I recently read an article stating there are more dogs in Japan than children now, and that it’s easier to find clothes for your dog in Tokyo than for a child. I don’t know how much of it was media sensationalism, but it’s pretty clear that Japan loves its dogs. It seems only fitting tonight’s dinner was chicken udon.
Now, I haven’t formulated this. I actually just put it together under the guideline of certain ratios (meat:vegetable:grain sort of thing). From reading the recipes in my cookbook and browsing other peoples’ feeding guidelines for their dogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that cooking for your dog isn’t complex rocket science. It’s certainly more than throwing some ground beef and frozen vegetables in a bowl, but meeting Suki’s nutritional needs is much easier than I originally thought. Granted, my confidence to experiment with recipes is mainly thanks to the breakfast of vitamin-enriched kibble; by feeding that I leave a safe margin of error with my prepared meals. I also plan on doing a proper analysis of the nutrition in my recipe, and making adjustments if needed.
- 2 chicken breast, diced
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground red bell pepper (or diced bell pepper)
- 2 stalks celery, minced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced cilantro
- 5 ½ cups of chicken stock
- 2 large carrots, chopped small (matchstick for authentic effect)
- 9 oz udon (two packs of portioned udon)
- Cook diced chicken in sesame oil.
- Add ground ginger, ground capsicum, diced celery, and lemongrass and sauté.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, add carrots, and cook for a bit.
- Add noodles and cook until done.
This recipe turned out much, much more flavourful than most recipes created for dogs. Some will argue herbs and spices don’t belong in a dog’s diet, because dogs don’t need those things to make their food taste good. While that’s true, herbs and spices are more than just taste; they’re low calorie nutrient powerhouses packed full of health benefits. Ginger root is a great digestive aid, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is even being researched for its cancer fighting ability; bell pepper is packed with vitamins like C and A while containing nearly zero calories; and cilantro, like its relative parsley, helps to flush out the kidneys. It is also packed with vitamins K and A as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
Suki seemed to enjoy the udon soup. She’s a messy eater and usually spills quite a bit of dinner on the floor (note to self: invest in a proper placemat), and tonight she was very thorough about cleaning up every spilled drop of broth. Cooking with spices cut back on the effort it would take to prepare a meal for both myself and Suki. Instead, we both ate the same thing. The key is to stock your pantry full of dog-friendly herbs and spices, while keeping the not-so-dog-friendly ones that you don’t want to give up clearly labelled.