Recipes for Pets

By Marlene's Market & Deli 05 Jun, 2017

by Debra Daniels-Zeller

Pet food options have increased exponentially in the last several years and choices now include frozen raw foods, wild game… even grain-free kibble with enzymes, essential fatty acids and herbs! What’s best for your four-legged friends?

Many experts advocate home cooked or raw food diets for pets, but do your research before feeding a homemade diet. Dr. Anna Maria Gardner, a holistic veterinarian on the Olympic Peninsula, suggests a balanced, grain-free, raw food diet. For a transitional diet, try steamed grains, cooked vegetables and meat, then continue to transition by eliminating the grains. Gardner says dogs can eat a carefully planned vegetarian diet but “cats are naturally carnivorous and have higher protein requirements.” Before starting, Gardner recommends   Dr. Pitcarin’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats .

Dr. Richard Panzer, a certified veterinary acupuncturist in Seattle, favors a cooked diet “Dogs have eaten leftovers for thousands of years,” Panzer says. Eating cooked foods is based on traditional Chinese medicine, which emphasizes cooked food. Panzer’s animals eat a soupy mixture of meat, potatoes, seasonal vegetables, with a little seaweed and yogurt. His lucky cat also gets smelt.

Homemade may be ideal, but in reality, most people will continue to feed their pets packaged foods. So how do you find a good one?

Packaged and Frozen
Look past the pretty pictures and idealized descriptions on labels, and no matter what you select, check pet food recalls on a regular basis.

Dr. Panzer said to look for identifiable ingredients, the fewer the better. Dr. Gardner says, “Steer clear of BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and artificial flavorings.”

Read Labels
Lower quality foods cost less because they are filled with corn, soy, unidentified meat by-products and preservatives–ingredients that may trigger allergies and even cause nutritional deficiencies over time. You also end up feeding more of cheaper varieties and picking up more waste. Higher quality foods are more digestible and are made with human grade and organic ingredients.

Many pet food experts today suggest adding healthy table scraps to processed diets. Dogs and cats like fresh fruits such as melon and apples, and raw and cooked vegetables. Experiment…they’ll let you know what they like!


4 to 5 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 to 1 1/2 cups water (or use apple cider for part
of the liquid)

By Marlene's Market & Deli 05 Jun, 2017

I made these wheat-free homemade crackers as holiday gifts one year and someone said they would also be great as dog biscuits. Was that a compliment? My basset hound barks, “Yes!”

Buckwheat Bones   (Makes about 60 2-3″ biscuits)


  • 3 cups – buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 – cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp – cinnamon
  • 1 cup – cooked mashed sweet potato or pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 – cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 – cup molasses
  • 1 cup – water (approximately)
  • 1/2 – cup crumbled bacon (optional)



  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place sweet potato, peanut butter, molasses and 1/2 cup water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add remaining water; then blend with dry ingredients. Add bacon, if desired.
  2. Stir until the mixture is a stiff dough. Gather into a ball and place in a bag or covered container in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate this for up to a week.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough in half. Put half in the refrigerator and roll the other half out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place as many as you can on a cooking sheet. (It doesn’t matter if cookies touch.)
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. They should be fairly hard when baked. For a very crisp texture, turn off oven and leave overnight. For long-term storage, place in bags in the freezer.

Debra Daniels-Zeller is author of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (Timber Press, 2010). She is a regular contributor to Vegetarian Journal magazine and writes a delightful food blog at . She can be reached at   (425) 776-4689

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