A four-legged family member
I never thought I was a dog person until I met Maddy. A wiggly little ball of fluff, the Labradoodle puppy stole our hearts before we knew what hit us. As she grew, she quickly became a full-fledged member of our family! We now have two “Doodles” and they bring a lot of joy to our family. We want them to be around a long time, and the more I looked into what goes into dog food and dog treats the more I became convinced that our furry friends deserve to eat well, too. Apparently I’m not alone: There are some excellent doggy cookbooks out there! It’s not hard to make your own homemade healthy dog treats and you’ll feel better about what Fido’s eating when you know only real food went into it.
Dogs can eat most of what we eat, with a few exceptions. Never give your dog chocolate, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, or raw eggs. Aside from that, dogs enjoy a variety of different foods as a treat and if you watch how they react when they taste something, you’ll quickly learn what your dog enjoys most! My dog loves raw carrots, so when I found this recipe in The Ultimate Dog Treat Cookbook I knew we had to try it. My daughters and I had fun preparing these Carrot Crunchies, and the dogs had even more fun eating them!
Carrot Crunchies Dog Treats
(Adapted from a recipe in this book)
1/2 cup ground high-quality dog food kibble (1 cup of dog food=1/2 cup ground)
2 cups grated carrots (about 6 whole carrots, depending on the size)
1/2 cup all natural applesauce, no sweetener added
1/2 cup plain, raw milk yogurt
2 cups organic, unbleached flour (we used a gluten free blend)
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed (this was not in the original recipe, but I can’t resist an opportunity to get some flax seed into our dogs’ diet. Flax is great for their coats!)
1 teaspoon all-natural, aluminum free baking powder (like this)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Process dog food in a food processor or blender and grind to a coarse flour.
Note: If you’d like to make other dog treats later, you might want to grind a few cups of dog food and save some in the freezer for another recipe. No use exposing your food processor to dog food twice!
3. Puree the grated carrots in the food processor or blender.
4. Add the applesauce and yogurt to the food processor or blender and puree again, until the mixture is a smooth, thick, pale orange cream.
5. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the pureed mixture and stir, then knead with your hands until it is mixed well. You may need to add flour (if your mixture is too moist…we ended up adding 1/2 cup of extra flour) or water if it’s too dry.
6. Roll out dough on a floured surface, slightly thicker than 1/4 inch. The dough will be soft; don’t roll it too thin. Cut out dog treats with cookie cutter, or press dough into a silicon mold for thicker, chunky treats (we used this mold for ours).
7. Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet (or place filled mold on a cookie sheet) and bake for 10 minutes. Flip treats over and bake for another 10 minutes. If you’re using the silicon mold, bake for 20 minutes.
8. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and store in an airtight container.
For crunchier treats, place the finished treats on a cookie sheet after the last batch is out of the oven. Turn off the oven and put them back in, leaving them for a few hours or overnight.
Maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed to me that our dogs were lingering in the kitchen much more than usual while the dog treats were in the oven. The dough looked a lot like gingerbread, and the end result looked good enough to eat! In fact, my youngest daughter did dare to take a little nibble of one, and pronounced it ”Tasty! A little dry, but tasty.”
Do you have a dog? Does your real food lifestyle carry over to your pets?