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What Is The Best Flour For Baking Dog Treats?

What Is The Best Flour For Baking Dog Treats?
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We're all trying, right?

It takes a lot of care to ensure that we’re choosing healthy (and even safe) treats from the pet store. Many of us puppy moms are making homemade treats for our fur babies to avoid unwanted additives and uncertain ingredient sources.


Last year we lost our much loved Buster, at 16 1/2 years old to kidney failure. That really highlighted for me how every little choice we make can contribute to our pups’ overall health. 

It made me reconsider all the little naughty things I’d given him over the years, and perhaps how I could have served him better if I’d resisted the “doxie sad eyes” more often.  


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve snuck Finny a piece of cheese here or there. Life needs balance though, and I’m determined to swing the health scale in his favor if possible. 

With Finnegan, it’s a new beginning, a chance to establish good habits. He’s just shy of four months old, doesn’t beg for food, and has never tasted sugar or processed people foods (besides the cheese). 


Determined to give Finnegan the best chance I can for a healthy life, I’ve been making him healthy puppy treats. Some of them are so simple I’m shocked at how much he likes them!


It’s taken some effort to figure out what’s healthy, what he likes, and what works for dog recipes. I’m constantly experimenting with new things, to give him variety and a healthy supplementation to his normal diet.


Wheat Flour?

When I was first trying out new recipes and making ingredient decisions, one of the first ones I encountered was what flour to use. Wheat flour just seemed too “processed” and “people foody” for me. There’s a significant anti-wheat/anti-grains movement for people, which has spilled over to our pets. I was thinking dogs aren’t meant to eat grains, but then, are they actually meant to eat anything in biscuits? 


There’s an article here on the American Kennel Club’s site that says dogs, unlike wolves, have evolved to be able to digest starch. While GMO wheat, overeating in general, and too many carbs probably aren’t good for us or them, the AKC seems to say that wheat for dogs has received a bad rap. Personally, I don’t think I’ll use it, but it’s an option.  


Almond Flour?

A lot of dog biscuit recipes use almond flour, and I’m guessing it’s because the people who created the recipes probably have the same reluctance towards wheat flour as I do. At first, I assumed I’d use almond flour too, as it’s great for baking people foods. While almonds aren’t toxic to dogs, there is a chance they can cause pancreatitis in some (article about that here), so rather than find out the hard way if Finny was susceptible, I crossed it off my list too.


Rice Flour?

The next flour I considered was rice, but I’ve never had much success with it for baking unless I mixed it with other flours. It also doesn’t scream “nutritional boost” when I thought of feeding it to Finnegan so I crossed it off my list as well.


Ah... Coconut Flour
My next contender was coconut flour. I’m already a big fan of coconut oil. I use it on my own skin and had previously used it on Buster’s. I use it in recipes in place of vegetable oil, and I fry with it. I believe it has nutritional benefits for us and our dogs. There’s a really good youtube video here, by veterinarian Dr. Becker, where she explains the benefits of coconut oil for dogs. Since I’m already using the oil it made sense to incorporate the flour into my baking.   


Coconut flour takes a bit of getting used to when substituting it into your recipes.  

It absorbs a lot more moisture than other flours, so you use 1/3 to 1/4 a cup for every cup you would have used of regular flour. I’ll generally add an extra egg white, or a tablespoon of coconut oil as well, to improve the consistency.  


There are a number of other flours out there such as chickpea flour.  I think I’ll stick to coconut for now, but I’ll probably do some more digging on the other options to see if any of them are worth trying out. When I do, I’ll let you know what I find!


Wishing you all much doxie goodness, 


Joanna

 

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