You're probably thinking "Jello....for dogs!?" Let me explain...
Perhaps I'm cheating a bit again today. I'm not recommending that you feed your dog Jello made/sold for humans! Jello treats for humans commonly contains added sugar and other ingredients that wouldn't be good for your four legged friend. But you can buy unflavored gelatin, which is dog safe, can be flavored with natural ingredients, and is beneficial to dogs with joint issues.
This is the brand of gelatin that I normally buy. It's just plain, unflavored, gelatin. My local grocery store carries it - I normally find it in the aisle where they sell powdered gelatin/Jello for people.
Dog Jello Treats
Here's an example of how I prepare gelatin for my dogs. For this recipe you'll need:
- 2 Cups Whole Strawberries (I used frozen)
- 4 envelopes (1 oz) Knox unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup boiling water
- Chop strawberries into small pieces, or use your blender to blend them (this is what I did)
- Mix sliced/blended strawberries with 4 envelopes (1 oz) of gelatin powder and 1 cup of boiling water.
- After mixing, carefully pour liquid into molds (ice cube trays work well) or any other desired container. Refrigerate and let gelatin set overnight, or until treats are firm and can be removed from molds without breaking.
- Store covered in the refrigerator.
You don't have to use strawberries! I did because I had them on hand, but you can experiment and use pretty much anything as long as it's dog safe. So far I've experimented with using dog safe fruits (strawberries, banana, blueberries), and peanut butter. The gelatin treats never smell good to me when I'm making them, but both my dogs readily eat them so they must think they taste ok.
Back in August of 2015 we reviewed a Pet Gift Box that contained a product that you could use to make peanut butter flavored gelatin treats. I'm a paranoid dog mom and usually research new types of treats before allowing my dogs to try them. At the time, I didn't know gelatin was safe for dogs.
I learned that not only is it safe, but it actually provides some health benefits. I've mentioned before that Kitsune has some (so far minor) joint issues now. We supplement his diet with things like fish/fish oil, and glucisanine/chondroitin to help support his joint health. It's kind of gross, I know, but gelatin is made from animal parts. Carnivores normally get gelatin in their diets from eating animal parts such as tendons, cartilage, and skin.
Glycine, an amino acid that is basically what makes up gelatin, has been shown to aid in protecting against brain damage and seizures. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to promote cartilage growth. Gelatin can also help prevent arthritis and other joint disorders, and helps to strengthen bones, ligaments, and tendons. It can also help to support nail, fur, and skin health.
After learning all this, I started offering Kitsune gelatin treats more often. I prefer to make my own over buying gelatin treat mixes sold for dogs. Jello treats for dogs are really easy to make. If you don't want to make treats but want your dog to get the benefits of eating gelatin, you can sprinkle powdered gelatin directly over your dog's regular food.
Remember that foods such as gelatin should only be fed in moderation! Always talk to your vet first if you are concerned about introducing a new food to your pet. In the case of Jello treats, make sure you are using plain, unflavored gelatin and not Jello treat mixes sold for people. Flavored Jellos for people can contain ingredients that are not good for your dog.
This post is a part of the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge! You can learn more about our challenge theme here.
Have you ever made Jello/gelatin treats for your dog? What flavors did you create or, if you've never made gelatin treats, what flavors do you think your dog would like?