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Doggy Biscuit Recipes!

I don't have dogs to provide taste testing critiques so I'm counting on you Chowhounds for suggestions!

I have a large number of healthy active dogs that I see frequently. I'd like to give homemade shelf stable treats as a holiday gift this year. Points if it can be cut out with a cookie cutter and made a week or more ahead of time. It would be fun to make several varieties, especially if the colors varied.

Thanks in advance - looking forward to the ideas!

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  1. Instead of biscuit, which is full of grains that dogs don't need I'd go with a doggie jerky made with dehydrated meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rasputina

      Upon reflection I am using "biscuit" as a catch all term for a dry treat, easy to handle (not sticky), stored at room temperature and not a meal replacement. So jerky would work.

      Happy to have more details!

    2. My sister-dog is on a low fat diet due to pancreatitis, and is also allergic to corn, so our parents have a hard time finding dog treats that don't make her sick or itchy. Fortunately, she is a good natured pup, and anything given from the hand of a human is considered a treat (yum, carrots!). For special occasions, I make treats using whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and natural peanut butter, a variation of this recipe :http://allrecipes.com/recipe/peanut-b... but I replace the spelt with extra wheat flour, and usually skip the flax. I have a nice assortment of small cookie cutters for different holidays, so she gets custom cookies for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July...

      3 Replies
      1. re: mpjmph

        How long do these cookies keep? Approx?

        1. re: pinehurst

          Forever? They get pretty well dried out in the oven, so they can't really go stale (not that most dogs would notice or care). I've never seen them go moldy, and I've come across hidden baggies in my car that were at least 2 years old. As long as you keep them dry, they should keep indefinitely.

          1. re: pinehurst

            Outside of looking for mold, I always give the "smell" test to any non-commercial baked pet treats. The scent of rancid oil is unmistakeable if it's present. And whether the dogs "care or not", I do.

        2. We make this dog biscuit frequently as holiday treats for our doggy friends. We have cats, chickens, and fish - but no dogs - so I can't personally vouch for how well dogs like them, but their humans always seem grateful when we bring them over. I do use a dog bone cookie cutter to make them, but you could use any cutter or none at all. Oh, and odd as it may seem, the biscuits are very human-friendly and really don't taste all that bad to the human palate.

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          1 Reply
          1. re: rockycat

            What a nice idea, to give those out as gifts, rockycat! Love that you take time and trouble to make the aesthetic appealing to their human companions as well. Very sweet.

          2. Nobody loves dogs more than I but there's a lot of foolishness around the making of dog treats, with the exception of those with allergies or chronic illnesses..

            If it has protein and fat and is aromatic, your dog will wolf it down happily, regardless of shape
            or recipe. If I have bits of stale cereals/breads, and some rendered fat like schmaltz or bacon grease, that need using up, I mix it all up, adding egg and peanut butter to make it stick together.
            Press into a sheet pan and score, then bake (you are more drying out than baking) at low heat.
            Break up when cool. Avoid using moldy areas of bread or cheese.

            1. I do similar to greygarious's method - no recipe, just dry and wet things. Lots of quinoa flakes, flaxmeal, wheatgerm, nutritional yeast, oatmeal (any other dry thing that would be good for him that I have around)& whole wheat flour. I do the wet part in the blender: eggs, oil, peanut butter, water and any leftover vegetables. Press or roll on a sheet pan, score w pizza wheel and bake low and slow for quite a while. A few years ago our digestively delicate GSD ended up with a $500 stomach ailment after having some dog cookies from the store! I have been serving as his personal dog baker since.

              1. DH's boss is an avid beer brewer. So lucky for us, he sends home treats for our Rusty. He uses the spent grain (before it ever sees hops) and turns it into yummy treats. If you or someone you know makes their own beer, it is a great use for it. You can find the link here: http://loveandtrash.com/2011/03/diy-b...

                1 Reply
                1. re: boyzoma

                  Good thing he is not using hops. I can't recall now whether this applies to all breeds or if some are more sensitive, but some years ago there was an article in Celebrating Greyhounds, a magazine for adopters of ex-racers, about hops as a cause of malignant hyperthermia, a deadly high fever, in greyhounds.

                2. Several years ago, there was a show on TV called "Three Dog Bakery"... even a shop not too far from me for a while. Niece gave me their cookbook as a gift. Co-worker borrowed it and brough in a gift pack for every dog owner in our area. Recipes have little/no fat, sugar, salt. Nothing in them that people couldn't or wouldn't wanna eat. One of them looked & smelled like a big spice cookie. One of the guys tasted it and said all it needed was sugar to be human food.

                  One year I googled around and found some recipes and made biscuits. A lot of whole wheat flour, if I remember correctly... maybe some oat meal. Rolled, cut with bone shaped cutter, and baked till hard... dogs loved them. The cookie cutter makes them cute, but pretty tedious... especially since the DOG doesn't care what shape a treat is in.

                  1. I ended up using the link Rockycat provided.

                    I played with the ratios and made some substitutions. I made three different flavors: banana peanut butter, sweet potato (or maybe it was pumpkin) turkey and a bacon cheese.

                    I used buckwheat and rice flours since many dog owners seem to avoid wheat and corn.

                    The house smelled quite good during the baking process! The dogs seemed to enjoy them (not a surprise). And I was able to bake something which did not end up being on my hips for eternity!

                    I must mention how surprising many of the recipes I looked at were - both on-line and in books. Quite frequently they called for ingredients which are bad for dogs - alliums, chocolate, etc.
                    I highly recommend double checking the ingredients of whatever recipe you are considering!

                    Oh! I did find them to be a bit more finicky to make than I anticipated. I'm sure a more proficient baker would have had fewer issues!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: meatn3

                      we keep buckwheat in the pantry for humans and pet recipes.

                    2. Non dog owners should keep a few things in mind when thinking of baking biscuits -

                      - what's the size of the dog? A small treat for a Great Dane would be a meal for a small Yorkie.

                      - how do the owners use treats? training? supplemental feeding? cleaning teeth?

                      - is the dog over weight?

                      My dog is around 20 lbs. I use treats a lot for training, but always in small bites. By small I mean things the size of a fingernail.

                      Of the commercial products, Charlie Bear treats are one of my favorites, because they are small, clean handling, and dogs like them. If given something like beging strips, I tear them into bits.

                      A home made treat that works well is pigs heart, cooked and cut in to small pieces. I've dried some, but easier to freeze the bits. Heart is lean, so it is clean handling.

                      1. http://www.chow.com/videos/show/chow-...

                        It's official CHOW has given the "what we feed our pets" it's very first recipe video!

                        Progress tastes delicious!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: HillJ

                          I often make baked treats. Various recipes include liver, cottage cheese, pumpkin, eggs. I do however avoid AP and any wheat flour. Wheat, wheat gluten, corn and corn gluten are often the reason for chronic allergies so I avoid it all their foods.