Sunday, June 28, 2015

Homemade Dog Biscuits


Anybody who knows anything about me knows that I am a dog person, and that no matter how far I go with any man, my one true love is and always will be my dog.

This, of course, is referring to Howl. You've seen this handsome fellow in many blog posts, tweets, etc. throughout your journey with me. It never occurred to me to bake dog treats for Howl from scratch, mostly because this creature will eat literally anything. Just because he can eat everything, however, doesn't mean he should.

Here's a list of things that are bad for dogs:

  • Gum of any kind, especially sugar-free (sugar-free gum and certain types of PEANUT BUTTER contain an artifical sweetener called Xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs in small doses! So PLEASE READ YOUR PEANUT BUTTER LABELS)
  • Grapes
  • Garlic and onions
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol of any kind(beer, wine, etc)
  • Things with caffiene, such as tea, coffee, soda, etc.
  • Milk and dairy in excess(this gives some dogs diarrhea)
  • Macadamia nuts(these are FATAL TO DOGS)
  • Chocolate (obviously)
  • Yeast dough
Seriously, all of this is bad for dogs, some more severely than others...but, wow, that's quite a list. My dog is a special breed that basically can't have any of these things, but also cannot have Soy. Do you know how much soy is in dog food? A lot. Sure, there are soy-free kibbles, but they're really expensive. As he's gotten older, he can have soy in his kibble, but when he was a puppy, it was not good. He would be up all night with awful stomach cramps, and farting like no tomorrow. Now that he's older, soy is fine, but still makes him gassy if he has it in excess. I try to avoid soy when I can, which is even harder when it comes to dog treats.

"Don't touch me right now; I'm feeling really fart-y..."


 Fortunately, I've discovered just how quick and easy it is to make dog treats. These are absolute basic dog treats that you can modify by substituting eggs for banana, adding in grated carrots, and using any fat you want... This is a very easy recipe that's versatile, and quick! Not only this, but it's cheap; dog treats can be expensive!

Here's how to make Howl's Favorite Dog Biscuits

Howl's Favorite Dog Biscuits

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
    • If you don't have cornmeal, you can use coconut flour, or even rolled oats!
  • 1/3 cup fat(vegetable oil, bacon fat, or coconut oil will do!)
    • actually, if you use coconut oil, their coat will vastly improve AND it can double as a flea repellent add-in to their skin! Plus, when they shed, their fur will come off in clumps versus whisps of individual hairs all over the house!
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
    • Can be substituted with pumpkin puree, ripe bananas, plain applesauce, etc...see below!
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken stock(or 1/2 cup hot water with 1 bouillon cube, dissolved)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • **1 large carrot, grated fine(completely optional, but tasty!)
Preheat your oven to 375 F, high fan. If you don't have a convection oven, bump it up to 400 F.

Combine your flour, salt, sugar, and cornmeal in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook attachment. Turn on your mixer to stir for 45 seconds and add in the fat on low. Allow to stir in for 2 minutes, so that the fat is sort of "cut" into the flour. Add in the eggs, one at a time. If you like, you can substitute the eggs for 1 ripe banana each, 1 heaping spoonful of pumpkin puree each, or 1/4 cup of plain applesauce each!  Let the mixture continue to stir for another two minutes. Your mixture will now be crumbly-looking. This is good!

If using carrot, go ahead and add it in now, and let stir for another 30 seconds.

Now is the time to heat up your stock. I used chicken stock, but you can use beef stock if you have that. You can also just use beef bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water. The point is, however, you'll want this liquid to be hot when you introduce it to your dough. Once added, let knead until it comes together into one solid ball. You'll add more cornmeal if it's too wet, but you don't want the dough to be too dry, either.

Roll out your dough to about 1/2" thick. Instead of flouring the board, I like to sandwich my dough between two sheets of parchment paper, sprayed vigorously with pan-spray. This prevents flour from going everywhere and makes for the easiest cleanup ever. Simply spray the bejeezus out of the paper, the dough, and the sandwiching paper on top...then roll out. You'll never use flour on your board again.

I docked my dough using a dough docker, but you can use two forks for the same effect. I had a dog bone shaped cookie cutter that I used, but you can take this opportunity to do some fun shapes. Maybe hearts and stars? Maybe in the shape of a seashell? They won't care, of course, what shape they're in...they're dogs. You can, of course, simply cut the dough into bars or squares by using a knife and making a simple grid. There's really no rule on the shape of these; I just happened to have a dog bone shaped cookie cutter.



Place your cookies/dog biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20  minutes. You might bake less or more, depending on your oven, the moisture of the day, the phase of the moon...whatever. Check these after 15 minutes, and then make an assessment. They should be golden-brown and delicious when you're finished!

This is an important tip: let these cool completely before allowing your dog to consume the treats. Seriously, dogs can't handle hot food very well... I had a lab called Boo that, when fed hot food, he would projectile vomit all over the living room. Just teach your dogs a lesson in patience and let them wait it out. If you want to make these treats very special, you can cut them into very small pieces(1" circles, maybe) and then sandwich them with peanut butter. If you do use peanut butter, however, please check for Xylitol in the ingredients list, which is an artificial sweetener that's fine for humans, but deadly to dogs. Please don't let your furry friend die!!! They love and trust you so much, and you will never be able to live with yourself if you do this. Ever.

Just look at that mug. You wouldn't want to hurt it, would you???
Once cool, Xylitol-free, and placed in a treat jar on a very high shelf that your dog can't get to, feel free to have at it. These can be made in double-, triple-, or even quadruple-batches and saved. Seriously, they're not going to be bothered by the treats going stale--they're dogs! They're just so happy to be with you and to be with your beautiful self that they won't mind the treats going stale! They love you, no matter what.

Nobody will love you as much as the dog loves you. Nobody. Not your parents, not your child, not your husband/wife, not your best friend, not even you. Nobody. Will. Ever. Love. You. As. Much. As. Your. Dog. Loves. You.

Whenever desperate 30-somethings write in about finding love, and then list a completely long, crazy, unrealistic amount of expectations of unconditional love and loyalty, I always just tell them to get a dog. Seriously. Just go to a shelter, and find your new best friend. Now if you'll excuse me, Howl and I have some selfies to take.