Our pets give us unconditional love, companionship, and attention, so it’s the least we can do to return their efforts on National Cook For Your Pets Day on November 1! While we tend to feed our pets with food bought from the store, spending a day cooking for our pet is more than just a nice way to honor their place in our lives. By consulting with the vet about what foods to avoid and what foods might nourish the pet best, we’ll gain new insights into our animals’ diets and ultimately, become better at caring for our animals. So take this day to cook a delicious meal for your pets!
National Cook For Your Pets Day timeline
New Nutritional Requirements
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences published nutritional requirements for animals to be “complete and balanced”, providing all of a pet’s nutritional needs.
First Tinned Dog Food
The first tin of Ken-L Ration was introduced in 1922, mainly consisting of horsemeat, which was considered an acceptable ingredient at the time.
First Dog Biscuit Shaped Like a Bone
An American competitor introduced the first dog biscuit shaped like a bone, defining commercial dog food into the 1920s.
First Dog Biscuit
An Ohio Salesman named James Spratt invented the world’s first dog biscuit after seeing British sailors throwing “dog cakes” or “hard tack” to their dogs.
- 16,000 BC
First Domesticated Dog
Humans have been keeping dogs in their homes for thousands of years, with Roman poet and philosopher Marcus Varro writing a manual on how to give dogs meat and bones
National Cook For Your Pets Day Activities
Check your ingredient list
Checking with your vet is the best way to learn what foods to avoid giving your pet, but the big no-nos are anything milk-based, chocolate, avocados, nuts, onions, leeks, chives, mushrooms, and walnuts. Your pet’s digestion is pretty fragile, so it’s important not to risk renal failure by trying to do something nice for the animal! Also, it should go without saying, but seriously, avoid giving your pet alcohol. It can be lethal for animals in any dose.
A dog likes a nice bowl of mixed cooked protein, vegetables and rice. Together with fresh fruit, and the occasional chew for healthy teeth, feeding a dog home-cooked food isn’t as complex as you might think. A cat, meanwhile, is exclusively carnivorous, so you’ll be looking at giving the animal a nice piece of protein.
Buy a pet cookbook
Julia Child would probably be horrified to learn that there are an increasing number of pet cookbooks on the market, but it’s true. Often, they’re written in the personas of the animals doing the eating, and it’s a creative and hilarious new trend for you to explore. One word of caution: A 2013 study by U.C. Davis researchers showed that many homemade recipes lacked the necessary nutrition, so it’s important to ensure that your recipe book does meet your pet’s needs, or that you're just using the recipes as supplements to a more balanced diet.
Why We Love National Cook For Your Pets Day
Our pets keep us healthy
There are many health benefits from owning a pet, from lower blood pressure and encouraging us to take physical exercise to fewer incidents of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Since our pets do so much for our health, it’s only right that we should attempt to understand a little more what is good for theirs! And not to sound too selfish either, but if our pets are healthier, they’ll be around longer. So that’s good for everyone.
Doing a good thing feels great
We feed our pets every day with some kibble in a bowl or maybe a can on the counter. But taking a little extra time to give your pet something healthy and delicious will make both of you feel good! Even animals delight in small acts of kindness!
Reflecting on your pet’s diet will help you, too
Thinking about what to cook for you pet might also make you rethink your own diet, too! Thinking about what to cook for Fido but finding that you wouldn't want to give him most of what you eat because you're not sure it's healthy? Wake-up call! Also, remember, dogs don’t judge, so if you’re just learning to cook, then you’ll get some validation here. And most of us could use some validation in the kitchen.