Every week, millions of caring dog owners go to the grocery store for their typical weekly shopping, which includes pet food and, of course, treats for their special pup. I think this is a waste of money — tasty, wholesome and healthy treats can be made at home with very little effort. One of the most popular ingredients in homemade dog treats is a staple in nearly everybody’s household: peanut butter.
You probably know that peanut butter is a great source of vitamins E and K as well as B12. It also provides important minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, copper and calcium. Peanut butter is a great source of fiber.
A few words of caution: Some dogs are allergic to peanut butter; others have a sensitive stomach that just can’t handle something this rich. Ask your veterinarian whether you should feed it to your pet. With small amounts, most dogs do fine.
However, keep in mind that peanut butter is quite high in fat and often has sugar or corn syrup, so keep these treats to a minimum. (If your pet is overweight, skip these altogether.) At the very least, use an organic or all-natural brand of peanut butter. Better yet, find a peanut butter that is organic and sugar-free. You don’t have to like it; only your dog does — and she definitely will.
Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ¼ cups creamy organic peanut butter
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup mashed bananas
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the whole wheat flour with the baking powder and set the dry mixture aside. Combine the creamy organic peanut butter with the mashed bananas. Add the milk and stir until the mixture resembles melted caramel. Slowly add the dry mixture ½ cup at a time. Once the flour mixture is beaten into the wet mixture, let it rest for five minutes.
Use a melon baller or hand form dough balls into 1-inch balls. Pop them into the oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to cool for at least an hour before letting your pooch have his homemade snack. Keep the treats in an airtight container or a trusty zipper bag so that they will stay fresh for a month.
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
- ½ cup peanut oil
- ½ cup room-temperature water
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup creamy organic peanut butter
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the cornmeal and whole wheat flour and set it aside. Then combine the peanut oil and water with the vanilla extract. Now cream the peanut butter with the eggs. Add the liquid mixture ¼ cup at a time until it is all looking like melted caramel. Very slowly add the flour mixture ½ cup at a time until all ingredients are combined. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Knead the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thin. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares. Spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the biscuits 1 inch apart on the sheet. Bake them for 20 minutes. Be sure to allow the biscuits to cool thoroughly before feeding any to your dog. Store them in an airtight container or inside a zipper bag.
Frozen Peanut Butter Treats
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 16-ounce container vanilla or plain yogurt
- 2 ice cube trays
This is the easiest dog treat recipe with peanut butter, and won’t take much time or effort at all. Simply microwave 1 cup of creamy organic peanut butter for one minute and 30 seconds. Mix it with the yogurt until it is completely blended. Pour the mixture into the ice cube trays and place them in the freezer. Leave them in the freezer overnight, and your pup will enjoy the treats for days to come.
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An even better way to spoil your pup and keep things healthy: veggies. Yes, your pet may turn up her nose at a baby carrot, but there are ways you can get your dog used to eating vegetables. Or try a small chunk of a banana, or a slice of apple.
Photo: Dr. Stephen Dann/Flickr