Meat and paw-tatoes Kong recipe for your dog
If your fur-baby is getting bored with the same old same old in its Kong, try this meat and potato mix with healthy veggies to break up the monotony.
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.
1. Assemble your ingredients
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…?.
2. Make dog-friendly mashed paw-tatoes
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.
3. Cook the meat
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.
4. Put it together
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.
Meat and paw-tatoes Kong recipe
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.
- 1 medium (about 8 ounces) russet potato, washed and peeled
- 4 ounces (1/4 pound) ground turkey or beef
- Milk, warmed
- Supplements as recommended by your veterinarian (optional)
- 1/2 cup dog-friendly mixed frozen vegetables, cooked according to package directions
- Cut the potato into small (1/2- to 1-inch) chunks. Try to get them as close as possible to the same size so they finish cooking at the same time. Place the cut potato in the bottom of a small cold pot and just cover the pieces with enough water to allow free movement. Place the cold pot on the stove and cover it with a lid. Turn the heat on high and cook until the potatoes come to a boil. Remove the lid and check the potatoes. They may need a few more minutes on the stove to get fork-tender. Drain the water and set the potatoes aside while you start the meat.
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground meat until it’s cooked through and there’s no pink, crumbling the meat as it cooks. When it’s ready, drain the fat by turning it out onto a plate lined with paper towels.
- Put 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk into the pot with the potatoes and return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Mash the potatoes, incorporating the milk and adding more as necessary to get a thick mashed potato (too thin and it will spill out of the Kong). Your dog probably doesn’t care if it’s lumpy, but be careful not to over mix as that does make it gummy (and more difficult to put in the Kong).
- Remove it from the stove and add the supplements in the amount(s) indicated by your vet, the warmed veggies and drained ground meat and stir. Allow it to cool to a temperature edible by your dogs.
- Stuff the Kongs with the mixture. How many Kongs it actually fills depends on the size of the Kongs. Leftovers can be refrigerated and used in the next couple of days.
- If desired, freeze the Kongs to give your pooch a bit more of a challenge or give it something to cool off with on a hot day.
Always check with a veterinarian before feeding your dog something new.