I am always challenging myself to produce high grade, high value treats for our dogs with no “bad stuff” – that is no chemicals, no refined sugars or salt and no unnatural preservatives!
Below is a list of the ingredients I use when coming up with new recipes. The ingredients for each specific treat can be found on its product page.
I use real bacon in my treats. I bake the bacon strips in the oven, dry and crumble it. I use the bacon grease in place of other oils in some of my recipes. Like people, dogs LOVE bacon! Bacon contains protein, calcium and iron, so in small amounts it’s good for them too!
Loaded with iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Broths – Bone
I make all my broths at home as single proteins – slow cooking the bones of salmon, halibut, beef, venison, chicken, or turkey to ensure the maximum nutrition without all the salt and additives in the store bought broths. When ever possible I source these bones from local fishermen and hunters. Added to my cookie doughs, the dogs love the extra flavour and we have the knowledge of the benefits of the added amino acids, glucososamine, chondrotin ( reduces inflammation) and the high gelatin/ collagen content that supports gut health and hair, skin and nail health in my treats.
Organic Buckwheat Flour is made from 100% whole grain buckwheat groats. Despite the name, buckwheat isn’t related to wheat and is naturally gluten free. Buckwheat flour contains four times as much fiber as whole wheat flour, and is also a very good source of manganese and magnesium. The protein in buckwheat is a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids.
Carob is a natural chocolate substitute that is totally safe for dogs (and humans) to eat. Carob is actually a fruit, from the carob tree. It is free of theobromine, caffeine, fromamide, or phenylthlamine, other dangerous substances found in chocolate. Naturally sweet and boasting a rich flavor, carob is packed with nutrients. It’s full of vitamins A, B, B1, B2, B3, B6 and D, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and protein. As well, carob is brimming with fiber and pectin, which helps get rid of toxins.
Most people already know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs and cats. It contains the toxic substances such as caffeine and theobromine. Carob is the great alternative to chocolate that is SAFE for your pets! If you have seen pup’s treat where it looks like covered with chocolate, in most cases, it is covered by carob. Carob is safe for cats too, but they generally aren’t interested in sweetness, so they are probably not interested in carob. I use unsweetened carob with no extra sugar added – carob itself has the natural sweetness!
When feeding carob treats, start with small amount to make sure your pets are okay. Rule of thumb for the amount of treats is 10% of the overall diet.
The carrot is the king of the vegetables! It is the richest source of pro-vitamin A carotenes among commonly consumed vegetables. But unlike vitamin A, beta carotene and other carotenes in carrots do not cause toxicity. Beta carotene is also a powerful antioxidant. Carrots also contain vitamins B, C, D, E, K, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and iron. Carrots have repeatedly shown to nourish the optic nerve and significantly improve eyesight – both in people and in canines!
Celery is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and iron, as well as vitamins A, B, C. The phytochemical 3-n-butyl phthalide, one of the components that gives celery its characteristic smell and taste, is especially potent as an anti-tumor agent. Along with the compound sedanolide, an aromatic ingredient also found in celery, 3-n-butyl phthalide significantly reduces the incidence of tumors in laboratory animals. It is said to decrease nervousness, and is used as an acid neutralizer.
Cheese is a good source of protein for your dog. It also provides vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins and essential fatty acids. I use old Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan most often in my recipes.
Chia seeds have some incredible effects on health, both for humans and animals. Though they appear small and unassuming, these seeds contain large quantities of protein, five times the calcium of milk, boron (a trace mineral that aids in the absorption of calcium into the bones), Omega oils 3 and 6, and can help regulate blood sugar levels and aid in maintaining a healthy weight. The seeds of chia plants can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. What’s more, there are no known allergies to chia seeds.I often put them in my crunchy cookie recipes or sprinkle on top of the doggie friendly frostings as a decoration.
Coconut oil offers multiple benefits not just to us humans, but to our animal companions as well. When given to your pooch, it can aid in making his skin healthy by clearing up common skin problems like itchiness, flea allergies, fungal infections, eczema, and contact dermatitis. This natural ingredient also helps in preventing dry skin, making your pooch’s coat sleek and glossy, can disinfect cuts, soothes rough paw pads and promotes wound healing. In addition, this natural product can aid in letting your pooch gain better digestion, improved bone health, and superior metabolic function, and even an enhanced immune system.
Duck is a an excellent source of selenium, zinc, vitamins B3, B5, B12, Omega-3 fatty acids and 10 essential amino acids. It is higher in fat content and is regarded to be more easily digested than chicken – a “hypoallergenic” protein.
