Pup Friendly Pizza
Your canine bestie is so much more than a pet. He’s your partner in crime for all of your greatest adventures. He’s the friendly face greeting you at the end of the day. He may be a little furrier than the other members of the gang, but he’s a family member. Many pet owners are looking beyond the standard kibble — after all, would you want to eat that stuff? Pizza is the perfect place to start if you’re ready to invite Fido to the dinner table.
The Trend Toward Homemade Dog Food
Before we get into making pizza for your pup, let’s explore the idea of making your own food. It’s a growing trend, and it’s about more than pampering your pet. Owners have varying motives for making food for their pets, but some common reasons include:
- Avoiding potentially dangerous contamination in mass-produced dog food, as evidenced by numerous recalls
- Dissatisfaction with ingredient options in commercially produced pet food
- Meeting special dietary needs of pets
- Satisfying the picky palette of a pet
- Ability to locally source ingredients and control what goes into the food
- Saving money over high-end organic pet foods
- Increased nutritional content with the use of fresh ingredients
- Ability to make healthier, more pet-friendly versions of the human food pets love
Whatever your reason for cooking food from scratch for your pup, the gesture shows that you think of your pup as more than just a pet. You think of your pet as a member of the family who deserves nutritious, safe food.
Why Pizza Works For Your Pooch
Is there any greater food in the world than pizza? We think not. We’re sure you get plenty of puppy dog eyes and drooling from your canine family member every time you bring home pizza for dinner. Human pizza is great to satisfy your own hunger, but it’s not so great for your pup. High amounts of salt and fat aren’t healthy for your dog, and some ingredients you put on your own pizza could be dangerous for your furry friend.
To avoid the potential risks that come with feeding your dog a slice of your pizza, make a special pet-friendly version instead. Pizza is a versatile food, and it’s easy to adapt into a healthier version with ingredients your dog can eat safely. Fido gets to eat pizza like his human parents, and you know you’re giving him a healthy meal.
Pup-friendly pizzas work for everything from a regular meal to a special treat. Whip up a special pizza for your pup on a holiday, to celebrate a birthday or even on an ordinary weeknight.
What Makes a Pizza Pup Friendly?
Making a special pizza for your pup ensures the dish is healthy for him or her. While a pup-friendly pizza looks similar to any pizza, there are a few considerations and tips for making the pizza appealing, safe and healthy for the canine members of your family.
When making a pizza for your dog, keep these considerations in mind:
- Small size: Smaller sizes are easier for dogs to eat, especially if you have a young pup or a small breed dog. Make small individual pizzas, or cut a larger pizza into strips to make eating easier.
- Meaty: It’s no secret that dogs love meat. Plus, it gives them the protein they need. Chicken, bacon, ground beef, turkey and other meats work well on the pizza. Use leftover cooked meats, or prepare fresh meat based on your dog’s preference. Choose the leanest cuts possible to keep the fat content low.
- Dog safe toppings: It’s always important to consider each ingredient you include when making food from scratch for your pooch. Garlic and onion are two typical pizza ingredients that some experts believe could be toxic to your pet. While the evidence is mixed, we say why take the risk? Your pooch can still enjoy his pizza without garlic and onion, and you eliminate a potential problem. Tomatoes are also questionable according to some experts. You can avoid tomatoes on pizza by using cooked, mashed veggies as the sauce.
- Limited cheese: While we say the more cheese the better on our pizzas, too much cheese can hurt your pup’s tummy. Dogs are often lactose intolerant, which means cheese may cause problems. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to be lactose intolerant, a large amount of cheese can cause digestive issues. Use a small amount of cheese or skip the traditional pizza topping completely to make the pup pizza gentle on your pooch’s tummy.
- Reduced salt: Traditional pizza can be quite salty, and your pup doesn’t need all of that sodium. Choose unsalted or low-salt ingredients when possible to make the pizza healthier for your pup.
Making a Dog-Friendly Pizza Crust
The traditional crust you use for your own pizza may taste great, but it often lacks nutrients that your dog can use. The crust becomes empty calories. By making a special crust for your canine, you provide a healthier base for the dog pizza.
Just like humans, dogs can have a sensitivity to gluten. Most dogs are fine with gluten and don’t exhibit any signs of a reaction or issues when consuming it. If you routinely feed your dog food that contains gluten with no issues, you should be fine with a crust that contains gluten. If you feed your dog a gluten-free diet, stick with that when you make the pizza crust.
This simple recipe works as the base for any of your pup-friendly pizzas:
- ½ cup rice or coconut flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1 egg
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Whisk the egg in a separate bowl and mix it into the chicken broth.
- Add the broth and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are fully combined, but try to avoid over-mixing.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface, or spread it out on the pan to form a smooth, thin crust.
- Bake the crust for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cover the crust with your selected toppings.
- Place the pizza back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes to melt the cheese.
Whether you use this recipe or your own, you can use the resulting crust for any of the dog pizza recipes listed below. This gives you plenty of versatility when it comes to serving your dog pizza. Try different topping combinations and recipes each time you serve Fido pizza.
