By Jean Redstone
There are two cats and one dog living in my house and they
are spoiled unbearably. Just ask my husband.
I research the good and the worrisome about their dry and
wet foods, and offer treats even more carefully evaluated. High quality pet
food, in my opinion, is quite expensive but there must be no stinting where the
health of the house pets is involved.
What there can be
is hand crafted nutrition. I save on general meal dog and cat food by buying
quality in bulk size. But treats are generally not sold in bulk and are often
more costly than full-nutrition foods.
Happily, they are also easy to make and quickly made in your
own oven. Use your imagination, knowing what your pets prefer.
I’m talking cats here, the picky pet. Dogs eat anything
their mouth comes across, I’ve noticed.
By taking a little time once or twice a month you can
oversee the quality in your pet’s treats, introduce new healthy foods (yes,
Pounce, parsley is just as tasty as grass), and do away with preservatives,
dyes and other add-ons to factory-made foods. And you will significantly reduce
the burden on your wallet of pleasing your pets.
Please remember that a number
of tasty human foods, including grapes, raisins, onion, salt in excess, and
chocolate, are toxic to canines and felines if ingested. Before you bake, take
some time to read up on all the foods that are dangerous to pets on the ASPCA’s
Of the following three recipes to get you started, all are
suitable for dogs and the last two are appropriate for cats. But if you know
your cat likes peanut butter and pumpkin, feel free to include the dog treat in
PB AND PUMPKIN DOG TREATS
2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 C canned pumpkin (NOT pie pumpkin, it usually has extra ingredients)
1/2 C rolled oats
3 Tbls creamy all-natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
water for dough as needed
oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the
dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough to a
1/2-inch-thickness. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces or use cookie cutter to make other
until just hard, about 35 minutes. Depending on size of treats, makes 2 to 3
KITTY’S TUNA TREATS
1 5 oz. bag or can tuna, drained; save the liquid
1 C whole wheat, oat, or coconut flour (for a thicker
consistency, or to make treats as little balls, choose whole wheat or oat
1 Tbls extra light olive oil
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1-2 Tbls water, plus 1 Tbls saved tuna liquid (use more
water if you want the dough a little stickier)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with
parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine drained tuna, egg, flour, water,
olive oil and parsley. Blend in a food processor until mixture is smooth and
completely incorporated. The mixture will be different from a normal dough. It
is not very sticky and has a more powdery texture. Stir in some reserved tuna
liquid if dough is too thick to manipulate.
Pinch off sections of dough into crouton-sized chips. You
can make shapes, squares or roll pieces into balls, and place on the baking
Bake treats for 12 – 15 minutes until they are dried on top
and browned. It’s okay for them to be slightly burned, it will add to the
crunchy texture. Allow to cool completely.
These will store in your fridge for about a week, in an
airtight container. Makes a dozen or more treats, depending on size of the
chips or balls.
Note: You can substitute salmon, chicken, or any other canned
fish or meat for the tuna. Or add/substitute leftover cooked meats.
PET CHEESE TREATS
4 to 6 pre-packaged single cheese slices
1/4 C or so of canned or packaged chunk tuna, or other
canned or minced meat, drained
Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment
paper. Cut cheese slices into quarters and place each quarter on the
parchment-lined cookie pan, about 2 inches from each other in all directions.
Flake well or finely mince enough dry tuna to sprinkle generously over the
Bake until the cheese is golden brown, about 10 to 12
minutes. Watch carefully, so as not to over-cook or cheese will be hard and
dry. Remove when cheese sections are golden brown, crisping on the edges.
Sprinkle with flaked or minced tuna while still warm from
the oven. If necessary, use the back of a fork to press the tuna or other meat into
the warm cheese. Let cool, then break into smaller pieces if needed for
cat-sized servings. Makes a dozen to two dozen or more treats, depending on
size when broken up. Store in refrigerator in a covered container.
Note: As in other recipes, the tuna can be replaced by dry,
minced, or canned chicken, ham, salmon and etc. It’s a good way to use meat
scraps that otherwise get thrown out.