Barkuterie Boards Are the Perfect Gotcha Day Treat
Spoil your pup with an artfully arranged charcuterie board of jerky strips, baked biscuits, and pet-safe crudités. What more could a four-legged foodie want?
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Just over a year ago, the puppy powers that be bestowed upon me a gift: my infant son, the six-year-old toothless Dachshund, Moose. Mere mortals often refer to this day as “gotcha day.” So even though Moose is clearly a captured sunbeam liquified and poured into a weiner shaped dog body, sent to me by powers greater than humans could ever imagine, we’ll keep things simple and say that last week we celebrated his “gotcha day.”
I wanted to celebrate Moose like the demi-god Dachshund he is, so in the days leading up to the anniversary, I started researching special treats that he could have. I decided a simple pup cup would not do — I wanted to go big. That’s when I came across the concept of barkuterie, a charcuterie board for dogs. Obviously, a selection of the finest meat and cheeses money can buy was the only appropriate delicacy for the occasion, so my next step was researching what should be included on a dog-specific grazing board.
And I’m glad I did. Turns out a lot of what is normally included on a human charcuterie board is a big no-no for pups. For example, even small traces of grapes, raisins, and currants can cause severe kidney failure in dogs; macadamia nuts can cause everything from pancreatitis to hyperthermia; and the seeds of stone fruits such as apricots and peaches contain cyanide. Needless to say, a few common charcuterie items were all off the table.
I started to get nervous about putting together my own board, worried I’d include something that wasn’t pup-safe. So I began looking at getting one professionally done and found a bunch of great companies that are making barkuterie a household name.
An Atlanta-based small business, Barkuterie Boards, offers everything from shippable boards and boxes to large-scale event dog-friendly grazing tables. In addition to their grazing boards, they recently introduced Barkaroos — a.k.a doggy Dunkaroos — so your dog can experience the magic of the ’90s for themselves.
Over on the west coast, Bay Area based Woofboard offers upscale grazing boards for the pampered pup, including seasonal and premium protein options. Their spring grazing boards feature the cutest themed treats, while their Surf & Turf board will have your dog thinking they’re dining at the steakhouse of their dreams.
This Chicago-based barkuterie shop offers custom grazing boards that incorporate both dog-specific treats and dog-safe people food (think cucumbers, peas, carrots, etc). Run by Chief Eating Officer, Ellie, and Chief Furry Officer, Crouton (and human mom, Heather Raeder), Corgcuterie’s custom boards start at $20 and are available for local setup in the Chicago area.
Down in Florida, Barkuterie Miami is whipping up some of the cutest, most Instagrammable barkuterie boards out there. Their boards are customizable to your dogs’ specific dietary needs and utilize plenty of dried fruits, making them a healthy and easily shippable treat.
Truthfully, I was starting to salivate looking at all these amazing barkuterie options. However, I decided to go back to my original plan of creating the board myself because of Moose’s specific needs (i.e. no teeth). In fact, in all of my research, I found that the most important thing to keep in mind when designing a barkuterie board for your pup is to make sure it is safe and delicious according to their needs.
Keep in mind any food sensitivities or dietary restrictions your dog might have. For example, if your dog has diabetes you might want their barkuterie board to feature more protein options rather than sugary fruits and biscuits. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for low-sodium proteins and dog-friendly fruits and veggies, while limiting carb-heavy biscuits.
Keeping all this in mind, I went with this recipe put together by Best Friends Animal Society that uses plenty of soft and gummable ingredients that would work for Moose. With its customizable approach, if you’re ever unsure of an ingredient, either skip it or ask your veterinarian.
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Rebecca Caplan is a writer based in Brooklyn whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Reductress, and Vulture. She lives in Brooklyn with her perfect, toothless dog Moose.