I generally don’t use treats for training purposes, but I do like to give my dogs something to nibble on every morning for breakfast. What they get varies, depending on what’s in the fridge and whether I’ve got to the local markets for hand-made dog bikkies. This week, the fridge was bare and I hadn’t made the markets, so I headed to the supermarket. I was trying to decide what to buy – there are so many different brands and flavours – and then I turned a packet over to read the ingredients. Well, actually I couldn’t read the ingredients. I had no real idea what half of the ingredients actually were. Now, I’ve bought these treats for my dogs before and they love them. They clearly don’t care what’s in them! But, at up to $7 a packet, I wondered if I could do any better. I regularly bake biscuits for myself, and I know what foods are, and aren’t, good for dogs. And so it was that homemade treats were on the menu this week.
A quick google search will list a variety of things that dogs should or shouldn’t eat. It can vary from site to site. For example, some sites say that dogs shouldn’t eat cheese, and others say a small amount of low fat cheese, especially cottage cheese, is good for dogs. One site lists parmesan cheese as a “super food”! So a bit of common sense is important. Rather than buying special ingredients, I decided to try and use leftovers and only the things that were in my cupboard. I also wanted to produce a ‘soft’ biscuit, as my old girl tends to find the crunchy ones a bit tough on the old chompers. I came up with four flavours: Apple and Cheese; Blueberry; Peanut Butter and Honey; and Lamb and Sweet Potato.
As well as being easy and considerably cheaper than store-bought products, it’s nice to know exactly what your pet is eating. Each recipe took very little time to make and only about 20 minutes to bake. I didn’t need to muck around, trying to make them pretty (it’s one of the great things about cooking for dogs!) and the beauty of them is that you can use most leftovers that you have lying around. I made quite a wet mixture and cooked them until they were soft, but you could change the mixture to make a crunchy biscuit.
But of course the test was whether they were as popular with the dogs as a purchased product. They’ve been eating them for a few days now and they seem to love them. Tilly, in particular, inhales them with considerable zest and comes running back for more!
The recipes are below if you wish to try them. Try changing up the flavours and have a bit of fun with them.
Apple and Cheese
3/4 cup wholemeal self-raising flour, 1 grated apple, 2 tablespoons cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon honey – bake for 20 minutes.
3/4 cup wholemeal self-raising flour, 1 egg, 2 tablespoon cottage cheese, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon honey – bake for 20 minutes.
Peanut Butter and Honey
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour, 4 tablespoons natural yoghurt, 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup oats, 1 tablespoon honey – bake for 20 minutes.
Lamb and Sweet Potato
3/4 cup wholemeal self-raising flour, 1 egg, 1/4 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup finely cut lamb, 1/3 cup grated sweet potato, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley – bake for 20 minutes