You only need a few ingredients to make a healthy treat for a dog. They’re happy with the basics: a good aroma—usually a dog’s version of a good aroma.
If you live with a dog or know one, you’ll notice that he/she smells food before eating it. Dog’s rely almost entirely on their sense of smell, which is at least hundreds of times more sensitive than ours. So their food doesn’t require much flavoring, hence the flavorless taste of most dog food and treats. Yes, I have tasted one or two.
So it really didn’t take much for me to create a dog treat recipe that a dog would like. As soon as I had the basic ratio of flour to egg to pumpkin, squash, or other moist ingredient, I was set. That’s when I posted these pumpkin biscuits. Very rudimentary, but it did the trick.
This year I wanted a bit more of a holiday biscuit, so here’s a gingerbread dog biscuit that smells divine and has a hint of flavor thanks to the molasses, which is a good source of potassium, calcium, and iron for your dog. And your kitchen will smell great as these bake.
This recipe works with grain and gluten-free flours. My dog eats gluten-free and mostly grain-free, so I use a mixture of oat and brown rice flour in this recipe. The recent news about high amounts of arsenic found in brown rice had me do some research, and so far it seems like the highest amounts are in rice grown in southern U.S. states. The brown rice with the least amount of arsenic comes from California and Washington. White rice is not affected because the arsenic accumulates in the outer kernel, which is only found in brown rice.
Finally, I use my trusty dog bone cookie cutters, but you can use any cookie cutters you have on hand, or just use the top of a small jar to make circle-shaped biscuits.
Gingerbread Dog Biscuits
Make sure to use blackstrap molasses and not the kind made from cane sugar. If you don’t have molasses, or prefer not to give your dog sweetener, you can just leave it out.
This recipe works with grain-free and grain-based flours.
Make sure these are completely dry when finished baking so they don’t spoil—or store them in the refrigerator. They’re dry enough when they snap apart when broken in half.
- 2 1/2 cups (230 g) oat flour (or brown rice, or other flour)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (120 g) cooked, pureed squash (butternut, pumpkin, or other kind)
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
- Combine flour, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and blend well.
- Add the eggs, squash, and molasses to the bowl and blend the mixture until it forms a ball of dough. I use a mixer, but you can also use a spatula, food processor, or your hands.
- Separate the dough into two balls. Place one ball of dough on a non-stick baking mat, piece of parchment paper or counter-top with some flour sprinkled over it to prevent sticking.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or other non-stick paper or mat over the ball of dough. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is about 1/4-inch (.635 cm) thick.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out and place them on baking or cookie sheets. The biscuits don’t spread so no need to spread them out much across the baking sheets. Repeat until all the dough has been cut into biscuits.
- Bake the dough for 15 minutes, and then turn each biscuit over and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Cool and store sealed at room temperature for a month or so, or in the refrigerator for a few months.
Makes about 24 biscuits