During the summer months, my dog Hector gets overheated really fast. He's a Corgi-black lab mix, so no matter what the season he's got a thick black coat surrounding his stumpy little body at all times.
I started making him homemade treats immediately after my partner and I adopted him, because at the time he was, uhh, a little on the portly side! Plus, being the type of dog that will eat anything and everything he finds on the ground (he once ate part of a tree branch just for the hell of it), it's nice to be able to control what goes into his snacks when he's at home.
This recipe came about after I made a large batch of stock from the remains of a roasted chicken, and it's both easy and economical. It's also pretty versatile, and requires little-to-no cooking (perfect for summer when you don't want to turn on the oven). You can use any type of meat or fish depending on your dog's tastes (see the last paragraph for variations I've tried).
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- 2 cups cooked meat/poultry/fish (I pulled all the residual chicken-bits off the bones after I strained the stock, and ended up with about 2 cups' worth).
- 3/4 cup plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- Small handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, cooked and mashed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- I used yogurt to hold everything together, because it's good for digestion and will satisfy your pooch's craving for dairy products without upsetting their stomach like cheese or milk.
- Olive oil is good for keeping his coat shiny and soft.
- Parsley is a great breath-freshener…you can also use fennel seed or fresh fennel fronds.
- Carrots are the sneaky way of getting him to eat his veggies!
Stir all the ingredients together, and freeze in ice cube trays. For little dogs (or cats!), you can pour the mixture into a piping bag and pipe little droplets onto a parchment-lined baking sheet before freezing.
- Instead of carrots and parsley, use chunky natural peanut butter (the 100% peanut kind with no sugars or additives).
- For extra breath-busting action, substitute the parsley for two teaspoons of activated charcoal. This is usually found in capsules — just break open a few capsules and add the powdered charcoal.