Monday, December 9, 2013

Dog-person gift – Banana Breath Buster Biscuits

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. – Milan Kundera 

This is number five in my 12 Posts of Christmas, and it’s a very bittersweet one for me. It’s for dog treats. Your dog is part of the family, too, and deserve to be treated with the same love they give us. These treats also make a nice gift for anyone you know who owns a dog.

It doesn't look like it, but he actually loved
his Santa coat. So did people who met him on walks.
That look is more a "Hurry up – lets go…"
It’s difficult to not be a bit melancholy while writing this. It will be the first Christmas since the mid-1990s that I won’t have a furry friend in my life. 

My Henry left me this October, following his “brother” Simon, who left in 2009. I miss them, every single day.

Simon was a very quiet, thoughtful boy. Henry was far more demonstrative and a bit of a gourmand. But he did know what he liked and disliked. He was quite fussy with his treats. He would pick certain ones over others consistently. He was a dog that was familiar with his stomach.

Most dog treats have wheat as their first ingredient. Dogs and wheat don’t get along. It’s not something that is in a carnivore’s diet and many can develop sensitivity to it over time. It’s best to avoid it as much as you can, although that can be very hard to do. 

Here’s some of the things that can happen to dogs who have wheat allergies: Itchy skin, shaking of the head, ear inflammation, licking paws, rubbing the face on carpet, vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence, sneezing, asthma-like symptoms, anal itching and in severe cases even seizures.

The dough.
Henry suffered from a few for much of his life and we couldn't get a handle on it. Not pretty eh? Unfortunately, almost all commercial dog biscuits have wheat as a main ingredient. 

Corn and soy are supposedly equally bad for them, being difficult to digest.

If you want to know more google about dog food and dog treats. For example, many of the dried poultry strips can actually harm your dog because of the other ingredients in them. Meat by-products in food can be just as nasty, too. Cost doesn’t indicate a good dog food either. Don’t be fooled. Do your research.

It’s a hard thing to know if what you’re feeding your friend is actually benefitting them. 

Ready to be baked. They don't spread. You dry them out.
Parsley and mint are two natural breath fresheners that dogs love. Add in peanut butter and bananas and you have a combination that even the most fussy canine will have a hard time resisting!

These treats are one way to lesser whet in your dog's diet, with the benefit of improved breath. Quinoa, rice, banana, peanut butter… what’s not to love. Henry was drooling (just a little) to get them. High praise, I would say. My boy… <3.

Put them in a bag with a tag “From Santa” and you’re ready for a real tail-wagging Christmas morning!

Banana "Breath Busters"
Time: 2 hours  |  Yield: 4 dozen
The perfect gift for your furry children.
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 cup brown rice flour 
1-1/3 cup quinoa (regular or red)
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup dried parsley 
1/4 cup dried mint
2 eggs, beaten

In a bowl, place the quinoa with 1/3 cup hot water and let sit for 5 minutes. I used red quinoa because it was more festive!

Mash the bananas into the softened quinoa. Then stir in the peanut butter until well blended. Add in the remaining ingredients and knead the dough with your hands until well combined. It will be somewhat wet and will stick to your fingers. If too wet add in a little more rice flour.

Let the dough sit for 10 minutes. Oil two baking trays or line with parchment.

Set a small dish of water next to the bowl to wet your hands. Roll a 1” round ball of dough in your moistened hands and then flatten between your palms to about 1/4” thick. Place the biscuits on the baking sheets without touching; they can be close – these biscuits do not spread as they bake.

Bake the biscuits at 300°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. There shouldn’t be much moisture left in the biscuits. Let the cookies cool down in the oven to dry out even more. 

Leave the biscuits on the counter overnight (out of reach of your dog!) to dry and harden up before placing in a container.

If dried thoroughly, these can be store in a sealed container to maintain freshness for 1-2 months. If in doubt, refrigerate.


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