Dogs can safely par­take from the hol­i­day meal

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - By­sue­man­ning Good, bad foods for fido Bad: Good:

LOS AN­GE­LES — The most prized hol­i­day guests are those that eat with gusto, ex­press their ap­pre­ci­a­tion and lick their plates clean.

So what if some of them eat off the floor, get a lit­tle sloppy and never help with the dishes?

At Nancy Gu­berti’s house, Flower, a 6-yearold black-and-white shih tzu, will eat the same or­ganic turkey and spinach as Gu­berti’s own sons.

“She’s part of the fam­ily and she’s such a good dog,” Gu­berti said. “We treat her with the ut­most re­spect, like you’d want to be treated.”

Gu­berti, a cer­ti­fied nu­tri­tion­ist in New York City, makes a spe­cial din­ner for the whole fam­ily to share five times a year — Christ­mas, New Year’s, Easter, Thanks­giv­ing and Flower’s June 10 birth­day.

Plenty of peo­ple cook for their dogs year-round, but the hol­i­days might be the eas­i­est time be­cause hu­man menus can be so eas­ily adapted to their needs, said Sarah Zorn, a New York pet colum­nist for the mag­a­zine Ev­ery­day with Rachael Ray. She also cre­ates and tests most of the pet recipes the mag­a­zine runs.

“Do unto your dog as you are do­ing to your­self,” she said. In­gre­di­ents that are good for hu­mans are very of­ten good for dogs too, she said.

Dogs have mil­lions of taste buds, said Dr. Katy Nel­son. But the vet­eri­nar­ian said those taste buds are not really well de­fined — and nei­ther is the dog’s sense of smell.

Nel­son, who hosts “The Pet Show” on Satur­days on News Chan­nel 8 in Washington, D.C., had guests who made turkey cakes she plans to make for Papi, her 70-pound Labradoo­dle, on Christ­mas morn­ing.

They look like crab­cakes, with brown rice, veg­eta­bles and shred­ded turkey. You mix that with an egg, make pat­ties and sear them in a pan,” she said.

How would you fix a tra­di­tional hol­i­day din­ner of ap­pe­tiz­ers, turkey, mashed pota­toes and gravy, can­died sweet pota­toes, green bean casse­role, cran­berry sauce, bis­cuits and dessert to serve dogs and hu­mans? No mat­ter how spicy the hu­man food is, the dog’s has to be bland and low­fat.

“Be­fore din­ner, they can graze like ev­ery­body else, have a cou­ple of car­rot sticks and cheese cubes,” Zorn said.

When it comes to pre­par­ing the turkey, go salt­less, she said. Elim­i­nate onions and gar­lic, white flour, re­fined su­gars and pro­cessed foods.

That doesn’t mean you can’t put any­thing in the dog’s meal. “There are ac­tu­ally a lot of herbs that are good for dogs. Pars­ley is good for them — it’s a nat­u­ral breath fresh­ener. Gin­ger is good for di­ges­tion and turmeric is good.

It’s hard to make bis­cuits with­out flour, Zorn said. “But try to use whole wheat, bar­ley, rice, flax or amaranth be­cause they should really have a lowg­luten diet.”

For side dishes, make the green beans with chicken stock or sauteed mush­room soup. Be­fore you candy the sweet pota­toes, take one out for the dog and steam it with a lit­tle cin­na­mon and gin­ger. White pota­toes are OK, too, although not as healthy as sweet pota­toes. A lit­tle cran­berry sauce is Sarah Zorn, a pet colum­nist for the mag­a­zine Ev­ery­day with Rachael Ray, drew up a quick nice-naughty dog food list.

Choco­late, cof­fee, al­co­hol, raisins and grapes, onions and gar­lic, milk, av­o­cado, ma­cadamia nuts and yeast. Cab­bage, broc­coli and cau­li­flower can cause gas but are OK in small doses. To­ma­toes, egg­plant and pep­pers aren’t dan­ger­ous but add noth­ing pos­i­tive to a dog’s diet.

Lean meats, fish, tuna, olive oil, eggs, egg shells, yo­gurt, car­rots, green beans, peas, sweet pota­toes and pump­kin. good for a dog. In­stead of gravy, use turkey juice or stock, Zorn said.

For dessert, Zorn rec­om­mends ginger­bread bis­cuits.

Zorn tries out many of her creations on her own dog Rowdy, a hound mix. “He is the first rung of the test­ing process. ... If this dog doesn’t eat it, the recipe needs to be scrapped,” she said.

All of the dog’s food can go in one bowl, Zorn said. Ev­ery other day of the year, Rowdy gets 11/2 cups of food twice a day, so he’ll get the same on Christ­mas Day. “We are talk­ing about mak­ing this spe­cial, but he’s not go­ing to gain 10 pounds.”

Fi­nally, Zorn said Santa’s rein­deer would prob­a­bly turn up their noses at Santa’s cook­ies and milk.

But they would wel­come a bowl of berries, acorns, a car­rot, a lit­tle hay or al­falfa pel­lets, along with a bowl of water.

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