Draya enjoying her Fro-YoMilkbones are great, rawhides are good, and even those little bags of cat treats are magnets for any animal in smelling distance. We all love to treat our pets to a little something special -- happy hour at my house is 7 p.m., and even the cat is trained to sit for his treat.
You could buy “gourmet” treats at PetCo or swing by the local barkery -- but why not cook up some of your own treats? You’ll know everything that goes into the recipe and can control quality; plus, it’s a nice nutritious change of pace -- and you can even get your kids involved in some of these. And, I can attest, when packaged nicely, they are very popular gifts.
I’ve gathered some recipes that are easy to make, easy to store, and surefire crowd pleasers (among the animal crowd that is).
Before we start, there are a few ingredients that you should try to avoid: whole onions or garlic, raisins, grapes, chocolate (carob is okay), and excessive sugar. The ASPCA has a great comprehensive list of people foods that are or are not okay to feed our pups.
Adapted from Amy Stevens’ Yoga 4 Dogs
Not only for puppies, of course, these pupsicles will have tails everywhere wagging. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays or small plastic cups for easy freezing and serving.
Recipe should yield roughly 18 pupsicles.
2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup frozen strawberries (no sugar added)
2 Tbs of honey
2 Tbs all-natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
Zap everything together in a blender or food processor and pour into ice cube trays or into small cups. Once frozen, you can pop them out and store them in a zip-top bag in the freezer.
Variation: Add banana instead of honey for an all-natural sweetener.
Not only are these tasty and healthful, the Brewer’s yeast is a natural flea repellent, and parsley is a terrific breath freshener.
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooked brown rice (you can substitute cracked wheat or white rice here)
1 cup mashed, cooked veggies (cheap frozen vegetables are great here, as are potatoes)
1 cup grated cheese
3 Tbs chopped parsley
2 Tbs Brewer’s yeast
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients well, until they form a ball when you squeeze them (like meatloaf, kind of).
Drop by the spoonful onto a greased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, until set and lightly browned.
Cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Note: There are no preservatives in these treats, so even though they are in the fridge, they have an expiration date, like everything else. Don’t share these with your pup if they smell weird or you notice mold growing.
For an extra bit of fun (or gift packaging), skewer these onto skinny rawhide treats -- they make a fantastic and unusual bouquet for the dog lover!
Nutritionally speaking, these are great because cinnamon helps in both digestive function and de-dog breathing your dog.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Icing (optional)
3 oz. fat free, plain cream cheese
3 Tbs milk
1 Tbs powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together water, oil, and egg. Gradually add the wet to the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. (You can use a mixer or just a plain old wooden spoon here.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle that measures roughly 8” x 14”. Drizzle the surface with the honey and then sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Starting from a long side, roll the dough up, as with a jelly-roll. Pinch the edges to seal. Using a bit of fishing line or other thin thread (dental floss will work, too), cut half-inch-thick slices and place cut-side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly springy to the touch. Cool completely before icing.
Makes roughly 2 dozen. Buns can be frozen, then thawed and iced. If they are already iced, store in a lidded container in the fridge.