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Tag: dog treats

No More Cutting! Making 500 Non-Crumbly Dog Treats From a Mold

No More Cutting! Making 500 Non-Crumbly Dog Treats From a Mold

Best dog treat hack ever! Here’s how to make batches of more than 500 small treats at a time without having to cut them up. Continue reading “No More Cutting! Making 500 Non-Crumbly Dog Treats From a Mold”

Tricks for Frozen Dog Treats

Tricks for Frozen Dog Treats

I am all about efficiency. You could also say I’m lazy. Also, my freezer is usually stuffed full.

So rather than freeze whole filled food toys for three dogs, I use several gadgets that let me freeze things separately. Then I can put frozen dog treats (of all sorts–just look!) into food toys for a quick treat for the dogs that they can enjoy for a few minutes.

Custom Freezer Trays

Kong puts out a product called “Easy Freeze Dog Treats Kit” that includes a plastic freezer tray. It makes Kong-stuffer shaped treats. Their kit includes a treat mix you can use, but once you have a tray, the genie is out of the bottle. They don’t market this product heavily. I think it’s because it costs only a few dollars, but it frees you from buying their premade products (crackers and paste) for a quick filler.

Kong easy freeze tray with peanut butter yogurt filling
Kong Easy Freeze Tray with peanut butter and yogurt mixture

The above picture is the “X-Large” tray. The frozen pieces fit large Kongs as well.

Black Kong with frozen treats
Frozen treats from Kong mold

Stay tuned for an explanation of those funky looking treats.

There is a smaller size Kong tray that is rather hard to get ahold of. Here’s what you can use instead.

Silicone Molds

You don’t even have to buy molds from Kong. There are now food-grade silicone molds that are used for soapmaking, candy making, custom ices cubes, and yeah, dog treats! Just search on “silicone molds” and you’ll get there.

You can find practically every shape and size you ever dreamed of. Here’s one that has a nice shape for small food toys.

Silicone mold in shape of dog bones for making frozen dog treats

Here it is with vanilla yogurt filling.

Silicone mold in shape of dog bones with vanilla yogurt filling

And here are the cute little frozen treats.

Frozen vanilla yogurt dog treats for Kongs

These go nicely in small and puppy Kongs.

Ice Cube Trays

Of course you can use standard plastic ice cube trays too. You’ll have to experiment to see how much filling you should put in the cavities so you can fit the treats into your own toys.

What Kinds of Fillings?

Here’s the cool part. You can freeze just about anything in them that’s safe for dogs to eat.

Leftovers. How about some pasta? (Hold the onions and garlic.) Keep the tops of the treats entirely flat, or they will be difficult to insert into the toys. You’d be surprised how hard they are to insert if they are just a little bit lumpy. You can do a two-part freeze with things like this. I don’t have a photo, but after the ones in the photo below froze, I poured some broth over them and put them back in the freezer. It made them nice and smooth. I did the same for the treats pictured with the black Kong above. I don’t remember what was in the bottom half, but after they were frozen, I put more liquid on top, along with a chunk of a cookie.

Kong easy freeze tray with pasta filling
Frozen pasta treats

And here’s the best thing. Now you have something easy to do with all those leftover dog treat crumbs.

Plate with crumbs
Treat crumbs…

These are big “crumbs” from some specially made dog cookies that I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to break into training treats. I did use some for treats, but I got tired of dealing with the non-uniform shapes. So I soaked the rest in water in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Bowl with crumbs
Add water and soak…

Edit: I removed a reference and photo of adding another leftover food. Barbara Korry DVM cautioned me in the comments that it could be dangerously salty for some small dogs. Bad idea on my part. Thanks Dr. Korry.

Here’s how they looked after freezing.

Easy freeze frozen Kong tray with cookie crumb treats
Frozen crumb treats

Putting the Treats in the Kong (and Giving them to Dogs)

In case you want to see it done, here is a very short movie that includes inserting the frozen treats into the Kong.

These do not take nearly as long to eat as an entire, frozen-solid Kong, but for dogs who lick them (rather than crunching the whole Kong in their mouths), they still take 5-10 minutes. You can also put a few loose treats of another sort in the Kong first, so they are blocked at first by the frozen treat.

