Now, I'm not one to claim that I'm a perfect dog owner. Sometimes my dog Ezra has to paw at his water bowl to let me know he's thirsty or whimper by the door for me to let him outside. Recently, I had noticed that he was a little depressed. The holidays were a chaotic time for travel, and my family was gone a lot, and it seems it took a toll on Ezra. His mood changed. It's funny how we can sense these things from our animals. He wasn't necessarily curled up in a corner or whining all the time, but he was notably less affectionate and the expression in his eyes had changed. Sometimes we forget to show love to our pets, not because we don't care anymore but because we grow comfortable. In the past few weeks I have made extra efforts to pay attention to Ezra, and the difference in his energy levels and mood has been night and day. Reevaluating my relationship with my dog may sound trivial, but the principle applies to our human connections too. I decided to get in the kitchen and make something special for Ezra, but these treats were so easy that I will probably continue to make them in small batches. While he likes his milk bones, these are a cleaner option to make sure he doesn't get too pudgy.
DIY Dog Treats
1/3 cup of oat flour
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup all purpose flour
Firstly, I made my own oat flour by grinding up oatmeal in my NutriBullet. I'm sure you could leave your oats whole if you wanted some texture in these treats. In a medium bowl I combined the banana and peanut butter. I mashed it with a fork and then beat it until it was one homogeneous color. Then I added the oat flour, which made the mixture gather into a sticky batter. After this, begin to add your flour in small amounts. You may need to add more or less flour depending on the fat content in your peanut butter. The goal is for the mixture to become a dough that is mold-able and won't cling to your fingers. I then took my dough ball and placed it between two sheets of parchment paper before rolling. The dough will be slightly springy but a good consistency for cutting out shapes. I used the screw top of a beaker as my cookie cutter, but if you own a dog bone cookie cutter, now would be the time to break it out!
After punching out my circles, I was able to fill 1 and a half cookie sheets. These treats were on the small side, so it yielded about 50. If you use a standard 2-inch dog bone cookie cutter, your yield should be half that. Bake them for 12 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees F, or until they are golden brown. These treats have a cracker-like consistency (because of the ratio of flour). They reminded me of teething biscuits for babies probably because of the mild banana flavor, but they were perfect for Ezra. I stored them in an airtight container and will probably keep them in the fridge since they have no preservatives. I plan to make these again, but next time with different flavors such as grated carrot or pumpkin puree. I hope you have a chance to try them out, and more importantly, hopefully they brighten your pup's day!
I'm Lisa Cecilia Garcia. I'm a freelance writer specializing in food and lifestyle but have experience in poetry, creative writing, and everything in between. I'm a recent college graduate residing in Valdosta, GA. I love sketching, running, and obviously cooking and eating. When I'm older, I plan to run away to the mountains.