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A Celebration of Dog Biscuits

February 15, 2024

Our canine companions are all unique in their own way, and they each have their own personalities and preferences. One most of them agree on, though, is that they love their treats! Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day is officially February 23rd, but it’s an occasion Fido celebrates year long. Treats are not only a great way to get your pup’s tail wagging, they’re also very useful for training and bonding. In this article, a local Troutville, VA vet offers advice on giving your dog treats.

Can Dogs Eat Biscuits?

In addition to helping with training and bonding with your pup, treats can also brighten his day. Additionally, they can provide a sense of routine, which is healthy for your dog. Our furry friends feel more secure when they’re kept on a relatively regular schedule. If your dog expects treats after showing you his cute tricks or even before bed, that’s not a bad thing.

Keeping things in check is the key here. Man’s Best Friend is not only super adorable, but he also happens to be very, very good at begging. Generally speaking, treats shouldn’t exceed 5% of your pet’s daily diet. For more specific advice, you should ask your Troutville, VA veterinarian.

How Did The Dog Biscuit Get Its Name?

Some studies suggest that humans’ close kinship with our canine companions dates back as far as 30,000 years, so it’s probably safe to assume that we’ve been sneaking them table scraps for quite some time.

The Roman Empire is believed to be the earliest mention of dog biscuits. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for dogs to receive scraps of bread. In fact, in his manual ‘Farm topics,’ Roman poet Marcus Terentius Varro mentioned giving Fido meat, bones, and barley soaked in milk.

A few hundred years later, in 14th century France, we find another book that references Fido’s menu written by Gaston III, the eleventh Count of Foix. He fed his greyhounds hunted meat and bran bread.

The modern dog biscuit emerged during the early 1800’s, when a businessman named James Spratt introduced the first commercially prepared dog biscuit, which was made from a mixture of wheat meal, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood. Several other companies quickly followed suit. In 1907, chemist Carleton Ellis reshaped Fido’s cookies, ultimately creating the infamous milk bone, which is still popular to this day.

What Are Safe Treats?

The first thing you should do is read the label carefully to make sure your dog’s treats contain only wholesome, nutritious ingredients. As a rule of thumb, the first ingredient listed should be meat, fish, or poultry.

Next, be sure to choose treats that are the right size for your pup. Something too big or too small could cause Fido to choke or hurt his teeth.

Also, you should make it a point to monitor the news for any recalls. While this doesn’t occur that often, a bad batch can sometimes slip through. You can check for updates on either the FDA or AMVA websites. Our recommendation is to set up a Google alert. That way you’ll get notified via email whenever a recall is announced.

What Treats Are Unsafe For My Dog?

While rawhide may be very popular, it can also be incredibly dangerous. Small pieces can break off while your dog is chewing, and those small bits can then become choking hazards. Rawhide can also cause other serious internal issues so it’s best to stick with safer options.

Can Dogs Eat People Food?

Throughout most of history, Fido has partaken in table scraps. Fortunately, many things on our menu are safe for him to eat. Plain meat, fish, or skinless poultry, for example, are all good choices. There are also a wide variety of fruits and vegetables Fido can eat, including apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, spinach, and broccoli. However, you should always do your research before offering any human food to your pet. Contact your Troutville, VA veterinarian for additional details and specific guidance.

What Foods Are Not Safe To Give My Dog?

Just as there are foods that are ok to share with Fido, there are also several that are not. Specifically, you should never give your dog anything containing garlic, onions, scallions, chives, pitted fruit, avocado, alcohol, chocolate, or high-fructose corn syrup. Raisins and grapes are also unsafe, as is meat on the bone, yeast or raw dough, and anything containing xylitol and a lot of sugar, salt, or fat.

Is It Possible To Make My Own Dog Treats At Home?

If you enjoy baking, homemade dog treats are a great option! For a base, you can use things like minced or chopped meat, sodium-free broth, liver powder, natural peanut butter (which should not contain xylitol), ripe bananas, fat-free yogurt, or pureed pumpkin with no added sugar. Other ingredients you may use include eggs, whole-wheat flour, and wheat germ oil.

You can customize Fido’s snacks by adding things like bacon bits, shredded cheese, kibble, or safe fruits and vegetables, such as green beans, peas, or spinach.

Getting an appliance to use exclusively for your dog’s treats isn’t a must, but you may wish to do so. These are similar to waffle makers or panini presses but include a bone-shaped pocket for the batter. While your four-legged friend probably won’t care what his treats look like, it can be fun to give them a distinctive shape.

For DIY treats, try these recipes:

Turkey Woofers: Combine plain, cooked turkey meat with cheese and eggs. You can also add a little baby food and/or safe fruits and veggies, such as carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and divide into small portions. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Chicken Bites: These tasty treats are prepared by mixing plain canned chicken with shredded cheese, whole-wheat flour, bacon bits, and sodium-free chicken broth. Divide the mixture into small portions and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Pup Bites: Start with pureed pumpkin mixed with natural peanut butter, add two large eggs and some whole-wheat flour, mix, and bake at 400F for around 15 minutes.

Yogurt/PB Bites: Combine natural peanut butter with some fat-free yogurt and mashed bananas. Sweet potatoes or pureed pumpkin will also work. Divide into small pieces, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Dog Biscuits: For this basic biscuit, you’ll combine eggs, whole-wheat flour, and either olive or wheat germ oil. Feel free to add in some of the common ingredients listed above, such as bacon bits or shredded meat. Divide the mixture into small portions and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Liver Woofs: These are made by mixing eggs, beef liver, and whole-wheat flour. Use a food processor to combine the ingredients into a batter and then cook them at 350 for 30 minutes.

One important note: if you’re planning on making your own treats, be sure to only use ingredients that are safe for your dog to consume. For instance, if you plan to incorporate baby food, make sure it does not contain anything that’s toxic to canines, like garlic, onion, or avocado. If you use peanut butter, make sure it does not contain xylitol. And finally, don’t forget to make Fido do a trick to earn his treat!

Have questions or concerns about giving your dog his biscuits? Feel free to contact us, your Troutville, VA vet clinic, today!

Posted in Dog Care

47 Boone Dr,
Troutville VA 24175
t: (540) 966-1992
Also serving Roanoke, VA and surrounding areas.

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