Maybe Grandma and Grandpa had a dog named Fido when they first got married, one they fed outdoors and whistled for, as needed. If so, that probably wasn’t unusual behavior during that era. Large numbers of people today, though, consider their dogs to be members of their family with all of the special treatment that includes.
That’s not just our opinion, either! Numerous studies show how people’s perceptions of their pets have changed. For example, according to a nationwide study in 2019, 98 percent of dog owners now consider their dogs to be family members, “signaling not just a trend, but an ingrained lifestyle here to stay.” Contrast that to another study, one conducted in 2007, and that number was at 88 percent.
This shift in attitude has already changed what many pet owners are willing to feed their animals, with the studies we’ve read showing how:
Pet owners don’t want to have genetically modified ingredients in the dog’s food, with 43 percent of owners willing to “ante up for ‘non-GMO’ products.”
These consumers want their pet food to be “made in a kitchen” instead of in a lab.
When it comes to pet treats, they want healthy fare, with 85 percent of them believing they can extend the lives of the beloved pets that way.
We at The Chef’s Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute also love our dogs—and this info sure got us thinking.
All-Natural Dog Treats: Made in the CVI Kitchen
“We came up with the idea to make natural dog treats from ingredients from The Chef’s Garden while at our farm market stand last fall,” Chef Jamie Simpson explains. “We experimented with pumpkin and it went over well—both with the owners and the dogs.”
Because of the positive reaction, Chef Jamie and Chef Tristan of the Culinary Vegetable Institute are now hard at work making sweet potato dog treats in the CVI kitchen. “Talk about a clean label,” Jamie says. “Our team in the packing room is saving sweet potatoes for us that might have a blemished spot or a bit of bad skin—or otherwise don’t make the grade for our chefs and home cooks.”
He and Tristan then carefully clean them and cut off bruised spots before slicing, steaming, and drying the sweet potatoes to make the dog treats. The result is a chewy, dense, delicious dog treat that’s about one-inch thick.
Are Sweet Potatoes Safe for Dogs?
That’s a reasonable question to ask, and here’s a response from a veterinarian. She notes how many of the health benefits that humans enjoy by eating sweet potatoes are thought to also “carry over to dogs.” When it comes to the quantity, she says that “most veterinarians agree that you can give sweet potatoes to your dog as a treat as long as it does not make up more than ten percent of their diet.”
More Thoughts from Chef Jamie
“We’re already thinking about how we can make butternut squash and pumpkin dog treats in the fall,” he says. “And I’m already picturing how they might look in bulk quantities in apple crates at the farmer’s market.”
Don’t want to wait to see what unfolds for fall? We encourage you to splurge on a home delivery box of fresh vegetables for yourself and add our sweet potato dog treats to your order. It’s a fun, easy addition to home delivery—and these treats will also make great gifts for friends and family members who want the best for their dogs, treats that are handmade with love.