7 Delicious dog food recipes

Reader's Digest Editors

Sometimes we want to treat man's best friend to more than a tinned supper. These simple recipes will make your pooch's mealtime that little bit more special. 

Calcium-rich dog food

This easy-to-make recipe will appeal to dogs and help to strengthen their bones. Although it is not inexpensive, it costs less than many canned dog foods and you can vouch for the quality of its ingredients.

Makes six servings of one cup (around 240g) each. 

You'll need:

  • 500 g minced chicken or beef
  • 4 cups (about 750 g) cooked oatmeal or brown rice
  • 1⁄2 cup (50 g) dry breadcrumbs
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons bonemeal (available at garden centres)
  • 1 dog vitamin, crushed
  • 1⁄2 cup (60 g) grated cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. In a frying pan over medium heat, brown the meat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
  2. Stir in the other ingredients and enough water to keep the mixture from being crumbly.
  3. Cool and store in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Note: Feed according to the weight of your dog. Feed a 5 kg dog 1 cup (about 240 g) daily; add 1 cup for every 5 kg of body weight. Monitor your dog’s weight—you may need to adjust portions to avoid obesity.

 

Low-fat chicken and rice dog dinner

If you want a nutritious beef-and-wheat-free diet for your pet, this combination will satisfy its appetite and may even keep its weight under control. This is also an economical dog food with fresh ingredients. Makes six servings of one cup (about 360 g) each.

You'll need: 

  • 1.4 kg chicken, with skin and bone
  • 11⁄2 cups (280 g) cooked oatmeal or brown rice
  • 1 dog vitamin
  • 500 g fat-free cottage cheese

Method:

  1. Poach, bake or microwave the chicken until well done. Cool and cut into cubes. Drain and reserve pan juices to use as soup stock. Discard the bones.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cubed chicken and oatmeal or rice. Crumble the vitamin and stir it in.
  3. Drain the cottage cheese and fold it into the mixture.
  4. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

Delectable dog biscuits

The combination of dog food and oatmeal makes these biscuits a healthy and tasty treat for your dog. You are assured of good ingredients and a better price than commercial dog biscuits. For a nutritional boost, add a crumbled dog vitamin. Makes 16 medium biscuits

You'll need:

  • 900 g Calcium-rich dog food or canned dog food
  • 1⁄4 cup (35 g) wholemeal flour
  • 3⁄4 cup (110 g) oat bran
  • 1 cup (100 g) rolled oats
  • 1 dog vitamin, crushed (optional)
  • 1⁄4 cup (25 g) grated parmesan or cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C (Gas 1⁄2).
  2. Mix the dog food, fl our, bran, rolled oats, vitamin (if desired) and cheese (if desired for a flavour boost).
  3. Add the oil slowly, mixing the dough to a consistency that can be rolled and cut with a cookie cutter.
  4. Roll and cut or mould the biscuits; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 31⁄2 hours, or until hard.
  5. Cool and store in a covered canister in the refrigerator for a week, or in a freezer for up to one month.

 

Doggie salad

Here’s a delicious dietary supplement for your dog. Making your own costs very little and is much fresher. Dogs like carrots, which aid in digestion, freshen breath and provide vitamins. The yogurt is digestion-friendly.

You'll need:

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  • 1 cup (155 g) grated carrots, raw
  • 1⁄3 cup (60 g) cooked brown rice
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 g) fat-free plain, live-culture yogurt
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil

Method: 

  1. Mix the carrots and rice in a bowl and set aside. In a second bowl, stir together the yogurt and salad oil.
  2. Pour this mixture over the carrots and rice and toss.
  3. Store salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Serve 1⁄4 cup (about 100 g) every day along with meals or as a treat.

 

Lucky liver treats

The secret of many successful show and obedience trainers is nothing more than a little baked chewy liver nibble that dogs can’t resist. Try it—your pet will jump through hoops for this homemade treat. Makes 17 liver treats. 

You'll need:

  • 500 g beef or chicken livers
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (150 g) fl our
  • 1⁄4 cup (20 g) unprocessed bran (wheat or oat)
  • 3⁄4 cup (110 g) polenta (cornmeal)
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (Gas 6). Chop the raw livers, and then liquefy them in a blender.
  2. Add the egg, pulse to blend, and then pour the mixture into a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the flour, bran, polenta and garlic powder.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased 23 x 33 cm slice tin and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. While still warm, cut the mixture into 2–3 cm squares. Turn the squares out onto a baking rack to cool and harden.
  6. Store the cooled treats in a plastic self-sealing bag in the freezer to preserve freshness for up to 3 months. Serve either frozen or at room temperature.

 

Sweet breath dog treats

Here is a speciality dog biscuit that you don’t have to shell out a fortune for at a pet shop. Puppies often have "puppy breath" that they naturally outgrow by the age of six months. If an adult dog has occasional bad breath, this tasty recipe will combat the problem. If bad breath persists, however, it may be a sign of dental or digestive problems that a vet should treat. Makes 24 medium biscuits.

You'll need:

  • 3 teaspoons activated charcoal (available in fish section of pet shops)
  • 1⁄2 cup (75 g) wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup (150 g) white flour
  • 1⁄4 cup (20 g) bran cereal
  • 1⁄2 cup (75 g) polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 cup (30 g) chopped fresh basil, wintergreen or mint
  • 1⁄2 cup (30 g) chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1 cup (250 ml) acidophilus milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (Gas 6). Process the charcoal in a coffee grinder until finely ground. Mix the flour, bran, polenta and charcoal together in a bowl. Stir in the other ingredients.
  2. Form into bite-sized patties and place on a greased biscuit tray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until dry and hard.
  3. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

 

Doggie birthday cake

People do like to make a fuss over their dogs. For a birthday or adoption anniversary, you can go to a very fancy pet shop and spend a lot of money on a cake or you can make up this nutritious treat (to be meted out during the week) for much less. Here’s a cake that you can feel good about offering your dog. Makes one cake with 4 to 6 servings.

You'll need:

  • 1⁄3 cup (50 g) flour
  • 1⁄3 cup (50 g) polenta (cornmeal), bran or rolled oats
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 500 g minced chicken
  • 30 ml honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 g) live-culture plain  yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 container (125 g) spreadable cream cheese
  • Delectable dog biscuits (recipe above), as needed to decorate cake

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (Gas 4).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir  together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and add the chicken, honey, egg, yogurt and oil. Stir justuntil mixed.
  3. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken is done and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Turn out onto a cake rack to cool.
  5. Ice the cake with cream cheese (thin cheese, if needed, with a little milk) and decorate with the dog biscuits. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.