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18 January 2008

Homemade dog biscuits or treats

I've been experimenting with dog biscuit/treats recipes for a while now but finally have come up with one that suits all of us. I'm happy because they're healthy, easy to make and quite inexpensive, and the dogs are happy because they prefer these biscuits to the bought ones. I've tested this several times by putting a handful of their bought biscuits in a bowl next to one of the homemade biscuits and they always eat the homemade ones first. When I give them one as a treat, they follow me around for a while in the hope of scoring another one. Another bonus is that you'll be able to make these with what's in your stockpile cupboard and pantry.

Many of you know we've been feeding Rosie and Alice on homemade dog food all their lives. They're now 12 and 10 years old and are very fit dogs, still capable of running around like mad things. The recipe for my homemade dog food is here. We feed them twice a day. Once with biscuits in the morning and once in the afternoon with the homemade dog food. I have been buying the Omega 3 enriched dog biscuits over the years while I've experimented with biscuit recipes but I stepped this up a notch about a month ago when the price of dog biscuits increased by $5, making the normally $20 large bag from the produce store, $25. Hmmmm, it was time for real action.

If you decide to try this recipe, just make a small portion until you know your dog likes what you've made. When the biscuits pass the taste test, you can make enough for a month or two. I keep about a week's worth of biscuits out in a sealed container and have the rest in the freezer.

Homemade dog biscuits/treats
2 cups water mixed with 2 tablespoons Vegemite OR two cups beef or chicken stock. This can be homemade or from stock powder.
1 cup bread or plain/all-purpose flour
2 cups wholemeal or rye flour
1 cup rolled oats or instant oats
½ cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon yeast

If you want to add Omega 3, add 2 teaspoons of flax seed oil or emu oil to the mix.

Please note: The biscuits will get their flavour from the liquid you use. If your dog likes vegemite, use that, if your dog likes beef or chicken, use the stock option.

Please note:
The amount of liquid you add will depend entirely on your flour, oats and how much humidity is in the air. Start with 2 cups, but you might need to add another cup - in small portions until the dough feels right.

You can make this in your bread machine or by hand. If using the bread machine, use the dough setting and add the ingredients in the order listed above. Feel the dough after it's been mixed to make sure it feels smooth and not too dry.

If making by hand, put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Remove the mixture from the bowl and knead for five minutes or until the dough is tender and smooth. It makes a lovely dough.

When the dough is ready, roll it out with a rolling pin and cut it into the shapes you like. Here I've used hearts, stars and a loaf shape. The loaf shape being the easiest. I can break the loaves up into pieces by making a knife cut into half the loaf thickness. Don't cut right through.

Place on a greased or paper lined baking sheet and allow to rise slightly for about 30 minutes. Bake in a slow oven at 170º C (325 º F) one hour. When all are baked, turn off oven and leave them in the oven overnight to cool. Then store in a container or the freezer.

Here are the loaves with some pieces broken up. As you can see by this photo, I didn't cut right through the dough but they're easy to break up. Preparing them as loaves made them crisp on the outside but with a softer interior. The hearts and stars dried out more as they're flatter and therefore much crisper. This amount makes 20 hearts, 6 stars and 50 loaf pieces. My girls eat either two hearts/stars or 4 pieces of loaf in the morning as well as their homemade dog food meal in the afternoon.

I hope your dogs
like this as much as Rosie and Alice do. If you decide to make up the recipe, I'd like to know if your dogs enjoyed them. : - )


  1. I love making my dog homemade biscuits. She much prefers them to over any bought from the store. She loves mint so I add dried mint to them.
    They are way healthier and no preservatives etc in them.

    I will try your recipe next time, mine don't have yeast in them.


  2. I will definetly be giving these a try, they should go over well, Jack the dog loves anything.

    Thanks for the recipe, Rhonda and blessings to you and Hanno.

  3. Don't hav ea puppy of my own but will share the recipe with a couple of friends who have them :)

  4. Rhonda Jean,

    I'm glad you brought up the topic of treats for our 4-legged family members! I was thinking about that today. I don't have a dog but I do have a cat, so perhaps some of your other readers can assist me....

