Just recently, I heard a joke that had me in stitches. It went like this:
Q: How can you stop Californians from using meth?
A: Tell them it contains gluten.
I passed it on to some friends, and some thought it was in poor taste. Others, however, shared my bizarre sense of humor.
It got me thinking, though – for centuries, people have been eating bread, and now all of a sudden everybody wants to avoid gluten – even people who aren’t actually allergic to it!
I’m Not Totally Insensitive
No, really, I’m not! Although my sister, Colleen, often begs to disagree. I do know a couple of people who end up in agony if they inadvertently ingest wheat products. I also know that dogs can (although rarely) also have a similar intolerance. Fortunately, there are gluten-free treats available for pets. The only trouble is that they can be very expensive. This is simply because wheat is cheap, while other fillers, like rice flour, are more expensive.
If your dog is gluten-sensitive, and you don’t want to go broke buying commercially available treats, why not consider making some healthy treats at home? Here are 8 great recipes for you to try out. Not only do they contain no gluten, they also don’t have sugar, salt, preservatives or artificial colorings.
1. Pumpkin Cookies
Take 2 ½ cups of brown rice flour and 2 tablespoons of flax seed. Mix them together in a bowl. Then in another bowl, beat two eggs. Add about ¾ of a cup of pureed pumpkin (you can use cooked pumpkin, or canned puree, but don’t use the spiced kind that you’d put in pies). Mix together, and then add it tothe dry ingredients. If it seems a bit too stiff, add some cold water – you want the dough to be firm, but not runny, so you probably won’t need much more than a quarter cup of water.
Knead the dough together using your hands, and then roll it out on a cutting board that you’ve dusted with brown rice flour, or between two thicknesses of waxed paper, also dusted. Use a cookie cutter or a knife to cut out shapes.
Now, put the treats on baking sheets that you’ve greased lightly with oil, or lined with parchment. Bake for half to three-quarters of an hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Check with your finger to make sure that the tops of the treats have dried out, and let them cool on wire racks. When they’re completely cool, you can store them in an air-tight container. Dogs really shouldn’t eat recreationally any more than humans should, so only serve one or two treats per day. If you’ve made more than you think you’ll use in about a week, you can always freeze the extras.
This recipe makes about three dozen large treats.
NOTE: All of the rice flour dog treat recipes that follow are cooked the same way, so simply refer to the last paragraph.
2. Sweet Potato Treats
Sweet potatoes offer the same nutritional benefits as pumpkin, so this is another of the best rice flour dog treat recipes for your best buddy!
Take a medium sweet potato, cut it up, and boil it until it’s soft. Don’t throw away the cooking liquid! Mash the sweet potato up in a bowl, add about half a cup of the cooking liquid and mix well. Then add half a cup of peanut butter and stir it all up until it’s smooth.
In another bowl, blend a cup of brown rice flour and a cup of oat flour along with 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Add this to the sweet potato mixture, and blend thoroughly.
Roll out and cut, and then cook as for pumpkin cookies, and let cool. This recipe makes about 48 small dog treats.
You could, if you like, use ordinary white potatoes, but sweet potatoes are considerably higher in nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta carotene. They also contain more fiber than white potatoes.
3. Minty Treats
There are all kinds of dog treats available commercially that claim to give your dog minty-fresh breath, but the reality is that most won’t work as well as those you can make at home using fresh mint from your herb garden.
To make this rice flour dog treat recipe simply take a cup of rice flour, a cup of rolled oats, a quarter cup of fresh chopped mint and a quarter cup of fresh chopped parsley. Use your hands to mix the ingredients up in a bowl. In another bowl, blend together half a cup of water, a quarter cup of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Then add this to the dry ingredients, and knead until smooth.
Roll out, cut and cook as for pumpkin cookies, and cool. This recipe makes about 24 treats. In addition to freshening your dog’s breath, mint can also ease stomach upsets and help to prevent flatulence.
4. Carrot Ginger Treats
Take 2 cups of brown rice flour, a half cup of oatmeal, and a cup of non-fat powdered milk. Mix together. In another bowl, blend ¾ of a cup of water, a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of dried ginger, and a quarter cup of shredded carrots. Add to the dry ingredients.
Roll out and cut, and then cook as for pumpkin cookies, and cool.
5. Cheese Treats
Get a big bowl, and mix together half a cup of grated cheddar, 3 tablespoons of applesauce, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, half a cup of cooked, chopped veggies (carrots or peas are good) and a cup of brown rice flour. Add a half cup grated cheddar cheese. Then, add a bit of milk – just enough to make for a nice, firm dough.
Roll out, cut, cook as for pumpkin cookies, and cool.
6. Meaty Treats
All dogs love meat! So take a pound of any type of ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, liver or a combination) and add some sweet potato (mashed from a large sweet potato) and a beaten egg. Mix it all together. Then add about a quarter cup of brown rice flour to create a firm dough, and you’ll have a rice flour dog treat recipe sure to please your best buddy! If the dough is a bit too firm, you can add some chicken broth or water.
Roll, cut and cook as for pumpkin cookies, and let cool.
7. Salmon Yummies
Take a 15-ounce can of salmon, put it in a bowl, and mash it up. Don’t worry about removing the bones, since they’re a great source of calcium for your dog. In another bowl, beat three eggs together, and add a tablespoon each of dried parsley, dried dill and baking powder. Blend well, and then add to the dried ingredients and knead.
Roll out, cut and cook as for pumpkin cookies.
8. Chicken Jerky
This is one of the more time-consuming rice flour dog treat recipes, but it’s worth the effort, because dogs just love it! The preparation is also different from the technique used on the above recipe. It’s actually the cooking time that makes it longer to prepare, though – you won’t have to mix up any ingredients; just monitor your oven.
This is literally all it takes – slice up some chicken, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. You’ll likely find that the meat is a lot easier to slice if you freeze it a bit beforehand.Then simply put the meat on a baking sheet and set your oven to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It will take a few hours, but your treats are ready when they’re hard and don’t expel moisture when you press down on them.
You can store these treats in an airtight container for up to two weeks, in the fridge for up to three months, and in the freezer pretty much indefinitely.
If you have a food dehydrator, it’s even easier to make jerky – just follow the instructions that came with the appliance.
You can also make jerky using beef, turkey, salmon, or practically any other meat or fish that pleases your dog.
The Final Word
Rice flour dog treat recipes are incredibly easy to make, so if your dog is gluten-sensitive, why not get to work and make some of these easy, inexpensive treats? You’ll save a ton of money over commercial gluten-free dog treats, and you’ll never have to worry about nasty additives like sugar, salt, food coloring or preservatives.