Doubling Up

A reader asked whether one could put two of the frozen treats in at once. I didn’t think so, but I tried it and it worked! You need to put them in one at a time, with the small end pointing down to the small end of the Kong. Get the first one all the way in. Then insert the second one such that the flat faces will face each other. I was able to do this with two full-sized treats. Again, this probably wouldn’t work if they were at all bumpy.

Kong with two fillings
Kong with two frozen fillings

Do you freeze stuff for your dogs? Just this week I also made a batch from some leftover scalloped potatoes, and another from the copious crumbs from the bottom of a package of dehydrated raw dog treats.

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Copyright Eileen Anderson 2015

The Secret to Quick Non-Crumbly Homemade Dog Treats

The Secret to Quick Non-Crumbly Homemade Dog Treats

And they stay that way.

The secret is to use tapioca flour.1)A reader has let me know that tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing, and the latter is much cheaper. It can be found in most Asian markets and other stores as well. Thank you Lili! If you can wing it in the kitchen, read no farther. You’re on your way.

This is not usually a recipe blog, but it is definitely a concept blog. The concept here is that lots of high value brownie-type dog treats are crumbly and fall apart in your hand, treat bag, or pocket. Ewww. Especially if they are made with cornmeal, but even with wheat or most other flours.

Tapioca flour (or tapioca starch) is the trick. (It’s also grain free, for folks who care about that.) If it is expensive, you can experiment and cut it with some cheaper flour and see how far you can go. My other trick is that you can use all sorts of leftovers instead of one protein source for the treats, including that you can save the voluminous crumbs that many store-bought treats exude.

Here is the general method I follow for brownies.

Easy Brownies for Dogs

Puree in a food processor:

  • 1 cup raw or cooked protein (see some suggestions below)
  • 1-2 eggs, depending on the moistness of your other ingredients

Put the puree into a bowl and stir in:

  • About 1 cup tapioca flour/starch, or a mixture of tapioca and other flour. You may need more or less, depending on your protein sources.

Mix well. It will stay a little sticky, but if it is too sticky to handle, add more flour.  Toss it between your hands to make a patty and plot it into a greased pan. Bake at 350F for about 15-20  minutes. Longer if you used raw ingredients.

This is what went in mine (pictured below), just to give you some ideas:

  • 1/3 cup leftover meat from fajitas: beef, chicken, even a shrimp
  • a few french fries
  • 1/2 cup crumbs from commercial dog treats: mostly Natural Balance dog food roll and Stella and Chewies dehydrated raw treats, both of which crumble massively
  • 1 tablespoon leftover Parmesan cheese crumbs

The mixture I used above yielded brownies that actually smelled like bacon. I think that was from the smoky flavor of the Natural Balance dog food roll. It wasn’t a terrible smell, and the dogs loved them. I have also made some very mild ones with chicken breast and a dollop of peanut butter. Those even smell kind of good to me!

The very easiest version is to use a can of tuna or salmon. Usually in that case I would use just one egg. You still need to puree it.

Even with the high-priced tapioca flour, these are far cheaper than any commercial treats that are this high value. And so much more pleasant to carry around.

Here’s a photo essay on making my version of the brownies. Hah. These aren’t beautiful photos, and any food blogger would scoff at them. But hopefully they get the point across.

 

Thank you to Anita Gard, who provided the first recipe I saw that used tapioca flour. Her treats are more moist, even less crumbly (they are rubbery), and bake longer. Here is her recipe:

Liver Dog Treats

Ingredients:

  • Equal parts (by volume) raw chicken livers and tapioca starch/flour. For example, about 1 1/2 lbs livers and 2 cups of tapioca flour work well.
  • 2 TB oil

Method:

Put ingredients in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Line a cookie sheet (not a completely flat one; it needs edges) with parchment paper. Pour in the goop and spread it flat. It should be less than 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes or until done.

Cool in pan. Then lift the whole thing out with the parchment paper. Flip it over onto a large cutting board and peel off the parchment. Use a pizza cutter to cut into appropriate sized treats for your dogs.

Any More?

Feel free to share your favorite dog treat recipes or methods!

Related Post

The Secret to Filling a Food Tube (a great way to deliver ultra-high value treats!)

Eileenanddogs on YouTube

 

Notes   [ + ]

1. A reader has let me know that tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing, and the latter is much cheaper. It can be found in most Asian markets and other stores as well. Thank you Lili!
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