Homemade doggie treats

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Sixty-two percent of U.S. households include a pet, and 78.2 million of those pets are dogs, according to the American Pet Products Association's most recent survey. Dog lovers want good nutrition and flavor to ensure happy, healthy animal members of the family.

Today, professional chefs are creating delicious, healthy foods and treats for dogs as well as people.

"Understanding nutrition for dogs and how it differs from what is right for humans is key," says Chef Jim Gallivan, department chair of culinary arts at The Art Institute of Atlanta.

Here are some tips to ensure a healthy diet for your canine friend.

* Provide the right balance of fats, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, protein and –– especially during the summer months –– lots of water.

* Understand that the right balance for dogs is different from what's right for humans. Dogs have different dental capabilities and a shorter digestive tract, so foods need to be able to be processed quickly.

* Avoid foods toxic to dogs, including chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, caffeine and fruit seeds.

-- ARA