We know you love your pets and want the best for them. When it comes to animal food, a home-cooked meal can deliver superior nutrition and be a healthful dietary addition.
Looking for inspiration? Here are a few of our favorite tried-and-true recipes.
Chicken Fried Rice
This recipe is intended for adult dogs without special dietary needs. One serving meets half the daily requirements for protein, fat, carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, and chloride for a 40-pound dog; bonemeal and supplements meet remaining micronutrient requirements.
- 1½ teaspoons organic canola oil
- 1 cup boneless, skinless chicken breast cubes (½-inch pieces)
- 1 /8 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 /8 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 /3 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
- ¼ cup finely chopped carrot
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari
- 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil, or ½ teaspoon dried
- ¾ cup cooked long-grain brown rice
- Bonemeal powder (about 1 teaspoon)
- Pet-specific multivitamin and mineral supplement
1. In a wok or nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink.
2. Add peas, carrot, tamari, and basil. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until carrot is tender-crisp. Remove from heat and stir in rice. Let cool until just warm to the touch.
3. Stir in bonemeal and supplement (amount varies depending on size of dog and brand). Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.
PER SERVING (numbers do not reflect supplements): 938 cal, 40g fat (20g mono, 11g poly, 9g sat), 106mg chol, 45g protein, 84g carb, 9g fiber, 1544mg sodium
Mom's Famous Pumpkin Biscotti for Dogs
These delicious cookies have a crunchy texture that helps maintain healthy teeth. Makes about one pound.
- 1 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons organic canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée, honey, water, oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda until well mixed.
2. In the bowl, use hands to knead dough until it holds together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a log. Flatten the logs to about 4 inches wide. With a fork, poke holes all over the surface of the logs. Place about 4 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until firm. Place pan on a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.
3. With a sharp knife, cut each log crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place, cut side down, about ½ inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes more, or until completely hard. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 30 days.
PER SERVING (¼ ounce): 39 cal, 1g fat (0g mono, 0g poly, 0g sat), 2mg chol, 1g protein, 7g
Cat's Meow Chicken Mix
A mélange so delectable even the pickiest cat will succumb. If you don’t use fresh meat right away, freeze it and defrost in the refrigerator. Introduce new foods into your cat’s diet just a dot at a time, doubling the amount every second meal until you work up to a regular serving. It can take cats several weeks to adjust to a new food. Makes one cup.
- ½ pound cooked chicken (thigh or breast meat), cut into pea-size pieces
- 2 drops olive oil
- 1 organic egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon bonemeal
- ½ teaspoon fish oil
- 1 cat multivitamin per serving, crushed
- Pet digestive enzymes (read label for dose)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable baby food, such as carrot, squash, or peas, optional (no onion powder)
1. Mix together all ingredients until well blended. Feed an adult cat as much as it will eat in 20–30 minutes: about ½–¾ cup for a small cat, ¾–1 cup for a medium cat, and 1¼–2 cups for a large cat. Refrigerate leftovers for up to four days.
PER SERVING (½ cup; numbers do not reflect multivitamin or digestive enzymes): 325 cal, 17g fat (8g mono, 4g poly, 5g sat), 158mg chol, 20g protein, 21g carb, 0g fiber, 511mg sodium
Freeze in zip-top bags, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes about 5 cups.
- ½ cup brown rice flour or barley flour
- ½ cup nonfat dry milk (in powder form)
- ½-1 teaspoon wheat germ
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon steamed broccoli, mashed or puréed
- 1-2 drops soy sauce
- 1 (15-ounce) can salmon, undrained
- 2 organic egg yolks
- 2 drops olive oil
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend well. Spread in a well-oiled 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Cut into ¼-inch squares. Serve up to 12 pieces daily, three times per week.
PER SERVING (2 pieces): 29 cal, 1g fat (0g mono, 0g poly, 0g sat), 19mg chol, 3g protein, 2g carb, 0g fiber, 50mg sodium
—Karin Lazarus and Phil Klein