The Pet-Friendly Pantry

It is helpful to have some staple ingredients on hand that can be used in a variety of recipes. Here is a list of the basic items I like to keep in the pantry or freezer so that I can prepare meals for my pets at a moment's notice:

Active dry yeast
Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
Beans, dried
Beef broth or stock, low-sodium or no-salt
Bone meal (human-grade)
Bread crumbs, plain dry
Brewer's yeast
Chicken broth or stock, low-sodium or no-salt
Cornmeal (yellow or white)
Dried fish flakes
Eggs, large
Flour, all-purpose (or plain) and quick-mixing
Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables
Milk powder, nonfat
Gelatin, unflavored
Molasses (treacle)
Parmesan cheese
Parsley (or parsley flakes)
Peanut butter (for giving a pill)
Pineapple, canned crushed
Pumpkin, canned plain
Rice, brown and white
Rolled oats
Salt (or salt substitute)
Spinach, frozen chopped
Sweet potatoes
Tuna, dark packed in oil
Thai fish sauce
Wheat germ, plain (not honey-flavored)
Worcestershire sauce

Note: Just like humans, dogs and cats need a small amount of salt each day to protect them against dehydration and maintain normal bodily functions. Although fresh foods contain natural sodium, they may not contain enough to meet the animal's daily requirement. Even commercial pet food companies add salt to their foods.

For that reason, I call for salt—either sodium chloride (table salt) or potassium chloride (salt substitute)—in some recipes. Consult your veterinarian if your pet has a special health issue, such as kidney or heart problems, that may mandate a limited salt intake. Potassium chloride provides essential nutrients without the possible challenges of table salt, so if you are uncomfortable feeding table salt, feel free to substitute potassium chloride.

If a recipe does not specify a certain form of an ingredient (such as fresh, frozen, or canned), or your market doesn't carry a specific item, feel free to use whichever form you have on hand. Choose whole foods and fresh ingredients whenever possible, and opt for the low- or no-salt varieties of canned foods. I suggest using organic or all-natural ingredients when you can buy them for a reasonable price. Be careful about offering leftovers from your own meals, which may be too spicy for your pet's system to handle.





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