Homemade Dog Biscuits

There are lots of recipes for these, but here are some to get you started.

Be sure to check with your vet about ingredients. Some dogs (including my own) are allergic to corn and wheat products.

Hear ye, hear ye!

!!!Important!!!

Kathryn Michel, a vet professor at the University of Pennsylvania vet school cautions against putting any of the following in dog biscuits: chocolate (especially cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and unsweetened baking-type chocolate), raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts (right! at the prices these are....?), garlic, leeks, onion (including onion powder, fresh onions, or dried onions), anything with potato skins in it (potato salad, baked potato skin appetizers). Caffeine- and alcohol-containing foods/drinks also should be omitted. These things can cause erratic heartbeat, kidney failure, and neurological difficulties (hind-end weakness, tremors, or other difficulties walking).

Other Notes:

You'll check with your vet, right?!

Training Treats

If you're training your dog (obedience, agility, etc.), you'll need several kinds of treats.

A piece of dry dog food is great. (Look at your vet's or a fancy pet food place for sample packages.)

A "high value" treat is reward for learning something difficult. A common one is a piece of mozzarella "string cheese." Cut a scant 1/4" thick (you'll have half-moon shapes). These are high-fat. Consider breaking each half-moon in half. Dogs like peanut butter, too, so a peanut butter-containing treat might be regarded by your dog as a high-value treat.

An even higher value treat is something with meat! I give one of the treats I list below: two liver treats, a hotdog jerky, and a chicken jerky recipes below.

Training treats tend to be high in calories (that's what makes them tasty and more-desired!), so use them judiciously. Consider breaking them into small pieces.

And remember what makes any training treat so effective is the anticipation of the treat! Size doesn't much matter. It's the anticipation of something given from the loving hand of his person as much as how the treat tastes! In fact, I am pretty sure a lot of treats Chocolate eats he doesn't even taste!

Liver Training Treats

Recipe #1

slab of raw beef liver
one egg (including shell)
uncooked oats (or whir uncooked Minute Rice just barely to break it down -- you don't want to make dust!)

Puree liver with egg. Add uncooked oats until about consistency of a [chocolate] cookie dough.

Turn into a glass baking dish, greased well and floured. Puree should be about 1/2" to 3/4" deep in the dish.

Bake at 350 about 15 minutes or until the treat seems set. Check several times. You don't want to over-bake and have a hard treat. Cool, cut into pieces about 1/2" to 3/4" square. Put on cookie sheet and freeze. Then transfer into zipper bag for freezer storage.

Recipe #2

If you prefer, bake the slab of liver on a greased cookie sheet at about 400 for 10 minutes. Turn over liver, turn off the oven, and allow the liver to continue cooking and then cool. Cut up, and freeze in a zipper bag. Less fuss than making the biscuits, above, but the downside is that when these thaw, you'll basically have a hunk o' liver in your pocket!

Hotdog Jerky

Cut hotdogs crosswise into "coins," no more than 1/4" thick (3/16" is better); be consistent, whatever the thickness. Put them on a microwave-safe plate (I use a MW bacon-cooking plate; you might want to put a paper towel on the plate if you don't have a plate with runnels) and nuke 'em. How long depends on your microwave; start with 2 minutes. Turn the plate a quarter-turn every 1 minute so they cook evenly; if your MW has a carousel, skip this part. After 2 minutes, flip them. Move the softest ones to the area where your MW cooks fastest (for me, it's the edge of the plate). After you make these once, you'll know how long to cook them between flips.

As they cook, they'll puff up. Keep cooking until they begin to dry out. Watch! You can always cook them some more! They're finished when they're crisp. They'll crisp up as they cool, too. If you are making these for a puppy or a senior dog, don't cook them into oblivion; instead leave them just a little softer!

Pat off any residual fat. There should be very little if you have used high-grade hotdogs. These are ok at room temp for 2 weeks in an air-proof container. Thereafter, airtight in the refrigerator. If you have left them a little softer, refrigerate after 1 week or right away.

Turkey is ok, too. I don't know about all-beef hotdogs.

These are "high value" Super-Duper Yummy Treats for quick "get busys" when it's raining, cold/snowing, you need to leave for work, or you're ready to turn in for the night. (Take them outside with you and wave them around so the aroma wafts to puppydog noses.) Also for stubborn streaks in obedience training! Start with a quarter of a coin to see whether this size upsets the dog's tummy or changes his stool unacceptably. I give these no more than 1x a day. Maybe 2x if it's raining all day!

Chicken Breast Jerky

Remove skin and bone from chicken breasts. Slice into strips; the thinner the better. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake at 180 for about 3 hours; may need more. Check at 2 hours. Cool. Store airtight. These also freeze well (cooked).

Other Treats

High Fiber Biscuits

1/2 c corn meal
6 T olive oil
2/3 c meat broth
2 c whole wheat flour

Mix. Roll out and cut with a cute little "dog bone" cutter, your favorite canapé cutter shape, or cut into squares or strips with a paring knife.

Bake on a greased sheet for 35-40 minutes at 350. Baste with more beef broth every so often.

Cool and store airtight in the refrigerator. Best if allowed to come to room temp first.

Microwave Biscuits

1 egg, lightly beaten (I guess you could use Eggbeaters or egg whites only)
2/3 c beef or chicken broth
3 T oatmeal (dry; not cooked)
2 c whole wheat flour

Place dry ingredients in a bowl and add liquids, stirring well. Shape dough into a ball and roll out on a lightly-floured surface about 1/2" thick. Cut in desired shapes.

