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    Ask the Chef: Pet Smoothies

    By Support Boomity | June 25, 2013

    Q: Do you know if it's safe to give some of my superfood smoothie to my dogs?

    -Bruce D.

    A: Pet smoothies are genuinely one of my favorite sections included my book, Superfood Smoothies. Personally speaking, I love to share the healthy wealth with my four-legged family member… and judging from his wagging tail and overall energy, he loves it too! However, I recommend making a different smoothie aside from your own signature blend specially for your pet, as his or her nutritional needs are quite different from human ones (even if it's just a little treat). A pet smoothie is a pretty flexible thing (it doesn't even need to taste good… at least to you and me), but there are definitely a few things to take into consideration.

    First, there's no need to go overboard with flavorful ingredients. Dogs and cats don't need excess salt, fat, and sugar in their food to please their palate like humans do. Instead of using fruit juice, coconut water or milk, just use water. Don't add sweeteners or any spices, and keep the overall number of ingredients to a minimum.

    If you use fruits, they should be easy to digest: bananas, apples and pears are usually the favorites of most pets. Small amounts of vegetables can be included too, such as fresh kale, carrots, and peas. Many animals are particularly fond of mineral-rich sea vegetables, such as dulse or nori. And even small amounts of cooked gluten-free grains such as rice or gluten-free oats can be blended into the mix for bulk as well.

    To promote an extra shiny coat and healthy joints, try including some omega-rich seeds in your pet smoothie: chia, flax, and hemp seeds all make a great addition. A touch of coconut oil also works well too, just don't go overboard with oils, as most adult animals do not require a tremendous amount of fat.

    For a little extra protein - always important in an animals' diet - a spoonful of hemp protein powder makes a wonderful addition. Unseasoned cooked lentils work excellently too. If you have a picky eater, a teaspoon of salt-free peanut butter can make almost any smoothie combination suddenly quite convincing to many animals.

    Very important is to make note of foods that are toxic to pets, despite how beneficial they may be to humans. NEVER INCLUDE grapes (including raisins), cacao, teas, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Many dogs and cats cannot process gluten very well either. If you have any questions regarding specific ingredients, consult your veterinarian first.

    Dogs seem to enjoy pet smoothies more than cats, but I have had experience with a feline who seemed more than happy to lap up a little of a special blend. The amount you give your pet depends on its size, age and activity level … start small and build up slowly.

    Does your pet have a favorite smoothie? Share it in the comments below!