It’s been a heavy sort of week. Lots of seriousness and such in these parts. And though I have perhaps just a little more I should be saying, I’ll wait until next week because I think everyone could use some frivolity to lead into the weekend, yes?
I had a large box of produce I needed to use up this week, including a big handful of some truly delectable looking peaches. I had an epic fail earlier in the week with my Pawcurean Beety Treaties which failed to convince both humans and dogs that they were edible- back to the drawing board on that one! No matter. Peaches are a lot easier to work with than the much maligned beet.
As you’re reading this, I am most likely winging in the skies over the Western seaboard on my way to Denver for BlogPaws West. For those who can’t go, there will be plenty of people reporting back. For those of you who are there, look for me at the Be the Change for Pets panel or otherwise wandering aimlessly in the lobby looking for animals to pet. That’s my favorite pasttime.
In the meantime, here’s how I spent the Labor Day weekend: laboring. As I’ve mentioned before, my Pawcurean segment is an experiment where I don’t cook specifically for the pets. I simply take what I am making anyway and adapt it for something the dogs can enjoy too.
In the refrigerator we had: chicken breast, carrots, and broccoli. This is pretty much a staple in our home. Brody watched me chopping up the chicken breast and asked as politely as a dog knows how with big begging eyes, “Me too!!”
I think we spend so much time panicking about what not to feed our pets that we’re forgetting to focus on what they should be eating.
Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? What should my dog be eating? It’s not an answer you’ll get a lot of agreement upon. In fact, if you’re into trolling internet chat rooms and like to see bloody melees, I highly recommend going to a raw diet message board and posting how Old Roy rocks. Or vice versa.
This is a topic people get downright emotional about. I consider myself a centrist on this issue, which of course drives people on both sides crazy. As you know if you’ve read the blog for a while, I’m a big proponent of high quality foods, learning to read labels, and choosing pet foods that aren’t filled with garbage (figuratively and literally.)
I’m not telling you that I think commercial foods are better than home prepared foods- I’d love to see more people home cooking. But for the majority of the populace, who struggle with the temptation of convenience versus preparing foods for their human families never mind the pets, commercial is the food of choice. And I would be a total hypocrite to say, “You should really be cooking for your pets,” since I use commercial foods myself.
Now I do think we have let the pendulum swing a bit far in the commercial direction. When clients admit, “I feed my dog people food sometimes,” they say it so abashedly you’d think they just said, “I feed my dog Drano sometimes.”
What is people food? It’s apples and bananas and peanut butter, as well as Dunkin Donuts, Popeye’s Fried Chicken, and pork fried rice. Kale and cola. It can be much better or much worse than commercial pet food. What’s the first thing a dog food says if they are trying to sell itself as a quality food? “MADE WITH HUMAN GRADE INGREDIENTS!” See? I’m going to make a dog food called “People Food Dog Food” and it will be a hit. Hit, I tell you.
My point is, we need to free ourselves of the mindset that people food is poison. Crappy food is poison whether you are a dog or a person. The foods that are wholesome and healthy for us are generally the same for dogs too.
Yes, if you are cooking meals for your dog regularly you are going to need to do some research into balance and protein content and calcium sorts of important long term needs, but incorporating some dog appropriate, low-fat foods from your kitchen into your dog’s rotation here and there isn’t going to make them keel over and die from a kibble deficiency*.
I was in the kitchen on Sunday getting lunches ready for the work and school week, surveying the contents of my refrigerator. Brody sat nearby, eyeing me hopefully. I decided that I would incorporate what I making for us into something for him too (I’ll let Koa participate when her diet is over.) And an idea was born: Why should the dogs miss out on the fun? Why not torture the entire family with my cooking experimentation?
We are going on an epicurean journey together. Wait. Make that a pawcurean journey.
It’s hard to tell from the gloomy grey skies outside, but theoretically, it’s the height of summer. That means grilling corn, runny popsicles, and coming up with ways to help the fur-bearing house dwellers beat the heat.
Linda over at the 7MSN Ranch sent me a link to her blog post detailing a way to make a homemade version of Frosty Paws, which I have shamelessly replicated here. Even if you don’t want to make Frosty Paws, you should go check her blog out. It is awesome. It has a lot more types of animals than we do here, including but not limited to pigs, coyotes, and chickens. It kind of makes me want to go to New Mexico, like, right now.
Anyway- Frosty Paws! Have you ever tried these “ice cream” cups for dogs? The dogs sure love them, but I personally think they’re kind of gross. Yes, I tried them once. Not so great.
You can make a much yummier version yourself at home, and it’ll be cheaper too.
Here’s the ingredients:
Yogurt, peanut butter, a banana, something to put them in. (For the exact proportions, check out the link at the 7MSN ranch.)
Put in blender. Blend.
Put in cups. Stick in freezer. Doesn’t get much easier than that, huh? This is my kind of recipe.
In retrospect, I wish I had purchased cooler Dixie Cups instead of these ones that look like they belong in a dentist’s office bathroom. Oh well. I didn’t realize at the time I bought them that they would be photographed and featured prominently in a blog post.
If you also suffer from ugly Dixie cups, you could add a festive berry for garnish.
The resulting peanut butter banana smoothie is kid-tested and dog approved.
It is difficult to explain to a dog why they have to wait for something yummy to freeze.
When they are ready, and you are ready, just make sure you head outside. It can get messy.
I actually have video of the dogs going for the treats, but I had to put the camera down since Brody did the Tootsie Roll treatment: 2 licks, then grab the whole cup and inhale it like a cork straight into the back of his throat.
So yes, they liked them- but next time I need a bigger, and sturdier, cup.