Re-roll scraps and repeat. Be careful not to get too much flour in them as you re-roll. When the dough seems to be getting brittle, forget about the cookie cutters and just cut the rest into strips or whatever with a paring knife.

Arrange on a microwaveable plate or on waxed paper (or cooking parchment paper - - you should be so rich!). Microwave on high until firm. Everyone's microwave is different, so start with 2 minutes. Turn over each time you re-set the timer.

Let cool until hardened. (These may be too hard for puppies or senior dogs. Make a portion of the recipe to test.)

Store airtight in the refrigerator. Best if allowed to come to room temp first.

These treats are not to be confused with my own microwave adventures.

Mrs. Moore's Cheese and Tuna Squares

1 7-ounce can of tuna in oil, un-drained
2 eggs
salt and pepper
2 t baking POWDER (not baking soda)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional; or other cheese)

Bake at 350 in an 11x7" pan for about 20 minutes.

Store in the refrigerator because of the eggs and fish. Guaranteed to make a pup happy!

Peanut Butter Biscuits

2 c whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1 c peanut butter
1 c skim milk

Mix dry ingredients separately from milk and peanut butter. Combine. Roll out to 1/4" thickness and cut shapes. Prepare cookie sheets with Pam. Bake at 385 for about 20 minutes. Cool and store airtight in the refrigerator. Again, these might be too crisp for a puppy or senior dog. Best if allowed to come to room temp first.

Dog Food Half-Moons

Open a can of dog food (low-cal, if your pet needs it) at both ends and slide the food out. Slice 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Cut each circle in quarters. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees until the moisture is gone and the treats are crisp, about 20 to 30 minutes. If they are not quite dry, continue baking (check every 2 minutes). Another option to finish the process is to turn the oven off, keep the door closed, and wait until the oven has cooled completely.

Store air-tight.

The calories in these treats must be counted in your pet's daily intake, especially if your dog is a little more "meaty" than he should be! Look at the can to see if you can calculate the approximate caloric value.

Gary's Dental Biscuits

2 1/2 c flour
2 c whole wheat flour
2 c cracked wheat (also known as bulgur; try health food store if your grocery doesn't carry this
1 packet dry yeast (kind you use to make bread)
2-4 t salt
2 c chicken stock or another liquid, warmed
1/2 c non-fat dry milk solids
1 egg beaten with 1 T water
1 T liquid milk

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c warm water. Combine dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture and chicken stock. Knead 3 minutes.

Roll 1/4" thick and cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheet and brush with egg wash.

Bake 45 minutes in 300 degree oven. Turn off heat and leave overnight to harden. As above, watch your dog in his first encounter with these, as they may be too hard for a pup or a senior dog.

Super Biscuits

2 c flour
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c raw wheat germ
1 c instant brown rice
1 c oats [uncooked oatmeal]
1 c cornmeal
1 c non-fat dry milk solids
2 t salt
1 packet dry yeast (kind you use to make bread)
2 c chicken stock or another liquid, warmed

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 warm water. Combine dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture and chicken stock. Knead 3 minutes.

Roll 1/4" thick and cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheet and brush with egg wash.

Bake 45 minutes in 300 degree oven. Turn off heat and leave overnight to harden.

Cinnamon Treats

2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cornmeal
2/3 c water
6 T corn oil
1 egg
1 t brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T cinnamon

Mix ingredients. Roll out 1/4" thick on floured board. Cut into shapes.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Note: These are also high in fat. Give your dog one of them (or a part of one) and wait to see what happens with his stool.

Molasses Treats

2/3 c wheat germ
1 c oats (uncooked oatmeal)
1/4 c whole wheat flour
2 eggs, beaten
3 T molasses
1/4 c milk
1/4 c oil

Combine all. Make ball about the size of a large walnut and pat into a flat shape about 1/2" thick and place on cookie sheet.

Bake 15 minutes at 350. Turn off oven and leave to cool with door closed.

Store airtight or freeze.

Note: These are also high in fat. Give your dog one of them and wait to see what happens with his stool.


Chocolate loves Greenies. There has been some bad press about gastric problems with Greenies. As with all treats, keep an eye on your dog while he is munching on them. Be careful with pig ears, too. Chocolate was getting a little pudgy from eating one pig ear each day. I reduced the pig ear to 1/6 of one per day. (Have fun cutting these! Use tin snips. You laugh.) He was not amused.

Then, the vet suggested I eliminate the pig ears and the Greenies altogether. "What shall I give him instead to chew on?" Try a carrot - - a full-sized carrot, she said. Ok, that works - - but Chocolate still expects his pig ear! He looks at me after he's eaten his whole carrot and says, "Ok, I've humored you. Where's the pig ear?"

2004 Update: He began turning up his nose at the big carrots, so he did without for a couple of months. Now I buy the little pre-trimmed carrots. He appreciates those much more than he did the big carrot.

No more pig ears, but he still gets his Greenie on Saturday!

Chocolate also loves cauliflower and broccoli. Great use for broccoli and cauliflower stems if you're not making soup from them! I cut them up into pieces the size of a kidney bean. He likes cabbage, too, but not as much; I cut the large ribs in the center of the leaves into pieces; especially a good way to use the ribs in the coarse outer leaves; and the core.


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marbeth@marthabeth.com