Flax Seeds / Flax Oil
Flax seed is a rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs), essential nutrients that the body can’t produce itself. Flax seed contains bioactive compounds called lignans, which have been shown to prevent cancer. Other studies indicate flax lignans reduce cholesterol and prevent diabetes in animals. So far, scientists have isolated at least three flax seed components with potential health benefits. The first is fiber, valuable for intestinal health. The benefits of the other two substances, alpha-linolenic acid (a type of Omega-3 fatty acid) and lignans, suggests that these components may be helpful in prevention of heart disease and perhaps in treatment of chronic kidney disease. I use both seeds and the oil in my recipes.
Heart (beef, chicken or turkey)
Like liver and kidneys, heart as dog food is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and iron. The heart which is a muscle meat, also contains some essential fatty acids and a little vitamin A. Heart contains appreciable levels of taurine which is important food… for the heart!
Hemp is filled with important and crucial nutrition including polyunsaturated good fats, with a naturally occurring and ideal 1:3 ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Hemp also features protein, vitamins (including vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E), antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, calcium, fiber, iron, and enzymes. I use Hemp seeds in most of my crunchy dog cookie recipes.
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C, as well as carotenoid pigments. I use Kale a lot in my baking – either pureed or my home dehydrated fresh Kale. Kale is low in calories (100 g of kale has 50 C), and is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beta carotene. You can feed leafy greens such as kale raw, lightly cooked, or dried.
Liver (beef, lamb, pork, chicken or bison)
In this one product is a vast range of important nutrition. Liver is the most concentrated source of vitamin A and should be fed in small amounts on a regular basis. It also contains vitamins D, E, and K in substantial quantities. Liver is an excellent source of the minerals zinc, manganese, selenium and iron. It also contains all the B vitamins, particularly B2, B3, B5, biotin, folacin, B12, choline, and inositol. It is also a good source of vitamin C. Liver provides a source of good quality protein and essential fatty acids, both the Omega-3 and Omega-6 type. It’s a fantastic food for your dog!
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is said to be effective in helping to treat various dog health problems. Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and detoxifying properties. It is good for the skin, for the joints, for digestion, and more. The health benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs are said to be significant.
Potato starch adds moistness to any baked goods and is an essential ingredient in gluten free baking. Potato starch in small amounts is a good starch source for adult dogs, and particularly for puppies, as it improves the digestibility of dietary nutrients and increases faecal DM, in addition of being more palatable than corn.
I roast and then puree my own pumpkin – hand picked from the farms around my village of Ladner! Pumpkins are very rich in fiber, and even just 2 teaspoons of a canned version of it can aid in your pooch’s digestion process. Canned pumpkin (which often is not actually pumpkin as advertised, but squash) , is in puree form, and contains lots of dietary fiber which can absorb the excess water in your dog’s stool; thus making his poop more firm. This makes it perfect for when your dog has diarrhea. Interestingly, the same product can treat constipation. Pureed pumpkin can also help in softening Fido’s stool and cure his upset stomach in an instant. No wonder, this common item is regarded as one of the best natural remedies to our pet’s stomach problems. Aside from that, pureed pumpkin can also make a tasty, healthy addition to dog treats. Pumpkin is a good source of fibre and beta carotene (a source of vitamin A). Dogs need fibre in their diet.I use pureed pumpkin or my home dehydrated pumpkin in a lot of of my crunchy dog cookie recipes.
Quinoa is a highly nutritious food for humans and according to the the AKA, it’s also safe for dogs and cats too – in fact many premium dog kibble brands use it as a substitute for less healthy starches such as wheat ,soy and corn. Loaded with calcium, protein, vitamins E, B-1,B-2, it also touts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has trace minerals iron, magnesium, phosphate and potassium, as well as heart healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids – so its no wonder that this “super food” as taken off in popularity for both humans and pets! Since its high in both protein and healthy carbs, quinoa is especially beneficial for active dogs and cats. I roast and grind my own quinoa flour for the freshest taste possible in my cakes and cookies.
Raw Unblanched Peanuts
I make homemade peanut butter for my cookies with raw unblanched peanuts and virgin olive oil. Peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats, and are a good source of niacin, folate, copper, manganese, and protein – but store bought brands always have at the very least added salt, if not sugar in them , or in the case of “lite” brands a sweetener called Xylitol – with is deadly to dogs! I take no chances, so I made my own nut butters.
