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Cooking For Your Best Friend

By Pam Grant

     As professional and non-professional cooks, we all have one thing in common here in our Cheftalk community, we love to cook, or at the very least talk about cooking. Ok some of us just like to eat, but no matter the severity we are all tied together somehow by food. I would be willing to wager that many of us have another love in our lives besides food. The one thing that keeps you warm at night, greets you warmly when you come home at the end of the day, and waits anxiously to see what wonderful culinary masterpiece you will bestow upon them each day. That right , I am talking about your pet.   What? You say you don’t provide your pet with culinary masterpieces? Well you can! Fido and Miss Kitty deserve good home cooking too. Let me show you how easy healthy homemade goodies are for one of the most important “people” in your life.
I first tried making homemade treats for my dog and cats when we were to having a hard financial time. Cat and Dog treats were a luxury we couldn’t afford, so, since I had plenty of food stored away, I decided I would try my hand at creating my own. “How hard can it be to make a dog biscuit?”, I asked myself. Well It isn’t hard to do but there are a few things you should consider first. Since out pets digestive systems are not built identical to ours there are many common food items which are bad even poisonous to our furry little buddies. Some of those include such things as onions, and onion powder, mushrooms, raisins, grapes, chocolate, the sweetener Xylitol (found in many candies), walnuts and many many other items. Please see http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/foods_poisonous_to_pets.html for a full list of potential hazards to your pet. Another thing to consider is your pets’ age. As our pets age there are many things we should consider such as fat content, sodium content, and in some cases carbohydrate content as many pets develop diabetes in their later years. The best thing to do should you have any questions is to call your own vet. Most veterinarians are more than willing to answer any of your questions about your dog or cats proper feeding requirements.
Once you have determined what types of things are best for your pet, your almost ready to make something special for your best friends. Most stores now carry cute little dog bone and fish shapped cookie cutters. Having one of these cute cutters isn’t a requirement but it makes doing them such fun. Remember once you have found the perfect recipe for you, homemade “gourmet” dog and cat treats, they make super gifts to give your friends and relatives. Package them up in colored plastic wrap and tie it with a ribbon and include the shapped cookie cutter and recipe so they can make them for their favorite fuzzy chum.
There are hundreds of recipes out there floating around the internet these days.  I actually got mine years ago from a newspaper article in my hometown, who got them from our local humane society. Dingo, my dog, simply loved the homemade biscuits I made for him. My cats (I have three), seemed to like the dog biscuits more than the cat treats. Go figure. Another day they might like the cat treats more. Hey they are cats! They are like that! The dog biscuit recipe I will provide is a very basic one. I have added shredded cheddar cheese and cooked spinach to this to add to the flavor. Try adding cheese to the cat treats too.
Homemade Dog Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup brewer’s yeast (found in most health food stores)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 egg yokes
3 bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 ½ cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Roll out the dough to 3/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Turn biscuits over and leave in oven till cool. Makes about 1 pound of small dog bone shaped biscuits.
Mackerel Cat Treats
1 cup drained canned or fresh cooked mackerel
1 cup whole grain bread crumb
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, break fish into little pieces. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. The mixture can also be pressed into a mold onto the cookie sheet if a specific shape is desired, however the shape should be a small one to work well. 
Bake for 6-10 minutes depending on shape and size. Cool and store in an air tight container in the fridge. Amount of treats will vary depending on the size you make.


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ChefTalk.com › Articles › Cooking For Your Best Friend