It doesn’t take long when you start researching pet foods to realize that your beloved companion’s chow may be less than desirable for her or him. In fact, it’s legal for pet food companies to use euthanized dogs and cats as an ingredient! “Meat by-product,” anyone? Ugh! Basically, a lot of commercial pet food is far from healthful for your companion. Some experts believe that commercial pet foods even cause illness in our furry friends including cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Now you’re gazing across the room at your happily snoozing pup, thinking “Gosh, what do I feed him/her?” Well, one place to begin is healthier treats. First, scrap those cookie cutters. Your hound really doesn’t care what shape the cookies are, as long as they smell good and you keep handing them over. Next, realize how EASY this is! Even if they’re a little funny looking or slightly burnt, I promise your pooch will be more grateful than anyone else you have ever baked for.
Coconut meat contains protein and carbohydrates, it’s great for dogs. And blueberries are packed with antioxidants, which fight free radicals. These cookies are gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free and soy-free, so your pooch can digest with ease. Have an older dog that needs softer treats? Just cut the baking time by a few minutes so they’re chewier.
These dog cookies are held together by a flaxseed meal slurry. You can make your own flaxseed meal by putting whole flaxseeds into a very clean coffee grinder or strong blender, like a Vitamix. Either of these will break down flaxseeds. Like humans, dogs cannot digest the hull of flaxseeds and thus, their omega oil benefits will be lost if you don’t use a ground meal. You can buy flaxseed meal at many grocers like Giant, Safeway and Kroger, or natural foods stores like Whole Foods. Bob’s Red Mill carries it online, too.
Blueberry Coconut Dog Treats
2 Tbl. ground flaxseeds
4 Tbl. water
1 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen & thawed)
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/8 cup to 1/4 cup water, as needed
Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
Stir ground flaxseeds into water and sit aside. It will congeal and get thick.
In a food processor or powerful blender, add oats and coconut. Process into flour-y powder. Add brown rice flour and blueberries. As you process this time, the dough will turn a brilliant shade of purple with flecks of white coconut and tan oats. Pour in the flax mixture and maple syrup, and combine again. If the dough seems too crumbly to form into balls, add a little water, one tablespoon at a time, until it holds. Don’t allow the dough to become too wet or it will be difficult to work with.
Remove dough from the processor or blender. Begin to roll into balls the right size for your dog’s treats. Use water on your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. There’s a bit gap between a teacup chihuahua and a great Dane, so the size you make the cookies will vary. We have a greyhound and our treats are about 1 tablespoon each. Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes. Larger cookies will need a longer baking time.
Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 to 15 more minutes, so they don’t burn your pooch’s mouth. Then, treat your best friend to some homemade love! You may find baking healthy treats for your dog to be addicting – they are always so incredibly grateful!
You can buy oat flour and coconut flour, already ground, but they’re really pricey and using the food processor or blender to make your own is a good savings.
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