Like most Americans, we love our pets. Some people prefer cats, some dogs, some birds or fish or perhaps an exotic pet of some kind. In addition to our pack (all rescues), we frequently support several families of squirrels, hundreds of migratory birds, and a few possums.
I unabashedly admit that I am a dog person, and consider our dogs to be part of the family. So they are beneficiaries of our kitchen as well – not from food scraps (something they never get), but from nutritious foods designed for their benefit. One of the menu items they get at every meal is a rice/vegetable dish made with brown rice, carrots, and green vegetables. *
NOTE: It is extremely important when designing a dish for non-human consumption, that you consider the special dietary needs of the creature the dish is intended for. For example, dogs should not be given foods such as onions, grapes and chocolate. Before feeding your dog (or any animal) food from your kitchen I recommend consulting a website such as that of the ASPCA and/or consult with your veterinarian.
After feeding my dogs commercially prepared dog biscuits for years, I came to the conclusion I would rather prepare them something nutritious and fresh in my own kitchen. So I came up with the following recipe for Homemade Dog Biscuits which I think is healthier than most of the options you will find in the store.
HOMEMADE DOG BISCUIT RECIPE
3 c Flour, whole wheat
1/2 c Nonfat dry milk
1/3 c Shortening, vegetable **
1 c Chicken or Beef broth, low sodium
Mix the nonfat dry milk and flour in a bowl.
Cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender.
Mix the broth and eggs together in a separate bowl.
Add the broth/egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a spoon or spatula or hands to form a sticky dough that moves away from the sides of the bowl.
Adjust liquid and flour as needed.
Roll out on a greased cookie sheet to 1/4″ thick. Score into squares (mine are 2 x 1 ½ inches). I use a wire cooling rack to score the dough as it is the perfect size for the cookie sheet I make these in.
Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes until edges are brown and they look dry.
After baking is complete, leave in the warm oven until fully dried. After cooling, break into pieces and store in a cool dry place in an airtight container.
Our dogs love these treats, but we are careful not to feed them too often as they do contain some fat. These biscuits are hard and crunchy which helps keep their teeth clean and they provide good nutrition primarily through the whole wheat flour. Even though they do contain some milk in the form of nonfat dry powder, it is in a small quantity and provides additional nutrition.
* Watch for an upcoming post on cooked rice safety.
** Because of health concerns, I do not recommend using lard to make food for dogs.