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Dog Treats - Trick or Treat

Ever had your pantry raided by a peckish poodle? Or your lunch snatched by a sneaky Staffie? Let’s face it – dog’s are always hungry, and will go to ridiculous lengths to score a snack.

But before we taint them at greedy mongrels, it may help to consider their background as wild animals. Their seemingly bottomless pit stomachs are actually a genetic throwback to the days in the wild, when their ancestor the wolf relied on hunting to survive.

These wild dogs did not eat regular meals, served to them in a shiny bowl at 6 o’clock on the dot. Depending on the season and what type of prey was available, wild dogs ate randomly – often going hungry for days until they could hunt down prey. And then the feast would last for days, as they piled food into themselves almost beyond capacity.

And so a dog’s instinct is that they never quite know when the next meal is coming. Which is why they always seem to be famished, and eager for a dog treat! But with obesity now affecting up to 40% of dogs, calorie-controlled nutrition is critical for the health of our canines. Here are a few suggestions for offering your pet some healthy dog treats. Keep some of these recipes on hand for when you’re training your dog – as food seems to offer more incentive to perform than just a nice pat on the head.

The Treats

Don’t cut carbs
While most of us are watching our carbohydrate intake to prevent weight gain, rice and pasta can be a great way to bulk up a meal for dogs. If your dog is on a diet, add cooked rice or pasta to their meal for bulk – keeping them fuller for longer. Rice cakes or crackers can also be an alternative dog treat to standard dog biscuits – just steer clear of the fancy flavours like chilli, lime or teriyaki.

Eat your greens
They may be carnivores by nature, but even dogs need to eat their greens. Ever seen a dog eat grass? Some will do it for the moisture content, after a play session at the park. Others may have a hankering back to the days in the wild, when dogs would eat the entrails of their prey, which contained digested vegetable matter. Don’t be afraid to throw in a few green beans, peas or capsicum for a gourmet dog treat – add to meat and make it like a stir-fry.

The power of protein
We know the egg yolk has all the fat, but sometimes that’s exactly what your dog needs for a shiny coat. If Max is trying to get rid of his flabby thighs, simply cook the egg white and mix in with dog biscuits or fresh meat for a healthy dog treat.

Licks and leftovers
As for cleaning plates and finishing off the tub of ice-cream – beware of how often you’re letting your dog indulge in leftovers. Over the course of a week you may find you’re feeding him several extra full meals a day – which can easily stack up to flab if your dog isn’t exercising every day. The best thing to do is keep a container in the fridge for leftovers and use some the next day for your dog’s main meal. And maybe stick to licking the yoghurt tub instead of the ice-cream for a fat-free treat.

Remember, if your dog is overweight the only person to blame is you – because Max doesn’t know how to work the can-opener. Try our dog treat suggestions – and a few good workouts with a ball – and you’ll both be on your way to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Homemade Dog Treats

Roll up your sleeves, here are some great dog treat recipes that you can make for Max right now.

Soft Doggie Cookies

  • 3 (2 1/2 oz. each) jars of baby food; either beef or chicken
  • 1/4 cup Dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup Wheat germ or cream of wheat

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Roll into small balls and place on well-greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes until brown. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate to keep fresh or freeze. Great for older dogs with teeth problems.

Garlic Cookies

  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup powdered milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 tsp. bouillon granules
  • 1 ½ cup meat broth or hot water
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 325F. Dissolve bouillon in meat broth, while still hot, put some of the broth into a blender with the garlic and blend on high. Pour all broth into large bowl, add margarine & oatmeal & stir. Let sit 5 minutes to cool. Stir in powdered milk, cornmeal & egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Knead by hand, adding more flour if needed. Roll on floured surface to 1/2" thick, cut into shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 50- 60 minutes, allow to cool & dry out until hard.

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