When we first adopted our furry, four-legged friend, Hojo, I did my best to find healthy dog food options for him. I had read that many popular dog food brands contain byproducts that are unhealthy for dogs’ diets, and could be harmful for their health. My husband and I chose to purchase food that had a better reputation for pet health, with the hope that our investment would result in a healthier dog, who needed less trips to a veterinarian. As a frequent cook, I started making homemade dog treats for Hojo that were so easy, I could make them while cooking other dishes for my family. I didn’t realize it then, but this activity would later become one that the whole family could enjoy!
While watching a neighbor’s six year old daughter, my husband and I decided that making these dog treats was the perfect project to keep her and our dog happy for the afternoon. This wonderfully simple recipe only calls for four ingredients that you may already have in the cupboard – peanut butter (the more natural, the better,) rolled oats, flour and water. All ingredients were approved by our veterinarian, so you can trust that the recipe is safe. Here is the recipe we used:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use other types of flour based on what you have, or if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, chunky or smooth
- 1 ¼ cups of hot water
- If you have extra bacon in the fridge, feel free to add some to the recipe to make your dog really happy!
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Mix the oats and flour together in a large bowl.
- Add in the peanut butter and hot water. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Knead the dough well, then flatten the dough with a rolling pin until it is about ¼ of an inch thick.
- Cut into shapes with small cookie cutters, or roll into balls and use your thumb to press an indent in the middle of the cookie.
- Bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes.
- Let them cool completely. You don’t want to risk them being too hot for your dog!
- After you are done, the treats can be stored in an air-tight bag for about a week, or stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
My favorite thing about making dog treats with kids is that it’s a perfect opportunity to let their imaginations shine – it doesn’t matter what the treats look like, and you don’t have to be extremely precise with the ingredients – dogs tend care less than humans if the taste is a little off! Our 6-year-old guest loved making these treats for Hojo, and had even more fun feeding them to him. It is a great activity to try with your family!