You've got your feet kicked up, the embers off the grill look like fireflies in the breeze, you've got a beer in one hand and a piece of cheese in the other. Labor Day is your much-needed -- nay, your much-deserved day off at the tail end of summer. But then you look down and see your doggo looking up at you with those giant, begging eyes. He can see the food, he can smell the meat and he whimpers as he begs you for the tiniest bite of barbecue. How can you say no?
You don't have to! Plan ahead to share your summer barbecue treats with your furry friend. They deserve a cookout just as much as you do. These foods and drinks are perfectly safe for you and your dog.
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Start with vegetable skewers
You'll already have some veggies on the grill, I'm sure. Sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and asparagus are healthy for dogs. The key is to cut them in bite-sized portions so they don't choke on the bigger pieces. And steer clear of onions and garlic.
Putting little pieces of the vegetables on skewers is a great way to cook them without them falling through the grate of the grill. Once the veggies are done, serve them up to your pup without the skewer. And enjoy them yourself -- who doesn't love a colorful and crunchy side dish?
Check out this dog-safe vinaigrette recipe for grilled sweet potatoes that even you'll drool over.
Barbecue burgers for two
You didn't think I was sticking to veggies, did you? It is grilling season (i.e., prime burger time) and I've scored a burger patty recipe both you and your dog can eat.
Serve your pooch only the patty. You can have all the other accoutrements with it. The genius recipe below is from Dr. Janice Elenbaas, founder of Lucky Dog Cuisine, and she says it provides natural whole foods for your dog. They're perfect for balanced absorption and digestion.
- 4 pounds grass fed ground beef
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup organic flax seed meal
- 1 large egg
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1 medium zucchini, grated
- 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh, chopped parsley
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Form the mixture into patties and grill on medium heat for five minutes per side until they're no longer pink. This recipe makes approximately 12 burgers.
For just the humans, slather your favorite barbecue sauce on the patties and serve on a grilled bun with lettuce, tomato and cheese.
Don't forget the wine
That's right people -- wine for dogs exists! (Well, sort of.) Apollo Peak dog wine has some of the best varieties, including Char-dog-nay, Zinfan-tail and Mal-bark.
The "wines" are a mixture of all-natural ingredients like chamomile extract, yellow and red beets, anise seed, bacon flavoring and peppermint extract (for fresh breath). City Winery in Atlanta offers these as part of their canine brunch menu. But you can order some online for $13 a bottle.
Just think, you could clink glasses with your fur-ball as you both wait for the food to get done. Vino buddies, how divine! (If you need pairing suggestions, check out these great wines for grilling and barbecue and get acquainted with chilled red wine.)
Dogs don't need processed sugar (neither do we, really). Natural sugars are great, though. Frozen fruit satisfies that sweet tooth and is also refreshing for both dogs and humans. There are also plenty of frozen desserts you can share with your dog.
Frozen watermelon slices are practically ice pops. And since lime juice is safe for dogs, you can marinate the slices in it and then freeze them for an extra layer of flavor. Grilled peaches and apples make for a yummy and caramelized sweet treat (just never give dogs apple seeds or the pits from stone fruit). Frozen blueberries are also safe for dogs and make for great additions to your summer cocktail.
Trust me, your pups will love you when they see you're both eating the same thing! No more begging eyes. Here's a list of all the fruits dogs can eat.
Dr. Janice Elenbaas says bones are not a safe treat (think chicken bones and ribs) because they can get lodged in the throat. Bite-sized pieces of anything is always better. Dogs get excited and will inhale their food. Also, never give dogs alcohol or caffeine, no matter how badly they beg.
Here's a list of fruits and vegetables you should avoid giving your pooch. And here's how to make your own homemade dog food if you want to cook specifically for your pup. Or just order them some human-grade pet food -- and don't forget the gourmet dog treats.
This story was written by Henna Bakshi and was originally posted on Chowhound.