog’s kibble can make mealtimes feel special and fun for your pup.
If you just aren’t on board with cooking entire meals for your dog, even though the ingredients are simple, you can totally make homemade treats! Homemade dog treats generally use minimal ingredients, like pumpkin, peanut butter, and wheat flour. Treats don’t even always go in the oven (frozen blueberry yogurt treats) so you’re “cooking” without even turning on the stove!
Dog Cooking and Baking Tips
Before you become a personal chef to your canine, make sure you’re prepared for dog friendly cooking. Here are a few helpful tips to make things easier for you in the kitchen.
1) Keep a list of ingredients that are dog safe vs. not dog safe somewhere handy. That way, you can check things like peanut butter or pre-made bone broth before you add it to your dog’s food or treats. Here are just a few common ingredients to watch out for:
Xylitol and other artificial sweeteners
2) Keep some dog friendly ingredients on hand in case you get the urge to whip up a batch of treats. We’ve included some ingredients that are handy to have in your pantry:
Canned pumpkin (double-check that it is not pumpkin pie mix)
Peanut Butter (check to make sure it does not contain xylitol or sugar)
Apple sauce (unsweetened)
3) Avoid excess salt, and don’t add sugar. The natural sugars from fruit and vegetables are all your dog needs. If your dog’s diet is balanced, he is getting enough salt from the meat products he is consuming. Too much salt can throw off your dog’s electrolyte balance, leading to uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms.
4) Keep some airtight containers on hand specifically for your dog’s food or treats. This way you know you always have one ready, and that they aren’t all full of leftovers.
5) If you’ve decided to cook full-time for your dog, speak with your veterinarian or a veterinary dietician first to ensure your dog has all her dietary needs met.
6) Get silicone treat molds and cookie mats for your dog’s treats. Invest a few dollars into cookie cutters. Silicone molds and mats keep treats from sticking, and fun shapes will make you feel like a professional doggie baker.
7) Get a dog friendly cookbook! Why spend hours on the internet looking for recipes when you can just flip to the right page? We have the perfect recommendation for you. The Lazy Dog Mom Recipe Book has 22 super simple, healthy recipes that will turn you into a culinary expert for canines in no time.
Are you ready to whip up something delicious? Share all about your culinary creations in the comments below.