Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dog Treats

My husband and his brother make beer.  They just brewed a new batch today and he came home with a large bag of spent grains.  He told me that I could make cookies, bread, and dog treats with it.  I wasn't so sure about it until I smelled them.  They smell like the cereal Cracklin' Oat Bran.  So good!  I thought I would try the dog biscuit idea first.  We have two large dogs, an English Lab and a Bull Mastiff.  We go through treats and dog food way too fast.  I thought this could help save money and be healthy for them.  So what are the health benefits to making your own dog treats?  I wasn't sure, but I thought there had to be some! :)  So I Googled it and found that there are lots of benefits to this new cooking adventure.

Grains and cornmeal are found in many types of commercial dog foods. It is used for both its nutrient and fiber content, and helps a dog's digestive system run smoothly.

Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein and provide many of the essential amino acids that dogs need.

Dogs can digest a wide variety of fatty acids. Fats (like the kind in the peanut butter) deliver certain vitamins to a dog's system and are utilized as a primary source of energy. They can also keep his/her skin, paw pads, and nose in good condition.

Complex carbohydrates include fruits (such as apples), whole grains (such as spent grains I used), and vegetables. Although they take longer to digest, they supply a dog with a slow, steady stream of energy.

Also, cinnamon is an excellent source of antioxidants, which are a basic component of canine nutrition. One teaspoon of cinnamon contains as many antioxidants as a full cup of pomegranate juice.  Unfortunately, I did not add some to this batch but I will consider it for future batches.

The ingredients are:

4 cups spent grain (you can also use 4 cups whole wheat and 1/2 cup cornmeal)
2 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs 

Not a lot of ingredients and a Kitchen-Aid made this an easy dish to make.

A close up of the spent grains. 

Flour, peanut butter and egg...nothing to it!

All mixed up
Get Silpat and pan ready!

Plop it onto the pan

Flatten it to about 1/2 inch thick for big dogs, probably thinner for smaller ones.

Score the treat sheet almost all of the way through then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool.  Separate treats and then place back into oven for 3-4 hours at 225 degrees. This makes sure that they get real dry and do not grow mold.  Once they are done, store them in an airtight container and give to your pup! They will love you for it!

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