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Home cooking for your dog’s health

As published in Canadian Dogs Annual
Home cooking for your dog’s health

Variety is crucial to a healthy diet. A selection of foods and ingredients means your companion is getting the full range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients she needs to stay in top condition.

Today’s premium foods offer a choice of protein sources and flavors to keep your companion looking forward to his meals. You also have the option of home cooking.

You can add even more dietary variety by dressing your dog or cat’s meals with tasty and nutritious toppers. The following recipes and ideas combine optimum nutrition with flavor – and they’re easy to prepare. Try and choose organic products wherever possible.

Simple stock

Ingredients

•12 cups filtered water
•1 1/2 pounds chicken necks and backs
•1 carrot, cut in pieces
•1 celery stalk, cut in pieces
• 2 fresh Shiitake mushrooms, cut in slices; if fresh mushrooms are not available, use 2 large dry Shiitake mushrooms
•1 clove garlic
• 1 small piece fresh ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
•1 teaspoon sea salt
•Handful (1/2 cup) of fresh parsley
• Other herbs of your choice can be added, including marjoram, thyme and oregano.

Instructions

This nutrient-dense broth can be used as a topper for regular meals.

Place all ingredients in a stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil, skim off the foam, turn the heat down to a low simmer, and leave the pot to sit and stew for about six hours.

Refrigerate overnight. Next morning, skim the fat off the top, remove the meat and vegetables, strain the stock and store in containers. It freezes beautifully.

The meat (cooked bones removed) and cooked vegetables can be added to your companion’s meals. Broth can be added to his drinking water for extra nourishment and to encourage adequate water intake.

Bone booster

Ingredients

• 1 to 2 pounds chicken or turkey bones OR 2 large beef marrow bones or other marrow bones (only certified organic bones, with no hormones or antibiotics, should be used)
•2 cloves garlic
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or 1/2 lemon
•Filtered water
•Handful (1/2 cup) of fresh parsley

Instructions

Place the bones, vinegar or lemon juice, and garlic in a large pot or crock pot. Cover with filtered water. Bring the mixture to a boil, skimming the “particulates” and foam that rise to the top, then turn down the heat to a low simmer.

Leave the bones to simmer away all day or night. Add the parsley just a few minutes before you drain the broth from the bones. Discard the bones, but keep all the meat, cartilage and marrow in the broth. This makes a perfect meal topper.

Cartilage and tendons provide instant chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine. This is a great broth to store in the freezer. It also makes a good base for soups, stews and extra special treats, and can be used for the whole family. Bone marrow soup contains stem cells!

Liver lottery

Ingredients

• 1 cup chopped raw liver (beef, chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, etc.; only certified organic liver should be used)
• 2 tablespoons filtered water
• 1 tablespoon potato flour (optional)
• 1 clove garlic, finely minced
• Pinch of turmeric

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a small pan and gently sauté on medium heat. Make sure it has cooled completely before serving.

This recipe takes less than five minutes to prepare. It can also be easily whirled in a food processor and served as a sauce.

Flan for the finicky

Ingredients

• 2 cups finely grated raw carrot, sweet potato, yams or a combination; you can also use 2 cups finely grated apple*
• 6 raw egg yolks
• 6 tablespoons broth or filtered water (for finicky felines, use the broth from a can of fish, like tuna)
•1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*If you use apple, replace 1/2 teaspoon sea salt with   teaspoon cinnamon, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon carob 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a Pyrex or cake pan. Whisk egg yolks with water or broth and add sea salt. Add grated carrot and mix thoroughly. Bake 30 minutes.

Cool, cut into strips and use as a garnish. If desired, top with goat yogurt.

Purrfect poached fish

Ingredients

•1/4 pound white fish (tilapia, Pollock, Ling cod)
•1/2 cup filtered water
• 1 clove garlic
•1 teaspoon fresh parsley
• 1 teaspoon on fresh catnip or 1/2 teaspoon dried catnip
•1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, except the fish. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer for 15 minutes.

Gently add the fish to the broth and cook for 15 minutes more. Cool before serving as a garnish.

Dr. Carter’s cancer cocktail

Nobody has been able to put a cap on cancer yet, but every day we are learning new ways to support our animal companions. Dr. John Carter, a British veterinary surgeon and research scientist, created this cancer cocktail after losing his own dog to the disease.

Ingredients

•8 ounces raw chopped liver
•4 ounces grated carrot
•1/2 ounce ground Brazil nuts

Instructions

Simply pureé the ingredients and serve as a topping, or if necessary, as a complete meal. It’s bursting with flavor and nutrients, including potassium and selenium.

Congee

Congee is traditionally called his-fan or rice water and is eaten throughout China, most often as a breakfast food. It is a thin porridge or gruel, made from of a handful (1/2 to 1 cup) of rice, simmered in five or six times the amount of water. Although rice is the most common whole grain for congees, millet, spelt and other whole grains can also be used, as well as pseudo whole grains like quinoa.

Cook the rice and water in a covered pot for four to six hours at a very low simmer. A crock pot or rice cooker works perfectly. It is better to use too much water than not enough, and it is said the longer the congee cooks, the more “powerful” it becomes.

Simply add 1 teaspoon of Shiitake mushroom powder to your congee before cooking for a powerful healing whole food topper.

Perfect pumpkin purée

Pumpkin is often called “medicine in a can” and is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. It helps strengthen the blood and soothes a sick stomach. It is very rich in fiber and contains many disease-fighting nutrients, including one of the most valuable sources of bioavailable carotenoids. It contains vitamins A, C, E and K, folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Always have a can of plain canned pumpkin on hand for your animals. It’s great for diarrhea and it is just as good for constipation! Add ground cinnamon and carob for a great flavor boost, and to further protect your pet’s gastrointestinal system. Use it to garnish your companion’s meals.

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