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International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. February 23, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Today’s guest post is written by our friend Ben’s and Silence Dogood’s beloved black German shepherd, Pioneer Hawk’s Haven Shiloh von Shiloh Special.

Hello, everyone! My name’s Shiloh, and I’d like to point out that today is a major holiday, at least for those of the canine persuasion: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.

I’ve persuaded Silence Dogood into sharing a recipe for homemade dog biscuits at the end of this post, but meanwhile, I’d like to add a few tips of my own about what to look for and what to avoid when you’re buying biscuits for your dog:

* Think healthy and flavorful. We love fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, and peanut butter, just like you do. Please don’t give us bland, tasteless dog biscuits (would you eat that?) or biscuits that are laden with so many unhealthy fats, preservatives, colorings, chemicals, and the like that it’s contributing to a national epidemic of overweight dogs. (At least, that’s what our friend Ben told me after reading an article on the subject in The Wall Street Journal.)

* Remember that we’re colorblind. Lots of dog biscuits are dyed red or green, apparently to appeal to the people who buy them for us. But please bear in mind that, though we can see some colors, we’re colorblind just like some people when it comes to red and green. If you know anyone who’s colorblind, ask them what they see when they look at red or green and they’ll tell you a dirty yellow-grey that’s really revolting. So please skip the chemical dyes and just get us the stuff that tastes best.

* Make our treats work harder. Silence always looks for biscuits that contain glucosamine and chondroitin, since I’m a big girl and big dogs are at higher risk of developing hip displasia. Glucosamine and chondroitin work together to keep my joints lubricated and functioning well and to prevent degenerative joint disease. My favorites are the wild cherry bone-shaped biscuits that combine the delicious flavor of cherries with that biscuit crunch.

* Remember that not all dog biscuits have to really be dog biscuits. Um, I guess that’s a little obscure, but what I’m trying to say is that plenty of good-for-you people treats offer the same satisfying crunch and flavor as dog biscuits, so you don’t even have to go out of your way to buy us treats as long as your house is well stocked with healthy people treats! Shredded Wheat mini-biscuits with bran, Triscuits, homemade baked whole-grain croutons, plain popcorn, pretzels, cornbread “dogs” (ouch!) with shredded carrots, and whole wheat-sweet potato biscuits are a few examples. Ditto, of course, for nuts! Just please don’t overdo it on the nuts, since they’re yummy but fatty and not so easy to digest. Two or three are plenty at a time.

* Biscuits aren’t the only things that crunch. True, we dogs love that soul-satisfying crunch that a good biscuit makes when we bite into it. But plenty of raw fruits and veggies also carry a satisfying crunch as well as delicious flavor. Please don’t forget us when you’re cutting up carrots, green or yellow wax beans, snap peas, radishes, apples, even crunchy lettuce like Romaine or Iceberg, and bell peppers of all colors. Yum! We’re not likely to turn our snouts up at blueberries, banana slices, boiled new potatoes, and baked potato or sweet potato skins, either, despite the absence of the crunch factor. Just so you know. And the dried sweet potato slices they sell at some pet stores are the best things going (after the wild cherry bones), offering plenty of crunch, flavor, and vitamins A and C. 

* Focus on flavor and texture, not shape. Silence has a bone-shaped cookie cutter that she uses when she makes homemade dog biscuits for me. So don’t tell her, but any shape is fine as far as I’m concerned. She could make Christmas tree-shaped biscuits in July, or use her round biscuit cutter, or just use a knife to cut the rolled-out dough into squares. I know it cheers her up to make me bone-shaped dog biscuits, so I try to look appreciative, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s really all about the taste and texture.

* Did I mention cheese? Just checking.

Okay, I guess it’s time to turn it over to Silence and that recipe. Go, Silence, go!  

Silence Dogood here. I see that Shiloh’s made some good points here, though I still maintain that if I’m the one who has to make the stupid dog biscuits, I should at least be able to make them in shapes that entertain me. (I have several dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters just for dog biscuits, as well as the bone-shaped one.) But I digress.

Here’s a super-healthy recipe for homemade dog biscuits using all-natural, human-grade ingredients, modified from the original which I found on the Gourmet Sleuth website (www.gourmetsleuth.com). If you’re into making your own biscuits, try these for your dog and see what you (and he or she) think!

                      Cheesy Dog Biscuit Treats

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 finely grated carrot

1 cube chicken- or beef-flavored instant bouillon

1/2 cup milk

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten

2-3 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, pour boiling water over oats, bouillon cube, and butter; let stand 10 minutes. Then add cornmeal, grated carrot, milk, cheese, and egg; blend well. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form a stiff dough. On a floured surface, knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 3 to 4 minutes. Roll or pat out dough to 1/2-inch thickness, then cut with cookie or biscuit cutters and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake 35-45 minutes at 325 degrees F. Cool and store. Makes 3 1/2 dozen large dog biscuits or 8 dozen small dog treats. They can be refrigerated or frozen to prolong freshness.

Thanks, Silence! It’s Shiloh back with you again to add that there’s no point in freezing or even refrigerating dog biscuits when you should be giving them to you dog instead! Mind you, Silence is the dog-biscuit Nazi when it comes to keeping me restricted to just a few treats a day; she says one cherry bone treat, one homemade biscuit, a dried sweet potato slice, and a sweet potato “fry” (specially dehydrated for dogs) are plenty, unless OFB wants to see me balloon up into a poster dog for some weight-loss program. But even she’ll give me as many fruit and veggie treats as I want, and will look the other way (at least for a minute or two) when OFB slips me a piece of cheese or a Triscuit.

So please! Make every day International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day at your house. I know your dog would appreciate it!

           Your friend,

                        Shiloh

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