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, a piece of cheese in the other…Labor Day is your much-needed—nay!—your much-deserved day off. 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. How can you say no?
You don’t have to! Plan ahead to share your Labor Day 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.
Start with Vegetable Skewers
You’ll already have some veggies on the grill, I’m sure. Sweet potatoes 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 grill 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 for.
Barbecue Burgers for Two
You didn’t think I was sticking to veggies, did you? It’s Labor Day and I’ve scored a burger patty recipe both you and your dog can eat.
Serve your pooch only the patty, but 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 lb. grass fed ground beef
- 1 cup quick cook oats
- 1/2 cup of organic flax seed meal
- 1 large egg
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 1 medium zucchini grated
- 4 oz. of grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh, chopped parsley
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Form the mixture into patties and grill on medium heat for five minutes per side until they are 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!
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 $12.95 a bottle.
This furry friend of ours, Banks, slurped down her glass with no problems. Just think…you could clink glasses with your fur-ball as you both wait for the food to get done. Vino buddies, how divine!
Dogs don’t need processed sugar (neither do we, really). Natural sugars are great, though. Frozen fruit satisfies that sweet tooth and is also very refreshing for both dogs and humans.
Frozen watermelon slices are practically ice-pops. And since lime juice is safe for dogs, you can marinate the slices in lime juice and then freeze them for an extra layer of flavor. Grilled apples make for a yummy and caramelized sweet-treat. Frozen blueberries are also safe for dogs and make for great additions to a summer cocktail for you.
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, ribs) because they can get lodged in the throat. Bite-sized pieces of anything are always better. Dogs get excited and will inhale their food. Also, never give dogs alcohol or caffeine, no matter how bad they beg.
Related Video: How to Make Salmon Dog Treats
Header image courtesy of John Raptosh/Shutterstock.