Holiday Fare you Can Share: Home Cooking for Dogs and Cats

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Posted by Pets Best on 11/17/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

The holidays are full of warm, happy occasions shared with family, and for people like us, pets play just as large a role in these occasions as humans do. But by treating pets just like people, could we be killing them with kindness?

Along with celebrating the joy and love of family togetherness, Thanksgiving traditionally celebrates a bounty of delicious homemade foods. It’s understandable that we would want to share this bounty with our four-legged family members, but there are plenty of good reasons not to. Foods laden with spices, salt, or fat, for example, can cause stomach distress in pets and can even lead to serious health problems. Plus, there is concern that feeding pets a menu of human food, whether the feeding is done at the table or in pets’ regular feeding areas, can encourage begging.

Still, as family members, don’t Fido and Felix deserve some lovin’ from the oven? Of course they do! So when you’re planning Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget your pets. Cooking for cats and dogs is actually a major trend among pet owners. An online search reveals that there hundreds of pet cookbooks on the market and thousands of recipes available to download.

One of the best pet cookbooks, Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome , was written by pet author Arden Moore ( Incredibly, it has reached sixth place on Amazon’s list of top-selling books. Each of the 50 nutritionally-balanced recipes was approved by Dr. Rebecca Remillard DVM, of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, including such drool-inducing favorites as Pooch Pancakes, Gobble-Down Goulash and Leap for Liver.

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Moore’s publisher, Storey Publishing, also offers a cookbook titled Real Food for Cats: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Feline Gastronome by Patti Delmonte. This holiday season, you might want to try Delmonte’s “Turkey Surprise” for cats or Moore’s “Fido Thanksgiving Feast” for dogs; both are reprinted below. With these special dishes, your pet can participate in the Thanksgiving festivities without the problems that come with traditional holiday fare (make sure to remove the skin, which is high in fat, from turkey meat).

It’s important to note that the recipes in Real Food for Dogs and Real Food for Cats are not meant to replace high-quality pet foods, but to add to your pet’s diet, creating variety and interest.

Dogs and cats, of course, have different nutritional needs – one interesting difference is that cats are classified as carnivores, meaning that they can’t maintain their health without a regular supply of meat in their diet. Dogs, on the other hand, are considered to be omnivores, and may benefit from a diet of wider variety including cooked egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt, rice, pasta and even veggies.

“Vegetables are a great source for that chubby canine who looks like a furry ottoman,” Moore explains. She suggests a replacing a portion of their kibble or canned food with steamed green beans or steamed carrots. “It enables the dog to still feel full without as many calories.”

Whether you’re cooking for your dog or your cat, you’ll be showing your love by keeping them as healthy as possible, says Moore: “If you invest in quality food in your pet’s bowl, you increase the chances that your pet will live a longer, healthier life plus you will save on veterinary bills. It’s a win-win for you and your pet.”

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1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup mashed potatoes
1 egg
½ cup diced cooked turkey meat
½ cup chopped broccoli
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the potatoes and egg.
Pour the potato and egg mix into the pan. Add the turkey and broccoli.
Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer until the egg is cooked.
Top with the grated cheese and let it cook for a few minutes longer to allow the cheese to melt.
Let cool before serving.
NOTE: this recipe’s portion is based on a medium-sized dog between 30-50 pounds. Adjust the portion accordingly for the size of your dog.



Turkey won’t be much of a surprise to the people at your Thanksgiving table, but your cat will be delighted to see this dish in her bowl on that holiday — or any other day, for that matter.

1 teaspoon iodized salt
2 teaspoons corn oil
1½ cups water
½ cup uncooked rice
½ pound turkey giblets, chopped into kitty-bite-size pieces
¼ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup chopped spinach
Add the salt and oil to the water and bring to a boil. Pour the rice into the boiling water, lower heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the turkey giblets, carrot, and spinach. Cover and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes. Cool and serve.
Makes 4 or 5 servings.

*Reprinted with permission from Storey Publishing

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