Mexico Life

Homemade dog biscuits: an easy treat your dog will bark for

Homemade dog treats are easier than you might think and store easily in your fridge

The first time I wrote a food column about homemade dog biscuits, it involved an entrepreneurial woman in Santa Cruz, California, and her thriving new business. The photo shoot included her adorable basset hound puppy, who attacked the treats with such surprising gusto, we almost missed getting a photograph.

Nowadays, it seems many people have realized that the old phrase “you are what you eat” applies to our four-legged friends as well. More than ever, we want to feed our beloved pets healthy foods that are good for them, with as few artificial ingredients or additives as possible. When I discovered a selection of tried-and-true dog biscuit recipes on a dog-lover friend’s cooking blog, I thought, “Hey, why not?”

Most dog treats are made from basic ingredients: flour and fat of some sort, eggs and then something “special” like peanut butter or certain fresh fruits and vegetables. You can make whatever size biscuit is appropriate for your dog (or fun for you).

I’d suggest not improvising on any of these tested recipes unless you check with your vet or Google whatever other ingredients you might be thinking about adding. For instance, don’t give Fido avocado, cherries, grapes (that means raisins too!), tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, garlic, onions, leeks or chives. The American Kennel Club has a long list of what’s OK and what isn’t.

Just like humans, dogs can have allergies too, so be on the lookout for any kind of a reaction if this is the first time your pooch is having, say, peanut butter.

Most dog biscuits have a special added ingredient to make Fido's mouth water.
Most dog biscuits have a special added ingredient to make Fido’s mouth water.

Speaking of peanut butter, be absolutely, 100% sure you’re using completely natural peanut butter. Some brands may say “no sugar added” but will include xylitol, an artificial sweetener, instead. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, and even a small amount could be dangerous.

Jen’s Carrot & Rosemary Dog Biscuits

  • ¾ cup steamed carrots
  • 3 Tbsp. lard or other animal fat, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • ½ cup water or meat broth (more or less, depending on how juicy your carrots are)
  • Optional: ¼ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300 F. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Cook carrots until mushy, drain well and beat until you have a smooth puree. Add lard, eggs, rosemary, garlic and salt (if using) and beat until combined. Add flour and oats; mix well. It will be a very dry, crumbly mixture. Gradually add in water/broth just until you have a cohesive dough.

Flour your workspace well; dough is sticky. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters or cut into strips ¾-inch x 2 ½-inches with a knife or pizza cutter. Arrange biscuits on prepared cookie sheets. They can be close together because they won’t spread; in fact, they’ll shrink a little.

Bake for 40–60 minutes, depending on size. Biscuits should be a uniform medium golden brown and crisp all the way through. Cool, then store at room temperature for 2 months, refrigerated for 4 months or frozen for 8 months.

Go ahead. Make your pup a large batch. In the fridge, these biscuits will last a couple of months.
Go ahead. Make your pup a large batch. In the fridge, these biscuits will last a couple of months.

Jen’s Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

  • ½ cup unsweetened, natural peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 300 F. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Beat peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Stir in parsley. Add 2 cups of flour; mix well. Gradually add in enough of remaining flour to create a stiff dough that can still be rolled out with a rolling pin. You may need to use your dough hook or mix in the last of the flour by hand.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to ¼-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters or simply cut into strips about ¾ inch x 2½ inches with a knife or pizza cutter. Gather and re-roll any scraps. Arrange biscuits on prepared cookie sheets. It’s OK to put them close together.

Bake for 40–60 minutes, depending on size. When done, biscuits should be a uniform medium golden brown and crisp all the way through. Store at room temperature for 2 months, refrigerated for 4 months or frozen for 8 months.

Jen’s Apple-Cinnamon Dog Biscuits

  • 1 large apple, seeds & core removed, chopped
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp. lard or other animal fat (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup water (possibly more or less)

Preheat oven to 300 F. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Blend apple and milk in a blender to a smooth purée.

Using a mixer, combine apple purée, lard, eggs, cinnamon, ginger and salt and beat until combined. Add flour and oats; mix well. It will be a very dry, crumbly mixture. Gradually add in water just until you have a cohesive dough.

Flour your workspace well; dough is sticky. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters or cut into strips ¾-inch x 2 ½-inches with a knife or pizza cutter. Arrange biscuits on prepared cookie sheets. They can be close together because they won’t spread.

Bake for 40–60 minutes, depending on size. Biscuits should be a uniform medium golden brown and crisp all the way through. Cool, then store at room temperature for 2 months, refrigerated for 4 months or frozen for 8 months.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats   

Yes, everyone likes pumpkin-spice flavors!

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt and cinnamon. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but it should be dry and stiff. Roll dough into a ½ -inch-thick roll. Cut into ½ -inch pieces. Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes. – allrecipes.com

Janet Blaser has been a writer, editor and storyteller her entire life and feels fortunate to be able to write about great food, amazing places, fascinating people and unique events. Her first book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats, is available on Amazon. Contact Janet or read her blog at whyweleftamerica.com.

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