I mean, can you imagine eating the same meals and the same snacks and drinking the same water day in and day out? It would drive any of us crazy. My (not-so-) little girls are puppies, so chewing is always a fun game — more for them than for my shoes, my laptop cord or the baseboards (yes, the baseboards — I don't even understand how!).
They love their Kongs filled with peanut butter or treats, but I wanted something that lasts as long as the peanut butter without all the fat (salt and sugar) and something that lasts a bit longer than their treats.
Forever a fan of homemade dog food, I decided there had to be something I could make for their favorite toy. I decided to start with an American classic: meat and potatoes.
This is a pretty flexible recipe. I like making it from scratch to avoid extra sodium and fat in their diet, but you can use leftover cooked meat or mashed potatoes so long as they don't have anything that isn't good for dogs, like onions or garlic in them. Before you use any ingredient, always look up whether it's OK for dogs. There are lots of things we can eat that they can't or shouldn't. I like the website Can I give my dog…?.
Skip the salt and butter here. This recipe uses milk, and you can add a little cheese if you want. But you should know that some dogs have issues with lactose. Some can't have any, while others can have it in small amounts and still others can have as much as they want. They make milk for lactose intolerance, and they even have dog-friendly milks. But in lieu of that, it's OK to use water just for texture. Your pooch won't care.
You don't need much meat for this recipe. Since I only cook (human food) for two, I like to reserve a little of my pound of ground beef or turkey when I'm making something like tacos, but you can also cook the whole pound (sans any spices or other things that aren't dog-friendly), pull out what you need for them and use the rest for yourself.
The mashed potatoes act as the "glue" that keeps it all together and lets it stay in the Kong. Just mix the meat and veggies into that and you're set. If your dogs need additional supplements, this is the time to add them. You can discuss the dosage with your vet. My dogs take fish oil for allergy-related dry skin issues, but the correct dosage is important, and it can be dangerous if they get too much of anything and ineffective if they don't get enough.
Yields 1-1/2 - 2 cups
While you can certainly use leftovers for all of this, I really prefer making it from scratch to avoid a lot of excess sodium and fat (that we’re likely to use in the versions we make for ourselves) in my dogs’ diets.
Always check with a veterinarian before feeding your dog something new.
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