Cookie of the Week

Well, not necessarily cookie per se, but every weekend at ThePossibleCanine, I’ll be sharing one of my own, or one of my reader’s favorite treat recipes.

Everyone who knows me and my work in nutrition, knows I am not a fan of a lot of carb-based, high glycemic, probably acrylamide laden “cookies”. Dogs do love them, though, and if the diet is good – that is, correctly balanced, fresh wholesome ingredients and appropriate for the life stage, activity level and  so on – a few cookies here and there won’t hurt!  We all know that overdoing treats is a good way to cause obesity, with all the associated health issues such as arthritis,  and higher risk of diabetes and pancreatitis. So moderation is always key…

…that said,we all need a little  indulgence, and my take on it is this.

First; home bake your own dog treats, for several reasons. One, you have complete control over what goes into them, just like you do when you home prepare the diet.

Two, it’s much less expensive than commercial treats – or, heaven forbid, buying individual goodies at a store.

Three – baking for your dog is an extra special gift, it’s fun, bonding and you can take pictures of their sweet faces all alight with anticipation. My first Ridgeback Luke used to park himself in front of the oven while I baked, and stare somberly at it until the treats “magically” appeared.

Danny has a different method of expressing himself,  for sure (think Bart Simpson meets Dennis the Menace, with a little Alvin the Chipmunk thrown n for good measure –  but in dog form) but they are all unique little spirits.

It’s all good, all wholesome if you are careful with ingredients – and since novelty is fine for dogs too, we’ll feature a new treat recipe – cookies, bars, muffins and more – every weekend here at TPC.

I’m going to start this off with a liver brownie recipe from my friend, herb student and TPC moderator, Leslie Hays Richards. Leslie is a keen student of the science and art of nutrition; she is a rescuer of very special dogs (Squirt, Brickman and Trinket – and I have no pics! but all special-needs dogs and all thriving under her informed and meticulous care) and above all, a super lovely person. Leslie has shared her version of the home bakers staple – the liver brownie – and I was so impressed with it’s simplicity, wholesomeness (no vegetable oils, no gluten, very little sugar) I chose this recipe to be our first Cookie of the Week.

With any submitted recipe I will always test it out, and then run up a nutrient content analysis – because I know many people who follow my blog have special-needs dogs, and need to count every mg of mineral, every gram of fat…if you’re in doubt about whether a certain treat is ok for your special-needs dog, please don’t hesitate to ask. When a recipe is especially appropriate for  dogs on therapeutic diets – as many of mine will be – I’ll definitely  make that clear.

This brownie recipe  is for healthy dogs! and like all liver treats, should be used in moderation. Try a small bit first, to test reaction, and if your dog doesn’t show any signs of gas or other undesirable reaction, by all means – share away.

Here is the recipe as Leslie sent it to me:

“I used 198 grams of lightly poached calves liver. I put it in my little chopper and pulverized it and one small garlic clove into a paste.

Add 1 cup brown rice, quinoa, or spelt flour, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 small apple, 1/2 large carrot, 1 whole egg, and just enough water to make it stick together.

Press onto a cookie sheet about 1/2 inch thick (I used a 13x9x2 cake pan lightly coated with olive oil). Bake at 350′ for 30 min. Cook a bit longer and it should be crispier. I pulled the treats out when the edges were pulling back from the sides of the pan. Let cool and give ’em a bite.”

I love this!  And had to bake a pan right away, too. I made one small change – I used beef liver instead of calves’ both for the extra nutrition and the fact I don’t like the slaughter of baby animals.

I also doubled the recipe, for this house with four large dogs, 75 – 110 pounds.

I used a 9X13 Pyrex pan, buttered (I might use coconut oil but I avoid vegetable oils wherever possible) and baked 30 minutes at 300 degrees.

Here’s what I got:

The pan yielded 28 chewy bars; here’s the approximate nutrient breakdown per bar.(Approximate because we may not all cut the same size, I know some of mine are a little bigger than others).

Energy   91.8

Protein  5.6 grams

Total Fat   1.6 grams (pretty low,  so this treat may be ok for your fat- sensitive dog, as long as you don’t overdo it)

Fiber   1 gram

Calcium  17 mgs

Phosphorus 129 mgs (that’s HIGH, due to the liver, so not a good choice for dogs with renal disease)

Sodium   36 mgs – a moderate level, be careful with dogs who have kidney or heart problems.

Vitamin A   1408 mcgs in one  brownie – a significant presence! Liver is used in the diet to supply preformed VitaminA as well as copper, so for small dogs, this amount is significant, if fed on a regular basis

Copper  2 mgs! That’s a lot, and  for small dogs should be accounted for in the daily total. That’s almost my Danny’s RA for the day – so again, smaller dogs, or any dog whose copper intake should be monitored (cancer, Copper-storage disease, some liver ailments) be aware!

The recipe also provides 579 mgs of magnesium, so about 20 per bar – and 50 mgs of iron in the whole batch.

All nutrient content is for brown rice flour, quinoa and spelt will provide different levels, and be aware that spelt is NOT gluten free.

Thank you to Leslie for this great, wholesome recipe, and happy baking to you all.

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