Healthy, happy dogs are at the heart of what we do here at FidoActive, but just like it’s said about us humans, the way to a dog’s heart can also be through food!
Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to eat the same food every day? How boring!
I’m sure our furry friends are trying to tell us something, when they look with longing eyes and slobbering jowls, while we cook up a juicy beef or salmon steak next to a bowl of dried or tinned dog food.
National Cook for Your Pets Day is always observed on November 1. It originated with the aim for us to use this day to reflect on what we feed our pets and specifically, to ensure they enjoy a varied, well-balanced and nutritious diet.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you stop feeding your dog their regular food overnight. Any changes should be brought in gradually, so they can get used to it. But what I am suggesting, is that, say, once every month or fortnight, you cook something that is tasty and nutritious that BOTH YOU AND YOUR CANINE COMPANIONS CAN ENJOY AT THE SAME TIME.
The first time I did it was a revelation and NO EXTRA WORK! But, the best bit was, without doubt, the simple enjoyment of spending some special time with my beloved dog Brillo (whose gaze was transfixed all the time I was cooking!), sharing a meal sitting next to each other and watching his enjoyment as he woofed up the ‘human’ food (on a ‘human’ plate specially reserved for him!) with relish. Absolutely priceless!
The basic rule of thumb for a dog’s meal is: 10% carbs, 50% vegetables and 40% protein and about 1oz of protein per 10 pounds of dog.
I started with this SUPER SIMPLE salmon meal but, to Brillo, it was like food of the Gods. Here are the instructions to give it a go yourself. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of recipes available on line, on sites such as cookforyourpets.com, amongst many others, to give you a helpful guide.
– Heat oven grill to full heat
-Drizzle olive or vegetable oil over both sides of the salmon. Place on cooking tray with skin facing up. (Care: DO NOT use coconut oil. DO NOT add salt, spices, seasoning)
– Grill for 14 minutes, then remove tray from oven. Using a knife and your fingers, carefully peel the skin off the flesh and flip the skin over, so crispy side is next to flesh. Return to grill for 5 minutes, or until skin is nice and crispy. Then flip the skin over once again and cook for a further 5 minutes.
– Serve with a selection of vegetables (e.g. carrots, broccoli, green beans, potatoes) OR rice mixed with vegetables.
N.B. You can set aside the crispy skin to break into pieces and use as treats!
However, PLEASE REMEMBER these 3 ESSENTIAL SAFETY POINTS:
1. DO NOT add salt or spices to the food – dogs don’t need seasoning and may actually upset their stomach. Salt is especially harmful to dogs. You can season your own meal when it’s served on your plate.
2. If your pet suffers from any sort of health condition, please consult your veterinarian before feeding them any new type of food.
3. Dogs are much more sensitive to certain types of food, and some ‘human’ foods are actually toxic to them. Please see the list below of the most common everyday foods you should NEVER feed your dog. (source: ASPCA website: aspca.org:80/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.html
CARE: If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Chocolate (in any form)
Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate-covered espresso beans)
Grapes and Raisins
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Moldy or spoiled foods
Also, be careful with milk and other milk-based products, as they can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Cooking and sharing a meal with your dog is truly one of the easiest and fun ways to show how much you love them. You will also create some magical memories at the same time, that I’m sure you will treasure for years to come.
If you want to celebrate a special occasion, such as their birthday or adoption day, there are plenty of dog-friendly places to eat too! Some restaurants, such as the Bistro restaurant in Cannon Beach, Oregon even take it to the next level, by offering meals for canine companions. Now that’s what I call really dog-friendly!
So, go on, reward their unconditional love and loyalty, by cooking up a feast for the special furry friends in your life today!
Happy NCFYP Day!
Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team