Man’s best friend has once again gotten the worst treatment – this time, from China-produced dog jerky treats. Although the FDA has not enforced a recall of the treats, they have issued a fact sheet containing suggestions on what to watch for in your dog if you suspect they may have ingested these tainted snacks.
Sadly, this should come as no surprise considering that China has had a history of food and safety violations, including melamine additives to formula, and lead paint use in toys. However, the quality of pet food made in America also leaves a lot to be desired; Rotten meat, floor sweepings, and even cancerous growths excised from chicken carcasses are often included in mass-produced dog and cat food; most dog food includes as many additives, flavorings and colorings as its human counterpart – which explains a great deal about rising vet bills and poorer pet health.
The only way to ensure good quality snacks for Rover is to make them yourself, and it’s way easier than you think. If you can bake a batch of chocolate-chip cookies, you can make dog treats that your dog will love and improve his health as well.
China-free all natural dog biscuits (adapted from Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Treats provide 20% protein, 18% fat, and 57% carbohydrates.)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup soy flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon finely ground eggshells
- 1 tablespoon kelp or seaweed powder
- 1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (minced fine)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted), lard or oil
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs mixed with 1/4 cup milk
Mix the flours, cornmeal, eggshells, seaweed, garlic, yeast, and seeds together. Blend the butter, molasses, salt, and egg mixture (set aside 1 tablespoon for the biscuit glaze), and combine with the dry ingredients. Add more milk, if necessary, to make a firm dough. Knead together for a few minutes and let the dough rest 1/2 hour or more. Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut into whatever shapes you prefer, or use cookie cutter in dog bone shape. Brush all biscuits with the remainder of the egg mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until lightly toasted. (Note: To make harder biscuits, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off for an hour or more. Using lard or oil will prevent rancidity.)
Cooking for Fido isn’t that hard, and the occasional treat should be just as healthy as his regular meal. If your dog is more of a gourmand, try adding a little bit of parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese, or some dry crumbled bacon to the mix before you bake. Most importantly, have fun supporting your pet’s health so you can share many more years together. After all, they are family, right?
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