    I often cook with canned tuna and salmon. Buddy goes nuts as soon as I reach for the can, certain that there is a yummy morsel for him. I usually give him a bit of the juice (i only purchase tuna that is packed in water NOT oil, I don't think the salmon differentiates as to what it is packed in) diluted with water. Male cats don't often get enough water in their diets and this is a surefire way of ensure that they do.

    Well to make a long story short, I was preparing my lunch today and opened the salmon can, drained a bit of juice and mixed in water and gave to Buddy. I noticed that almost immediately after drinking some he began to bathe himself.

    Is this an indication that he doesn't like it? That he finds it a bit too oily and it was getting all over himself? Do other cat owners give salmon juice as a treat to their cats? I don't give him actual fish for fear of him choking on a bone. Unlike the tuna juice which he lapped up right away, he only had a bit of the salmon.

    Thanks for your input!

  5. Rhonda- thanks for the recipe. I wonder if one can put a bit of peanut butter in also?

  6. Sharon, the peanut butter would be a fine addition. : )

  7. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    These looks good. Our Sweet Callie would like these I think. I'll have to try them. Thanks for sharing.

  8. If I had dogs, I'd make some for them right away. Homemade is always better then store bought.

    I'm having a new theme on my blog about Wildflowers in Winter. I would love it if some people from the Southern Hemisphere would join the fun and post pictures of the wildflowers blooming in their area right now so we could learn more about your wildflower too. Come on by for more details.

  9. Hello Rhonda, I was just looking for a recipe yesterday to make homemade biscuits for our Max. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I save all your recipes in a binder.
    Thank you again!

  10. Could this recipe be made with reular milk instead of powdered?

  11. Hello Rosie, Alice, Rhonda and Hano,
    We are going to make Mum, make these biscuits and can't wait to try them - food is our number one passion. Mum is making us some dog food today, similar to your recipe with the mince it. We love your blog very much . WOOFS from Bear and Ted

  12. I will certainly try your biscuit recipe, but can I just say that you really shouldn't heat flax oil at all as it oxidises and loses all its nutitional qualities and actually turns into something harmful. You can safely bake ground flax seeds, but not the oil
    And peanut butter if used should be salt free as salt is not good for dogs.

  13. I happened to find your blog yesterday when I googled 'compost'. I made the dog biscuits last night using my bread machine. My dogs loved them! They followed me around like i was the doggie pied piper! I definately will be a regular reader!

  14. Rhonda Jean, I am a ministerial student, and I am writing a service project idea book (it will be in a Microsoft Word File) for churches looking for community service projects. One of the youth directors that I interviewed said that his youth had made homemade dog biscuits for a shelter as a service project. I am writing to ask if I may use your recipe in this service project idea book, as I am giving detailed instructions about the project so that another church that wanted to do a similar project could do so. Thank you. Joanne McFadden

  15. Hello Joanne, yes, it's fine for you to use the recipe.

  16. Made the biscuits yesterday and my dog Lulu really likes them. I used some dry cottage cheese instead of milk powder as I didn't have any and they turned out very well. Thanks so much for the receipe.

  17. @Inielsen: I know your link is just an adverstisement to sell tea, but for the sake of the other readers, it's importatnt to emphasize that no dog or cat should ever have products that contain caffeine.

  18. thanks Mercuria, I deleted that comment.

  19. I love reading your blog Rhonda you are such an inspiration and after looking at your recipe for dog treats I had a go at making some for our dog.I had to vary it quite a lot as I didn't have all the ingredients but luckily for me they turned out great and he just loves them. No more store bought rubbish for him,healthy home baked yumminess from now on.
    Thanks Rhonda


  20. I had previously tried making your dog food recipe and Miss P loved it. I baked the biscuits last week and I am happy to say that she loved them! Thanks so much for writing this blog.

  21. Made the dog biscuits last night and they were a big hit! My dog typically hates dog biscuits. I have never seen him eat one in his entire 11 years. I gave him 2 this morning and he would not let the cat get anywhere near him until he was finished eating them.

    They were so much fun to make and I plan on making a bunch for Christmas to give to friends and family with dogs.

    Thanks for sharing!


  22. Thanks for the awesome recipe. My Shar Pei won't touch bought biscuits, but he absolutely loves these ones.
    They're so simple to make in the bread maker.
    Thanks again,



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