When people say that “dogs are man’s best friend”, I certainly think that it is an understatement. For dog lovers like me, I believe my dogs are my saving graces. In more ways than one, my dogs have provided me new and exciting feelings that they can only bring out of me, not to mention a whole new outlook in life I live by up until now. I know that I am not the only one reaping the benefits of being a dog-owner (and dog-lover).
Now, if you’re aspiring to share your life with a little canine friend, I can tell you many reasons why.
Simply put, having a dog makes you feel much more calm and happy. In fact, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for the feeling of being relaxed. When you are relaxed more often, you are less likely to have heart diseases. Pets also serve as a great booster of the immune system, helping the body withstand any diseases which could then lead to an overall healthy life.
Aside from the physiological support from owning a pet, it can support you psychologically by giving you a different perspective in life. According to researches, if you have a pet, you are generally happier, more trusting, and less lonely than those who don’t have pets.
Pets can also provide a sense of comfort and company like no other. They can socially connect people and can be considered as social magnets, all of which are extremely beneficial if you are under a huge amount of stress.
There are many ways how dogs can improve your health. This is why it is important to make every effort in giving them everything they need – ample time, warm shelter, and, of course, healthy food!
Here are some recipes I have played around with plus vital information about essential nutrients that our pets need to keep them healthy and playful.
Beefy Equals Hearty
It is imperative that the diet you give your dog is complete and balanced, just like how it is for humans. What this means is that the food you feed them should meets all of your dog’s nutritional needs. However, it is not necessary that every meal prepared is the same every day with little or no variation at all just to meet the requirements.
Home-prepared doggy meals have become popular nowadays. Each “meal course” may include a wide variety of food types to cater to your pet’s palette. Similar to the way humans eat, as long as your dog gets everything he or she needs, his diet is still considerably complete and balanced.
Meat should always make up at least half of the diet for dogs. It is still recommended that meat is prepared properly (i.e. it needs to be cooked). Many raw diets are extremely high in fat, which can lead to obesity. In turn, diets containing too much fat can cause your dog to suffer deficiencies of other required nutrients.
Unless your dog gets regular, intense exercise, you should use lean meats (no more than 10 percent fat), remove skin from poultry, and cut off separable fat. It’s better to feed dark meat poultry than breast unless your dog requires a very low-fat diet.
One recipe I’ve worked with is Beef Ball Treats with Vegetables. This is not necessarily a new recipe, but I have tweaked it a little with the addition of baby food and some important vegetables.
You are going to need:
- 2 6-ounce jars of organic beef and vegetable baby food
- 1 cup of whole-wheat flour (or white substitute)
- 2 cups of dry milk
- 1 cup of water
To prepare your doggie beef balls, you need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. After which, you are to drop the mixture onto a baking sheet in large spoonfuls, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Finally, allow to the treats to cool completely, and store leftover beef and vegetable balls in the fridge for up to five days.
Sweet and Tasty with a Side of Dairy
There is a common misconception that dairy products are bad for dogs. In my experience in personal dog care, I have found that not all types are bad. In fact, some are considered very healthy for my lovely canine.
One example tasty dairy treat for your dog is yogurt. Yogurt is high in calcium and protein which are essential nutrients to make your dog stronger. The ones with active bacteria can act as a probiotic and are good for your dog’s digestive system. However, it is important to make sure to only choose yogurts that do not contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars.
To prepare this Healthy Yogurt Treat for your dogs, you are going to need:
- ½ cup fat-free plain yogurt (goat’s milk yogurt if you can find it)
- ¼ cup of oats
- ¼ cup of mixed vegetables (carrots, celery, spinach, broccoli, etc), steamed then pureed
- ½ teaspoon of honey
This yogurt delight recipe is very simple. You only have to mix the oats and yogurt, and let sit overnight in the fridge. Afterwards, you are to mix the remaining ingredients in with the oat/yogurt mixture. Viola! Now you have an exciting treat for your beloved pet.
Fish is the Best Dish, Capiche?
To truly keep your dog both healthy and excited to every meal time, some food supplements may be required. Your dogs may need it if you are not able to feed certain food type that could provide their required daily dose of nutrient. In addition, the longer food is cooked or frozen, the more nutrients are lost.
Most homemade diets require added oils for fats and calorie requirements. As such, it’s important to use the right types of oils as each supplies a different nutrient. One important supplement is fish oil. It provides EPA and DHA – omega-3 fatty acids that help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body.
Preparing fish dishes for your dogs is a great alternative to using red meat mainly because it provides certain important nutrients such as Vitamin D. Generally, canned fish with bones, such as sardines (packed in water, not oil), jack mackerel, and pink salmon, are good choices. You can feed small amounts of fish every day or larger amounts once or twice a week. The total amount should be about one ounce of fish per pound of other meats.
One recipe that is constant in my dog’s diet is Salmon with Sweet potatoes. This is a combination of protein and fiber which helps him be active and improve his immune system.
To prepare this fish with vegetables recipe, you need:
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 3 parsnips
- 1 cup of carrots
- 1 whole cabbage
- 1¼ cups of green peas
- 2 kilograms of frozen white fish
The first step is to dice two sweet potatoes, and put it into a large pot of boiling water. Similarly, you are to dice the parsnips, carrots and cabbage, and add to the pot together the sweet potatoes. Boil the vegetables to soften. Make sure to boil them to 10 to 15 minutes after dicing. After which, put in the salmon and simmer. After taking off the heat, you can serve your dog his delightful dinner.