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Giving Your Dog Biscuits

February 15 2024

Dogs have been standing faithfully by our sides for thousands of years. While each of our canine companions has their own personality and preferences, they all have at least one thing in common: a love of treats! Snacks are a great way to get Fido’s cute tail going. They’re also very useful for bonding and training. However, there are a few things to consider here. In this article, a local Bloomington, CA vet offers some tips on giving your pup treats.

Why Are Fido’s Treats Called Dog Biscuits?

Man’s Best Friend doesn’t always know of his biscuits as biscuits: he also knows them as snacks, cookies, or treats. However, a biscuit by any other name is still pretty awesome, at least according to Fido.

The history of the dog biscuit is pretty interesting. As you may know, Fido has been our buddy for thousands of years. Some studies suggest that dogs have stood faithfully at our sides for 30,000 years! Whatever the actual figure is, it’s probably safe to assume that we’ve been feeding him table scraps for a very long time.

When did those leftovers become customized, bona-Fido dog treats? 

This may also have occurred long ago, perhaps even during the Roman Empire. In his ‘Farm Topics’ manual, a Roman poet named Marcus Terentius Varro mentions giving Fido meat, bones, and milk-soaked barley. Another reference to dog treats can be found in a manual from 14th-century France. Gaston III, the Count of Foix, wrote about feeding dogs, noting that  he fed his beloved greyhounds bran bread and hunted game.

In the early 1800s, a businessman named James Spratt developed the modern dog biscuit. These contained wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood. Different products and versions followed soon after, with our canine companions happily tasting and sampling all of them. In 1907, chemist Carleton Ellis reshaped Fido’s cookies, giving them that iconic bone shape. The result? The milk bone, which Man’s Best Buddy still enjoys to this day.

Do Dogs Need Treats?

Treats aren’t exactly a must, at least from a physical/health standpoint, but they are definitely beneficial! They’re great for training, bonding, and just brightening up your furry friend’s day. They also provide Fido with a sense of routine, which is also important. Pets feel most secure when they are kept on a pretty set routine. Your dog may also come to expect a treat if he does a cute trick. That’s not a bad thing!

The big thing is not to go overboard.  Man’s Best Friend is very, very good at begging, and knows exactly how to ply us with that soulful stare. Treats should not make up more than five percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake. For more specific advice, consult your Bloomington, CA veterinarian.

How Do I Choose Safe Treats For My Dog? 

It’s a good idea to read the label on your dog’s treats to ensure they contain only wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Meat, fish, and poultry should appear first on the label, followed by all other ingredients. Avoid things with long lists of ingredients that sound like chemical experiments.

Only give Fido things that are the right size for him. Fido could choke or damage his teeth on something made for a larger or smaller dog!

It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for recalls as well. While this fortunately doesn’t happen often, sometimes bad batches slip through. You can follow updates at the AVMA site here or the FDA website here. You can also set up Google alerts to be notified of recalls.

Is Rawhide Safe For Dogs? 

As popular as rawhide is with dogs, it can also be very dangerous for them, especially for vigorous chewers. It can break off into sharp pieces, which are choking hazards. Rawhide can also cause serious internal issues if consumed.

Can I Give My Dog People Food?

Many of our menu items are safe for Fido. Plain meat, fish, or poultry with no skin, bones, or fat is always a good choice. Eggs are also healthy. A variety of fruits and vegetables can also be offered. These include apples, sweet potatoes, spinach, peas, carrots, and broccoli. Just be sure to research anything you give your pet first. Also, keep in mind that giving your pet table scraps isn’t really a great thing to do as far as petiquette. It’s better to mix healthy ingredients in with his own food. 

What Foods Are Dangerous To Dogs?

The following foods are unsafe for your pup: garlic, onions, scallions, chives, pitted fruit, avocado, alcohol, chocolate, grapes, raisins, raw dough or yeast, and anything containing xylitol, salt, sugar, or fat. Meat on the bone should also be avoided, as should anything with seeds and pips. Ask your Bloomington, CA veterinarian for more information.

Can I Make Homemade Dog Treats?

Sure! Homemade treats are a great option for dogs with allergies or dietary restrictions. Another benefit is that you’ll know exactly what your pup is eating. 

Start by picking a base. Some of the things that you can use include chopped or minced meat, sodium-free broth, fat-free yogurt, liver powder, ripe bananas, peanut butter that doesn’t contain xylitol, pureed squash or pumpkin, eggs, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ oil, and sodium-free broth.

Add bacon bits, shredded cheese, kibble, or safe fruits and vegetables like peas, green beans, or spinach to customize Fido’s snacks.

If you really enjoy cooking, consider getting a dog treat maker! These are similar to a waffle maker or panini press, but has a bone-shaped pocket for batter. Your pooch probably won’t care what his treats look like, but it’s not a bad idea to make them unique. These also make good gifts for Fido’s buddies.

Here are some recipes you might like:

  • Add two large eggs and some whole-wheat flour to pumpkin puree and peanut butter. Cook at 400F for 15 minutes.
  • Combine natural peanut butter, fat-free yogurt, and mashed banana, pureed pumpkin, or sweet potato. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Instant tail wags!
  • Add cheese and eggs to plain, cooked boneless turkey meat. Then, add baby food and/or safe fruits and vegetables, such as peas, carrots, or sweet potatoes. Mix the batter in a food processor and divide into small portions. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Make a basic biscuit using eggs, whole-wheat flour, and olive oil, then add bacon bits, shredded meat or cheese, or bits of kibble for toppings. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and divide the batter into small bowls.
  • Add shredded cheese, bacon bits, whole-wheat flour, and sodium-free chicken broth to plain canned chicken. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
  • In a food processor, combine whole-wheat flour, eggs, and beef liver.

Mix and match! Just make sure you use safe ingredients. If you use peanut butter, choose one that does not contain xylitol. If you use baby food, make sure it does not contain garlic, onion, avocado, or any other harmful ingredients.

Don’t forget to make Fido perform a trick for his treat! Dogs look adorably proud of themselves when they’re getting praised for being good boys! 

Do you have questions about feeding your dog his biscuits? Does your pet need an appointment? Contact your local Bloomington, CA veterinary clinic today!

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