Thursday, January 14, 2010

I bake for my dogs too. Are you REALLY that surprised?

For those of you who might read this who aren't familiar with my "pack", I should mention that I have an army of little four-legged furry children (and a couple not so furry!).
Several years ago, Tippytoes, one of my italian greyhounds, was diagnosed with a liver shunt. It's a long story so I won't go into it. It was surgically corrected and she's fine now- a total survivor- but I did have to home cook for her for many, many months. I also learned a lot about dog nutrition in that time, mostly out of necessity.
Let me say straight up front, this book helped me a lot:
"Better Food for Dogs"
Now I'm not going to get totally into the home cooking stuff here (for dogs, anyway!) but I may do a separate blog about it someday when I run out of things to say about people food. Don't hold your breath, that could be a long wait.
I would like to share a couple of recipes for homemade treats I've found that my dogs loved. To be honest, I have some picky dogs! They usually don't like most biscuit-type treats. Italian greyhounds and hairless dogs aren't exactly known for their stellar dental histories. That's a joke by the way. They often need cleanings every year or two, lose a lot of teeth, or in the case of hairless breeds like my chinese crested, Voodoo, they don't have all their teeth to begin with. That said, if I can make a biscuit they will actually EAT, I know it must be good. In fact, I ALWAYS taste the food, treats, cookies, or biscuits I make for them. It isn't gross or weird because it isn't dog food, it's people food...for dogs!
Without further delay, I give you a few recipes that were the biggest hits over the years with my dogs. Don't be afraid to taste them yourself. They might seem a little bland to you, but I've also found that it's a Murphy's Law that if your dog sees YOU eating something, that thing all the sudden becomes the most desirable thing in the world to them. Just a tip from me, the crazy dog mom, to you...don't tell the dogs I clued you into that secret. It's just between us.

Pavlov's Pumpkin Bread
recipe courtesy of 3 Dog Bakery

*personal note: great for a doggie birthday cake or for dogs without a lot of teeth!
This gets Cairo's (aka "The Apple Burglar") seal of approval!

Yield: 1 loaf of bread

1 Med. Egg
1 2/3 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. honey
1 C. 100% natural pumpkin (*note* NOT mix! just pumpkin! The "pie mix" has added sugar, etc. that you don't want or need in this)
1/2 c. water

In a bowl, combine egg, flour, baking soda, cinnamon & nutmeg.
In a medium size mixing bowl, mix applesauce, honey, pumpkin and water.
Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture, mixing together thoroughly.

Pour into a 14 x 8 inch bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 50 minutes to 1 hour, until toothpick inserted comes out dry. Cool bread on a rack. Store in sealed container.

Optional: glaze with a small portion of honey and sprinkle with ground peanut crumbs. Peanuts are safe, other nuts...not so much! Use peanuts to be safe. Not a time to be adventurous with your ingredients.

Practice your pup's tricks and enjoy! Don't be afraid to taste it yourself- it's actually mighty good!

Cheese Multi-Grain Dog Biscuits

*personal note: these tend to be on the "Rich" side, so do NOT overfeed your dogs! In the course of my taste-testing with my pups, these got 'burped up' after too many. oops. Hey, I had to make sure I got the right reaction...but throwing them up was NOT it. Feed in MODERATION, trust me on this...

1 C uncooked oatmeal
1/4 C butter or bacon drippings (what smells like bacon?! bacon! bacon! bacon! I can't read!)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 C hot water
1 C cornmeal
1/2 C powdered milk
1 C wheat germ
4 oz/1 C grated cheese (your choice. Cheddar is always a safe bet)
3 C whole wheat flour

In large bowl, pour hot water over oatmeal and butter or bacon drippings; let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir in powdered milk, grated cheese, egg.
Add cornmeal and wheat germ. Mix well.
Add flour, 1/3 C. at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Knead for 3-4 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to make a very stiff dough.
Pat or roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness.
Cut into shapes and place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees.
Turn off heat and let dry in oven for 1 & 1/2 hours or longer.
Makes approx. 2 and 1/4 lbs. of cookies.
Store in airtight container.
*another note:
I refrigerated mine due to the cheese- better to be safe than sorry, and I didn't want them to mold. Mine seemed to last well for almost 2 weeks in the fridge. You could also freeze the dough in portions and take it out to make some as needed, but I haven't tried that yet. Will try it and report back!

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

recipe by Nicole Curran, owned by a pug in Delaware, found on Heartland Ranch site.

*yet another note: My dogs loved these, and I love that it's only four ingredients! Simple yet effective!
Again, you can o.d. your dog on any treat. Moderation is always key, especially with milk and peanut butter in these. Sounds good to us, but dogs can only handle so much!

2 C whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 C. peanut butter- chunky or smooth, your choice!
1 C. milk

Preheat over to 375 degrees
In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. (tougher than it sounds, be patient)
Then add dry ingredients and mix well. (I use a wooden mixing spoon)
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown.
*note (again!) CAUTION: they can burn easily, so be sure to keep an eye on them. I recommend setting the time for ten minutes and checking every couple minutes from then on...
Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

BONE appetit, les chiens!


  1. Thanks for the info. I have been wanting to make things at home for my dog. I am now a follower from Friday Follow - Rita @

  2. Thanks for these recipes! I would love to make my dog a treat! Awesome!

  3. Hi! I found you on the Friday Follow

  4. Hi all! When I'm done working later today, I'm doing the Friday Follow myself! I'm sure I'll be following all of you too! If you ever need help or ideas for recipes, feel free to ask! I have a whole huge collection of recipes from the past 10 years- dog and human food! lol.
    Thanks for visiting. : )

  5. Lucky dogs, literally! Thanks for linking up and for posting our Friday Follow button.

    ~ Lynn

  6. I love my dog and would love to make her something special. Thanks for the ideas. I'm in from Friday Follow!

  7. Following you from the Friday Follow!

  8. Hi Fellow Friday Follower! I am now following you.

    PLease follow me at the below links

    Also, Thanks in advance for following me back! This is terrific idea!

  9. Hi from Friday Follow. Such a great idea...looking forward to more!

    My son always asks to make doggy treats...maybe this is the motivation I need! Thanks for sharing the recipes.


  10. I am a new follower via Follow Friday. I can't wait to read more of your blog!
    Come visit me here!

  11. I think I am going to have to try some of these for our dog! I am now following your from Friday Follow. Have a great weekend!

  12. Thats some recipes for a dog. I'm now following you from Follow Friday! Thanks for joining.

  13. That's great that you cook for your dogs! Our vet had suggested that to us but we politely declined and she was able to find a healthy pre-made dog food ;)

    I'm here to follow from the Friday Follow!

  14. Following you from Friday Follow!