I recently made organic pumpkin dog treats for some friends to try out on their dogs. In pet stores I see all kinds of beautifully crafted dog treats but they’re made with wheat flour, corn syrup, sugar, just to name a few unhealthy ingredients. I decided that I’d like to try my hand at creating a dog treat that is nourishing, tempting and pleasing to our canine family members.
I had to do a little research on the flours to find out which are better digested by dogs. It turns out there are many options and wheat isn’t one of them. I have read that brown rice, oat, millet flours are a better option but that coconut flour, pea, chickpea and lentil flours are even better. I still need to check into nut meal (i.e. almond meal/flour) and seed meal (i.e. sunflower seed).
In my refrigerator I have white whole wheat, spelt, graham and coconut organic flours so I decided to experiment. In my pantry I had some whole grains, millet and oatmeal, both organic. I also pulled out my coffee grinder, which I don’t use to grind coffee, and I ground up some fresh millet and oat flours.
The recipe I used called for flour, pumpkin, eggs and water but I also added some nutritional yeast flakes and organic ground flaxseeds. The dough was nice and soft and smelled delicious enough to eat! As I rolled out the dough I noticed it was cracking which says to me that there’s little or no gluten (gluten gives dough that elasticity). This was good. Dog treats that look smooth and perfect are most likely made with a gluten-based flour like wheat which is not well digested by dogs (or cats).
My next dog treat baking session will be an experiment with lentil and chick pea flours. I also did a little research on using sprouted grains and seeds and while they are considered super foods I’m not sure that baking them at 325 degrees will hold all that nutrition they have while raw. So, more research is needed to find out how to use those in dog treats. I may need to pull my dehydrator out and create some dehydrated sprouted dog treat recipes!
My homemade dog treats may not look as pretty as the “donuts, cookies and cupcakes” decorated with sprinkles and colored icings you’ll find in pet stores, but they will assuredly be much healthier and digestible for your canine.