Cooking 101: Veggie Dog Treats

I don’t make resolutions like many people do. But I do try and make changes, perhaps those are resolutions, in my life from time to time. These aren’t necessarily hinged on a day or celebration. However, if you have decided that you want to try and take better care of your dog and feed her higher quality treats, food, and exercise her more you can start baking for her.

Here’s a few veggie based treats you can make yourself and know what ingredients they contain:

Zucchini Pupcakes

You’ll need 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, ½ cup of canola oil, 1 cup of chicken stock, 2 eggs that are beaten, and 1 cup of grated zucchini.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. While it’s heating up, mix all the ingredients except the zucchini. When the batter is all evenly mixed up, add the zucchini. Like a muffin pan with paper cups and start spooning the mix into each muffin mold. Bake for about 25 minutes and use a toothpick to check if they are done. If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, they are done!

Spinach Cookies

You’ll need 3 cups of all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, 1 cup of chopped spinach (frozen works well), 1 teaspoon of oil, 1 cup of water.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and spinach. Mix in the oil and water to make a dough. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more water. Once the dough is all mixed up, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Get out your favorite cookie cutter shapes and start making cookies! Cut the shapes and place them onto a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake them for 35 minutes until they are golden brown and let them cool before giving any to your pup.

Cranberry and Apple Cookies

For this cookie recipe you’ll need 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of oatmeal, ¾ cups of milk, ½ cup of finely chopped up fresh apples, 1/4 cup of finely chopped cranberries.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. As it is heating up, mix the whole wheat flour and oatmeal in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk and add the apples and cranberries. Once the dough is all evenly mixed up, roll it out onto a floured surface to about a ½ inch thickness. Get your cookie cutter out and make fun shaped cookies and lay them onto a well greased cookie sheet. Bake them for about 30 minutes till they are golden brown.

Valentine’s Day Dog Treats

Our dogs are special to us and love us just as we love them. Since Valentine’s day is a “holiday” where we show others our love and devotion, let’s also show our dogs how much we love them with some homemade dog treats.

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour, unbleached

1/2 cup wheat bran or oat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

1/4 cup carob powder

Combine vegetable oil and water in a small bowl. In another, larger bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Using your mixer (with a cookie beater or bread hook), combine all the ingredients and mix until they are thoroughly combined. You will end up with a nice compact ball of dough. Cover the mixing bowl with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and set it in a warm place away from drafts.

Let the dough rise until it is doubled—it will actually be twice as big. You can tell that it has doubled when you gently punch a little hole in the dough and it doesn’t bounce back.

Roll the dough (with a rolling pin on a cutting board that has been sprinkled with flour) to a 1/4” thickness.

Cut the Valentine cookies into the shapes that you would like to use, using cookie cutters.

Place the dog cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake the holiday dog cookies at 275 degrees F for 1 hour. You may have to adjust the time (and check the cookies frequently), depending on the size of the dog cookies that you make.

Turn off the oven, and let the Valentine dog cookies finish drying overnight in the oven.

Peanut Butter Doggie Biscuits

Ingredients: 


3 tbsp. peanut butter 


1/2 cup oil 


2 eggs, lightly beaten 


1 1/2 cups water 


2 cups whole wheat flour 


1/2 cup rolled oats 


1/2 cup fine cornmeal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Beat together peanut butter and eggs. Gradually beat in oil and water until well-mixed.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine flour, oats, and cornmeal. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and blend well to form a dough.

Roll out the dough to approx. 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes, or just slice them into squares if you don’t have cookie cutters.

Place on lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch between biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes until browned. Turn off oven, but leave the biscuits inside to “crisp”. Once the biscuits have hardened, remove them and treat your dogs!

Homemade Sweetheart PB Carob Treats

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter


2 eggs, slightly beaten


1 cup milk


2 cups whole wheat flour


2 tbsp. sugar


1 tbsp. baking powder


1 cup carob chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs with peanut butter, then add milk and combine well.

In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Combine the dry mixture with the peanut butter mixture. Mix well.

Stir in carob chips ( safe, non-toxic alternative to chocolate). Drop by rounded teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 1″ in between cookies. Bake with love for 20 to 25 minutes, or until biscuits look just barely “dry” in the middle and are baked through. Do not over-bake! The biscuits will naturally harden as they cool.

Before you & your dog take a nibble let treats cool down before removing from cookie sheet. Once cooled. Ready, Set, devour!

Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

Dog treats are great for training and rewarding good behavior. But some treats may contain ingredients that don’t agree with your dog’s belly or have preservatives that you may not want your buddy to ingest.

If you are looking to find some alternatives that contain ingredients you know won’t upset your dog and can save some money, you might want to try making your own treats.

You can try peanut butter biscuits:

1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup milk
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose white flour


Preheat oven to 325

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. In a large saucepan, mix together the potatoes, milk, molasses, stock, and peanut butter. Heat the mixture, stirring frequently until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add yeast mixture. Gradually blend in the egg, wheat, rye, and rice flours. Add enough white flour to form a stiff dough.

Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball and roll to 1/2-inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out biscuits. Place on un-greased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4-inch (6 mm) apart. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool overnight. Makes several dozen hard treats.

Now that summer is here, maybe a cold treat is in order for your canine companion. You can make chicken flavored ice cubes for your dog to enjoy. These can be low-fat too if you use non-fat plain yogurt.

You’ll need the following:

16 oz. plain yogurt 

3/4 c. warm water

1 chicken bouillon cube

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the warm water.  In a blender, combine the water and yogurt.  Pour the blended mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.

Maybe you’re looking to make a “homemade dinner” for your dog and want to find something healthy, low-fat, and no salt. Rachel Ray has several recipes that are good for your dog such as mini dog sliders.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

1/2 pound ground lamb or chicken
1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
4 small round dinner rolls

Combine the meat, rice, yogurt, and spices and make 4 small patties. Coat both sides with a little bit of olive oil and cook them in a non-stick pan for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve them on a bun and you’re done! It only takes about 10 minutes to combine the ingredients and about 10 minutes to cook up, not counting the time it takes to make the rice.

You can serve the mini slider to your dog chopped up into smaller pieces with or without the bun. It can be a supplement to their regular dinner or given as a treat after a great training session or fun romp around the dog park.

If you’re unsure of your cooking skills – there are more and more dog treats on the market that are healthy, organic, and contain the mix of minerals and vitamins that dogs need each day. You can find them in your local pet store, at a farmer’s market, and at dog boutique stores as well as online.

Remember your dog is what they eat, breathe, and drink.