“I sometimes add things such as bacon grease, or tuna, or grated cheddar cheese. We live in a zero carbon house. Wispa seriously offsets our carbon savings!”
Inspired by reading about the success of Cathy homefeeding Greyhound’s April and June, Wispa’s owner Jo registered her to try our homemade recipes for Wispa’s health and as Jo explained so aptly, to reduce the carbon footprint of their family.
What about giving cheese as a dog treat?
When I ask clients what they use to feed their dogs their wormers/medication or supplements, 90% of them will reply that they use cheese (it is never confessed first – only if prompted, will they acknowledge how much their dog loves cheese and rushes to the sound of the opening fridge and rustle of packets in the cheese drawer!) We’ve all done it – I confess too to it before I turned vegan! Cheese and cheese snacks are addictive to humans and if we have been sharing our guilty secret with our pets, we have very easily turned them into little addicts too!
A mild lactose intolerance occurs in our dog’s digestion as although dogs are not completely deficient in the enzyme to digest dairy products, some dogs will react very strongly to milk protein with signs of diarrhoea, very itchy ears or generalised scratching.
Why is cheese and all cheese snacks so addictive?
What makes cheese so addictive is the extremely high concentration of the milk protein casein that, when digested, results in casomorphins. Casomorphins are opioids, belonging to the same chemical family as morphine and opium, inducing euphoric feelings and lowering pain. The combination of the salt, fat and these casomorphins in cheese make it an addictive product to satisfy all our cravings (and our dogs’ cravings).
What can be given instead to treat dogs on a vegan diet?
None of us want to deprive our dogs of treats. They are part of our family and deserve the very best! Here are treats that can be used that are high value and very palatable to most dogs (once they become familiar with them) –
Tofu can be given cooked or raw. To use it appears bland and tasteless, but to dogs once they become familiar with it as a food source, it is very tempting as they can smell the high amount of amino acids or proteins in it. Use small pieces of smoked tofu for particularly fussy dogs.
We just love the new range found at Tesco and Sainsbury called ALT that is made from pea and soya protein. If broken into small pieces (as they are not cheap), these offer high reward treats for your dog as again they can smell the nutrient content of the food, but they would need to be familiar with it and see you eating some enthusiastically from a familiar drawer in the fridge before they take to it:)
Peanuts and peanut butter
Something so basic and cheap to purchase. Dogs do not seem to suffer with nut allergies as humans do, so keeping some unsalted peanuts in your pocket as training treats or in a snuffle mat is ideal. Pure peanut butter (no added palm oil, sweeteners or sugar), is ideal to use to give fussy dogs their tablets. Restrict peanuts if your dog has ever suffered with pancreatitis as it contains saturated fats.
Nutritional yeast flakes
Dogs do find nutritional yeast particularly appetising. It can be sprinkled onto their food or our favourite is to lightly steam some kale, mix it with nooch and some oil and roast in the oven so goes crispy – an incredibly healthy food that we ALL enjoy as a family!
Again, this is only to be used as a very high reward snack as vegan cheese is not cheap…..but it is as delicious as normal cheese with the range that is available and usually made with coconut oil. Keep it to a minimum with the high salt and saturated fat content but it certainly can be given to your dogs to have the same result as dairy cheese!
Yet another high fat food that most dogs find irresistible which is why we use it in our high nutrient Umameo treats that we make. Tahini can be given in moderation on your dog’s food, and it is very nutritious as sesame seeds are high in calcium.
Another good investment in the health of your dog is to buy a dehydrator to make healthy snacks.
Simply add chopped pears, apples, peaches, beetroot, chickpeas, edamame beans, kiwi etc to the dehydrator and leave overnight to dry – couldn’t be easier or healthier!
The healthy treats below use ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen cupboard for a quick and easy snack that your dog will love (and maybe you will too!)
Banana oat cookies
1 cup oats
1 mashed banana
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup ground almonds
Mix together and place in small balls on non stick tray using 2 teaspoons
Bake at 180C for 15 minutes
Coconut flour balls
1 tbsp coconut oil melted into half a cup water or almond milk
Handful fresh mint and parsley blended or 1 banana if prefer
Mix together until there is a dough like consistency (add more flour or water as necessary)
Bake in a silicon treat tray at 180C for 20 minutes or 25 – 30 minutes if in a full tray
Sweet potato treats
• 2 sweet potatoes
1. Preheat your oven to 150C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Use a knife to cut the sweet potato into slices peeled before use (as the skin contains solanine). Slice into coin sized-pieces if your dog is small, but if you have a bigger dog you could slice them lengthwise for larger chews. You don’t want the pieces to be too thin, or they will just get crispy and not chewy, so make sure they are no thinner than 1/2cm. Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours flipping once half way through until they are shrunken, dried out, and some pieces are a bit crispy, while others are a bit chewy. Let cool, then store in an air-tight container in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
Alternately place them in the dehydrator overnight instead of the oven.
Oats and peanut butter treats
• 1 1/2 cups uncooked oats
• 1 large banana
• 1/2 cup pure peanut butter (no added Xylitol)
1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cook for 15 minutes and you can use a cookie cutter to shape these treats:)
Remembering that dogs respond to the smell of protein and amino acids in foods, these treats are protein packed –
Blend a tin of drained chickpeas with oats and pure peanut butter. Roll into little treat balls. These can be fed as they are or cooked.
Carrot frozen ice lolly
Use a raw carrot and half dip it into pure peanut butter and freeze. On a warm day these make ideal ‘doggy ice lollies’!
Oat and peanut butter biscuits
Mix peanut butter, mashed banana or applesauce, oat flour, and water.
Proportions are flexible as long as you add enough flour to make a stiff dough.
1 part peanut butter, 1 part water, 1/2 part banana or applesauce, and then oat flour until the dough is stiff enough to roll out.
You can cut these into dog shapes of your choice or just in squares – your dogs won’t mind!
We do love Benevo’s Benevo cake mix to treat your vegan dog on its birthday!!
The cake is made of Organic Brown Rice, Organic Carob Powder (4%), Baking Powder, Organic Cinnamon Powder (1%), Xanthan Gum, and the frosting is made of Organic Corn Flour, Organic Coconut Flour (1%), Xanthan Gum – all fine to treat your dog on a special occasion!
There are cases of dry food or treats (especially the raw hide treats and chews) causing transmission of diseases to people
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