Monday, April 1, 2013

Hector's Favourite Dog Biscuits

Shortly after we got our dog Hector, I started making homemade dog biscuits. They cost practically nothing compared to store-bought treats, plus you can control what goes into them. My recipe varies a bit depending on what I've got on hand, but here's what I did this time around.

I made turkey stock last night from the remains of the Easter-bird. Once all the stock had been strained out, I was left with a bunch of bones with a ton of meat still stuck to them. That meat is perfect for dog biscuits, because it's fully cooked and soft.

I separated the cooled meat from the bones and threw it into the food processor along with the carrots and celery that had been in the stock pot (Dogs and kids alike can always benefit from the sneaky addition of vegetables).

I ground up the meat into a fine paste, and added some leftover mashed potatoes along with a couple of egg whites. To make it less sticky, I added some brown rice flour until the consistency was like soft cookie dough.
Mmm, meat paste.

Next, I added a healthy sprinkle of fennel seed, because Hector has been tormenting us with his toxic dog breath lately and fennel seed has a pleasant licorice flavour and scent, in addition to being good for digestion. I gave him some of the raw dough and he nearly took my fingers off, so I took that as a "yes" to the question of whether or not dogs like fennel.
Hector patiently waits.

I rolled the dough into 1-inch balls and flattened them, then baked them in a 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Ready for the oven.

These take a lot longer than people-cookies, as there aren't any fats or sugars in them to promote browning.
Depending on how soft you want the cookies to be, check on them every ten minutes or so until they're done to your dog's satisfaction. Hector's all about the crunchy stuff, but older dogs might want something softer.
Little crunchy biscuits!

RECIPE: Hector's Breath-Busting Dog Biscuits

(All measurements are approximate, as ingredients can vary)

3 cups cooked lean turkey or chicken
2 egg whites
1 small carrot, cooked until soft
1 stalk celery, cooked until soft
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
3/4 cup brown rice flour
6 tbsp. fennel seed

OVEN: 400 degrees Fahrenheit

- Grind up everything except the rice flour in a food processor, until mixture forms a soft paste.

- Gradually stir in flour until mixture becomes doughy enough to roll into balls.

-*NOTE* If you want to get fancy and use a cookie cutter, just add more flour until the mixture is strong enough to be rolled out and cut into shapes.

- Roll into 1-inch balls, flatten slightly, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

- Bake for about 30 minutes, turning and checking every ten minutes or so, until done to your dog's liking.


- In place of mashed potato and fennel seed, use mashed sweet potato and rosemary.

- Omit carrot, celery and fennel seed, and add 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (chunky of course)

- Use lean cooked beef instead of poultry, and add grated parmesan cheese instead of fennel seed (parmesan is great for adding cheesy flavour since it's very low in moisture and fat but high in flavour, so a little goes a long way)

- For dogs with extra-bad breath, add 4-6 capsules of activated charcoal. This can usually be found among the herbal supplements, and is good for digestion (it's also a great way to prevent a hangover!). Pop open the capsules and add the powdered charcoal to the mixture. Finely chop a large handful of parsley or mint and add it as well.


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