I was browsing the dog treat aisle of Target recently looking for something to freshen Hank’s breath (Hank’s my 5-year-old Puggle). I adore Hank, just not his breath sometimes. I scoured practically every label looking for something wholesome and simple. It was nearly impossible to find a treat without a lengthy ingredient list; and some had things I didn’t understand.
If I didn’t know what an ingredient was, I moved along to the next treat. I even Googled a few things. Then it occurred to me, “Robin, you’re a nutritionist and chef, why don’t you make your own dog treats?” I tried to remind myself that I barely have time to shower, let alone make homemade treats for Hank, but I decided it couldn’t hurt to research foods that promote oral health. That research turned into one amazing treat, even for humans. And I must confess, this was one of my favorite recipes to create.
These treats are wheat-free (which is as important for some dogs as it is for some humans) and crammed with dog-friendly ingredients that promote good oral hygiene.
Here’s what I included and why:
- Oats: Abrasive texture helps clean teeth
- Brown rice flour: Plenty of dogs are sensitive to wheat
- Parsley: Freshens breath
- Cinnamon: Freshens breath
- Coconut oil: Not only boosts the immune system and digestive and metabolic health, it combats bad breath
- Green tea: Kills the microbes that make stinky breath, lowers bacteria in the mouth and reduces the acidity of saliva, which reduces dental plaque
- Peanut butter: Dogs love it
Wheat-free, breath-freshening dog treats recipe
I had such fun with these — and so did Hank. Give them a try and tell me how it went in the comments!
Makes 20 to 24 treats, depending on the size of your cookie cutters
Nutrients per treat if you make 24: 89 calories, 3g protein, 15g carbs, 2g fiber,
- 2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 1-1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 cup brewed caffeine-free green tea
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
1. Place the oats in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
2. Process until finely chopped.
3. Add the brown rice flour, baking soda and cinnamon and process until blended.
4. Add the parsley leaves and process until blended.
5. Add the egg, peanut butter, coconut oil, and green tea and process until blended.
6. Add the chicken broth or water a little at a time and process just until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
7. Transfer the dough to a large piece of parchment paper and roll out to 1/2-inch thickness (if the rolling pin sticks, cover the dough with plastic wrap).
8. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. I chose my cookie cutters based Hank’s favorite things: chasing rabbits, love and healing on walks. OK, the hand is for healing, and maybe he would rather chase rabbits, but I thought it was funny. I also free-formed two bones.
9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before delighting your dog.
Here’s how it went down in my house…