Whether your four-legged friend is a scruffy fellow you picked up at the pound or a designer dog with a pedigree, our pets have a way of working their way into our hearts.
Over time they’ve become a much bigger part of our lives, often considered just another member of the family. They’re our best friends and have seen us through thick and thin, so don’t you think it’s about time we do something extra special for them?
Baking treats at home is a great choice for pet parents, emphasized local Veterinarian Roger Paulson of Stine Veterinary Hospital. “If you really want good nutrition for your dog, just make them yourself.” He pointed out that a lot of store-bought doggie bones are like junk food, because companies go out of their way to make treats attractive to pets and the owners who purchase them. A few things to watch out for are high sodium and fat, as well as preservatives and artificial flavors and colors.
And the doctor has first-hand experience. When a pet owner came into his office asking for some ideas, he researched, looking up recipes that he knew would be perfect for dogs. “I had kind of looked at different treats that were being made by some different people and thought ‘let’s tweak this and that to up the protein and lower the carbohydrates.’ ” He even added blueberries, an excellent source of antioxidants.
Omega fatty acids, like those from fish oils, are another ingredient he suggested using, since these will give your pet’s coat a great shine. Beyond that, he doesn’t recommend adding a lot of herbs, vitamins, and supplements. A well balanced kibble will already provide a lot of what they need and since regular foods are already high in carbohydrates, you should try to keep carbs as low as possible in anything extra you give your dog. Have fun playing around with ingredients to fit your pet’s (and your own) tastes, just make sure to double check the AKC.org website or ask your veterinarian to ensure that they are completely safe. Find more fun recipes that your pup is sure to love on our website at BakersfieldMagazine.net!
Erin Primicerio, owner of the Bakersfield-based Animal Lovers Bakery shared a recipe that is sure to make your furry friend hop with delight. We’re sure you’ve noticed that every time you fry up some bacon, your pup comes running. So why not cook up some especially for a batch of Bacon Bark Bites?
Bacon Bark Bites
- 1/4 c. bacon, chopped
- 1/4 c. bacon fat
- 1 egg (or 1/4 c. flaxseed)
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 2 3/4 c. brown rice flour
- 1 1/4 c. coconut milk
Cook bacon until crispy, let cool on paper towels. Chop using a knife or food processor. Add ingredients to a bowl, and mix until well combined. Roll out on a floured board. Use either fun shaped cookie cutters or a pizza wheel to make 1-inch wide sticks. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
We get it, you “heart” your doggie. But sometimes you want to go the extra mile and show them just how much you care. And what better way to do that than to give them a delicious snack? “They are a fun summer treats that you can enjoy with your dog as well, plus you can add other fruits or veggies to suit your dog’s taste buds,” Primicerio added.
Strawberry ‘n’ Banana Bones
- 1/2 c. diced strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1 c. brown rice flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 1/4 c. oats (or flaxseed)
- 1/4 c. coconut milk (or plain Greek yogurt)
Mash bananas and strawberries. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Turn dough out onto a well floured board. Dough will be sticky (you can add some more flour and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes). Roll out dough so that it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes with your choice of cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown, and still slightly soft. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Images by thinkstockphoto.com/BananaStock (dog); Erin Ducat (treats)