We cook for our kids, our friends and family — but what about our beloved pups? Many dog treats on the market are the animal equivalent of giving your dog a bag of cheese puffs: they’re junk food, plain and simple. I try to keep my dogs as healthy as possible, but when they look up at me with those adorable hopeful eyes...
Here’s the rub: those 2-inch biscuits may look like nothing, but are sort of the equivalent of a human eating two chocolate chip cookies. Multiply that one biscuit by the number of treats you give each day, and your pup may be getting a whole lot of empty calories.
I make our dog biscuits with wholesome and healthful ingredients. I still watch how often I treat them, but I feel better knowing they are not eating junk food. While improved health is a good enough reason to make your own dog treats, they are also fun to bake. I have dog bone-shaped cutters in a few sizes, but you can also use a small round standard cookie cutter. Either way, I get the same kick out of making biscuits my dogs love as I do from cooking a meal or baking for people I care about. It’s all about nurturing and nourishing — and tail wags.
Pumpkin Pie Pup Treats
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
2 large eggs, divided
½ cup water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, wheat germ and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk the pumpkin, peanut butter, one egg, water and oil in a second bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until a rough dough forms. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together. (It will be slightly moist).
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into ¼-inch thickness. Cut out the treats; press the remaining scraps together, roll to ¼-inch and cut out more treats.
4. Place the treats on the sheet pan. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it over the surface of the treats.
5. Bake until lightly browned and fairly hard, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on the trays: the treats will continue to harden as they cool. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 dozen treats.