Home-made dog biscuits: Grain-free peanut butter chip drop cookies
If you want to start a heated debate among dog people, two controversial topics you can bring up are food and vaccinations. Even among vets, breeders and others who work day-to-day with dogs, there is no consensus. This posting is about food – I’ll do another one about vaccinations later.
The most common types of doggie diets are store-bought processed, raw, grain-free and combination diets. Some believe that only foods created using the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards are considered safe and nutritionally balanced. Others believe that dogs should be fed raw meat and bones with fresh fruits and vegetables. Yet others prefer grain-free diets. Some do a blend.
My views aren’t extreme. I believe that like people, no one diet works for every dog. Your dog’s lifestyle, genetics and overall health make their food requirements unique. An elite-athlete sled dog has different nutritional and caloric needs than a toothless, couch potato, geriatric miniature poodle. Likewise, dogs with food allergies or medical conditions need special diets. I also don’t believe that serving processed food is always best. My problem with processed foods is that you’re often paying for a low-quality ingredients, a high water volume and environmentally unfriendly packaging.
My personal preference is a raw diet supplemented with fresh foods. I put some caveats on that though. It’s essential to know what items are toxic to dogs. Everything should be fed in moderation. You wouldn’t live on one food item, nor should your dog. It's important to balance food types over time, rather than at each meal. And, watch to not include toxic ingredients.
Some people will argue that feeding people food makes dogs mooch or get fat. I disagree. Dogs mooch because of where you feed them, not what you feed them. If you feed your dog in the kitchen or at the dinner table, they’ll mooch. If you feed them in their spaces, they won’t. They mooch if they’re rewarded by doing it. And, unless there is a medical condition, they get fat when feed too much. It's that simple.
If you want to serve people food to your dog, it’s pretty easy to find lists of toxic foods for dogs, but what isn’t readily available is a list of generally healthy and safe foods. Here’s a starting point list of foods that I comfortably will and won’t feed to my own dogs:
Generally healthy and safe foods
Lean meat, fish and poultry, peanuts and unsweetened peanut butter, raw bones, offal (heart, liver, kidney, tongue, tripe), eggs, beans and lentils, apples, bananas, blueberries, saskatoon berries, cranberries, cherries, pineapple, dried fruits including dates, carrots, cabbage, spinach, green or yellow string beans, broccoli, ripe tomatoes, potatoes, yams, zucchini, beets, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, cod liver oil, salmon oil, canola oil, olive oil, flax or hemp seed, glucosomine, acidophilus, digestive enzymes, nutritional yeast, bone meal or egg shells, yogurt, kefir and cottage cheese.
Unhealthy and/or toxic foods
Ham, bacon or excessive poultry skin, macadamia nuts, walnuts, cooked bones, grapes, raisins and some currants including juices and trail mixes, rhubarb fruit and leaves, fruit seeds from apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots, onions, garlic, avocado, green tomatoes and potatoes, potato peels, lumps of fat off meat, butter, corn, popped corn, yeast dough that’s rising, hops, xylitol, milk, nutmeg, caffeinated coffee and tea, salt, chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate icings, alcoholic beverages, moldy foods and sugar.
I’m not a veterinarian or a small animal nutritionist so please consider this as one source of information. The pet food industry has done a very good job telling people that they’re incapable of feeding dogs. I don’t believe them. Read about the topic, talk with your vet and others in the pet care business, then make choices that are best for your dog. If you feed your dog something that doesn't increase their vitality or agree with them, check with your vet.
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Recipe for home-made dog biscuits: Grain-free peanut butter chip drop cookies
2 cups black beans
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs – include shells
½ cup dried fruit (16 apricots - NEVER use raisins)
Blend 1.5 cups of beans with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.
Once fully blended, fold in ½ cup of black beans so they look like chocolate chips (NEVER use chocolate)
Drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheets
Bake at 350’ for 15 minutes
If you want to eat these yourself as protein bars, omit the egg shells.
I prepare black beans in bulk by soaking, boiling, bagging and freezing them in advance.