You can make some good pet cuisine yourself at home. But you do have to be extremely careful about the ingredients. Onions, for example, can make dogs anemic, while even a single serving of grapes or raisins can lead to rapid kidney failure. Fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis, while raw yeast dough could expand in your pet's digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Chocolate can make dogs extremely sick. Here are some recipes:
Beefy red hearts
Plain, unflavored gelatin can help to prevent arthritis, arthrosis and other degenerative joint disorders in dogs.
2 cups Lakewood Organic Super Veggie Juice, or other organic vegetable juice
3 or 4 ice cubes
7 envelopes Knox gelatin
1 pint beef broth (no onions)
Pour the juice into a bowl and add ice cubes. Sprinkle gelatin over the juice; stir until gelatin has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
In a saucepan, bring beef broth to a boil. Add gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Place in a rectangular glass baking dish and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
Cut into squares or use a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Makes 2 dozen squares.
Dog-Gone Good Cuisine: More Healthy, Fast and Easy Recipes for You and Your Pooch (St. Martin's Griffin; Feb. 18, 2014; $21.99)
Sweet potato biscuits
A good source of dietary fiber and vitamins B6 and C, sweet potatoes make a great base for great doggie treats.
1 large sweet potato, baked and mashed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together and knead a few times. Roll the dough into a thick sheet and cut out desired shape of biscuits.
Arrange biscuits on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until crunchy and golden brown.
Store them in an airtight container or sealed jar for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 1 dozen biscuits.
Adapted from Dog Treat Cookbook: 20 Homemade Recipes Your Dog Will Love by Wendy Wright (Amazon Digital Services; Jan. 2014; $2.99 on Kindle)
Peanut butter and buckwheat kisses
Peanut butter is a good source of protein, vitamins and healthy fats. Just be sure to choose an all-natural brand without added sugar or salt.
Vegetable oil for greasing
1 3/4 cups buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
½ cup and 1 tablespoon steel-cut oats
1 heaping teaspoon blackstrap molasses
½ cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Put buckwheat flour and oats into a bowl.
Measure blackstrap molasses into a small bowl. Pour boiling water over molasses and stir until dissolved. Add peanut butter and stir. Add to bowl with the flour and oats and mix together to form a soft dough. (If it is a little dry, add a few tablespoons of water.)
Lightly flour a clean work surface with additional buckwheat flour and turn out the dough onto it. Roll small pieces of dough into balls about half the size of golf balls. Put them on the prepared cookie sheet and press down gently on each ball with your thumb. Bake for 25 minutes.
Let the kisses cool (they should be quite hard), then store them in a sealed container. They should keep for at least a week.
Dinner for Dogs: 50 Home-Cooked Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Dog by Henrietta Morrison (The Experiment, June 2013, $15.95)
Sure, you can take your sweetie out to eat on Valentine's Day, but if you really want to impress the one you love, you can't miss with a meal cooked from scratch. This easy but still special seafood dish pairs creamy, cheesy spinach with heart-healthy salmon. It's both pretty on the plate and low-cal enough that you can splurge on dessert.
Plus, you don't have to worry about feeding any leftovers to your dog — the recipe comes from Gayle Pruitt's Dog-Gone Good Cuisine, a book of healthful recipes for humans and their canine kids.
For added nutrition, swap cooked quinoa tossed with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley for the rice — it's full of protein and fiber.
4 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of excess moisture
4 ounces ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 6-ounce salmon fillets
Lemon slices, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add spinach, ricotta, Parmesan and egg to a food processor and puree.
Brush oil on bottom and sides of a glass ovenproof dish. Add rice to bottom of dish and spread out evenly. Spoon the chicken broth evenly over the rice.
Place salmon fillets over the rice and spoon the pureed mixture over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes; when done, spinach should be puffed.
Garnish with lemon slices.
Dog-Gone Good Cuisine: More Healthy, Fast and Easy Recipes for You and Your Pooch by Gayle Pruitt (St. Martins, Feb. 18, 2014; $21.99)