From time to time we all deserve a treat, so do our pets, so why not create some super tasty and healthy pork jelly cupcakes for them to enjoy?
The recipe is a remake of my jellied pig trotters I cook for my dogs to help them with any potential joint problems. Jellied pigs trotters are rich in collagen and gelatine, which will help to maintain healthy bones and joints for longer. Normally they would have it for dinner but they love it so much that I’ve decided to turn it into a treat for the days when they eat chicken 🙂
If you have a small breed dog, maybe start with half of the ingredients below so your pooch has a chance to eat it all whilst it is still fresh. They will sit comfortably in the fridge for up to one week (just make sure they are placed in an airtight container).
4 pig trotters (available in any larger supermarket, but best from your local butcher)
*if you don’t have or don’t want to buy any simply add some carrots, maybe a parsnip or an apple or some seaweed, just something with minerals and essential nutrients.
Pop trotters into a large cooking pot.
Fill it up with water, just enough to cover them, and then add additional 500ml of water.
Cook on a low heat for at least 12+ hours. The longer you cook them the easier it will be to remove all the bones. Minimum cooking time for it to turn into jelly is 3 hours. These days we normally cook a large batch once a week and leave it to simmer for 24h; after this time there it totally no problem with picking all bones out as they are simply at the bottom of the pot. Additionally the longer you let it cook the more goodness you will extract from the bones.
Once your cooking time is up, drain all the liquid into a clean pot or a large bowl.
Pick the bones out and BIN THEM.
Chop any remaining bits of trotter meat and skin into smaller chunks.
Now fill your silicone cupcakes moulds: a little bit of meat, some fruit and veggie flakes and fill up with the liquid, which over time will turn into awesome jelly.
Once cooled, pop into the fridge and allow to set completely (overnight will be best).
Then just feed to your dog as needed.
Both Lilly and Bunk go mad for them so I really hope your pooch will love them too.
As a final thought if you’re sensitive to smells you may want to get some essential oils going in the house or stock up on Febreze as the cooking does give off a strong odour. I have become used to it now a days but like I said, if you are sensitive you may not enjoy the experience.
Joint problems aren’t limited to humans only; animals suffer from them as well. They can cause your pet to feel uncomfortable and even pain. As responsible pet owners we are supposed to do all we can to prevent this from happening; it is however, and most importantly, much easier than dealing with the consequences later on if we don’t.
So, what can cause joint problems in dogs?
Age – The older your dog, the more chances there are he or she will suffer from this condition.
Breed – large and giant breeds have to support more weight and are much more prone to joint problems than smaller dogs. This is why it is very important to think about the future and start protecting your dog as soon as possible.
Weight – Overweight dogs, a growing (no pun intended) and serious problem here in the UK, have a much greater chance of developing joint problems than their slim cover-girl friends. Remember, you can really hurt your dog with love. That extra sausage given as a treat just for being sooo cute will go straight to their hips.
Accidents – Unavoidable usually, but is your house safe from slippery floors or heavy things knocked over with an excited tail?
Infections – Significant reductions in the chance of this occurring can come from a good diet and exercise.
Genetic predispositions – Check out the parents if you can especially if you dog is a “mutt”. If it’s a pure breed then the breeder should be able to give you some history and advise you on the likelihood of problems in the future.
These are some of the main factors that play a big role in our beloved pets potentially developing joint problems.
Can we prevent this from happening?
Of this I am not sure. I am tempted to say no, but I believe that we can greatly reduce the chances of it occurring just by following some basic steps.
Knowing what can cause joint problems and knowing what to do in order to minimise the chances of it happening will help give your pet a better life and potentially save you and your pet a lot of problems in the future.
When we got Bunk, we knew what sort of breed we were getting, we were aware of the increased chance of problems it might hold for us in the future and yet we still got him. We started then and still do try our best to give both him and Lilly the best chance of a pain free life in the years to come.
So what can we do to prevent or minimise joint problems in dogs?
Just as with humans it can be argued that diet is very important, if not the single most important factor in determining what if any health problems we will incur in the future. A lot of people don’t really pay too much attention to what they are feeding their pet, often subconsciously driven by a marketing campaign created to make profits not the best for your pooch, which is a really scary thought. We have to pick the right food for our dog. It is extremely important that they eat what’s right for them and that the food contains all the necessary ingredients. When picking the food, do your research. Do not just pick a random pack from the shelf in the store because it is on offer! Make sure that the food is balanced and that it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which help protect the joints. If you have the time, skills and willingness you can always cook something special for them, like jellied pigs trotters 🙂
Whilst we are on the subject of diet I would also recommend adding some fish oil. Research shows that it can reduce joint discomfort as well as promote healthy development. Fish oil contains omega-3 & 6 fatty acids that have greater benefits; it benefits their skin and coat, it improves the immune system, decreased inflammations, helps with energy levels, reduce risk of heart problems etc etc… Fish oil is not expensive, it will not break your bank and it will give real benefits to your dog.
As stated above the more overweight the dog, the greater the chance of developing joint problems. Keeping your dog slim is extremely important, simply because their weight affects so much more than just joints. I featured a post about Pet Obesity some time ago, so please read it if you want to know more on the topic.
