Friday, September 28, 2012
Recipe: Homemade dog treats will have man’s best friend begging for more
This recipe is safe for your dog, healthier than most store products, and fun to make!
Our dogs are our best friends. They're a part of our family, and sometimes we like to spoil them. However, it seems like every time I turn around these days, I'm hearing about dog food recalls -- pets getting seriously ill from poorly manufactured treats. You may have heard about the ongoing FDA investigation involving chicken jerky treats made in Cina. Well, they're still on the shelves.
As a pet care professional, I'm constantly on the lookout for the recalled products in case they're being fed to my canine clients. The Human Society of the United States has a pet food safety page, complete with a regularly updated list of recalled pet food and treats. If you're in the habit of purchasing store-bought treats, I'd recommend that you bookmark that page.
How can we protect our pets? There's an easier way to know what's in your dog's treats — make them yourself, at home. It's not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, it's pretty fun and simple enough for your kids to help (the human variety, not the furry ones). Another major benefit to these DIY dog treats — they're cheap to make.
There are two recipes here. One is for a crunchy biscuit-style dog treat, and the other is for softer treats, which are great for training. The ingredients are the same, but the processes are only slightly different. The flavors are interchangeable, too — I use natural peanut butter and chicken broth, but you can experiment with combinations that your dog will like. Be creative! You can use beef stock, cheese, oatmeal, or substitute with ingredients that compliment your dog's dietary needs.
For crunchy cookies, preheat your oven to 325° °F. Combine your desired ingredients. This is not very scientific and I rarely measure — you just need to find the right consistency to be able to roll the dough into a sheet. (Click on recipe to expand.)
Soft treats are great for training sessions. When training your dog, you only need to use something about the size of a pea, providing it tastes and smells amazing to them. Soft treats are also easier and quicker to eat than crunchy ones, which tend to crumble and cause your dog to go into vacuum mode, disrupting your efforts to tech them a trick. The recipe only varies slightly from the crunchy treat recipe. There's no cornmeal involved, and you're going for the consistency of brownie batter.
Preheat the oven to 350° °F. Follow the above recipe, omitting the cornmeal, and adding more chicken broth. Mix together until smooth, and pour in a greased pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until you could put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Once the whole thing cools, you can chop it into 1/4" to 1/2" cubes. Again, keep them refrigerated to extend their shelf life. You can even keep them in the freezer to make them last even longer.
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