Watch out for the Fangs of Drool – dinner’s ready and it smells super delish! The only problem with home cooking for dogs is that my kitchen floors get wet puddles on them twice a day…I remember having to coax Hank into eating his kibble way back when, sometimes it would take a few minutes for him to really believe that was all he was going to get. Now it’s happy dances, yipping, scrambling, and my least favourite, mega-drooling. But what a small price to pay for my super shiny, barely shedding, healthy babies!
Today, I’m sharing one of the staples in my arsenal of dog dinners. For The Boys, I consider this to be a very balanced meal. When we think of what constitutes a “square meal” for people, most of us think: meat/other protein, a carb and a colourful variety of vegetables. Well, its pretty much the same concept for a home cooked dog’s dinner. We just want to make sure we don’t use any food items that are toxic for dogs (such as onions), and you don’t want to add a lot of salt or cook things in a greasy fashion.
This dinner portion is perfect for my younger chocolate lab, who eats a meal like this twice a day. My older guy, Hank, gets slightly less, being a senior citizen who doesn’t expend as much energy as his lil’ buddy Miko. I know a lot of you who are new to home cooking for dogs want to be told precisely how much of what to feed them. Although other “experts” will provide charts, calculations etc., I won’t do that for you, because I think of each dog as an individual. For example, Miko loves fruit. Hank spits it out. (and then Miko eats it, yum!) Some dogs get tons of exercise, and some don’t. Certain foods work better for certain dogs…so at the end of the day, you do need to figure out what your dog needs based on the lifestyle you provide them with, and by assessing what works for them. I talk more about this in the Resources section of my website. If you’re more comfortable following someone’s meal plans & calculations for your dog, then perhaps start that way and then branch out from there. Once you get into it, I’m sure you’ll realize that it’s not all that different from cooking for ourselves!
I’m calling this a diner-style dinner because the “scoops” remind me of a big plate special at a greasy spoon…
1 cup chopped cooked meat (this is venison, nice and lean)
1 small potato
1/2 cup chopped steamed veg (carrots and broccoli)
1 scoop of pure pumpkin (about 1/4 cup)
1 scoop of plain yogurt (about 1/4 cup)
*optional – tsp kelp, tsp flour
I had some venison leg meat in the freezer, so I browned it and then braised it in some water along with some small potatoes for about an hour. You could cook any meat you like, beef, chicken, turkey, etc. As an option, you can remove the meat & potatoes and quickly whisk some flour in for a “gravy”. You don’t really need to put gravy on their dinner, but I did it this time as an example for people with messy eaters – the gravy helps to keep the meat and potatoes in more of a “clump”.
I had some steamed vegetables left over from the night before – steaming is optimal, but you can cook them however you like, just don’t fry them in a ton of oil. I buy big cans of pure pumpkin, and use it in the dogs’ meals a couple of times per week, what I don’t use goes into their treats. I also keep a tub of plain yogurt for The Boys, and they get a scoop two-three times per week (not every day).
Add chopped vegetables, a scoop of pumpkin puree, a scoop of yogurt to the dog dish. When the meat is cool enough to chop, do so, and also chop the potatoes. Put it back into the pot with your “gravy” and mix ‘er up. Add the desired amount of the meat & potatoes to your dog dish, and save the rest for more meals. If you have kelp, sprinkle it on top.
This is also a great dinner for people (minus the pumpkin puree and kelp).
Laters, baby –
P.S. This is what The Boys look like when you ask if they want a “Treat”!