Set another place at the table for Fido

Published 5:53 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It is very easy to do. Your pet is sitting there, soulful eyes, waiting patiently, with that look on its sweet face.

“Just one bite, that’s all I want is just one bite from your plate.”

Your heart melts and you give in because your pet is the best things since sliced bread, and besides, he likes it.

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The “new” trend is cooking for pets: as if you didn’t have enough to do, and the time slot between 2 AM and 6 AM is completely empty on your To Do List.

Veternarians and nutritionists alike caution that human table food may not be healthy for your dog or cat. Just because you like it and he likes it, doesn’t mean that it is healthy for Fido.

Most people think that something from a bag that is processed is “bad”, says noted Cornell University veternarian, Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, and that isn’t necessairly so, he says. “No dog has ever died of Purina Dog Chow.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the concept of feeding a homemade diet. My biggest problem is most people do it wrong,” said Wakshlag. “Very few people are making something complete,” he said. “They’re making something that’s highly digestible and (that) they enjoy..

However, if you have nothing else to do one morning and just want to cook for your pet, here are some recipies that are good for both humans and pets.


(Start to finish: 30 minutes)

32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth

1 cup apple cider

4 whole peppercorns

2 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

Three 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1-pound bag of baby carrots

Salt, to taste

Parsley, to garnish (for people)

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the broth, cider, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat, add the chicken, sweet potatoes and carrots. Simmer until carrots are tender and chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes.

Spoon out the peppercorns, bay leaf and cloves. Season with salt. Let it cool slightly before serving to pets. For humans, garnish with parsley and serve with buttered whole grain bread.

Makes 4 servings.

(Recipe from the February 2007 issue of Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine)


(Start to finish: 40 minutes)

1 teaspoon corn oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons paprika

1 cup hot water

3 pounds of chicken, skinned, boned and cut into bite-size pieces

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

Fresh parsley, to garnish

Additional ingredients for cat portions:

1/4 cup cooked rice

1/2 teaspoon brewer’s yeast

1/2 teaspoon bone meal

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the garlic, salt, paprika and 1/2 cup of the hot water. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chicken, remaining water, carrot, potatoes and broth. Return to a simmer and cook another 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and red and green peppers. Stir well and simmer another 10 minutes. For people, garnish with parsley.

For cats, chop the chicken into smaller pieces, mix with rice, brewer’s yeast and bonemeal. Allow to cool before serving.

Serves 6 people, or 4 people and 2 or 3 cats.

(Recipe from Patti Delmonte’s “Real Food for Cats,” Storey Publishing, 2001)