Baking for Your Dog

For most dogs, a cookie is a very special part of the day. You may use it as a reward for good behaviour, like going straight into their kennel at bedtime or during training while learning new tricks, or just for a bonding experience between the two of you. Treats are great to use, but we always want to make sure we are taking those calories out of your pets’ daily limit as a few treats can add a lot of extra calories. It may not seem like a lot, but as your pet ages, a bit of extra weight can make a big impact on their health.

If you have some spare time and want to show your pup a little extra love you can bake them their own special treats. Dog treats do not need to be overly complicated recipes. Most ingredients you should have in your home or can be easily obtained from a quick trip to the grocery store. Does your dog have a favourite flavour or snack? That’s a great place to start. My husky is a fiend for peanut butter and bananas. So, I like to spoil her with homemade peanut butter and banana cookies. They are super easy to make and only require two other ingredients: Eggs and flour. This recipe is great to make when you have only one banana that is a little past its mushy threshold.

Peanut Butter Banana Dog Cookies –

  • 1 medium ripe Banana
  • 3 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 and ¾ cups of Flour

Whenever you bake with or give your dog peanut butter always read the ingredients carefully. Peanut butter must be Xylitol free if we are giving to a dog. Xylitol is a sugar substitute which is lethal to your dog depending on how much it ingested. The best peanut butter to buy for your dog is one that is all natural or has limited ingredients. These tend to have no added sugars/sugar substitutes. My pup has her very own jar of natural peanut butter of which the only ingredient is peanuts. Safety first!

For flour, you can use all purpose flour, whole wheat flours and even gluten-free flours. There is a big hype with grain free diets for dogs and if your pup has no allergies then regular and whole wheat flours are best as there is no need for them to be grain free. If your dog has a gluten sensitivity then a gluten-free flour such as Chana will work well for them. If you or a family member has a gluten sensitivity or are celiac like my self then go gluten-free to prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen. This recipe is pretty forgiving so use what you have or what works best for your family and dog. If you find your dough is a little too wet after kneading it, you can add a bit more flour and if it is a bit too dry add a little bit of water.

Now that we have the right ingredients lets get baking! In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Add in the remaining three ingredients and mix until you have the dough. I find kneading the dough with my bare hands works best with this recipe, but you can also use an electric mixer. This dough can be a bit sticky, so a whisk doesn’t always work well. Now it’s time to roll out the dough. If you don’t often bake and don’t have a rolling pin, you can press out the dough with your hands or find an empty bottle or jar that has been cleaned well to use as a rolling pin. Just make sure the counter and your rolling pin are lightly floured as this dough can be sticky especially with gluten-free flours!

If you have any small cookie cutters, you can make fun shaped cookies or get a knife and cut squares. Make sure you don’t press too hard with the knife and wreck your counters! Your dog won’t care what shape you’re making as long as they are delicious. Cute cookie cutters are nice to use if you are going to make goodie bags to share these treats with your pups’ friends. Place the cut-out cookies on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 mins. Check in on the cookies to ensure they aren’t getting too dark and burning throughout the baking time if you are baking with gluten-free flours I recommend lining your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Once cooled store the cookies in an airtight container to keep freshness and prevent moulding. If the batch is too large for your pup to finish before they start to go bad place half of the cookies in a zip top bag with the excess air removed and place them in the freezer, defrost a few as needed!

If your pup doesn’t like peanut butter or there is an allergy in the household there are lots of other options. Canned pumpkin is another great option for dogs. It helps with digestion, and a lot of dogs love the taste. Just make sure you are using straight canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Does your dog love fruits and veggies? Then try an apple or carrot dog treat recipe. Just ensure that all the ingredients you are using as safe for your dog and appropriate. For example, if we are using fruits, we want to ensure all seeds/pits are removed and that we aren’t using fruits that are toxic such as cherries or grapes/raisins. If a recipe wants you to add items that may be high in salt like bacon or chicken broth, purchase the low sodium versions to use instead and of course never use garlic or onion in any form as they are toxic as well.

I hope you try out a dog treat recipe and your pup loves them. Happy Baking!

If you’ve tried this recipe or found another great one we’d love to see pictures of your pup with their treats! Tag us on Instagram @millcreekah

Written by: Nicki Payne, RVT