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Homemade strawberry mint cookies for bunnies and guinea pigs

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Have the rabbits chewed up all their Christmas toys? Are your guinea pigs tired of their holiday treats? Perhaps your rabbit or other small pet would enjoy some festive and nutritious homemade cookies!

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Obviously, if you are doing the baking, you know exactly what is going into their treats (and tummies) and can tailor the recipe to suit your pet. If your pet doesn't care for mint leaves, Olympia Health Foods carries some very nice chopped and dried organic plantain, dandelion and other herbs (as well as mint). If your pet is not a fan of strawberries, substitute blueberries, raspberries or even mashed bananas or some applesauce. You get the idea.

The Spice Rack at 2nd Street Market has some very nice organic oats or you could simply replace the oats with more dried herbs if you like. They’re pet cookies, not entries in a national baking competition. Your pets will love them (and you).

STRAWBERRY MINT COOKIES

1/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 tablespoon dried mint leaves, crushed
1/3 cup timothy hay pellets
3 tablespoons old fashioned or steel cut oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash the strawberries and the crushed mint leaves together with a fork. Grind the hay pellets in a coffee grinder or blender. Mix the ground pellets with the oats.

Slowly add the dry mixture to the strawberry and mint mixture and stir until well blended. Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, spoon out the mixture onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (the parchment paper prevents sticking without adding any grease). Flatten the cookies with a fork to about 1/4" thick if you are baking in the oven; flatten to 1/8” if you are going to dehydrate the cookies in a food dehydrator (so they will dry more quickly – you can dehydrate ¼” cookies but it will take longer).

Bake for 20 minutes or until brown on bottom and let cool (for a crunchier treat, turn off the oven and leave the cookies in there until the stove cools).

If you are dehydrating the cookies using an old-school dehydrator, dry with the vents wide open until cookies are fully dried (likely 24 hours or more). If using a newer model dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once cooled, place the cookies in a sealed container or zip-lock bag. The baked treats can be left out for a few days but for any longer than that you will need to refrigerate or freeze the treats to prevent mold. If your dehydrated treats are fully and completely dried, they should be shelf stable.

Makes About 18-20 cookies

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