For Easter I decided to treat my lovely canine customers to some yummy organic dog biscuits - and they seemed to go down very well!
Due to their popularity, I decided to add the recipe and a little bit about the health benefits of each ingredients to my blog, so more people can make these super easy, and healthy, biscuits at home!
1 ½ cup organic coconut flour
½ cup organic peanut butter or nut butter (avoid additives sugar and xylitol)
4 organic eggs
½ cup of organic coconut oil
1 cup + 2 tbsp organic sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree, or in the case of these biscuits Ella’s Kitchen organic sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apples and blueberries puree
2 tsp dried parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients, form dough into a ball
Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper
Gently break up the biscuits into pieces, or use your desired cookie cutters to cut and lift cookies into an ideal shape
Transfer to a lined baking sheet
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are hard
Let cool completely before serving
NB: If dough is dry, add an additional egg
The Health Benefits of the Ingredients for your little Wanderdog
Organic coconut flour and coconut oil
For many commercial dog diets on the market, the binding agents used tend to be grains and starch, such as wheat flour. These ingredients are readily available and cheap to use. However, while nutritionists today state that some whole grains can be included as part of a healthy diet, as a great source of energy, many of the cheaper starchy carbohydrates used are not the healthiest option. Many dogs can even develop allergies and an intolerance to proteins found in both wheat and gluten, which can lead to itchy skin and other health concerns.
Coconut flour is a healthy alternative that can help prevent these issues. In fact, coconuts, in all forms including oil, are considered a super food due to their abundance of health benefits, and extreme denseness in nutrients. It is a great source of protein, iron and it is low on the glycaemic index, meaning it is less likely to cause diabetes or weight gain. Some research has found that it can even help towards preventing diabetes, by regulating and balancing insulin. Coconut ingredients have been linked to improved digestion, thyroid function, metabolic mechanisms and immune response. It also has properties that provide protection and defence against viral, pathogenic, fungal and bacterial infections. These antibacterial and antifungal properties can also help reduce that ‘doggy odour’.
Coconut can also increase energy levels, improve skin and coat condition, and can even potentially slow cognitive dysfunction. Due to the fatty acid content it promotes a healthy brain and helps towards the prevention of heart disease.
As well as using it in your dog’s diet, you can even use coconut oil directly on the coat to help improve skin and fur. Some owners even brush their dog’s teeth with it, for extra fresh breath!
Organic peanut butter
Deceptively called nuts, peanuts are part of the legume family. They are frequently considered a favourite treat for dogs, especially stuffed in a well-loved Kong toy! Luckily for all peanuts are healthy too (NB. not for cats, just dogs)!
Peanuts are great source of protein, fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin B, vitamin E, and minerals such as manganese, copper and phosphorus. Some studies suggest that they protect humans against age-related cognitive decline, so the same may well be true for our dogs. Peanuts are rich in antioxidants, meaning they are great for your dog’s heart health. They even discovered that peanuts contain resveratrol, the same anti-aging and anti-cancerous property found in red wine!
ALWAYS check the peanut butter you buy does not contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol, often found in chewing gum, and now used as a sugar-alternative in peanut butters. This substance is highly toxic to dogs and can be life-threatening. If ingested seek veterinary help, as it can cause seizures, liver failure and possibly death. Another thing to mention are that some dogs may develop nut allergies. So, if your dog is new to peanut butter, it may be best to give them a small amount first, and see how they get along.
Eggs are an inexpensive, but fantastic ‘complete’ source high quality protein. This is because they contain all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that cannot be synthesised naturally by your dog’s own body. Also for dogs that suffer from digestive issues, eggs can be a good way to boost their protein intake.
The egg white has more than half the protein, and is great source of selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B2/6/12, and the minerals zinc, iron and copper. The yolks contain more calories, fat and cholesterol, but are high in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
In the past, there has been some concern over the healthiness of eggs even for human consumption, due to their considered high level of cholesterol. However, in modern science it is in fact saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that is the main offender to negatively affect levels of blood cholesterol.
There has also been a little controversy online whether feeding raw eggs to dogs is safe, because some believe they could contain salmonella, or cause a biotin deficiency. Raw feeders would disagree. The reason for the concern about biotin, is that egg whites contain avidin, a biotin (B vitamin) inhibitor. This vitamin is important for cellular growth, fatty acid metabolism and helps to keep your dog’s skin and coat in good condition. Biotin deficiency is considerably rare, so you would likely have to feed a great many egg whites to cause an issue. Egg yolks contain concentrated amounts of the vitamin biotin, so it is advised to feed the whole egg together if you choose raw, to counterbalance. Another great source of biotin is liver. If you are concerned, cooking the egg white destroys the avidin, therefore any risk involved also.
One way to provide your dog with even more nutrients is to feed them the shell as well. You can grind the shells up once dry, and sprinkle on their food for extra calcium. Always choose organic eggs, so the shells are not sprayed with nasty pesticides and chemicals.
Organic sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree
Both sweet potatoes and pumpkins are high in dietary fibre, and low in fat, therefore are great for your dog’s digestive system. They can be used to ‘bulk up’ your dog’s food, as the extra fibre will help them to feel fuller for longer without too many additional calories. Plus, the fibre helps to slow digestion, so effectively manage their bowel movements.
Sweet potatoes are an affordable complex carbohydrate, and a natural source of energy. They are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese, and are a rich source of the antioxidant beta-carotene. This antioxidant converts vitamin A in your dog’s body, which helps improve their vision, growth and muscle strength, it also has anti-aging properties too.
It is recommended to choose sweet over regular white potatoes, as they are more nutrient dense, higher in fibre, vitamin C and A, and have less starchy carbohydrates which can contribute to weight gain and blood sugar peaks. Also, steaming your potatoes retains more nutrients than oven baking.
Pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A (good for sight), Vitamin C (good for your dog’s immune system and joint health), the antioxidant beta-carotene, and zinc (great for improving the condition of their skin and coat). Even the seeds inside have an abundance of health benefits. The seeds are high in protein and fiber, and the oil produced from them can help support urinary health. On top of this, the seeds contain cucurbitin, an amino acid, that paralyzes intestinal parasites, therefore may act as a natural de-worming agent.
Parsley is a common herb, that is both nutritious and healthy for your dog. It is high in protein, fibre, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, and has trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
The main benefit of parsley is its effectiveness at freshening up ‘doggie’ breath, even treating canine halitosis (the medical term for chronic bad breath). Its antimicrobial properties help prevent bacteria from building up in their mouths. There are, however, some other health benefits that are less well known.
For example, parsley is anti-inflammatory in nature, so can help with inflammatory issues such as arthritis and cancer. It is also a diuretic, which can help improve kidney function. The leaves also have antiseptic properties, and can lower blood pressure. These are just a few more health benefits, among others!
Overall, these dog biscuits are super healthy treats for your special fur-baby. Happy baking!