Bake your own Dog Treats: Cheese and Pumpkin Seed Biscuits

Cheese and pumpkin seed dog biscuits

Ok, I admit it, I did it again. I baked for my dog. Last time I baked dog treats I was convinced it would happen very infrequently. But this time I couldn’t resist making miniature cheese and pumpkin seed biscuits, which look like tiny almond biscuits, but are dog friendly. They went down very well with BlindDog and taste pretty good to humans too! Here’s how to make them yourself:

Ingredients

For 60 small biscuits

40g of cheddar or other cheese, finely grated

30g pumpkin seeds, chopped (plus extra to decorate)

100g spelt flour (or plain flour)

1tbs olive oil

1 egg, beaten

Egg wash (for the glaze)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Place the flour in a mixing bowl, add the pumpkin seeds and cheese and mix
  • Stir in the beaten egg and olive oil so the mixture begins to combine into a dough
  • Add a little water and mix until a smooth dough is formed
  • Lightly oil two baking trays
  • Roll out the dough onto a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin (i.e. 0.3cm or 1/8 inch)
  • Use a small cutter to cut out the biscuits (I used a bottle top) and place them on the baking tray
  • To decorate, brush the biscuits with egg wash and place a pumpkin seed in the centre of each biscuit. You could also try grating more cheese over the top
  • Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes

Do you bake for your dog? Let us know what recipes your dog enjoys in the comments.

Bake your own Dog Treats: Salmon and Parsley Bites

As mentioned previously I have just dipped my toe into the strange world that is cooking for your dog. It probably won’t be a regular thing, but I thought I should share the recipe here, along with our verdict, in case any body else wants to try their hand at baking dog treats.

I have adapted the recipe from Henrietta Morrison’s book Dinner for Dogs.  I chose salmon because it contains high levels of omega-3 which promotes a healthy skin and coat as well as brain function.  I added parsley because it contains vitamin C, is supposed to help with bad breath and makes the end result look more interesting.  The original recipe called for plain flour, but many dogs are wheat intolerant and it can make others itchy, I have gone with spelt flour because if you’re going to the trouble of cooking for your dog, you might as well make it hypoallergenic.

Ingredients

200g tin of salmon or tuna in oil

(1 tbs olive oil. If, like me, you could only get salmon in water)

Handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

100g spelt flour (or plain flour)

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.

2. Tip the salmon with it’s oil (or drained salmon with olive oil) into a bowl and use a fork to break into small flakes. If you find any pieces of bone either remove them or crush them into small pieces with the fork.

3. Add  the parsley and the beaten egg and mix well.

4. Add the spelt flour and mix until it comes together in a dough.  If you are using spelt flour rather than plain flour you may find the dough is quite wet and you need to add a little more flour until it is easy to work with.

5. Knead the dough and roll it out on the work surface until it is around half a centimetre thick.  Use a small cutter to cut out shapes, or cut into small squares with a knife. Place the treats on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

6. Leave to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Our Verdict

The treats were fun and easy to make and BlindDog was in the kitchen looking hopeful the whole time I was cooking.  The treats looked pretty good when they were finished and given Henrietta Morrison’s mantra of never feeding her dog something she wouldn’t eat, I felt obliged to try one. It was actually quite good, especially with the addition of the parsley, although the idea of a fish flavoured biscuit was a bit strange.

BlindDog chomped on the treats with relish so it was definitely a thumbs up from her.  The recipe does make a lot of treats, easily more that BlindDog should eat in two weeks, so I have put half of them in the freezer.

If anyone else has tried cooking for their dog, we’d be keen to know how you got on!

A Real Dog’s Dinner: Should You Cook for your Dog?

Dinner for DogsToday I baked for my dog. To give you some idea of the severity of this situation I hardly ever bake for my other half, for my friends or for myself.  But today BlindDog got freshly baked salmon and parsley biscuits and this is a dog who will eat anything and everything put in front of her, including things she finds on the street.

The only semi-rational explanation I can give for this sudden onset of baking madness is that I have been morbidly curious about Henrietta Morrison’s cookbook for dogs ever since it came out.  The book, called Dinner for Dogs, along with the dog food brand Lily’s kitchen, which was founded by Morrison when her dog Lily went of her food and Morrison realised how poor the quality of most commercial dog foods is.

The whole concept goes hand in hand with the whole food and organic revolution in the human food market, and Morrison’s reason for starting Lily’s kitchen and writing Dinner for Dogs was that she wasn’t prepared to feed anything to her dog that she wouldn’t eat herself.

The book is full of ‘easy’ recipes to cook for your dog from cupcakes to birthday cake, from everyday stews to Christmas Dinner.  Morrison also translates some common ingredients of dry dog food and reveals that a lot of commercial brands contain ingredients that are unwholesome sounding and difficult for dogs to digest.  She also gives a good comprehensive list of ‘human’ foods that are suitable for dogs along with their benefits (although this section gets a little ‘health-food shop’ in places).

Every time I look at the book I have to add the mental hashtag #firstworldproblems because, to be honest, most people have other things to worry about. And I don’t think I’m going to ‘try to cook for your dog at least once a week’ as Morrison suggest because I’m too busy aiming to cook for my other half that often! Morrison herself admits that the recipes included in the book are intended as a supplement to a nutritionally balanced dog food and should not be the dog’s sole diet.

The main benefit of this book is educating people who don’t feed their dogs well, by highlighting the pitfalls of feeding a low quality dog food and the dangers of feeding your dog the wrong kind of human food. Some of the recipes might be nic

e for a special occasion but there’s no way I’m going to be cooking for BlindDog several times a week! Even though the recipe I tried was easy and fun to make, and even though BlindDog loved eating the result, I couldn’t help feeling that I could have spent the time better by actually doing something fun with her.

bone-shaped-homemade-dog-treats

The book is at best a bit of educational doggy fun which is helping promote the Lily’s Kitchen brand and at worst something to make doting owners feel inadequate. I would advocate feeding the best quality dog food you can afford and investing in your dog by spending time with her.

You can find the recipe for Salmon and Parsley Bites here, along with our verdict.