You don't think processed, chemical-laden food counts as a treat, and your dog shouldn't either. Show your pup how much you love him by serving up homemade organic treats. They're easy to make, and much more affordable than most commercial dog biscuits. Better yet, you can adjust the recipe to suit your dog's tastes and health needs.
For healthy dog treats, you'll need organic flour, an oil or fat, and additives such as chicken stock to give the treats some moisture and meaty flavor. Dog biscuits are much like crackers, and can follow any number of easily customized recipes. You can add wheat germ or boiled grains to give your pup a fiber boost, mix in bacon or chicken fat for the flavors they love and add eggs to help bind the mixture with added protein (see References 3). If your dog is being fed a vegetarian diet, leave out the animal fat and use peanut butter instead.
Ingredients to Avoid
Many of the foods people eat are dangerous for dogs. These include chocolate, hops, some nuts, onions, garlic and avocado (see References 3). Keep your recipe simple, and stick to foods you know your dog can eat without indigestion. In addition, moldy foods can make your dog very sick. It's a good idea to store homemade dog biscuits in the freezer, keeping only a few at room temperature. Most dog biscuits will keep at room temperature for up to six weeks.
Dog treat recipes vary, but the basics are relatively simple --- mix flour, grains, salt and any other additives with egg and oil or fat until you have created a sticky dough. You may roll out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters or press it into a baking sheet with scored lines to help it break after baking. Alternatively, roll the dough into a loaf and chop off slices. Once you've portioned out the biscuits, bake them at around 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes, then continue baking at a very low temperature until the treats are completely dry.
Testing a New Recipe
Like humans, dogs can have sensitive stomachs. Even organic ingredients that we consider safe can potentially make your dog uncomfortable or even cause illness. Never let your dog gorge itself on a new type of treat; feed him half of a biscuit and watch for allergic reactions or signs of indigestion. If he tolerates the treat well, give him a full biscuit the following day and keep observing his behavior. Whenever you change your recipe, portion it out slowly to keep your dog happy and healthy.
An award-winning blogger, Jessica Blue has been promoting sustainability, natural health and a do-it-yourself attitude since graduating University of California, Berkeley in 2000. Her work, seen in a wide variety of publications, advocates an environmentally-responsible and healthy lifestyle.
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