How to Make "Barkuterie," or a Charcuterie Board for Your Dog
It's official: "barkuterie" boards, aka charcuterie designed for your favorite pup, are the next big thing. And just like for humans, an impressive and balanced barkuterie board can be a daunting task. Luckily, we tapped three experts—including a veterinarian, pet treat company founder and charcuterie purveyor—to help us build the ultimate barkuterie board for all your pet spoiling needs.
Dr. Brian Bourquin from Boston Veterinary Clinic enjoys the barkuterie trend, but cautions: "It's so important for those participating in this trend to keep in mind that it must be tailored to your dog's nutritional needs. They can't indulge in charcuterie the way that humans do; they don't understand what it means to stop grazing, or 'everything in moderation', especially if it's placed right in front of them."
Bourquin adds that barkcuterie should be an occasional treat, and never a meal replacement. "It's our job to ensure [our dogs] are being fed the right types of food, and that meals are not forgotten or substituted for a trend. Parents don't usually let kids eat their dessert before dinner, so hopefully they can use the same rule of thumb when it comes to their beloved fur family," he says.
What to Put on a Dog Charcuterie Board
Bourquin shared some tips to help build a responsible barkuterie board. "Some of my favorite foods to give dogs, besides their normal nutritional dog food, include carrot sticks, celery, cantaloupe, frozen blueberries and peppers." He continued, "Carrots are particularly good for dental disease and always my number one 'human treat' that I'm okay with giving dogs. It's a good natural, fresh and low-calorie snack. Any type of crunchy vegetable is really good for dogs teeth, so celery and peppers are also in that category. As for frozen treats, those are beneficial not only for their teeth, but it provides a variety for dogs. The texture feels different for them, that's why most dogs enjoy chewing on ice cubes."
As for what not to include, Bourquin says to definitely avoid grapes, raisins, nuts, onions, garlic, or anything with a pit to a barkuterie board. "Also, anything that we humans would have on our own charcuterie platters should not be added to a barkuterie platter. Processed meats, cheeses, should all be avoided. You could add a few pieces of plain toast, but I'd prefer to add natural dog treats! Everything needs to be in moderation, this should not be a [substitute] for your dog's daily meals," he explained.
Additionally, Dr. Bourquin shared some treat insight, explaining that "I always approve of all natural treats that have added value, such as dental benefits, for your pet, such as Greenies (buy them: $33.98 for a 36-ounce box at Petco). I try to stay away from treats that are just empty calories, as hard as that may be. Also, Polka Dog in Boston, has wonderful natural treats that I always highly recommend to my patients, and they ship everywhere."
Another great treat purveyor that even includes a fancy lobster roll offering is Shameless Pets, which upcycles ingredients for a more sustainable treat. Alex Waite, Shameless Pets co-founder, loves the barkuterie board trend, adding "Shameless Pets was built on a vision of feeding our pets real, whole food ingredients like fruits and meats you would see on a charcuterie board—blueberries, apples, carrots and even lobster and duck. Why not get the pups in on the fun?" Pet owners can even make ingredients for a barkuterie board at home, like our own Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats recipe.
Overall, Dr. Brian does caution that, of course, giving dogs human food is often a slippery slope, as most human food can be high in fat or sodium or even toxic for them. It's important that your pet isn't eating too much human food, so treat barkuterie boards as a special occasion, not an everyday occurrence. So for your doggo's birthday, a barkuterie board can be a great gift. An indulgence of this magnitude just shouldn't happen on a regular basis.
Even regular charcuterie board companies are getting in on the fun. For example, The Good Life Charcuterie, an Omaha, Nebraska grazing table and charcuterie company, is excited to offer barkuterie boards on both their website and local pop-up events. Founder Jasmine Deane has had a ton of requests for this inventive menu item, which originally started as a one-time gift for a friend and her pup. Deane said, "I love this trend! As someone that enjoys the art of good, clean, and nourishing foods I want my dog to enjoy the same. A lot of dog and cat foods are full of fillers and byproducts so if I can break that cycle by any means, I'm happy!"
It's easy to see why barkuterie boards are catching on, as they can be an interactive way to treat your beloved pet to a little special something.