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Healthy after-school snacks for kids and dogs to share

By Guest Blogger: Carrie Boyko, All Things Dog Blog

It’s 4:00 PM and your kids are working on homework and tapping their toes while you’re digging for something quick and nutritious for an after-school snack. Sound familiar? It’s every mother’s nightmare.

To make matters worse, your dog is highly interested in every food item you pick up, ready to inspect and devour at will. Add to the above 2 issues the possibility that you may create food aggression in some dogs, simply by placing it within their reach while counter surfing, and you’re now wondering what snack could possibly work without causing digestive upset in your Rover.

I’m going to share my favorite after-school snacks that have several benefits:

  • They provide healthy options when offered in a well-balanced, assorted plate of choices.
  • Each is healthy for Fido, as well as the kids.
  • These snacks can be prepared ahead and served quickly from the refrigerator, whenever your crew is ready to nosh.

But first, your kids need to know the proper method for sharing to avoid food aggression, either among multiple pups, or with your children. If you know you already have a food aggressive dog in your home, park him in another room during snack or mealtime. Take no chances!

Rule #1: All food belongs to the humans. Adults and children serve it to Fido only after they have fed themselves, according to the guidelines below. Place food at a location accessible to the kids, but not Fido.

Rule #2: Mom, Dad or a responsible adult decide what and how much Fido may have, and are always present during the exercise.

Rule#3: Fido waits quietly without begging, or does not receive a snack. Believe me, he’ll figure this out real quick! It’s a great training strategy.

Rule#4: Fido’s snack is placed on the floor or in a dish, only when he is calm, and never fed by hand.

Rule #5: Fido eats only after being given permission to take the food. This exercise will help to establish the child as a pack leader, along with the adults, while also limiting the possibility of food aggression.

So, what shall we eat? Here are some favorites at our house that your pack may enjoy, as well:

  • Organic Peanut Butter Balls (recipe below)
  • Organic carrots (kids may enjoy Ranch dip with these, but don’t offer dip to Rover), cleaned but not sliced lengthwise. Save yourself the time and your dog the choking hazard. Offer a whole large carrot to a large dog, while only a 3-inch section to your toy-sized pup.
  • Cheese slices (choose hard, organic or all-natural cheeses, if possible)
  • Sliced apples and bananas are great also, but always consider the size of your dog when slicing—not too small to be a choke hazard, and please remove the peel for Fido.

Keep in mind that peanut butter and cheese are protein sources. Choose one each day, but not both, and offer only a small portion to Fido, as both are high in fat. We don’t want any tummy aches.

Now, let’s get cooking! These Peanut Butter Balls are a quick prep and will last quite a while in your fridge. That’s sure to be something mom can celebrate about!

Peanut Butter Balls

  • 1 small to medium jar of organic peanut butter, room temperature
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup honey
  • Nonfat dry milk powder

Instructions:

1.  Using a food processor with a blade, mix peanut butter and honey thoroughly.

2.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder slowly to this mixture until you get a firm, well-mixed dough.

3.  Spoon out 1-2” balls and roll them in dried milk powder.

4.  Place balls in a shallow container.

5.  Cover and refrigerate until firm. Remain chilled until gone.

I’ll admit this recipe is terribly addicting. If you’re dieting, I apologize in advance!

One last point; if you’re watching Fido’s figure too, consider reducing his daily food amount in congruence with the snack food, to maintain his calorie count. As with your own diet, too many snacks will pack on the pounds, so keep it to a minimum for best results.

I’ll bet some of you have your own great snack choices that work well for Fido also. Want to share? What’s cooking in your kitchen? Leave us a comment for us to try. My Tanner and Oliver are happy to help with after-school snack time. Happy tails!

Carrie Boyko writes the All Things Dog Blog, where her dogs teach her every day how to be a better pack leader.

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