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As Led Zeppelin used to sing, “Been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time . . .”

Except that you’re never alone with two airedales at your side.  Yeah, and the Pack Leader was here, as were a whole host of others. Okay, so I wasn’t lonely at all.

But gone? I’ve certainly been gone from here. You don’t want to hear it. But let me make it up to you and your critters with a little recipe for dog treats.

I am not a person who cooks for my dogs.  Much. But there are many good reasons to bake up a batch of dog treats at home.

First, it’s incredibly easy.

Second, it lets you control what goes into them (did you ever read the ingredients list on those boxes of store-bought treats?). Dinah gets itchy if she eats food with wheat or corn in it, for example, so I can leave those out if I make her goodies myself.

Third, it’s cheap.

Fourth, knowing how to make homemade dog* treats means you’ll never be at a loss for what to make your other dog-people friends at the holidays.

Fifth, dogs are easy,  so they’ll appreciate whatever you give them.

There are many dog treat recipes, but here is one I made tonight.  One I cobbled together after an hour of reading dog treat recipes online.  In an impressionistic  way. A long lonely lonely lonely lonely . . . oh, never mind.

Here’s what you’ll need–and bear in mind that all ingredient amounts are approximate. Start with less, add more as needed. Make substitutions as you see fit. Add other dog-friendly ingredients in small amounts. Have fun.

  • 2-1/2 cups of flour (because of Dinah’s food sensitivities I used some yam flour I bought online, but you could use white, whole wheat, a little cornmeal, or any combination of these–told you it was impressionistic)
  • one 16 ounce can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbs of olive oil [Just this once, and just because the Pack Leader had just made himself some bacon and eggs right before I got started on this, I added a tablespoon of bacon fat from his frying pan instead of the olive oil; a spoonful or two of peanut butter could be used instead of either of these]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (if you only have garlic salt on hand, use it, but leave out the salt, above)
  • 1/2 cup of powdered milk
  • 1 cup or so of rolled oats

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil or baking parchment (no need to grease either).

In a large mixer bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, and oil, then blend in remaining ingredients.  Add a little water if the mixture is too dry, or a little flour if it’s too wet, and mix until it’s the texture of soft play-dough. If it feels too soft or sticky, knead it a little bit with just enough extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands or the counter.

Now you have a few options:

Roll out the dough (half at a time–this makes a lot) on a floured surface, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Cut circles or bone shapes (or–don’t tell Nemo–cat shapes) with a cookie cutter.

OR . . . roll out the dough and just use a knife to cut it into squares, diamonds, or bars. Let  your conscience and the size of your dogs be your guide as you decide how big to make them.

OR . . . take the easy way out as I did. Form the dough into ropes about 10″ long and about as big around as a man’s thumb, and use a knife to cut these into little 1/2″ nuggets.

Set the biscuits on the baking sheet at least 1/2″ apart and slide them into the preheated oven. After 20 minutes, check on them. They should be a light yellow brown color, and not look doughy in the center. If they don’t feel hard and dry (tap one on the counter), turn the oven down to 300 degrees and put them back in for 20 minutes more.  To be very sure they’re completely dry and crunchy, turn the oven off at this point and leave them inside with the door slightly ajar for an hour or two (or overnight).  Either bake the rest of the dough in the same way, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in a zip top bag in the freezer. When you need more biscuits, thaw the dough and make another batch.

Bone appetite.

___

* A note on cat treats. Dogs will eat anything. Cats are picky. One Christmas we baked a big batch of these dog biscuits and a HUGE batch of tiny, fussy cat nibbles laced with canned tuna so we’d have bags of pet treats to take along to our friends at Christmas. The dogs gobbled up their samples, but the cats wouldn’t touch theirs for anything. We portioned everything up in cute bags and went to bed.  The next morning the cat treats were fine, but the cats had torn into several of the dog treat bags and helped themselves.

Oh, and the house smelled (not pleasantly) of tuna for days.

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