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Book Review: Real Food For Dogs by Arden Moore

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Anyone with a finicky dog knows the challenge of finding acceptable delectable treats, and up until now, Maggie has been less than enthusiastic about every homemade biscuit offered her. I first started trying dog treat recipes from different websites (which shall remain unnamed to protect the innocent) last December only to have my efforts met with complete disgust. Those perfectly decent biscuits were given to the less picky wieners, Noah and Gigi, who will eat anything up to and including grasshoppers and dirt.

I came across Real Food For Real Dogs while ordering Christmas gifts on Amazon. What set it apart from other dog treat books was the subtitle, 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome. It’s important to me, not only that Maggie likes the flavor, but that she is eating treats that are healthy.

Only one recipe, Parmesan Pleaser, gave me cause for concern because garlic powder was listed among the ingredients. Contradictory information exists on whether garlic is good or bad for dogs. Some swear by garlic as a health supplement and flea repellent, while others claim its toxins can cause anemia, bleeding, and even death. In examining the facts, it seems that dosage may be the key, but as a dog enthusiast, I suggest avoiding it all together. It’s just better to be safe than sorry. Also, if you have any concern about baking treats at home, always talk to a vet you trust. That being said, there are 49 other recipes that are just terrific.

Some of the recipes include:

  • Chicken Dipped Treats
  • Dog Biscuits Baked with Love
  • Lip-Smacking Green Beans
  • Leftover Heaven
  • Howling Good Stew
  • Bark-va-lous Dish
  • Pooch Pancakes
  • Birthday Breakfast Bonanza

Contents of the book include Treats, Meaty Meals, Fish and Fowl, Vegetarian Meals, Special Occasion Meals (Birthdays!, Thanksgiving!), Special Diets, Glossary, References, and a Metric Conversion Chart. Interestingly enough, it also includes a section on foods to limit or completely omit. Yay!The Special Diets chapter covers such things as Puppy Growth Diet, Meal for Active Dogs, Meal for Senior Dogs, Doggie Diet for Inactive Canines, and Hypoallergenic Diet. I have a few inactive dogs in the house (wieners!), so I am happy to see a recipe that will maybe shrink those dachshund love handles. The author suggests giving a begging overweight dog plain lettuce as a snack. I don’t know a dog on the planet that will go for that one. A dog that will eat lettuce probably won’t need diet food anyway.

There are no color photos, but the illustrations are adorable.The artist, Ann Davis, is an award-winning illustrator whose work adorns greeting cards produced by her company, Anne Made Cards. Her special relationship with animals really shines through, and you will find yourself smiling as you browse through the recipes. The illustrations mesh perfectly with author Arden Moore’s spunky sense of humor. Arden Moore has authored 20 books on cats and dogs, including The Cat Behavior Answer Book, The Dog Behavior Answer Book, and of course Real Food for Dogs. She is the editor of Fido Friendly magazine, editor of Catnip, an animal behavior consultant and host of “Oh Behave!” weekly radio show on Pet Life Radio.com.

Maggie is obsessed with Chicken, so I baked Chicken Dipped Treats. As you can see, she loved them!  If your dog is a chicken lover, you’ll want to give this recipe a try.

Chicken Dipped Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1       cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked 
  • 1/3    cup margarine, softened to room temperature
  • 1       chicken-flavored bouillon cube
  • 3/4    cup powdered milk
  • 1       egg, whisked
  • 3/4    cup cornmeal
  • 3       cups whole wheat flour

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Pour the water into a large bowl and add the oats, margarine, and bouillon cube. Mix well and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk the egg.
  5. Stir in the powdered milk, egg, and cornmeal.
  6. Slowly add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon.
  7. Knead the dough a few minutes to create a stiff consistency.
  8. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is 1/2-inch thick.
  9. Cut the dough into golf-sized circles and place on a greased cookie pan about 1 inch apart. Okay, so I didn’t follow directions. Bone-shapes are just cuter. I did make one golf-size circle and it just wasn’t pretty.
  10. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the treats are golden brown.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven. Let the treats cool until hard and crunchy.
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About Becky Coleman