Rice is good to feed when your dog has an upset tummy and needs a bland meal. There are a variety of different types of rice. Brown rice is a little higher in protein and a little lower in fat when compared to white rice. White or instant rice is an easily digestible carbohydrate which makes it a good source of energy when your dog’s tummy isn’t feeling well or if you are feeding an older dog. For shortbread type recipes, I use brown rice flour.
I grind my own Rolled oats flour right before baking. Rolled oats are nutritious, being naturally high in “good” nutrients and low in “bad” ones. Oats are high in protein, soluble fiber (the fiber that helps keep cholesterol levels low) and high levels of iron, manganese, zinc, and B vitamins (pantothenic acid, B5, and folate, B9).
I make my own slow cooked Salmon broth using bones, skin and flesh sourced from local fisherman to get all the freshest nutrients possible. Salmon is a fatty fish which is also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats support the immune system and can be beneficial for skin and coat health. There has also been some indication that they may benefit dogs with allergies. You can feed dogs salmon or salmon oil, and most go crazy for it!
I use whole sardines in my recipes. Sardines are one of the healthiest and safest fish for a dog: they are chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These are great for the skin and the coat, but they also help to reduce inflammation and give a nice boost to the immune system. Thus, dogs with allergies will benefit from sardines as well as dogs with arthritis or some autoimmune conditions too. Because the natural oils in sardines are good for brain health, it is a good idea to supplement a dog (and a puppy’s) diet with this fish too.
Skim Milk Powder
Contains calcium for strong bones and helps create more crunch in some of my recipes.
Smelts, Herring, & Mackerel
I use fresh or fresh frozen whole fish in my recipes. These fish are considered to be fatty fish because they tend to have a higher proportion of Omega-3 fats than other fish. All fish is an excellent source of protein, calcium, selenium, niacin (B vitamin), and Omega-3 fats.
This nutrient-dense green contains twice as much iron than many other greens and I use it a lot along with kale in my baking – either pureed or home dehydrated powder.It is also a good source of fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and K. Spinach is particularly good for dogs who need to ward off inflammatory and cardiovascular problems as well as cancer. The flavonoids and carotenoids contained in spinach work as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer forces.
Spirulina is a natural ” algae” that is incredibly high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B vitamins and other nutrients. When harvested correctly from non- contaminated ponds it is one of the most portent nutrient sources available. I buy it at my local heath food store and use it in my baking as well in each of my dogs dinners each night as well as some of my recipes.
Tapioca is one of the alternative starches being used in higher end kibbles. It’s gluten free, non-GMO, and when properly processed, non-toxic. In order to make and bind kibble or cookies, you must use a certain amount of starch. Tapioca is a good choice in that it is nontoxic, gluten, and lectin free.
A favorite in my baking, it’s a member of the ginger family. Turmeric known for its deep orange colour is also one of the most potent natural anti- inflammatories available – for both people and canines! Clinical studies show it to be of value for aches and pains associated with Arthritis and aging, it has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties as well the cucumin in Turmeric is shown to detoxify the liver and thin the blood. It is high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals .
Venison is an easily digestible protein for dogs, lean and lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than most meats. A good source of B Vitamins as well as zinc, phosphorus and iron. Known as a novel protein, it is useful when your pet has a known allergic reaction to more commonly known proteins. I get my venison from local hunter friends of mine, so it is organic and the dogs just LOVE the novel flavor in their cookies!
Virgin Olive Oil
Said to be good for the heart and circulation, virgin olive oil is a liver healer and bowel regulator.
Unpeeled apples are especially high in non-pro-vitamin A carotenes and pectin. Pectin is a remarkable type of fiber that has been shown to exert a number of beneficial effects. Due to its gel forming fiber, it can improve the intestinal muscle’s ability to push waste through the gastrointestinal tract. Pectin also binds to and eliminates toxins in the gut. Apples are also rich in beta carotene and vitamin C as well as several B complex vitamins including vitamin B6, folic acid and lots of potassium.
Eggs are absolutely brilliant nutrition for your dog. Eggs are a whole food, and often regarded as being the perfect protein source. It is the one against which all other proteins are measured. Eggs contain a full complement of minerals, including excellent levels of calcium (mostly in the yolk), all the vitamins except vitamin C and a range of high quality saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, the nutrient lecithin and the whole range of enzymes and other longevity factors always present in raw foods. The shell is a great source of calcium. Egg yolks are an essential food for a dog with skin problems. They contain sulphur containing amino acids, biotin, vitamin A, essential fatty acids and zinc.
Whole Wheat Flour
Rich in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and E. Fiber found in wheat is helpful in keeping your dog’s bowel movements regular.