Charcuterie boards are high on many human foodies’ list. A selection of artfully presented cold cooked meats and an array of cheeses, olives, nuts and other tasty edibles, they’re one of the darlings of pandemic eating and the subject of many a social media post.
So, we’re not surprised to learn that a version for dogs is also trending on Instagram, Pinterest and similar venues. As an article in the New York Times Style section pointed out, these “barkuterie” boards—bright with colorful, dog-safe fruits and vegetables, artisanal dog biscuits, homemade jerky and other tasty canine snacks—give us a new way to indulge our dogs during a time when uncomplicated joy is sometimes hard to come by.
Many of the boards include edibles cut into shapes, which, let’s face it, entertain us more than they do our dogs, who are all about function—form, not so much. Ditto the attention paid to color balance, textures and the canine equivalent of high-end restaurant “plating,” or how the food is arranged and decorated. Still, why begrudge ourselves a little fun? Our dogs enjoy the snacks and the attention and we enjoy providing them with both.
Barkuterie boards, which you can assemble in your kitchen or order from a growing number of suppliers, are almost infinitely variable. Does your dog love bananas but hate carrots? Crazy about jerky but meh about dried liver treats? Or maybe she has a sensitive stomach. No problem. Leave out what she dislikes, focus on what she loves. Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with trying to expand her palate a bit by including a novel (to her) dog-safe food item.
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These pup-focused boards can be modest (a few slices of banana or cucumber, a strawberry or two, a couple of snap peas, a scatter of blueberries) or elaborate (bone-shaped homemade biscuits, dehydrated fruit, a shamrock-shaped green bell pepper slice, frozen goats’ milk bites). The only real limit is how much time you want to invest in assembling the selection.
And, oh yes, another limit: the number of calories your dog should comfortably consume in a day, which needs to be kept in mind. Like all extras in a dog’s meal plan, these snacks need to be factored into her daily intake rather than piled on top of it. Finally, though it probably goes without saying, we’ll say it anyway … barkuterie is an occasional treat, not an everyday, or even every-week, event. (Of course, nothing says you can’t replace a meal with a barkuterie board, perhaps one that incorporates part of her regular dinner.)
Whatever you choose to include, and however often you choose to indulge in this food fun, one thing’s for sure: It will “spark joy” for both you and your dog.
Watch an oh-so-sweet TikTok video of one dog’s in-home spa experience, complete with massage and barkuterie.
The Bark’s DIY Barkuterie Board Recipe List
Something for every dog.