5 Recipes Proving Dogs Like Italian Food


Reading Time: 8 minutes

My regular readers know that I am a collector of huge amounts of trivia and facts relating to dogs. I love to learn about official and unofficial breeds, new gear, unusual laws, and any and all jobs for dogs. I am particularly fascinated by food as a topic in general, and so I try to find lots of stories about dog foods and recipes to share. Recently, while perusing the latest headlines relating to dogs, I discovered that Italy is now home to a grocery store that features dog-friendly shopping carts. Yes, you read that correctly – the carts are designed to allow dog owners to do their shopping and bring their pups along for the fun.

As the article in Food & Wine explained, “The concept was the brainchild of Gianfranco Galantini, owner of an Unes store in Liano, Italy, after noticing just how many dogs were getting tied up outside while people dropped in for groceries. Since the law allows dogs to enter stores as long as they are not a nuisance, Galantini decided to convert some of his carts into dog-friendly vehicles by adding a solid metal compartment up front that pups can stand on without their paws falling through.”

I loved this concept and especially the fact that the store also takes pains to thoroughly clean each dog cart after it has been used. However, as I read more about dogs in Italy, I found a little detail that was pretty intriguing – it is easier to find canned cat food in great variety than it is to find canned dog foods. Does this mean that Italians don’t own as many dogs as cats? No, I soon learned, it means they are actually quite choosy about what they feed pets.

Dog’s Food Recipes Book On Amazon

Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog
Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog
Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog
Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog

Last update on 2024-01-11 at 12:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are more than 60 million pets in Italy, and they are seen as members of their families. An export report about pet supplies in Italy explained that there is a lot of growth in the pet care and food industry throughout Italy, and this is because of the “increased importance of pets in Italian families and better marketing via large-scale outlets and specialized stores. Demand for healthcare products, branded clothing and beauty products, as well as natural or premium products is growing. Statistics indicates that Italian pet owners are more likely to treat their pets with greater care, for example by choosing special foods tailored to the pet’s specific nutritional requirements, resulting in higher demand for premium and super premium pet food.”

So, I wondered, if the millions of pet owners are sticking to their guns and waiting for premium foods to appear, does it mean they make meals for the dogs and cats? I mean, Italy is famous for its astonishingly tasty foods, and it would be perfectly normal for Italians to pass on some of their love of good food to pets, right?

In other words, would dogs enjoy Italian food? Well, I soon found the answer in a recently published dog food cookbook straight out of Italy itself!

Related Content:

7 Great Homemade Dog Food Recipes (Video)
8 Dog Food Recipes to Try This Year (Video)
15 Simple Puppy Treat Recipes
4 Dog Food Recipes You Can Make in the Crockpot

Home Cooking Done Right[easyazon_image align=”right” cart=”n” cloak=”y” height=”250″ identifier=”0714877409″ locale=”US” localize=”y” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51aC1lpWHZL.jpg” tag=”natur0da-20″ width=”170″]

In the new cookbook [easyazon_link identifier=”0714877409″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for Your Dog[/easyazon_link], Italian author LivianaProla set out to create delicious and nutritious meals for dogs, and for loving dog owners to make. She began her quest to create delicious dishes based on the fact that illness and poor-quality food go hand in hand – whether it is people or pets. She created 50 recipes for dogs of all ages and the emphasis is on quality ingredients that allow dogs to savor delicious meals without preservatives or unhealthy additives.

The author is a is a research scientist at the Department of Veterinary Science at Turin University, Italy, as well as a Doctor of Veterinary Science, a PhD in Animal Nutrition, president of the Italian Society of Animal Nutrition, and a diplomat at the European College of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition. So, she really knows her stuff.

Because I have yet to get my copy, I decided to dig around and see what others are saying about it. The general consensus is that it is a fabulous find, but with a few caveats. One is that every recipe is designed to deliver the same optimal nutrition as commercial foods. They all require the addition of a supplement known as Balance IT, and though pricey, it ensures that the meals provide even senior dogs with all they require for optimal health.

Ingredients are pure and premium too, meaning excellent meats for each recipe. Now, before you wrinkle your nose and think that you won’t want to bulk up the grocery bill, I’d say reconsider. I do always advocate for balanceddiets and have repeatedly stated that human quality foods are not often adequate to a dog’s needs.

This cookbook, though, seems the exception since it uses that supplement as a required ingredient for each recipe. The meals described in different reviews include such tasty treats as a “Beef Roll and Potatoes” that is shaped into a log and includes easily digested and nutrient dense kefir (a fermented, yogurt-like drink), as well as a Pasta Salad with Pork and Endives. This too features yogurt and was a solid thumbs up from the dogs lucky enough to taste test it for the reviewer.

So, as I said, we’ve ordered a copy and Janice and Leroy are in for a few gourmet meals. I’m sure I’ll get them to become fans of Italian dishes like this, too. Until it arrives, I’ve scouted out a few preliminary recipes with an Italian flair in order to get them ready for the main event. Here are the options we’ll be preparing in the coming week or so:

[su_button url=”https://amzn.to/2Oetso4″ target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#FF6600″ size=”14″ center=”yes” radius=”5″ class=”muz_amazon_buy_button”]BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON[/su_button]

# 1       Pumpkin Pasta Primo

Dogs should NEVER eat tomatoes, so any Italian-themed dishes you make must be without any sort of tomato product. Also keep in mind that garlic and onions are poisonous to dogs, as well. In fact, I urge you to revisit my article on just this issue (Your Dog is Not a Human, So Don’t Feed Him Like One!) to be sure you never use ingredients with any potential risks.

