Snickerdoodles

A snickerdoodle is a type of sugar cookie that is traditionally coated in cinnamon-sugar before it’s baked. In this dog-friendly version, the snickerdoodles are sweetened with honey and packed with cinnamon flavor. If your dog really likes cinnamon, you can also sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon on top of each cookie immediately after they come out of the oven.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Makes 28 cookies

3/4 cup oat flour

3/4 cup brown rice flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey

1 large egg

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Combine the flours and cinnamon in bowl.

3. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and add the honey, egg, and water. Stir until the mixture is well combined. Use your hands to press the mixture into a smooth dough.

4. Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter, and arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. Bake until the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch, 19-20 minutes. When the cookies are done baking, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and leave the cookies to dry out for 1 to 2 hours.

 

These cookies may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Mini Corn Muffins

Cornbread is a general term that is used for a fairly wide variety of quickbread recipes made with cornmeal and baking powder. As the name “quickbread” suggests, cornbread batter is quick to mix and just as quick to bake. I had these mini corn muffins made from start to finish in under fifteen minutes.

To produce cornmeal, fresh corn is dried and then ground into a meal. Cornmeal is available in two varieties: yellow and white, depending on the color of the corn that was used to make it. Yellow corn is naturally sweeter than white corn, which makes yellow cornmeal slightly sweeter than white cornmeal; however, the two types can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

There is some debate about cornmeal amongst pet owners. Dog food (not treats!) should make up about 90% of your pet’s diet, and I believe that there is a very valid argument against cornmeal being used as a main ingredient in these types of commercial dog foods. Yes, some dogs have a sensitivity to corn. Yes, dogs are naturally carnivores and digest meat protein easier than corn protein. But for me the real problem is that commercial dog food companies are using cornmeal as a cheap substitution for meat protein in a product that is being marketed as high quality, nutritious, and even “meaty.”

However, some dog owners are choosing to eliminate corn completely from their dog’s diet. Here are my two cents on that issue. Like most things, cornmeal is okay in moderation. As with all the recipes on this blog, these muffins are intended to be given only once in a while as a special treat. Cornmeal adds both flavor and texture to dog treat recipes, and unless your dog has a sensitivity or allergy, I personally don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with occasionally incorporating it into your dog’s diet.

If you do object to cornmeal, in many recipes you can substitute oat flour instead.

Mini Corn Muffins

Makes about 36 mini muffins

 

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chicken broth (homemade or low fat and low sodium)

1 large egg

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Place the honey, oil, broth, and egg in a bowl and stir to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to just combine.

5. Lightly prepare a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full of batter.

6. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back when touched, about 8 minutes.

 

These treats may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Tuna Fish Biscuits

Tuna is a very lean protein that is chock full of vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of B3, B6 and B12, folic acid, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial to your dog, because they support joint mobility, improve the skin and coat, and promote heart and kidney health.

Please note that tuna is only healthy for your dog if it has been cooked. (No doggie sushi!) Never, never feed your dog raw tuna.  Certain types of raw fish, including tuna and salmon, can contain a parasite that causes a potentially fatal disease in dogs known as “salmon poisoning.” For your faithful friend, always stick to thoroughly cooked tuna steaks or canned tuna. When it comes to canned tuna, you should opt for light tuna rather than albacore, because light tuna contains a lower level of mercury. And to keep the fat content to a minimum, be sure to choose tuna packed in water rather than oil.

One additional warning: every dog that has tried these treats has gone completely CRAZY over them! Be prepared for lots of whining and begging for more–even from the most finicky eaters.

Tuna Fish Biscuits

Makes about 80 (1-inch) biscuits

 

1 (5-ounce) can chunk light tuna in water

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1 cup cornmeal, plus more as needed for dusting

1 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup oat bran

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Place the tuna along with all the water and juices into the bowl of a food processor. Process into a puree.

3. Transfer the tuna puree to a bowl, and add the egg and water.

4. Add the cornmeal, rice flour, and oat bran, and stir to combine. Use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth dough.

5. On a lightly dusted countertop, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/2-inch thick. (This dough is not very flexible, so you won’t be able to roll it out very thinly.) Cut the dough out into pieces using your desired cookie cutter, and arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake until the treats feel firm to the touch, about 18 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the biscuits to dry out inside the oven for about 2 hours.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.

