April 28, 2011

It’s all too easy to “scoop and run” when you serve Fido a meal of kibble every day. But have you ever thought about how a healthy, homemade meal or hand-baked treat, infused with your very own love and good intent might be a way to make him feel extra special?

Here are some recipes for treats and dinners to prepare at home and feed in place of (or mixed in with) Fido’s usual meals. Remember to discuss long-term dietary changes with your vet, especially if you have a dog with special needs.

Sardine & Apricot Mush

¼ Cup dried apricots
¼ Can pumpkin (not pie mix)
1 Can low-sodium sardines
in oil or water
½ Cup cooked millet
½ Cup plain, live-culture yogurt
1 Teaspoon powdered spirulina (optional)

Drain the sardines. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and stir gently until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate the mixture and add a couple of tablespoons to each of your pet’s usual meals until it’s all gone.

Apricots contain Vitamin A, C, Potassium and tryptophan. Nutrients in apricots can help protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease-fighting effects of fiber. The high beta-carotene and lycopene activity of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Powdered spirulina is available from health food stores.

Springtime Topper

¼ Cup fresh fennel, finely diced (raw or steamed)
¼ Cup fava beans, lightly cooked
1 Tablespoon cherries, pitted and diced
½ Cup live culture plain yogurt
1 Cup cooked ground meat, such as turkey (optional)

Combine all the ingredients gently with a spoon in a large bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the mix to each of your pet’s usual meals. Refrigerate any leftovers for two to three days in a covered container.

Fennel is bursting with powerful antioxidants such as Quercitin and some studies are underway to investigate its possible cancer-fighting properties. It’s a warming herb, which is very useful for gas and indigestion. Fava Beans tonify the spleen, liver, kidneys and pancreas, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. Cherries are loaded with antioxidants and nourish the liver and kidneys.

Antioxidant-Rich Blueberry Mini Muffins

This recipe is fun to make and tastes delicious. It’s a real departure from more usual dog treats! Each of the ingredients here is laden with antioxidants or other important nutrients that support the immune system especially during stress, chronic illness or aging. You will need a small size muffin pan and small paper cups for this recipe.

¼ Cup flax meal (or milled flax)
½ Cup dried or fresh blueberries
¼ Cup wheat germ
¼ Cup nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon kelp powder
1 Teaspoon vitamin C powder (optional)
2 large eggs
¼ Cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the dry ingredients including the blueberries (the first six items in the list) in a mixing bowl and fold together to combine thoroughly. Next, add in the moist ingredients (the last three on the list) and stir again to form a thick batter. Pour this batter into mini muffin pans with paper cups so that they are about half full. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees until firm to touch. Cool thoroughly before serving and store in an airtight refrigerator for up to a week. The muffins can also be frozen if desired.

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