This dish uses savory pumpkin puree with pasta and turkey to create an irresistible, easy to make and entirely affordable entrée.


  • #1 ground organic turkey
  • #1 pasta of choice
  • 1 can pure pumpkin puree (be sure it is not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 pkg microwaveable green beans (cut), steamed according to package instructions
  • ½ cup to 1 cup freshly ground parmesan cheese


  1. Bake ground turkey at 350 until brown, remove and cool.
  2. Boil and drain pasta, pouring it into large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir the pumpkin and pasta together in a large bowl.
  4. Stir the turkey into the mix, and then the green beans.
  5. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
  6. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers or extra servings (these will vary based on your dog’s size and nutritional needs)

# 2       “Ruff” for Risotto

For humans, risotto is a treat. It is a time-consuming recipe that produces a silken rice dish full of subtle flavors and satisfying combinations. It is a main course dish and this spin on it is ideal for an adult dog with or without a delicate palette.


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 oz. chicken, cooked and diced
  • 2 oz. EACH cooked brown rice and canned sweet corn
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk yogurt (plain, unsweetened)


  1. In a large sauté pan, cook the potato in the olive oil
  2. Stir in the kale and then the rice and corn
  3. Add the chicken and stir only until heated through
  4. Reduce heat and add the yogurt.
  5. Cover and cook for five minutes, stirring periodically.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving
  7. Refrigerate leftovers or extra servings (these will vary based on your dog’s size and nutritional needs)

Variation on Ruff for Risotto

A bit more vegetable-heavy, and not as creamy in texture, this risotto variation is a great option when you have multiple dogs to feed and want to keep the costs at a very affordable range.


  • #1 ground organic turkey
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 16 oz pkg frozen mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are ideal)


  1. In a Dutch Oven, add the turkey, water, rice and rosemary.
  2. Turn the burner to high heat and stir until the turkey meat is broken into evenly sized pieces.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes and then stir in the veggies, cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and cool before serving.
  1. Refrigerate leftovers or extra servings (these will vary based on your dog’s size and nutritional needs)

#3        Puppo Pasta Primavera

Whether you serve this as a first course (it makes a lot and can easily be a nice little nibble or treat), or you have multiple dogs and need to do a big cook at once, this affordable and tasty dish can be easily tweaked to your dog’s preferences by adding a handful of parmesan, opting for a blend of veggies or even swapping out the chicken for pork or turkey.


  • #1 chicken livers
  • #2 brown rice
  • #2 small pasta shapes
  • #1 mixed vegetables (frozen)
  • 4 chicken or turkey legs (or #1-#2 boneless pork chops)
  • Herbs and seasonings to your dog’s liking – Italian seasoning is a good place to start
  • 32oz whole milk cottage cheese


  1. In a large pot, add the liver and rice along with water to cover by 1.5 to 2 times (i.e. a ratio of 2 to one). Cook for 20-40 minutes – until rice is done and fluid absorbed. If you need to add more fluid to rice to cook fully, do so.
  2. In a roasting dish, season the meat and cook at 400 degrees until cooked through.
  3. Cook the pasta and drain it over a colander in which the vegetables have been placed and partially thawed.
  4. In a huge bowl or pot, pour the rice and chicken livers and the pasta and veggies. If you must pull meat from the bone, do so over the pot and allow juices to fall into the mixture. Pour the pan juices into the mix, add the cottage cheese and stir well.
  5. Serve when cool enough to enjoy, refrigerating leftovers.

# 4       Pizza for the Puppos

You love pizza, I love pizza, everyone loves pizza, and that includes your dogs. So why not whip up a pie for them on a Friday night!


For the crust:

  • ¼ cup organic corn meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup water or milk


  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup parmesan AND mozzarella (shredded)
  • #1/2 ground meat that you have cooked and seasoned with your dog’s preferred options (Italian seasoning is always a hit)


  1. Make the crust by combining all of the ingredients and spreading them in a round cake or pizza pan.
  2. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes
  3. While cooking, prepare the toppings.
  4. Remove crust from oven and cool briefly, then top with the toppings as you would a normal pizza with pumpkin puree, meat and then cheeses.
  5. Return to the oven and reduce it 200 degrees. Bake for 10 more minutes.
  6. Remove and cool before serving

Dog’s Food Recipes Book On Amazon

Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog
Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog
Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog
Feed Me: 50 Home Cooked Meals for your Dog

Last update on 2024-01-11 at 12:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5        Yummy Tummy Torta

This makes six “pupcakes” and is a great recipe if you want to keep some “sweet” treats on hand for your dogs. It can also be a lot of fun to make this one for the friends at the dog park whenever a special event, birthday or celebration is occurring!


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp carob powder (use carob, never chocolate!)
  • 2 tbsp organic flax meal
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional: ¼ cup unsweetened carob chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325º
  2. Line cupcake tin with paper liners
  3. With your mixer beat eggs with oil and sugar [or honey] until well mixed.  Stir in the grated carrots.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients
  5. Fold in carob chips, if using.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before decorating with a bit of peanut butter or melted carob chips – never chocolate!

With these simple, and affordable recipes, you’ll get your pups ready for even more gourmet treats based on different Italian recipes and dishes. Mangiare!

Related Content:

7 Great Homemade Dog Food Recipes (Video)
8 Dog Food Recipes to Try This Year (Video)
15 Simple Puppy Treat Recipes
4 Dog Food Recipes You Can Make in the Crockpot