Pet Corner

pen Wide: Homemade Herbal Treats for Pets

| May/June 2007

  • Boost the nutrient value of your pet’s day-to-day diet by making a batch of healthy homemade treats to feed separately or to spice up regular meals.

Think about what most pets are fed: one brand of food, lumped into kibble or a can—the same old thing once or twice a day, every day, whether the pet likes it or not. Boring! How about putting some zest in your pet’s life, enhancing dinnertime flavors and adding some variety to the daily humdrum diet?

Every individual animal has different nutritional needs. These differences might be slight, but it’s still asking a lot for any one food to provide all the requirements for each individual animal. If you must rely on commercial foods (and if home-cooking your pet’s everyday meals is not up your alley), I’m convinced it’s better to change the diet every so often … just to help ensure you provide all the needed nutrients for the individual. And one way to boost the nutrients in a day-to-day diet is to make some healthy treats to feed separately or add to the existing diet.

A Fun and Easy Recipe

There’s no better way to add health-giving nutrients than to add some herbs, mixed in with the dinner dish, and my wife (the real cook) and I have found that mixing up a batch of treats every so often is not much of a chore at all (see recipe on Page 15). What’s more, we can mix up a small batch of inexpensive treats every few weeks or so, and because all the ingredients in the treats we feed are super fresh, we don’t need to add synthetic preservatives, colorings or flavors.

Pokey’s Culinary Adventures

We’ve always treated our pets as a part of the family, so they usually get a taste of whatever we’re eating after we’re finished with our meal. One evening, as I was fixing myself a yogurt drink, I gave our dog, Pokey, a tablespoon-dollop of lowfat, unsweetened yogurt just to see how he’d react to it. From the first taste, he absolutely loved it, and plain old yogurt has become one of his favorite treats. After we’ve emptied it, we even give him the yogurt tub to lick clean, and he ends up chasing it around the house in a gleeful feeding frenzy.

Not only is yogurt a treat, it also is “treatment” to help keep the digestive tract healthy, and Pokey showed me that, at least for some critters, there’s no need to hide the yogurt in tasty foods to get them to eat it.

In fact, not only is yogurt one of Pokey’s favorite treats, it makes for a great medium to hide other, not-so-favorite, treats in. I’ve taste-tested Pokey with lots of stuff mixed in with yogurt, and so far I’ve been able to hide most veggies and all the herbs I’ve tried so far except nutmeg.

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