Recipe: Breath-Freshening Dog Treats
Like most beagles, ours has a major weakness: food in any form, especially dog treats. He goes crazy for these homemade biscuits, and little does he know, they help with his doggie breath, too! With a mix of whole-grain flours, healthy fats, and pooch-friendly, breath freshening ingredients, they’re great to have on hand for your favorite four-legged friend.
Beagle Brendan is so many things to me: a morning alarm clock, work-from-home companion, walking buddy, and constant source of laughter. I mean, geez, look at that face. Sometimes, my husband jokes that I’m only with him because of B.B., who he raised from a puppy. While that’s not entirely true, I have developed an extreme fondness for the little guy.
When you’re cooking for your dog, it is extremely important to use only pet-friendly ingredients and in recommended quantities. I’ve included food-grade eucalyptus oil in these treats for its breath freshening properties — but just a few drops since large quantities of essential oils can be harmful. You can choose to leave it out if you like; the chopped parsley will help with doggie breath, too.
Homemade dog biscuits are easy to make. The process is similar to making roll-out biscuits for humans, except the dough is much more forgiving — there’s no need to worry about overmixing. You can use a stand mixer or a mixing bowl and a sturdy dough whisk to pull the dough together, then roll and cut it on a pastry board. I used squirrel- and acorn-shaped cookie cutters for fun, but any shape will do and you can adjust the size of the treats based on the size of your furry friend.
After rolling and cutting the dough, the biscuits are baked once on a cookie sheet, then elevated on a wire rack and allowed to dry out even more in a warm oven. This dehydrates the biscuits, making them nicely crunchy and increasing thier shelf life considerably. They can be stored in a treat jar or other lidded container for up to two months.
Breath-Freshening Dog Treats
Makes2 cookie sheets worth of biscuits (number will depend on the size of your cookie cutter)
- 1 1/2 cups
(7 ounces) high-protein whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups
(8 ounces) brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup
(2 ounces) ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup
sunflower or canola oil
- 1/4 cup
- 4 drops
food-grade eucalyptus oil, optional (See Recipe Note)
- 7 sprigs
parsley leaves, chopped fine (1/2 ounce)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, and ground flax seeds. In another large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, canola oil, water, eucalyptus oil, and parsley.
If you are mixing by hand, switch to a dough whisk or wooden spoon; if you are using a stand mixer, switch from a whisk to a dough hook. Stir the flour into the wet ingredients, one third at a time, until fully incorporated. When finished, the dough will come together into a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into desired shapes, then gently transfer to the lined baking sheets with a thin spatula. The biscuits will not spread out much during baking — you can lay them down about 1/3-inch apart.
Gather together the leftover dough, knead it back into a ball, then roll it out again to cut out more cookies — it will continue to remain malleable with repeated rollings due to its fairly low gluten content. Continue to do this until you’ve used up the dough and filled two cookie sheets with biscuits.
Bake the treats for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and while still warm, transfer the treats to wire cooling racks.
Return the racks of cookies to the oven and turn the heat down to its lowest setting (if your oven has a "keep warm" function, use this; otherwise, 180-200ºF is ideal). After one hour, turn the oven off and leave the cookies in the oven for another hour or so, or overnight.
Let the treats cool to room temperature, then store in a cookie jar or other lidded container for up to two months, or freeze for up to three months.
If you are unable to locate food-grade eucalyptus oil, you may leave it out or substitute 1/4 cup of chopped basil. Also just a few drops of eucalyptus oil since large quantities of essential oils can be harmful.
If your dog prefers or requires a softer biscuit, skip the second baking step and store the biscuits in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to three months.
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