Our growing dissatisfaction with the quality of commercially made dog food and treats, kick-started our search for alternatives. There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that prolonged consumption of commercially produced pet food can pose a serious danger to pet health. For many pet food manufacturers, their top priority is to prevent spoilage and lengthen the shelf life of the product, and not necessarily to offer a balanced diet. Check out this link for some recent research on this issue http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=13411.
Dogs are omnivores, and this home-baked treat provides a way to introduce a little variety to the diet. This recipe can be used to produce any size or shape of treat. We tend to make two types – very small size (as kibble, suitable as a training incentive) and a bigger size for between-meal snacking. We slightly dehydrate these biscuits at the end of the cooking process to help prolong shelf life, but this step is not essential.
These dog treats can also be enriched. If your dog is currently taking a natural supplement or vitamin, these can be added to the dough. For fussy eaters, making these treats can be a great way to disguise the flavour of unpalatable supplements.
For a softer treat use a full cup of mashed vegetable, for a harder, crunchier treat, halve the quantity of vegetable added to the mix.
2 cups wholemeal or spelt flour
1 cup cooked, mashed vegetable (pumpkin, sweet potato or carrot work beautifully)
1 cube of vegetable stock dissolved in half a cup of boiling water
Third cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons corn meal or 2 tablespoons of ground barley
Biscuit cutter of choice (egsmall round (c.1cm diameter), small bone shaped cutter)
Preheat oven to 180C. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Rub mashed vegetable into dry ingredients using fingertips. While the vegetable stock (which has been dissolved in hot water) is still warm, add to dry ingredients. Add oil. Mix together with hands until dough clumps together (like pastry). Flatten out dough until c. 1cm thick (rolling pin not essential). Bake in moderate oven until lightly browned. For kibble – bake approx. 8-10 minutes. For larger dog biscuits bake up to 20 minutes. Biscuits will be firm, but will be strangely spongey when pressed (don’t worry, this means it is cooked!).
When all biscuits have been removed from oven, turn oven temperature down to a very low setting (c. 100C). Put all biscuits back into oven. You can usually consolidate all of the biscuits onto 2 trays, so they can be dried at the same time. The biscuits should be in a single layer, but they can be very squished together on the tray. Leave oven door slightly open, and dehydrate biscuits for c.half an hour.