Catherine Anderson

Happy Pets

Animal Recipes From My Kitchen

Horse Cookies
Bark-B-Que Dog Biscuits


Should you decide to order the following book and prepare your own pet food, I have found it easier to use bone meal powder in my recipes instead of bone meal tablets. It takes a bit of figuring to determine how much powder is equal to a 10-grain tablet, but once you get it figured out, the powder mixes nicely into the food, which is easier than smashing tablets. I order my bone meal powder from an Internet site that sells human grade vitamin and mineral supplements. To avoid possible mad-cow contamination, be certain to choose a reputable brand of bone meal made in the United States from animals raised in the United States.

The Book

HOME-PREPARED DOG & CAT DIETS:
The Healthful Alternative
By Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD

This is the best pet-recipe book I've found, covering both canines and felines. It includes vegetarian recipes, though I do not personally recommend that you should deprive natural carnivores of meat. This book also has recipes for puppies, tables to assist you in determining any pet's caloric needs, including cats and kittens, and also includes dietary advice and recipes for pets with the following conditions:

  • Diet and Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Diet and Skin Disease
  • Diet and Food Allergy
  • Feeding to Manage Obesity
  • Diet-Related Skeletal and Joint Diseases in Dogs
  • Diet and Chronic Renal Disease
  • Diet and Urinary Tract Stone Disease
  • Diet and Endocrine Disease
  • Diet and Heart Disease
  • Diet and Pancreatic Disease
  • Diet and Hepatic Disease

Shopping Tips

I go to a place called Cash and Carry, which supplies local restaurants and elderly care facilities, but also sells bulk foods to the public. If you don't have a Cash and Carry in your area, perhaps you have a United Grocers location or another grocery warehouse that sells food items in bulk for far less money. Everything at Cash and Carry is human grade, so even though you're saving money, you aren't compromising on quality.

Meat:

For a time, I bought lean pork shoulder in bulk, which is really pretty inexpensive when you consider how much one can of pet food costs, but pork also tends to have more fat, which I trimmed away, creating waste, which increases the cost per pound. In the end, I think the slightly more expensive cuts of lean beef are more economical and healthier for my dogs. I buy beef trimmings, which is intended to be stew meat for human consumption. I also buy the peeled beef knuckle, which is fairly lean and cooks up nice and tender.

I have three dogs, two medium-sized and one small, so I get two or three huge packages of meat when I go to Cash and Carry. Once at home, my husband and I slice the raw meat into small chunks and freeze them in gallon freezer bags, ready for cooking when needed.

Rice:

I get brown rice in bulk at Cash and Carry. If you settle on a rice diet for your pet, a good rice cooker simplifies meal preparation. I buy the brown rice because it is slightly lower on the Glycemic Index than white rice and I believe it is more healthful for my dogs. However Dr. Strombeck does not stipulate white or brown rice in his recipes, so consult with your veterinarian.

Gravy mix:

I use a basic beef and rice dog food recipe and add fat-free gravy to make it tastier for my dogs. I get fat-free, brown and chicken gravy mixes in large bags at Cash and Carry. It's much less expensive than buying the little packets at the grocery store. After I cook the cubed beef or chicken, I scoop out the meat with a slotted spoon into a large bowl. Then I use the meat drippings, flour and water as a thickener, gravy mix, and water to make the gravy, mixing it thin to avoid feeding my animals too much sodium. I make large amounts of meat, rice, and gravy and store all three in the refrigerator for daily use. At night, I mix my dogs' meals fresh. They are very happy dogs when they see their dishes emerge from the pantry.

Yogurt Tip:

According to different information I've read, dogs need certain digestive enzymes. Strombeck does not note in his recipes the need for a digestive-enzyme supplement, but many other pet recipes I've seen in other pet cookbooks call for one. Before I began cooking for my dogs, I was unaware of their digestive-enzyme requirements, and they often ate grass and had upset stomachs. That is no longer a problem because I give my dogs a dollop of active-culture yogurt every three days. I get the fruity flavors, and my dogs love them. Other dogs and probably most cats may refuse to eat fruit-based yogurt, so use plain, active-culture yogurt and add it to their food, once every three days. (I divide one container of yogurt between three dogs. A lot of yogurt isn't necessary.) Just make sure it says "active cultures" on the container.'

Horse Cookies

4 cups wheat flour
3 cups oatmeal
1 egg
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup molasses
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup applesause (I used homemade)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and grease a cookie sheet. Mix oatmeal and brown sugar together. Mix in the egg, oil, applesauce, and molasses. Add hot water and mix well. (My Kitchen Aid mixer makes fast work of this!) You can roll out the dough on a floured surface, cut shapes using cookie cutters, or make balls and flatten them with a floured, flat-bottomed glass to 1/2 inch thick. Or you can dip the glass in oil and then sugar to flatten the dough balls—my preferred method. The horses love the shimmer of white sugar, and it's much easier than rolling and cutting.

Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake for one hour. Then turn off oven and leave the cookies in the closed oven until they are cool so they will be crisp. For crispier cookies, turn the heat way down—to about 150 or 200 degrees—and let them dry out even more.

The horses love these treats! Store in an airtight container.

Bark-B-Que Dog Biscuits

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 egg
1/2 cup water
One beaten egg white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and then add to dry ingredients. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut in desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, baste with egg white, and bake for 25 minutes. Leave in closed oven until cool.

Tip: With my Kitchen Aid, I can throw all the ingredients together in one bowl. I also make a double batch because I have three dogs. In order to give my dogs treats often without adding to their waistlines, I cut my dog biscuits into small squares, about an inch or an inch and a half square. That way, they enjoy the treats whenever I wish to give them one, and I don't need to worry about overdoing it. I store them in an airtight cookie jar or in a gallon-size freezer bag.

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