K-9 Nation - Baking for your Best Friend

A couple of weeks ago, or was it really just last week, I had the honor of meeting Danny Klecko, CEO of Saint Agnes Baking and author of K-9 Nation Biscuit Book.  Klecko is a super nice guy, funny, approachable, humble and I am happy to have gotten to meet him.

You can buy the book on Amazon or your local book store.


I had purchased this book for the daughter of a friend who likes to make treats for her dog.  I always thought I was too busy making treats for the humans in the house, why make them for the dogs?  They're fine with store-purchased treats and we are careful about what we buy for them.  No Chinese dog treats in this house!  

Then I started reading some of the recipes in the book.  Most of them seemed quite easy and some sounded downright delicious!  So today I tried a couple of them.  The proof would be in whether or not Cider would actually eat them.  Cabby, the black lab, will eat anything. Anything, she doesn't even smell it first!

Cider is my picky eater.  He makes my brother Joe look like a foodie!  Try giving Cider a piece of bread without butter.  Go ahead, try it.  He won't eat it.  He won't even put it in his mouth.  He'll just sniff at it and look at you like, "I'm not eating that until there's butter on it!"  He's the only dog we've ever owned that wouldn't eat a french fry.  Our dogs don't get a lot of "people food" but we do like to see what they will eat and what they won't.  Cider's won't list is longer than his will.


It's not just bread.  When I took him to obedience classes I had an impossible time finding something that would hold his attention from all the other people and dogs in the class.  See, Cider came to us a special needs dog.  He had been abused and he was terrified of the other dogs and people in the class.  His tail was tucked tightly between his legs and his eyes would dialate.  Poor thing!  The instructor was great, he gave us the whole back of the room and kept everyone else up front so Cider would be more comfortable but he was still aware of the other people and dogs. 

I tried cheese, hot dogs, his favorite sweet potato treats (well at least his favorite at home).  Nothing worked.  I even tried that food in a tube that trainers swear by.  Cider would have none of it.  The only thing that worked was steak!  I had to grill the dog a steak before every class then cut it up in bits for training.  This is a picky eater!

The first recipe I tried was "Sausag-y Beagle Biscuits."  Sausage.  He'll eat sausage!

There were no bizarre ingredients in these biscuits, whole wheat flour, semolina flour, nonfat powdered milk, salt, water, egg, butter and Italian sausage.  Heck they even sounded good to me!


The sausage is cooked and added to the other ingredients to form the dough.  I found this to be a very slack dough, a lot like my award winning English muffins!  How long can I milk that?

I patted the dough out and found I needed to flour my pizza cutter to cut the dough and my pieces weren't perfect looking but, well, these were for the dogs.  Do they really care?  I think not.




Once out of the oven and a little cool I tried one.  Yes, I tried one.  Dave chickened out.  I showed him the ingredients, he still wouldn't eat one because they were "dog food."  Whatever.  I thought they were ok.  I'm not a big fan of that much whole wheat flour in my baked goods but they weren't spit-them-out-terrible or anything.


Now to test on Cider!  I gave one to each dog.  Cabby, of course, ate hers right up and then stared at Cider's while he decided if it was something he wanted to eat or not.

He sniffed it, rolled it around, licked it, sniffed it some more, all the while getting irritated at me for trying to get a picture of him actually eating it.



This is his "turn the camera off" look. 


So I did.  And guess what?  He ate it!  Ok, he ate one but the test is will he eat another without all the drama.  He did.  He likes them, he really likes them!  Winner!  These were really easy to make, the batch is fairly big, and I'd make them smaller next time so they will last a long time.  This will not only save us some money, but the dogs will be eating things for which I know and can pronounce all the ingredients.

The other recipe I tried was Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Biscuits.  This one was a bit more iffy for Cider as he's not always a fan of peanut butter.  He will occasionally snub his nose at a Kong filled with treats if there is peanut butter in it and he's not always a fan of peanut butter treats, even when they are made by Barkley's!

Again the ingredients were approachable, nothing out of the ordinary, AP flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, egg, milk, peanut butter (chunky) and beef broth.

This dough came together nicer than the previous and I was able to cut it into pretty pieces!

 

It's a bit more putzy to bake as the biscuits have to be basted with the beef broth three times.  I'm not sure I've made anything for us that required three bastes with the exception of maybe the Thanksgiving turkey!

These smelled really good, like peanut butter cookies.  And they are very pretty with the beef basted crust.  And I didn't burn the bottoms!  They were as beautiful as the tops.  Thanks for the warning Klecko!




Personally I found these much tastier than the other ones.  I bet if I drizzled some dark chocolate over them and brought them to work they would disappear!  Again, couldn't get Dave to taste one.

These too passed the Cider test.  I didn't attempt the picture so he ate this one more quickly.  A couple hours later I gave each dog half of each biscuit again, he still liked them so that means he really liked them!

So we have two big bags of dog treats in the frig.  There are a few other recipes I want to try too.  I wonder if the dogs will like sardines.....

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