Low-Fat Chicken Casserole for your Dog
Home-cooking for your dog can seem a daunting task, but it need not be. Whether you are making them a special meal as a treat, or looking for ideas for a dog with allergies or special dietary requirements, home-cooking can be the answer.
My own Sheltie, Merlin, suffers from Chronic Pancreatitis. From time-to-time, despite being on a specific, low-fat dog food, he has flare-ups and doesn't want to eat. That's a problem, as when Merlin gets empty, his Pancreatitis gets worse. So tempting him to eat little and often is vital. I would often cook him plain chicken or fish, maybe with a little rice and paste, but I wanted to be a bit more creative and offer him something with lots of health benefits and varied nutrition - hence, the doggy casserole.
When home-cooking for your dog, correct nutrition becomes important. If you have a puppy or adolescent dog, I personally advise sticking to a high quality dog food (raw or kibble) to ensure they are getting everything they need as they grow. For adult dogs, you can learn more about their nutritional requirements and what you should be putting in their home-cooked meals here.
If you are only home-cooking occasionally for your dog or combine home-cooking with feeding regular dog food, then you need be less concerned about getting things exactly right. Just remember, as with all diets, nothing should be eaten in excess.
Doggy Chicken Casserole
- Two chicken breasts, without skin or bone
- 300g Baby Potatoes
- 1/4 Red Cabbage
- 1 Carrot
- Frozen Beans and Peas
- (optional) Gravy Powder - not Gravy Salt
- (optional) Garlic clove, crushed
- Dice the Red Cabbage and cut the baby potatoes into quarters. Slice the carrot.
- Place the chicken and all the fresh vegetables, including the garlic, in a large casserole dish with a lid. Add roughly a tablespoon of each frozen vegetable.
- If you are using gravy powder (this should be a no-salt formula), mix four teaspoons with a pint of cold water and pour into the casserole. If you prefer, just use water.
- Set oven to (Fan 190C, 200C, 400F) and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, checking two thirds of the way into the cooking time to see how it is doing.
You can serve the casserole warm, but equally you can serve it cold. If you wish to split it into several small meals, slice up the cooked chicken and store in the fridge. You can also make a big batch and store in the freezer.
Facts About the Ingredients
This chicken casserole is naturally low in fat and full of good things which result in a number of health benefits. There are also some important facts you should be aware of when using these foods in your home-cooking - read on for more information.
Chicken is low fat and easy on the digestive system, making it a good food for dogs with sensitive tummies. It is also great for building lean muscle and contains Omega 6 for healthy skin and coat. However, some dogs are intolerant to chicken and this can result in itchy skin, sore ears or tummy upsets. If your dog shows any of these symptoms after eating the casserole, try switching to another low fat meat source, such as beef or lamb heart.
Potatoes are a controversial doggy food, some people prefer not to feed them at all. However, when cooked they provide vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium. If your dog is diabetic, they should not eat white potatoes as this can cause a blood sugar spike. Equally, being a carbohydrate, potatoes can contribute to doggy obesity. If you prefer, switch the white potatoes in this recipe for chunks of Sweet Potato.
Red cabbage is antioxidant rich and good for the digestion. However, it does contain thiocyanate, a natural compound that suppresses thyroid production. If routinely eaten raw, red cabbage can cause thyroid issues in dogs. Cooking red cabbage deactivates the thiocyanate and makes it safe to consume in larger amounts.
Carrots contain vitamin A and are full of fibre, helping your doggy stay regular. They won't enable him to see better in the dark, however!
Green Beans and Peas
Green beans and peas are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals that are great for your dog. They are naturally low in fat, but high in fibre. Peas also contain the antioxidant Lutein, which helps promote healthy skin, heart and eyes.
Some people are afraid to feed garlic due to warnings it can cause anaemia in dogs. This is true if your dog were to consume huge amounts of garlic, but the odd clove of garlic will do no harm and has some great benefits. Garlic decreases cholesterol, improves digestive health and can help to naturally ward off pests such as fleas.