Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DIY Dog Treats

After a glorious amount of precious pups in holiday pet bowties, I thought I'd share my homemade dog treat recipe that I've been whipping up for the in-house model since we moved to the East Coast.  I decided to whip up a big batch for my friends animal babies this Christmas, too.

I had a bit of free time one day and felt like making Bailey some treats from scratch. After searching around online for various homemade recipes, some which had ingredients I didn't understand for a dog (like vanilla, really?) I came up with this one. I've been making treats now for Bailey every few weeks for the last few months, and now whenever Bailey smells sweet potato cooking, he comes running and sits under my feet while I work.  He would eat the whole sweet potato raw if we'd let him.

The recipe is versatile enough that you can use pumpkin or squash too. I had extra canned pumpkin around the holiday time and I used it in the treats and they were met with just as much enthusiasm as the sweet potato!! Also, this recipe really lends itself to halving or doubling. You can make as many or as few treats as you'd like.

Puppy Love Dog Treats

First things first. This recipe requires only 4 ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 3/4 cup cooked sweet potato 
  • Some water - the amount you'll need depends on the size of your sweet potato
See, Bailey really loves sweet potatoes!! 

You need to start by cooking your sweet potato. I cook mine in the microwave. I wash the sweet potato and then pierce it many times with a fork, put it on a small plate, and pop it in the microwave. Depending on the size of the sweet potato, and how spiffy your microwave is, the cooking time will vary. I usually have to cook mine between 5-10 minutes to get it to be nice and soft.

Let the sweet potato cool for a few minutes before digging into it - it's hot!! Scoop out all of the sweet potato (don't use the skin) and throw it in a freezer bag. You'll have more than you need so I always freeze the extra to use next time. Once it's in your bag, you want to add enough water until the mixture closely resembles soft baby food. I usually end up adding at least 1/2 cup if not more, but again this depends on the size of your sweet potato. If you're using canned pumpkin, no need to add water, it's already the right consistency. This step is important to make sure that your treats don't turn out too hard after baking (though they'll probably still be gobbled up).

Next, you want to add all of your ingredients to a medium sized bowl or if you've got one a Kitchenaid bowl.  Mix with whatever you're using (hand mixer, kitchenaid, your own arm) until well combined. Don't over mix though - wheat flour tends to be less forgiving with over mixing and can make the dough really tough. The end product should look like less sticky cookie dough. If your dough is too dry, you can add a teaspoon or two or three of water until the dough looks less dry.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out on your counter until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick. It won't look like very much dough, but for most dogs you'll need little treats so it will make more than you think it will. Using a long knife or a pizza cutter, cut up the treats.

The size you decide to make your treats depends on you. When Bailey was a little little puppy I made mine about 1cm by 1cm. Now that he's a bit bigger I've started to make my treats bigger. If you've got a big dog, you can also use a dog bone cookie cutter!

Once you've scored up your dough, carefully transfer your treats to a parchment or silpat lined sheet (skip the pan liner if you don't have any). Using a spatula might help here. This part for some reason usually takes me the longest. Don't worry too much about over crowding your cookie sheet. Depending on the size I go with, I usually use 2 sheets.

Cook your treats for 20 minutes. If you've got 2 sheets, rotate their oven position half way through. Once you've hit the 20 minute mark turn off your oven and leave them in there for 20 more minutes - leave the oven door shut!! Once they've sat in the oven for 20 minutes with the oven off, remove the treats and set them somewhere to cool. Don't let your cute dog tempt you into giving them a treat straight from the oven. The treats can be super hot!! Also, do not box up your treats until they've completely cooled of you risk them getting soggy (and possibly moldy down the road).

These treats last 3-4 weeks in a tupperware or a sealable plastic bag. There's no need to refrigerate them.


I should add that I'd be happy to make batches of these to sell if doing them yourself seems like too much trouble.  Just contact me at my Etsy shop Lavender Paper Hearts and I'd be happy to whip some up for you!!

This post is Treat-Crazed-Bailey approved:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More cute doggies!!

A few more adorable dogs in bowties have come in that I wanted to share!

I posted this one on Christmas, but I thought I'd post it again.  Barley looks amazingly precious in front of the Christmas tree!!

Gunner here looks very regal, and very serious in his holiday bowtie!

My newest photo features Fig, and boy does he look dapper!!