Homemade meals have health benefits for pets

ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – Lynette Van Nostrand likes to cook. These days, she spends time cooking up a storm for her three dogs; Winston, Bella and Lilly.

“Feeding time isn’t crazy here because they like my cooking, so they’re really well behaved,” Van Nostrand said.

Her friend and veterinarian Dr. Laura Weis encouraged Van Nostrand to skip store-bought dog food and make homemade meals instead. Just like people, Weis says fresh foods are better for pets.

“The number one problem is obesity,” Weis said. “If you are feeding your pet unprocessed food, you can control the number of calories, the amount of fat and the amount of carbs that go into it.”

Van Nostrand makes canine recipes that include 40 percent meat or fish, 40 percent vegetables and 20 percent starch. Once or twice a month, she picks a protein, adds other ingredients and throws everything in a crock pot. It’s that easy and very healthy.

“It contributes to better vision and healthier hearts,” Weis said. “In addition, we see lower rates of autoimmune disease and skin allergies, which is probably the number two problem in pets. We also see lower rates of cancer, too.”

Several hours later, dinner is served and topped with a calcium and vitamin supplement. Van Nostrand freezes the leftovers for future meals. She even bakes homemade treats made out of oatmeal, peanut butter and bananas. Cheaper and better for them, she loves spoiling her kids with these meals made with love.

“I love them. Are you kidding me? They’re my family,” she said.

Weis says every meal doesn’t have to be homemade. You can supplement meals with fresh fruits and veggies, and she says there are some foods we should never feed canines; including chocolate, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, yeast dough, onions, garlic and chives, milk, salt, and xylitol, a sweetener used in many products like mints, gum and candy.

Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats

1 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 large banana
1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Preheat oven 350 F.
2. Grind oatmeal to powder (blender or food processor works great).
3. Beat banana and peanut butter until smooth. Make sure it’s not too sticky.
4. Add oatmeal to mix and blend.
5. Roll dough to approximately 1/4 inch.
6. Cut shapes or use a pizza cutter. (Yields 24 square treats)
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

They freeze well, too.

 

Crock Pot Stew

3 cups water
1/2 cup brown rice
8 carrots chopped
1 yellow squash chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 sweet potatoes skin off and chopped
1 bunch kale chopped
3 lbs ground beef
1 lb chicken hearts and gizzards

1. In the order shown above, place all ingredients into crock pot.
2. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high 5 to 6 hours.
3. Mix well and add 3600 mg calcium (KAL bone meal) to crock pot and mix.
4. This can now be divided into individual servings depending on need of individual dog.

To each serving, add a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement such as Rx Vitamins for Pets.

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