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Healthy Homemade Cookies Your Dog Will Adore
Why Bake Your Dog Homemade Cookies? Commercial Cookies can be Harmful!
The other day, for the very first time, I decided it was time to bake my dogs some healthy homemade dog cookies. Why did I decide to go this route? I was disgusted by the ingredient list found on the box of a popular brand of dog cookies I was buying my dogs for quite some time. I wished I had thought about looking at the ingredient list before, but for a reason or another, it just seemed to slip off my mind. I seemed to pay more attention to the ingredient lists of dog foods than those of cookies. Yet, my dogs were getting a cookie every single day and we all know that habitual consumption of harmful products is far worse than the occasional, once in a blue moon consumption. I guess the fact these cookies were made in the USA by a popular brand sort of made me presume they had to be pretty safe.
Turns out the cookies I was feeding contained the problem ingredients BHT/BHA. What are these and why are they a concern? BHA stands for butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and BHT stands for butylated hydroxytoluene and both are frequently used together. Both these ingredients are artificial preservatives meant to preserve animal protein meals and animal fats from oxidation and rancidity.
According to the Whole Dog Journal, BHA/BHT are artificial preservatives that 20 years ago were commonly used in all dry dog foods, but today are only seen in low-cost, lower-quality products. As with most low cost products, the advantage is that these preservatives cost less and preserve food longer compared to natural preservatives such as Vitamin E, vitamin C, citric acid, rosemary extract and mixed tocopherols.
So what's the scoop about BHA/BHT in dog foods and cookies? While BHA and BHT are banned from being used for human consumption in some countries, in the USA it's still permitted. According to the FDA, these preservatives are considered to be GRAS, a vague acronym that stands for "generally recognized to be safe". Yet, its use remains a subject of controversy. The National Toxicology Program has data suggesting that BHA is carcinogenic and there are even some studies proving BHA to being carcinogenic to rats and other animals. Yet, contrary to all you have read so far, consider that some researchers have concluded that BHA is actually anti-carcinogen!
The bottom line, is that in my humble opinion I feel it's better be safe than sorry. Since no one really seems to know if BHA and BHT are harmful, why purchase dog products containing such controversial ingredients, when there may be far safer alternatives? Unless you are willing to pay more for dog cookies preserved with natural preservatives such as Vitamin E, vitamin C, citric acid, rosemary extract and mixed tocopherols, you can simply bake some lip-smacking, healthy homemade dogs cookies from scratch, using just a few ingredients (versus the long list of obscure ones listed on boxes of commercial cookies) and with no artificial preservatives and colorings--and the best part is your dog will likely love them!
These dog cookies are ready to be baked!
Healthy Homemade Dog Cookies Straight from Your Pantry
I must say there's something particularly appealing in cooking for my dogs and my dogs love sticking around the kitchen. Perhaps it's an ancestral feeling reminiscent of the dog's past as scavengers looking for scraps from human foods. I don't know, it just feels good, and it goes beyond knowing what's in the cookies I bake for them. When I baked these cookies for my dogs, I was so thrilled from the results that i just felt I couldn't keep the recipe for myself.
Unlike the commercial cookies I used to buy which contained a long list of ingredients, these cookies are made of only 5 ingredients! I know some dog cookie recipes that use more, but I didn't feel the need to add sugar or honey or baking powder that contains aluminum! For additional benefits, I suggest using organic ingredients that are minimally processed and non GMO. For this recipe, I used almond milk that is free of carrageenan, organic extra-virgin coconut oil, organic peanut butter with no sugar or artificial sweeteners added and organic bananas.
Not only my dogs loved them, but these cookies turned out harder than the ones I used to buy so it was nice watching them gnaw on them for a little longer. Well, here is the recipe, I hope more and more dog owners can cut out some time out of their schedules and bake their doggies some cookies, the benefits are too worthy too miss!
Please note: these cookies are not grain-free. They contain whole wheat flour to act as a binder. If you are looking for grain-free options look for alternative ingredients to the whole wheat flour.
Disclaimer: this recipe may not be suitable to dogs with allergies, dogs with food intolerance or dogs with certain health conditions. This recipe is not to be used as nutritional advice. If your dog has allergies or a health condition, consult with your veterinarian or nutritionist for advice on suitable treats. By reading this article, you accept this disclaimer.
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, (May need more to get stiff dough)
- 2 eggs
- 1 mashed banana
- 1/2 cup almond milk/coconut milk
- 1/3 cup choice of peanut butter or plain pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350°. Mash the banana with a fork or use a masher.
- In a bowl, mix the two eggs and add the coconut oil, the almond milk (make sure it's free of carragenean or artificial sweeteners like xylitol) the mashed banana along with choice of peanut butter or plain canned pumpkin (not the one with spices for pie, just plain old pumpkin)
- Start incorporating the flour and knead the mixture together. You may need to add more flour if the mixture isn't hard enough to knead and roll out.Your goal is to have a stiff dough, but if the mixture is too hard instead, feel free to add more almond milk.
- Place flour on the surface and roll out the dough/ You'll need to leave it quite thick to make nice bone-shaped cookies since we are not using baking powder-- which is sort of an iffy ingredient too since it contains aluminum.
- Use your cookie cutter and start cutting out shapes. My dough makes about 19 to 21 cookies using a 5 inch bone-shaped cookie cutter. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning.
- Allow the cookies to dry out. This is the biggest factor if you want the cookies to be hard. I actually left mine out a whole day to get them to harden nicely.