Our resident foodie serves homemade goodies to all her family members—even the four-legged ones.
To say that I am a dog lover would be an understatement.
For as long as I can remember, my family always had at least one dog. At one time during my childhood, we had a Great Dane, a miniature poodle and a Chihuahua who co-ruled the roost.
My husband John and I added our first dog to the family, a Samoyed, not long after we married. A golden retriever followed closely and our list of pets goes on and on. Currently we have three four-legged children: Cooper, our silver Labrador retriever, whose 7th birthday we just celebrated on August 1st; Bentley, a brindle French bulldog who turns 11 this month; and Luca, who looks like Bentley’s much younger twin.
With three exuberant pups in the backseat on our long car trips to the Florida Keys, I am always interested in taking along some quality treats to bribe my fur babies for good behavior. I initially turned to homemade dog treats because, just like the rest of my family, I really wanted to know what they’re eating. Since silver labs and Frenchies tend to have allergies, I am especially careful what I feed them.
Besides, I’ve always focused on feeding my family healthy and nutritious ingredients. I prepare organic food for my husband, children and grandchildren, so why should it be any different for our dogs?
My first experiments with homemade dog treats were baked dog biscuits. Both the carrot cake and peanut butter varieties were big hits and include simple ingredients I usually have on hand, such as carrots, applesauce, eggs and nut butters. When I realized how easy it is to spoil my dogs with homemade snacks, I was hooked. When I have a free hour, I can cook up a month’s worth of wholesome goodies.
If the ingredients sound good enough to sample, that’s because they are. I can honestly say I have tried them all! The frozen blueberry and apple treats that Cooper, Bentley and Luca can’t get enough of really are delicious. With a touch of sweetness from real fruit and only a few wholesome ingredients, they’re the perfect way to keep our furry best friends cool during the hot Florida summers.
Peanut Butter Doggie Treats
2 1/2 to 3 cups whole
2 large eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. › Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. › Put the puree, peanut butter and eggs in an electric mixer bowl and use the paddle attachment to blend for about 1-2 minutes. › Gradually add 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, until just incorporated. › Add 1/4 cup flour at a time until the dough is not sticky. › Work on a lightly floured surface to knead the dough 3-4 times. › Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. › Cut out shapes and bake for about 20-25 minutes. › Let cool completely.
Frozen Apple Dog Treats
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons water
Chop up the apple, throw it in blender and add yogurt and water. › Blend until smooth. › Pour in ice tray or silicone dog treat tray and freeze.
Frozen Blueberry Dog Treats
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/2 ripe banana
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. › Blend for about 90 seconds. › Pour into molds or ice trays. › Freeze until solid. › Remove from containers to serve. › Treats will store for 3 months in the freezer.
Carrot Cake Doggie Treats
4 cups oat flour, plus 1/2 cup more for dusting and if needed during mixing
2 large eggs
1 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce with no additives
1 cup peeled and grated carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened, natural coconut flakes
1/4 cup raw and natural almond butter, unsalted, unsweetened and free of flavors and xylitol
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. › Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. › Put the applesauce, almond butter and eggs in a large bowl and beat with mixer. › Add oat flour, carrots and coconut flakes. › The dough should be slightly tacky to the touch; if too sticky, add more flour. › Transfer dough to a surface lightly sprinkled with oat flour. › Knead dough 3-4 times. › Dust a rolling pin with oat flour, then use it to roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. › Use cookie cutters to create shapes, such as dog bones. › Bake until edges are golden, about 18-20 minutes. › Let cool completely before serving or storing.