Doggie Birthday Cake

Here's the carob cake with carob-cream cheese frosting that I made to celebrate Pacey's birthday.

Here’s the carob cake with carob-cream cheese frosting that I made to celebrate Pacey’s 4th birthday–or 28th birthday if we’re counting in dog years.

Pacey turned four on Saturday (in human years), and that occasion certainly called for a very special treat. I pulled out all the stops and made him a carob-flavored birthday cake with carob-cream cheese frosting. This is one of the most extravagant dog treats I’ve made to date, and the birthday boy and his buddies absolutely LOVED it!

Honestly, the trickiest part of preparing this cake is making the frosting look neat and even, but don’t stress if it doesn’t look perfect. Remember, you are serving it to dogs after all. They’ll still love you and will still chow down on this delicious cake no matter how it looks.

If you’re ambitious (and have a really big dog), you can double the recipes below and then stack the two cakes with a layer of frosting in between. A 2-layer cake would have been way too much cake for a little dog like Pacey, so I just did one layer and only frosted the top of the cake, not the sides.

 

Doggie Birthday Cake

Makes one 8-inch round cake

 

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup honey

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

2 cups oat flour

1/2 cup carob powder

1 tsp baking powder

 

Frosting:

8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup carob powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Combine the eggs, oil, honey, and yogurt in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, carob powder, and baking powder.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir thoroughly to combine.

5. Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch round cake pan.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

7. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and oil in a bowl and use a mixer to beat until combined. Add the carob powder and continue mixing until smooth.

8. When the cake is completely cool, use an offset metal spatula to frost the cake with the frosting.

 

NOTE: To make the decorative icing that I used to pipe the writing onto my cake, I took out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the frosting just before adding the carob powder. You can leave it white, as I did, or stir in a gel food coloring to dye it whatever color you’d like. Place the icing into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip, and pipe your desired décor onto the cake.

This cake should be stored in the refrigerator.

Blondies

Blondies are bar cookies very similar to brownies, but they have a light brown color since they are prepared without any cocoa powder. Blondies are really quick and easy to prepare, so they are the perfect thing to whip up if you ever find yourself in need of treats in a hurry. Traditional people-food blondies are flavored with brown sugar and chocolate chunks, but my trusty taste-testers went crazy over this dog-friendly recipe that features carob chips and a touch of peanut butter.

These blondies are made with oats, so they are fairly crumbly. I’ve found that it’s best to cut them into the smallest pieces that you possibly can for your dog. I got 36 squares out of my 8″ x 8″ baking dish, and those pieces were still kind of big for a small dog like Pacey, so he made a bit of a mess when he was eating them. If you’ve got a tiny dog, you may even want to bake this recipe in a 9″ x 9″ pan so that the blondies are thinner and more manageable. (Just remember to adjust the baking time if you’re using a larger pan.)

 

Blondies

Makes about 36 squares

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups oat flour

1 cup carob chips

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the eggs, honey, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and yogurt in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder with the oat flour.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, and stir to combine.

5. Stir in the carob chips until evenly dispersed.

6. Pour the batter into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray.

7. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides start pulling away from the pan, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

8. Once cool, use a sharp knife to cut the blondies into individual portions.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.

Cheddar Biscuits

I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t love cheese. Cheddar cheese is packed with protein and flavor, but you do want to be careful not to overload your dog with too much. Most dogs will have no reaction at all to the occasional bit of cheese, but you should be aware that it is a common canine allergen. According to the ASPCA, “pets lack significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose in dairy products. As a result, some may have difficulty with digestion and end up with stomach upset. Cheese, however, has less lactose than milk and some other dairy products, so it’s less likely to cause problems.” Just be sure to use low fat cheddar cheese and feed these treats sparingly.

 

Cheddar Biscuits

Makes 34 (2-inch) biscuits

 

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 cup very finely shredded low fat cheddar cheese

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup homemade or fat free, low sodium chicken broth

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Knead vigorously by hand until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

4. Generously dust the countertop with flour. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick, and cut into pieces using your desired cookie cutter.

5. Arrange the biscuits on a prepared baking sheet, and bake until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes.

6. When finished baking, turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and leave the biscuits to dry out for about 2 hours.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.