A few months ago, in the midst of my sourdough bread flurry, I decided to try my hand at homemade dog treats. I’ve never felt great about dog biscuits, and although my dogs love rawhide, I don’t like them to have a ton of it. Also, we have lots of veggie scraps in this house, even with keeping a stock bag in the freezer. And my dogs love fruits and vegetables. Draya would shank you in the back to get a piece of banana; Bronx seems to feel the same about carrots.
I had a kitchen disaster this week, while attempting beet chips, which led to lots of raw beet scraps. And I always keep a jar of chopped carrot peels in the freezer. Then there was that lone banana, staring at me from atop the flour tin, accusing me of not eating it before those spots showed up. Whatever could be done?
Dog biscuits. (Don’t you think Rustic Root Vegetable Dog Treats sounds so much more Martha-y than Vegetable Scrap Dog Biscuits? Me, too.)
There are a billion dog treat recipes on the web (beware: many of these contain a lot of sugar and salt), but I use a super simple base that I can alter according to what veggies I’m using.
My base is just cornmeal, flour, a bit of oil or applesauce, and egg (I’ll provide measurements at the end of the post). Everything else is determined by what I have on hand, usually.
The hard work is done – now I just roll out the dough, cut it into rectangles (because it’s rustic, right?), and place them on a cookie sheet treated with cooking spray. This dough doesn’t spread or rise, so you can fit a ton of treats on one sheet.
Once they’ve cooled, they can go into whatever container you choose. But don’t forget: dogs deserve garnish, too.
The last step, obviously, is the taste test. You can see that Draya didn’t hesitate to chomp hers. Bronx likes to smell his treats before he accepts them. As you can see, these are dog-wag approved!
Now for the recipe!
Dog Biscuit Base
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 cups flour (can be white or whole wheat)
6 tablespoons oil (can sub applesauce, or omit completely)
2/3 cup water
Dog Biscuit Options
1/2 rolled oats
1-2 eggs (I have found that if I use 2 eggs, I can leave out the oil)
chopped parsley (fresh or dried)
chopped mint (fresh or dried)
Warning: Onions and garlic are horribly poisonous for dogs, so never ever use them in your biscuits. The ASPCA has a great list of other foods to avoid.
I usually just eyeball these extras, and if the dough is too wet or dry, I adjust the amount of flour. I have also found that making a puree of the vegetables/fruits/herbs is easier to work with.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch, then cut the biscuits and place them on the baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 60 minutes. The biscuits should be dry to the touch and have little-to-no squish when you push down on the middles. Turn the oven off, and allow the biscuits to cool inside the oven. They should come out completely dry and crunchy, but if your oven is wonky (like mine) you can just stick them back in for another 15-30 minutes.
Once cooled, store them in an airtight container.