“Made with real chicken,” I read. “As opposed to what? Fake chicken?” I think. I pick up the next bag of dog treats on the shelf and turn it over to read the ingredients.
“Sorbic acid. Artificial smoke flavor? Calcium propionate. Glyceryl something-I-can’t-pronounce. Choline chloride. Added color. Red 40. Yellow 5. Blue 1. Yellow 6.”
No thank you. Call me a dog treat snob.
Don’t get me wrong. I have found a wide selection of quality treats — made with simple, wholesome ingredients — at local pet stores, but they can get a bit pricey. The alternative: make the treats.
During this past Christmas, I was touched when two people gifted my dog Oreo with homemade baked treats. Inspired by their thoughtfulness, I asked them for the recipes and dug up a few more. Without further ado, here are four dog treat recipes, tested by Maine dog owners, that you can bake (and perhaps modify) at home:
Peanut Pup Cookies
This recipe is courtesy of my friend Paige Morgan of Presque Isle who combined several recipes to create her own. Morgan owns a long-haired chihuahua named Sophie, and for Christmas, she made a baggie of these Peanut Pup Cookies (a name I made up) for my dog Oreo. He loved them so much that I decided to make him another batch.
- 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 jars organic banana baby food
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup whole grain rolled oats
- A little water
Stir together peanut butter, baby food, flour and oats in a large bowl. Squish it into a ball of dough, adding water if needed. Roll flat and cut small treats out with cookie cutters (or shot glass). Bake them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Blueberry Almond Woofie Pies
This recipe is courtesy of Rebecca Hubbell of Maine from her blog “Living Better Together” at www.livingbettertogether.com. She created this Maine-themed treat for her golden retriever, Shoester, to put in his bag from “Santa Paws” this past Christmas. For a detailed description of the treat and great photos, click here.
Woofie cake ingredients:
- 1 3/4 cup almond flour/meal
- 1 egg + 1 yolk
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp carob powder
- 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
- 1 banana (mashed)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup unbleached flour
- 3/4 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt (Make sure your yogurt has a low sugar content.)
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a mini whoopie pie pan or baking sheet with coconut oil. Mix cake ingredients together in a medium bowl until well blended. Use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to scoop cake batter into whoopie pie pan or onto baking sheet.vBake for 11 – 13 minutes. In a small bowl, combine filling ingredients and wisk until relatively smooth, you can use a blender too. Once cakes have cooled spoon about a tbsp of filling onto a cake and squish another cake on. Chill in the freezer to help the filling firm up.
Green Pea Christmas Trees
This recipe, adapted from the book “Feed Your Best Friend Better” by Rick Woodford, is courtesy of Geneva Perkins of Albion (Derek’s mother), who created these holiday dog snacks for Oreo’s Christmas stocking. Geneva owns a great pyrenees named Ellie and a black Labrador mix named Diesel.
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup beef or chicken stock
- 3 tbsp olive or safflower oil
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly dust baking sheet with flour. Combine peas and stock in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add pea mixture, oil and fennel seeds to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder, pulse for 1 minute until the dough gathers into a ball. Gather the dough into a ball. On the baking sheet, shape the ball into a square, then roll it into a 10-inch square. Cut with a pizza cutter into squares and separate about ½ inch apart. Cut a diagonal across the squares to make triangles or “tree-shaped” treats. Bake for 30 minutes for a softer cookie or up to 45 minutes for a drier cookie.
Nancy’s Bacon Bites
This recipe was given to me by my aunt, Nancy Clark, who lives in Belfast and owns a flat-coated retriever named Winston and a terrier mix named Terry-Emma.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons bacon fat, melted
- 5 cups whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in milk, water, salt and bacon fat until well blended. Gradually stir in flour to make a stiff dough. Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into 2 inch balls. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. (There should be about 25 balls.) Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on racks. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.