Dog Pizza Recipes
With your crust in place, you’re ready to create the puppy cuisine. You have your favorite toppings, and you may find your pup has preferences for different toppings or combinations. Experiment with different recipes until you find the perfect combination. Test the following recipes to get started:
- Meaty pizza: Give your pup the meat he craves with a meat-topped delight. Choose lean meat varieties to keep the fat and calorie content in check. Spread cooked, mashed sweet potatoes on top of the crust as a sauce. If your dog can digest dairy, sprinkle a small amount of low-fat shredded mozzarella on the crust. Add selected meats. Lean ground beef or ground turkey, pepperoni and crumbled, cooked bacon are suitable options. Add some shredded carrots for a veggie balance with added nutrients. Bake the pizza until the cheese melts and the ingredients are hot.
- Puppy calzone: For a twist on traditional pizza, make your pooch a calzone. Roll unbaked dough into a small circle. Place the selected toppings on half of the circle, leaving an uncovered edge. Fold the other half of the circle over the ingredients. Pinch the edges together to seal the ingredients inside. Brush the calzone with an egg wash. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is brown.
- Veggie pizza: A veggie pizza is another healthy option for your pet. Spread cooked, mashed sweet potatoes on the crust as the sauce. Sprinkle a little low-fat mozzarella on the pizza. Add your selected vegetables on top. Our favorites include spinach, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peas and green beans. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Chicken Pizza: Chicken is a great meat option for dog pizzas. Using boneless skinless chicken breast keeps the pizza lean and healthy with plenty of protein. Use mashed sweet potato sauce as the base over the prebaked crust. Sprinkle chunks of cooked chicken breast and low-fat mozzarella on the pizza. You can also add crumbled bacon bits with the chicken. Bake the pizza until everything is hot and melty, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pup dessert pizza: A good dessert pizza is the perfect way to end a meal. You can offer your pooch that same delicious ending by making a safe, healthy puppy dessert pizza. Use the same prebaked crust that you used for the main course pizza. You can even use the sweet potato sauce. Other options for the sauce include yogurt and peanut butter. Top the pizza with assorted safe fruits. Our pups enjoy sliced apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, oranges, peaches, raspberries, mangos and pear slices. Serve the pizza without baking it any further. Never use cherries or grapes, as both can be toxic to dogs. In general, only serve your pup fruit in moderation. The high sugar content is not healthy in large amounts.
These ideas get you started, but don’t limit yourself to a set recipe. Pizza is a forgiving food. It’s tough to mess it up, so get creative when you make pup pizza. When making up your own recipes, try some of these dog-friendly toppings:
- Lean meats, such as lean ground beef, ground turkey, chicken and turkey
- Shredded carrots
- Bell peppers
- Low-fat cheese
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Cooked cauliflower
- Cooked broccoli
Tips for Making Pup-Friendly Pizza
When you’re venturing into new culinary territory, it’s natural to be a little nervous. We’ve compiled a few more tips to help your first pup pizza be a success. Keep these tips in mind:
- Focus on safe foods: While the toppings are flexible, it’s crucial to choose safe ingredients for your pup. The last thing you want to do is serve pup pizza with a toxic or unsafe ingredient on it. When in doubt, consult with your dog’s veterinarian or leave off the questionable ingredients.
- Cool the pizza: You’ve seen how fast a pup can inhale food. Let the pizza cool fully before placing in front of him of her.
- Choose fresh ingredients: If you’re going to the work of cooking up a custom pizza for your pooch, it makes sense to seek out the freshest, healthiest ingredients. Fresh ingredients generally offer the most nutrients, which makes the pizza that much healthier for your best friend.
- Use dog treat toppers: Another option for pizza toppings is to use your dog’s favorite soft treats. Many treats feature a meat base, such as sausage or bacon treats, that work on pizza. Since the treats are designed for dogs, you know they are safe to use on the pizza. You can even use wet dog food as a makeshift sauce or pizza topper if your canine has a favorite flavor. Adding the food to a pizza offers a different presentation option to make dinnertime more exciting.
- Avoid cross contamination: While making your own food for your pup generally makes the food safer, it’s still possible to cross contaminate the ingredients or add a potentially dangerous ingredient. Prep for the pup pizza making just as you would when cooking for the rest of the family. Starting with a clean work surface and using clean tools minimizes the risk of cross contamination.
- Save leftovers safely: Just like your leftovers need to go in the refrigerator, Fido’s leftover pizza should also be refrigerated. Store the pizza in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Make extras: The dough takes the longest to prepare. When you make your pup pizza, double the dough recipe, so you have extra for next time. Wrap the uncooked dough in plastic wrap, and place it inside a freezer bag to store up to 3 months.
- Make treat sized pizzas: If you just want to give your pooch a taste of pizza or you want to ensure proper portioning, cut the rolled out dough with large round cookie cutters. The circles make perfect small pizzas.
- Balance your pup’s diet: Proper nutrition is essential for your pup. An occasional homemade pup pizza should be fine for most dogs, but if you feed your dog an exclusively homemade diet, make sure you’re balancing the nutrition. High amounts of protein are essential for dogs. Consult with your dog’s veterinarian if you’re concerned about proper nutrients and what exactly your dog needs for a healthy diet.
- Consider your dog’s preferences: You know your pooch best. Choose the ingredients that he enjoys or that he can easily digest to customize the pizza to his or her tastes and dietary needs.
Ready to whip up a specialty pizza just for your dog? While you’re creating your pup-friendly pizza, we’ll handle the pizza for you. Order Giordano’s delivery or pickup, so you can enjoy pizza with your pooch, and you’ll both look forward to pizza night.