The typical American family ends up throwing out copious amounts of leftover food every day. Since it is a shame for all that food to go to waste, instead of wiping off the table scraps and tossing them into the trash or compost pile, here are some ways they can be used to nourish your dog.

Collecting the Scraps

Useful food scraps: Depending on the meal, many of the below items might be leftovers you’d routinely scrape into the trash before putting the dirty plate into the dishwasher. Instead, consider saving the remnants to make a nutritious treat for your pup! Studies have found that dogs thrive with a diet that balances protein with fruits and vegetables. Their natural dietary needs also include raw food, therefore many human food scraps that we might consider waste, would actually be beneficial to a dog’s health. Here are some typical post-meal scraps to save, that are healthful for your dog:

  • Peeled potatoes
  • Roasted or raw veggies (except onions)
  • Cooked or raw fruits and berries (except raisins and grapes)
  • Apple chips or other dried fruits and berries
  • Cooking herbs & some spices
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Brown rice
  • Cooked oatmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Beans
  • Soup broth
  • Tomato sauce or paste
  • Meat (beef, chicken, fish, pork, and bacon, etc.)
  • Animal fat, chicken skin, cartilage, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Applesauce
  • (When in doubt, check our list of poisonous foods for dogs.)

Using the Scraps

Store leftovers in refrigerator bags to use in recipes later: Store the “sweet/creamy/fruit” leftovers in one bag, with the savory “veggie/meat/broth” bits in another. When you can, throw the items in a fruit processor or a strong blender to make a flavorful puree of the scraps. These bases can be added into a variety of recipes that you can bake or dehydrate for your puppy pal later.

Freeze meat treats: Salvage some of the more solid meat pieces from the leftover plates for later. Dice up what you can, be it turkey slices, chicken chunks, and bacon bits then stash them in small snack-sized bags. Throw this stack of sealed bags into the freezer so they will last. Next time you go on your daily walk, put one of those frozen bags in your pocket. The flavorful frozen meat chunks will keep your dog cool and help him actually want to heel! Your dog will love the cold salty meat, especially after long play sessions or sweltering hikes in the sun.

Pour gravy over dry food: Broth mixed leftover with cooked veggies, potatoes and meat scraps can be nicely blended into a delicious topping for your dog’s dry food mix. Pups can become dehydrated when all they eat is a bowl of dry kibbles, if they are not getting enough water. Increase their electrolytes and up their vitamin intake by creating a tasty veggie/meat mix gravy topping. Suddenly regular meals will seem much more appetizing to your carnivorous canine!

Make puppy-pops: You thought dessert was only for humans? Use the separated sweet or savory puréed blends and freeze some mini pops for your pet pooch this summer. Mix yoghurt, berries, dried fruits, applesauce, honey and peanut butter in a blender, then pour the liquid into ice molds. For a succulent savory option, pour beef or chicken broth into the ice molds and wait for them to harden. Then when your loyal pup has been particularly obedient (or the day is especially hot!), pop out a few squares from the mold and watch your doggy waddle off in bliss with his yummy prize.