Farm to Doggie Dish
Nom de plume Francine Wolfe Schwartz
Celebrate International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day February 23, 2013
It must be Diesel’s keen sense of smell that wakes him from his peaceful afternoon nap every Wednesday afternoon. Nothing gets past this Yellow Labrador! As soon as I open the garage door he’s at my heels scrutinizing our Worden Farm CSA basket wondering what’s in it just for him.
Diesel, a veggie-loving dog with a discerning palate, prefers carrots, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, or green beans. But when carrots are in season, he’s in doggie crunching heaven, waiting not so patiently for one to eat out on the lanai — let me rephrase that — practically inhale — so he can beg for another.
Our lovable lab’s love of vegetables gave us an edge on changing up his eating habits. A few years ago, Diesel’s veterinarian gave us a big wake-up call. Get those few extra pounds off his aging joints. X-rays revealed he not only suffers from age-onset arthritis, but he has congenital hip dysplasia, a chronic condition of Labradors and other large dogs.
Dr. Gross’ advice: more walks in the cooler hours of the day; cut back on the amount of dog food; limit treats, even healthy ones, and bulk up Diesel’s dish with an extra helping of vegetables — raw or steamed.
She explained to us that the extra weight increases stress on Diesel’s joints heart and eventually could effect his heart. As with two-legged animals, obesity aggravates arthritis, causes skin disease and affects the immune system. She went on to say that every ounce of extra weight dramatically decreases the life expectancy of our pets. (Good advice for two-legged animals too!)
Whatever Diesel eats, it has to be nutritious, including dog treats. Yes, there are several good brands of dog treats with ingredients that even I would eat, but they are very expensive. The method of baking crunchy doggie biscuits are the same as baking cookies (without the fat and sugar) and just like homemade anything you know exactly what ingredients goes into what you bake. Researching recipes, I heeded the veterinarian’s advice and made sure they were low in fat, high in nutrition, with no people food ingredients poisonous to dogs.
Visiting several expert websites and checking with my veterinarian, the following is a partial list of common foods to avoid giving your dog. Reading through the list of poisonous people foods, there were some foods on the list I had no idea were poisonous. (Please check with your pet’s veterinarian for more information on this subject and other diet-related information.)
PARTIAL List of Foods to Avoid Giving to Dogs
Coffee, coffee grounds
Apricot, cherry, avocado and peach pits
Grapes and Raisins
Yeast dough – uncooked bread can expand in your pet’s stomache
Raw or undercooked meat or eggs
Xylitol (sweetener found in many products)
Onion, Garlic, Chives
Baby food containing salt, onion, garlic and other poisonous foods
Mushrooms and mushroom plants
Fat, meat trimmings, luncheon meat
Sources to visit:
Veggie Truffles for Dogs
recipe courtesy of Francine Wolfe Schwartz
3 cups finely minced parsley, do not remove stems
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 1 cup water
Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or line with parchment paper a large baking sheet. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine parsley, carrots, olive oil. Add flour, wheat germ and baking powder.
Stir to combine. Gradually add 1/2 cup water. Mix well. Dough should be moist but not wet. Gradually add more water as needed.
Using a tablespoon, scoop dough, roll into a ball placing on baking sheet or if preferred flatten balls with the bottom of a lightly greased glass. Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly browned
and slightly hardened. (Will continue to harden as they cool.)
Cool and store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze. Remove as much as desired from freezer and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
St. Puptrick’s Emerald Isles for Dogs
adapted from Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way, Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup room temperature water
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach, kale, escarole or other green
nonfat milk for brushing tops
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Stir together the flour, baking powder in a bowl. Add the oil and mix with a fork until the oil is evenly distributed. Add honey, water and spinach. Using your hands or a large spoon work into a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands 2-3 minutes or until dough is well blended. Cover dough with a dish towel and allow to “rest” for 10 minutes (and you too).
Divide dough in 16 even pieces. Roll the dough into oval shapes about 2×3-inches. Brush with milk and dust with flour. (Note: dough maybe divided into smaller pieces.)
Place the bites on a lightly greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Remove sheet to a cooling tray and cool until room temperature before serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or wrap well and freeze up to 2 months, thawing before serving.