Regular exercising of your dog is a must. Walk your dog as it will encourage movement and the flexibility of the joins and help them stay in better condition for longer. It also stimulates their minds and is their natural state which helps in a holistic way, It will also help with weight control. But like with everything in life moderation, exercising has to be done in moderation; too much or too little isn’t going to benefit your dog in fact it will be most unbeneficial.
Swimming is highly beneficial for dogs as it doesn’t put any pressure on their joints and helps them relax. I am not suggesting that you have to take your dog to hydro therapy but if you have the sea, a lake or even a stream nearby and your dog likes to get wet, let them. Yes, I know it might not be ideal at times, your dog is all wet, your house stinks like a wet dog, your dog needs a bath… very time consuming but highly beneficial.
Imagine how you would feel after an 8 hour long night on the cold hard floor, this is how your dog feels every morning, afternoon and evening. Dog beds are not just an aesthetics exercise, they are necessity! Every dog needs to have a good dog bed. Something warm and comfortable, large enough so he or she can stretch and roll over if desired but most important it has to offer a good lever of support for their joints, back and body, something like this Scruffs Hilton Orthopaedic Bed.
Sleeping on the cold hard floors of modern households is not natural, they are designed to sleep on the soil or grass which has some give and retains the bodies heat; something our tiles and wood veneered floors cannot offer, as such they are not ideal and not recommended. I know that sometimes it is hard to get your pet to sleep in the bed, but this is one of the reasons why people started dog training. Buy a good dog bed for your pet and make them sleep in it. Or if you own a dog like our Lilly you can take the easy quick option and sacrifice your own bed through the day and evening for he own personal use…
I am done. This is my list.
I would love to know if there is anything else you would add to it.
*Lilly and Bunk received 1 bottle of Salmon Oil and a new bed from Pet Shop Bowl.
Like many large breed owners we worry about the health of the animal, especially about their bones as they are prone to problems in older age. We all want that warm fuzzy feeling from knowing deep down inside that we have looked after them well and they are happy and healthy, so we take care of things. Now one of the biggest things in any dogs’ life is food, if you don’t believe me cook a sausage sandwich and notice just how attentive, loyal and totally loving your hound is…
However when it comes to buying their food we tend to fall into one of two camps; kibble or tin. Some go buy a sack of dried food and some go buy a stack of tinned dog food. Depending on the size of your hound (as you know Bunk and Lilly aren’t the smallest of breeds) will tend to determine how far towards kibbles you lean, unless you have won the lottery recently. But kibbles are boring aren’t they; would you like to eat them every day?
So food procured now we start the next worry, what exactly is in their food and is it good for you. We know the food industry will mess around with human food to enhance colour, flavour or shelf life with all sorts of weird and wonderful laboratory products so what on earth would they do to dog food.
This has led us to think about a home cooked solution to ensure no worries. Ok, we are still going to give kibbles, even though we are of the opinion that they must be boring so what can we add to make it more tasty and maybe even have a health benefit, we have come up with an option.
Jellied pigs trotters are rich in collagen and gelatine, which will help to maintain healthy bones and joints for longer. They are fairly cheap to buy and for sure easy to prepare.
First thing is to pop down to your local family butchers and acquire some pig’s feet (trotters). Then off to your veggie shop to get some carrots, parsnip, leeks, celery… whichever veggie your dogs like, it will all work, so buy it.
I was cooking a giant batch… a whole weeks’ worth of food to feed Bunk, Lilly and maybe the cats as a treat… so I got:
4 pig trotters
1 parsnip (simply because they do not like it as much as carrot)
1 celery stalk
I would normally like to give them a large leek as well but my veggie man didn’t have any on the day
Wash them well, peel, cut into chunks and pop them all into the largest pot you have and cover with water.
I split my ingredients in half and cooked it in 2 separate pots adding 4 litres of water to each pot. I cook it with the lid fully on as I do not want my liquid to reduce too much.
Boil them on a low heat for three to four hours or until you see the feet falling apart.
When the food is cooking, prepare your containers – I use 900ml ice cream tubs. They really work well for us and make for a perfect daily portion to share between Lilly and Bunk.
Once the cooking time is up allow them to cool a little, and then remove everything from your pot, leaving just the liquid. Do not throw away the liquid as this is what makes the jelly!
You will need to peel the feet now. Put meat and skin on one side and remove ALL the bones. Be very careful not to skip some, check and them re-check again if there is no bones left. Don’t be tempted to give bones to the dog no matter how much he / she begs and pleads! Bones go to the bin.
Cut your veggies into smaller chunks and start building the food cubes. I put veggies first; meat later and then fill the entire box with liquid…. just like this…
When you are finish with your creation, put them aside until totally cold. Few hours later pop them all into the fridge, don’t worry if your tubs seem very liquid like… they will set, just give them time.
My ingredients as stated above made 8 tubs, each around 80% full.
Next day you have a fridge full of homemade awesome dog food! Take it out, allow it to warm for half an hour and then cut into desired chunks. Add to kibbles and I bet your dogs will love it, as ours do!
I tried to cook the same way with some chicken feet as well. The principle is the same but… chicken feet are much smaller and removing all the bones (which are really tiny) is a horrendous task, so after spending over 2 hours getting all the bones from my chicken feet out I decided to stick with trotters 😉
Do you know of any other homemade recipes / remedies which will help to maintain healthy joints for dogs?