Recipe: Bake your own natural dog treats

Rocky, our Foxy-Jack Russell-Border Collie cross taste-testing a pooch cookie.

The simple oat cookies that dogs and people can eat: a healthy biscuit recipe to sidestep expensive, manufactured pet food for your pooch. 

Words and photos: Kristina Jensen

When my husband and then-6-year-old-son first found the ‘right dog’ to join our family, I started looking around for dog food with the same critical eye that I use when choosing processed goods for my own consumption, reading all the labels and comparing prices. It was a shock to find that many brands of pet food are packed full of preservatives, flavourings and colours.

Sure, a dog’s stomach is pretty robust, and even before the food reaches there, the saliva in their mouths contains powerful enzymes that coat each mouthful and begin converting it into dog energy straight away. But I did feel strongly that a growing puppy should have really good wholesome ingredients to support all the learning it would be doing.

One friend had made her own ‘dog roll’ for her dog for nearly 12 years. Not only was it vegetarian, it could also be eaten by humans and was very tasty! Another family simply made extra dinner each night and the dog had the same as everyone else. I heard tales of dogs being fed almost solely on fresh roadkill possum and rabbit, although poisoning was a bit of a worry with this one.

I knew it was possible to sidestep the manufactured pellets and canned jellymeat.

Kristina’s Pooch Cookies

I do acknowledge that many petfood makers are constantly creating products that are healthier and more natural, but you know me – I will always try to ‘make it myself’!

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I started hunting for recipes for dog biscuits. My son Theo introduces the ones from the recipe above as ‘the biscuits that dogs and people can eat’ and he’s quite right. They are not unlike Scottish oat cookies, a meal in themselves, and I could imagine including the same recipe in an article for do-it-yourself tramping food.

For a special treat we spread them with tahini, marmite or organic peanut butter and our dog Rocky is very happy to munch away. His main diet consists of rice, potatoes or pasta with mashed cooked vegetables, chopped mussels or fish (if we catch any), savoury yeast, garlic and the occasional preservative-free meat sachet packet.

He also loves millet and quinoa patties and, like Theo, barley flour pancakes.

I realize that my dog sounds an expensive one to keep, and you’re right, he is just eating what we eat. However, comments on the sheen and health of his coat from other dog owners tell us we are doing the right thing.

(use organic ingredients if possible)

2 C wholewheat flour
1 C white flour
1 C rolled oats
2 tsp of baking powder
1 Tbsp of manuka honey
1 C peanut butter
1 C milk powder
1 level tsp of salt
2 Tbsp flaky savoury yeast

Add enough water to mix the ingredients into a cookie-type dough with your hands. Knead well and roll out into thin sheets. Cut into whatever shapes you think your dog will fancy and bake in a medium oven until crispy.

Note: Just like people, some dogs may be intolerant of dairy products and/or peanut butter. You can replace the milk powder with ¼ cup of olive or sunflower oil and replace the peanut butter with tahini (sesame seed paste).

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NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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