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Pampering pets with gourmet kibble

Americans want only the best

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March 20th, 2012

We are a nation of foodies. We like our premium ice cream, our specially roasted coffee, and our artisanal cheeses. Now it seems we want our pets to enjoy the finer things in life too. According to the American Pet Products Association, we spent $18.76 billion on pet food in 2010, $19 billion in 2011, and are projected to spend $20.46 billion in 2012. Many of those dollars were spent in the pursuit of tastier, healthier pet food. For a growing number of pet owners, that generic bag of kibble or the disgusting canned hash simply won t do.

Chef in a can

Television food competitions have made chefs into America s newest rock stars. Capitalizing on the notion that anything a chef prepares must be good, pet food makers are serving up dishes that actually sound good enough to eat. Purina introduced Fancy Feast special restaurant inspired cat foods with selections like wild salmon Tuscany with long grain rice and garden greens. For dogs, they have Chef Michael s Canine Creations braised beef flavor. And smaller, boutique brands like Petropics are finding success with tantalizing pet meals like Tiki Cat Hawaiian grill ahi tuna and Tiki Dog Kauai luau succulent chicken on brown rice with prawns canned dog food. The quest for good health through nutrition is another popular trend that is finding its way into pet bowls. LM Farm Nutrition Boosters is a supplement you sprinkle over any pet food. It s packed with nutrients like omega fatty acids, probiotics, and prebiotics. LM Farm also offers dog treats made with natural ingredients like farm-raised beef and fresh, locally grown vegetables.

Home cooking

As grandmothers everywhere know, there s nothing like a home-cooked meal. That s the premise of Rick Woodford s forthcoming book Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs. Packed full of cleverly named recipes like lamb muffins and mutt loaf,Feed Your Best Friend Betteris a thorough guide to dog nutrition. Woodford addresses special diets for ailing dogs, meeting the nutritional needs of growing puppies, and even has recipes that both man and beast can share. Too busy to prepare Rover s meal from scratch every night? The book has suggestions for supplementing commercial dog food with additional ingredients, a sort of Sandra Lee semi-homemade approach to feeding your dog. Feed Your Best Friend Betterwill be available at booksellers everywhere on April 10, 2012.

Food truck for dogs

Food trucks serving up everything from sausages to cupcakes have taken the nation by storm. Best Friends Pet Care, a national boarding, grooming, and pet day camp enterprise, has unleashed its treat truck for dogs. The colorful, doggy-themed truck is visiting dog parks and other pet-friendly locations across the U.S. We wanted to bring the community a taste of the fun and caring our staff provides to pet guests every day, says Renee Coughlin, vice president of marketing for Best Friends Pet Care. What better way to do that than with a treat truck just for dogs? At each stop on its tour, the treat truck gives away doggy cookies and ice cream treats, along with fun items like tennis balls, paw towels, and paw-shaped bag clips. The treat truck will be touring the country throughout the summer. To see if it s headed to a dog park near you, visit bestfriendspetcare.com/treat-truck-tour. michele.harris@ erickson.com

Stir-fry and rice

Yield: 9 cups, 400 calories per cup Cooking fresh ginger transforms some of its antioxidants (named, appropriately enough, gingerols) into two other powerful antioxidants that are not present in the raw form: shogaols and zingerones. The antioxidants provided by ginger are helpful for dogs with nausea, diarrhea, or excessive gas, and are being studied for their abilities to prevent cancer. This recipe is not only healthy, it s also incredibly easy to prepare and can share many of the same ingredients you d use in your own stir-fry. Directions: Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and carrots and stir-fry until the chicken is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, spinach, ginger, and garlic powder and cook for 5 minutes while lightly tossing to prevent any ingredients from burning. Mix in the eggs and cook, stirring, until the eggs have set, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the stir-fry to cool prior to mixing in any supplements. Note: To cook rice, combine 2 cups of rice with 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. 1/4 cup canola oil 1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. 2 medium carrots grated 6 cups cooked long-grain white rice (see note) 1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger 1/4 tsp garlic powder 4 large eggs, beaten

Daily portion

Divide into two meals, or serve one-half the daily portion per day with one-half the normal amount of dry food. 10-lb dog: 2/3 to 1 cup 20-lb dog: 1 ' to 1 ' cups 40-lb dog: 2 to 2 ' cups 60-lb dog: 2 2/3 to 3 1/3 cups 80-lb dog: 3 1/3 to 4 ' cups From Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodford (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

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