You may be wondering what frozen dog treats have to do with nutrition and/or recovery but they feature prominently in my own recovery story.
It was 2016 and I had shuttered my food business a few years earlier. I was burned out on cooking. I was bored, lonely, unsure of my future and drinking daily. I had also started having anxiety attacks. I googled “breathing for anxiety”,or something similar, and found a video by Holly Whitaker. I followed her back to her website which was at the time called, “Hip Sobriety.” I read the manifesto, and every word on the site resonated. I joined the next Hip Sobriety School, Winter 2017.
After a few weeks alcohol free and many, many gummy bears later, I found what a lot of you have, I had all this energy and time on my hands. I don’t know where the inspiration came from, but the first time I went back into the kitchen to create something interesting, I made frozen dog treats. Huge hit with my dogs and all the other family and neighbourhood dogs! In the summer I make watermelon juice frozen treats and we all eat them! These ‘recipes’ make plenty to share. They are fun to create, and all you really need is a blender and some ice cube trays and whatever dog friendly whole foods you have on hand. The ones I’ve included here are our favorites. You don’t need dog themed silicone ice trays, regular ones work fine. These combos fill about two regular ice cube trays with the exception of the chicken broth because that one will depend on how much broth you use. I do recommend making your own ‘doggie broth’. Packaged broth usually contains onions which are toxic to our pups.
I also use goat kefir in two of these recipes, you can substitute cow kefir, or a 1/2 cup yogurt with 1/2 cup water. Dogs need probiotics too and goat kefir is a great product if you can find some. It’s easier for both humans and dogs to digest and is naturally lower in fat than cow’s milk. However it, like cow’s milk, contains lactose and some dogs may be lactose intolerant which can cause excess gas or loose stools. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet about any new foods you’re introducing into your pet’s diet, including treats. In any case, milk products should be consumed by your dog only occasionally and in small quantities. For all ingredients, I always recommend organic for the whole family, including pets.
CHICKEN BROTH TREATS
To make doggie chicken broth simply put chicken parts, pieces, bones in a large stockpot, cover with water and simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. In case I never mentioned this before, make friends with your butcher! Even super market chains have in store butchers and you may walk out with free scraps for making any kind of broth.
Cool and strain your broth, skimming off the fat. You can pull some of the cooked chicken off the bones to add, along with pet friendly vegetables prior to freezing. Pour into ice cube trays and place the trays flat in the freezer until frozen. (I put the trays on a half sheet pan and then into the freezer for all of them)
BLUEBERRY CARROT TREATS
2 or 3 medium carrots cut into thirds to make 1 cup
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup, or more, water
You want it to be pourable.
Put carrots in a microwave safe dish with 2 TBL water and microwave 3 minutes. Cool slightly and add to blender along with blueberries and water. Blend until smooth and pour into ice trays. Pour into trays and place flat in the freezer until frozen. (2-3 hours) Since I use the silicone trays, I put them on a cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan before placing in the freezer.
1 15 oz can organic pumpkin. Note: You do NOT want pumpkin pie mix which contains spices and often added sugar! Just get a can of plain old pumpkin.
1 cup goat kefir, or 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup water.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into trays and place flat in the freezer until frozen. (2-3 hours) Since I use the silicone trays, I put them on a cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan before placing in the freezer.
PB & J TREATS
2 Tbl organic peanut butter
1 cup goat kefir, or 1/2 cup yogurt with 1/2 cup water.
1 cup blueberries or strawberries
1/2 to 1 cup water
Place peanut butter and kefir in blender and blend until smooth. Add water if necessary to achieve a pourable consistency. Fill trays 1/2 way up with this mixture and freeze till set, at least an hour.
Make ‘jelly’: place berries and water in blender, starting with 1/2 cup water, and blend, adding water as necessary until smooth and pourable.
After peanut butter layer has set, pour berry mixture on top and freeze again until berry layer is frozen.
Hope you love making and sharing these with your four legged friends!